Helen Parton finds TV’s blonde females rule
Those expecting a further installment of Vanessa Feltz meltdown on this celebrity edition of Wife Swap (Sunday, Channel 4, 9pm) will have been disappointed, but otherwise this was TV gold. In what is now rather a tired format, Feltz agreed to trade places with Debbie McGee, and spend a week in the home of magician Paul Daniels. I suspect after his dismal performances here – failing to get a candle to ‘jump’ he may as well have got his coat. Or should that be magic cloak. Meanwhile McGee was finding a week as Vanessa was exhausting as she not only hosts a morning radio show but trails her boyfriend Ben Ofoedu, ten years her junior, to endless PAs in provincial nightclubs by night. He only seemed to have one song though, a Phats and Small number (was he Phats or was he Small, we never did find out) which he would belt out at any opportunity: ‘Hey what’s with you/you’re looking kind of down to me/And things ain’t getting ovvvvvvverrr/Listen to what I say. Got to turn arooooooound’.
Vanessa was finding the solitude in whichever godforsaken bit of the Home Counties Daniels now calls home a trifle trying and after the swap dragged him to the pub where she proceeded to invite locals to slam tequila with her. The next night, the odd couple headed to a West End club where his magic failed yet again to cut the entertainment mustard, not when la Feltz was on the dance floor, a sea of sequins and décolletage, at least. Under the McGee regime, Ofoedu was banned from ‘celebrity’ dinners with the likes of Shane Lynch from Boyzone and had to spend more time at home learning more than one song. Which he didn’t seem that keen on. McGee and Daniels just seem downright strange and introverted, whereas I’d happily do a shot with Feltz any time. I do worry though that a remarkably lucid woman has such a fatal flaw in not spotting a toyboy layabout when she sees one. Maybe I’ll call her radio show and tell her.
Speaking of blonde bombshell female DJs (oooooh, the seamlessness) I went to a recording of the Culture Show (Friday, 7:30, BBC2) this week, presented by Lauren Laverne who is to my mind hovering dangerously close to Jimmy Carr-like ubiquity. And unlike Nick Yates’ review of the Al Murray programme, I had quite a good time, apart from the having to pretend the guests weren’t there and we just happened to find ourselves sipping soft drinks in a dimly lit bar on an unremarkable Tuesday thing. “Gentle chatter” the director would call as we all tried not to gawp at gorgeous, leggy, urbane Laverne. Guests included John Simm (shorter than you’d think, bit boring) Mark Kermode (huge man, rock solid quiff) Frank Skinner (can’t tune a banjo to save his life, just about the right side of the funny/irritating divide). Music was courtesy of several boys from Sunderland with amazing cheekbones and even more amazing guitar effects’ pedals. It was a supergroup consisting of members of Field Music, Maximo Park (currently on heavy rotation on webmaster Lewis’s MP3 player) and the Futureheads. But those lads have a way to go before they steal Phats and Small’s crown of best ever album title. Its name? Now, Phats What I Call Music. Genius.