Television Review

THE UNION between Jack Docherty and Channel 5 is heading inexorably for divorce. When they got into bed with each other 18 months ago, they were doing it five nights per week. Exhausted after six months, Docherty begged to be allowed to go down to four nights per week, with the promise that the day off would allow him to put more into his remaining performances. But then Graham Norton stole a comedy award from under his nose for presenting the show while Docherty was on holiday. In time, the rate was further reduced to three nights per week and these days it's down to two. Docherty's contract with Channel 5 expires at the end of the year and he will not be signing a new one.

In effect, The Jack Docherty Show (C5, Tue and Thur) is working out its notice. And boy, does it show. It's as if Docherty is perfunctorily doing his job even as the removal men are dismantling the show and packing it off to the archive. The house band has gone, the flats of the set have been taken down, and the script has been stowed at the bottom of a cardboard box file.

On to the Thursday edition of the show in which the host plainly doesn't appear to believe came Ron Atkinson to plug some video in which he plainly doesn't appear believe. It was like attending a convention of agnostics who have lost their faith but carry on singing from the same hymn-sheet anyway. There was a bit of miscued banter about the origin of Big Ron's moniker. Groins were, needless to say, mentioned in dispatches. Atkinson worried that his mother might be watching, but Docherty was able categorically to assure him that nobody was watching. Whereas once Docherty might have been joking, this time you could hear the bitterness and despair in his voice.

So how does Channel 5 complete with Newsnight without Docherty? Apart from putting out Sex and Shopping every night. Another of the holiday relief presenters to have prospered while Docherty was away is Melinda Messenger. No matter that Docherty has more natural wit in his left nipple than her entire prosthetic appendages, Messenger now has her own chat show.

The most complimentary thing you can say about Melinda's Big Night In (C5, Wed) is that she is brazenly up front about the promotional quid pro quo. Her opening gambit is usually: "So, you've got a new book/show/video." But it can vary. At a time when the headcount of celebrities has expanded to fill the available media space, it could just as easily be: "So, you've got a new ad/magazine spread/hair colour."

You think I'm joking. I wish I was. One of Messenger's guests was a blonde model who came on to talk about her role in the new Pizza Hut ad. It's amazing what a breast enlargement will get you these days: a guest appearance on a chat show hosted by a blonde model with enlarged breasts. I won't name this particular guest because I flatly refuse to augment her portion of entirely bogus fame by even one micromillimetre. The silly girl didn't have much to say for herself, apart from telling Messenger how her agent, standing backstage, made all the crucial decisions. You could actually see the puppet strings. In a triumph of scheduling, Channel 5 showed a Pizza Hut commercial during the break. Sadly, it was a different one.

The guests on The People v Jerry Sadowitz (C5, Fri) get a credit in the title. Sadowitz has the people on his show because no one else will work with him. No one, that is, apart from Judge James Pickles.

The audience is ushered on one by one to put some case or other to Sadowitz. This week, the brief was to describe "the most horrendous death you can think of", but they treated it like one of those vague essay tiles you used to get in school, and wandered off the subject. One bloke played his guitar. Another came on "to talk about acting on impulse". Someone else wanted BT not to charge for local calls. Sadowitz's role is to crush them, but though his job is semaphored in his surname, he is neither sadistic nor witty and his heart isn't in it. The most horrendous death I can think of is dying on this show. But we're not all television critics, and some people are dying to get on the box.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace was caught by a camera van driving 32mph over the speed limit

TV
Arts and Entertainment
books
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and the Dalek meet
tvReview: Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Arts and Entertainment
Star turns: Montacute House
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Iain reacts to his GBBO disaster

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Outlaw Pete is based on an eight-minute ballad from Springsteen’s 2009 Working on a Dream album

books
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012

film
Arts and Entertainment
Simon Cowell is less than impressed with the Strictly/X Factor scheduling clash

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Gothic revival: artist Dave McKean’s poster for Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination
Exhibition
Arts and Entertainment
Diana Beard has left the Great British Bake Off 2014

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Lisa Kudrow, Courtney Cox and Jennifer Anniston reunite for a mini Friends sketch on Jimmy Kimmel Live

TV
Arts and Entertainment
TVDessert week was full of the usual dramas as 'bingate' ensued
Arts and Entertainment
Clara and the twelfth Doctor embark on their first adventure together
TVThe regulator received six complaints on Saturday night
Arts and Entertainment
Vinyl demand: a factory making the old-style discs
musicManufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl
Arts and Entertainment
David Baddiel concedes his show takes its inspiration from the hit US series 'Modern Family'
comedyNew comedy festival out to show that there’s more to Jewish humour than rabbi jokes
Arts and Entertainment
Puff Daddy: One Direction may actually be able to use the outrage to boost their credibility

music
Arts and Entertainment
Suha Arraf’s film ‘Villa Touma’ (left) is set in Ramallah and all the actresses are Palestinian

film
Arts and Entertainment
Madame Vastra and Jenny Flint kiss in Doctor Who episode 'Deep Breath'

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Steve Carell in the poster for new film 'Foxcatcher'
filmExclusive: First look at comic actor in first major serious role
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

    The big names to look for this fashion week

    This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
    Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

    'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

    Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
    Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

    Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

    Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
    Al Pacino wows Venice

    Al Pacino wows Venice

    Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
    Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

    Neil Lawson Baker interview

    ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
    The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

    The model for a gadget launch

    Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
    Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
    Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

    Get well soon, Joan Rivers

    She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
    Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

    A fresh take on an old foe

    Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
    Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

    Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

    As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
    Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

    Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

    ... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
    Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

    Europe's biggest steampunk convention

    Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
    Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

    Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

    Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
    Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

    Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

    The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor