Saturday, March 1

Reviews: Eurovision Your Decision, Gardener's World

Mark Lewis sees a weekend of improbables turn into two days of fultility

Some things are futile: like making a watchable gardening programme, remembering the names of runners-up on The X-Factor, or persuading Lithuania not to award maximum points to Estonia in the Eurovision Song Contest.

But that doesn’t stop people dreaming. In Eurovision Your Decision (Saturday 9pm, BBC1) the best of British warbled their way to the brink of Eurovision humiliation with an intoxicating blend of enthusiasm, naivete, *terrific song writing and Claudia Winkleman.

Winkleman winklemaned her way through the main event and results show like a cheap Davina McCall, gurning with bright orange conviction at Terry Wogan’s erratic asides. Wogan sat atop a silver throne throughout, seeping syphilitic madness like Eurovision royalty. And the Eurovision hopefuls sang inept vocals with karaoke abandon, having first introduced themselves on short films of hair-shedding embarrassment.

“I’m just a typical lad from Rotherham,” said one, thinking airily of the rest of the boys who work in the local power station all dreaming of emulating Celine Dione by performing camp ballads on Eurovision, to the backing track of ‘Nul Points.’ Another all-girl act thought their cosmopolitanism would be their trump. One was Portuguese; one was Swedish; one was British. They were all shit. A Romanian girl was next, all girlish excitement, batty charm, and pretty face. “I’m from near Transylvania,” she said before reappearing looking more like a transvestite.

That bloke who came second in the X-Factor that year… you know the one… erm… the black guy… ooh… good voice… not at all memorable… I’ll look his name up on Google and put in the key words at the bottom of this article… anyway, he came on having written his own song. It was called… erm… Whatever

Look, he won. Britain (or at least those people in Britain who vote with their telephones) had spoken. And that, I think, is all we need to know about our chances of succeeding in Eurovision this year.

The only question is whether it is more or less futile than trying to make a watchable programme about gardening.

Like an accidental conception after floppy-cock sex, the BBC has made a semi-effective attempt at sexing up Ski Sunday. But spinning some of the televisual viagra out to the barren terrain of the equally niche Gardener’s World (Friday, 8pm, BBC2) was always going to prove deflating.

No matter how many times Monty Don walks whimsically through how ever many forests; no matter how many elderly ladies would love to tie him up and force feed him tea; no matter how much gargantuan hyperbole he employs, gardening is still as sexy as cream crackers. “This is really radical gardening,” he seemed to implore.

Let’s suspend disbelief for a moment and allow Monty his absurd fancy. His colleague was building a nectar bar on the edge of the big garden to attract insects, much like you might build a Bacardi Breezer bar on the edge of big towns to attract 19 year old slags. So far, so radical. But her method was the truly radical part. Oh No! She was cutting down old branches and - get this – rather than clear it up, she was just leaving it right there on the floor.

“That’s pretty radical,” said Monty.

No it’s not. That’s just gardening. No matter how radical he says it is, gardening is about as radical as, as… similes fail me: Gardening is about as radical as gardening. There really isn’t very much to it. “Between all of us we’ll be covering every aspect of gardening throughout the year,” he added. Like getting paid £10 by your mother to mow the lawn and sticking yourself with nettles while you sulkily try to put weeds in torn up black bags?

And that’s it. What are they going to do for the rest of the series?

*may not be true

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