Last Night's Television - All blah blah in La-La land

Piers Morgan On..., ITV1
A Very British Storm Junkie, Channel 4

Ah, Piers! Nice to see you. So far the former tabloid editor has taken us to Dubai and Monte Carlo in ITV's three-part series Piers Morgan on..., and this week, boys and girls, we're off to Hollywood where –this is key – Piers is a big success.

Yes! He has made it in Hollywood. He is, much to the disgruntlement of his rain-sodden former detractors, Properly Famous. And boy, were we not allowed to forget it.

ITV is selling the show as an "access-all-areas look at some of the world's most glamorous settings". Far more fun, surely, was the access-all-areas look we got at Morgan's address book. Over the course of an hour, he zoomed around in his red sports car, introducing us to his famous friends. We met former Spice Girl Mel B, who, we were told somewhat implausibly, is "the ultimate Hollywood success story". Then came tough guy Vinnie Jones, who's known in America as a movie star, not a footballer. Vinnie's loving it, generally speaking, though he is having difficulty getting to grips with the culture. "You have to be all nicey nicey," he moaned, tucking into his fried eggs.

Of course, it didn't stop there. We went to the set of the daytime soap The Young and the Restless, and then to the home of Sharon Osbourne, who reminded us just how much plastic surgery she's had (well over 100 grand, by my maths). We saw Ioan Gruffudd, the Welsh star of Fantastic Four, and his wife, Alice Evans. He was doing well. Her? Not so much. Then there was some bloke off Hollyoaks who hadn't landed a job in three years, which was a bit depressing, and lunch with Lady Victoria Hervey and her former gang-runner life coach. Poor Victoria wasn't doing quite so well as she'd like, though she had just found out she was related to Princess Di, so things were looking up.

There was a bit of toing and froing with paparazzi – a photo of Piers snogging Angelina Jolie would, apparently, fetch upwards of $10m. And there was a bit of small talk with TV execs. But, otherwise, that was pretty much it. A whirlwind tour of, well, Piers's mates, with lots of scenic beach shots thrown in. Occasionally, there'd be some self-analysis, just to keep the regulators happy. "Why?" Piers would wail. "Why do they love me so?" "It's the accent," shrugged one pundit. Sharon Osbourne put it more elegantly: "It's because we can say shit bollocks and it sounds nice."

Rather less glamorous, though no more substantial, was Channel 4's A Very British Storm Junkie. The hour-long documentary focused on Stuart Robinson, who's a storm-chaser. Why he's a Very British one remains a mystery, though perhaps it was just less cruel than calling him Very Bonkers, which is what, most of the time, he appeared to be. Stuart lives in Leicester, where he works as an IT consultant. He also flies around the world seeking out storms to follow. His goal for 2008 was to track down a "monster hurricane" and enter the eye of it. Hovering in the background was his patient fiancée, Alison. Poor Alison. The show's real heroine, she's constantly being left behind so that Stuart can fly off whenever there's a catastrophe. He calls her his "storm Wag" and they've even arranged their marriage for March, so it doesn't clash with storm season. At times, she moaned, she doesn't know whether Stuart's married to her or "a bloody hurricane".

Anyhow, Stuart had managed to locate a typhoon in Taiwan. He does it all from his attic, where he has enough equipment to rival the Met Office. Of course, once he's found it, he has to go after it. So off he flew, to Taiwan, with his high-tech survival kit: goggles, glow sticks and a tin of baked beans. Taiwan proved disappointing, so it wasn't long before he took another trip, and then another. Along the way he met up with his storm-chasing buddie, Roger. They travelled the globe, never quite finding the thrill that they were hoping for.

Until, that is, they headed to New Orleans, where they found Hurricane Gustav, a big bellowing bull of a storm. Which, temporarily, seemed to satisfy Stu, though it did little to placate an increasingly irate Alison. She'd begun to wonder whether she'd chosen the wrong chap and so presented Stu with an ultimatum (of sorts): come home or I'll be very cross indeed. For a while, it seemed that Stuart might actually ignore her. He dithered around making phone call after phone call (there was another storm, see, and it was about to hit Florida). At the last minute, though, he did the right thing, flying home just in time for Sunday lunch. Phew! That was close.

It was all utterly pointless, of course, but irresistibly, wonderfully, compelling, if only for the minutiae of Stuart and Alison's relationship. In fact, were I someone important in television, I'd pounce – these two could be the new Gavin and Stacey.

Arts and Entertainment Musical by Damon Albarn


Arts and Entertainment

Film review

Arts and Entertainment
Innocent victim: Oli, a 13-year-old from Cornwall, featured in ‘Kids in Crisis?’
TV review
Northern exposure: social housing in Edinburgh, where Hassiba now works in a takeaway
books An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop
Arts and Entertainment
Terminator Genisys: Arnie remains doggedly true to his word as the man who said 'I'll be back', returning once more to protect Sarah Connor in a new instalment


film review
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment

Final Top Gear review

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Pete Doherty and Carl Barat perform at Glastonbury 2015

Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Richie performs live on the Pyramid stage during the third day of Glastonbury Festival

Arts and Entertainment
Buying a stairway to Hubbard: the Scientology centre in Los Angeles
film review Chilling inside views on a secretive church
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Williamson, left, and Andrew Fearn of Sleaford Mods
musicYou are nobody in public life until you have been soundly insulted by Sleaford Mods
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dew (Jess) in Bend It Like Beckham The Musical
theatreReview: Bend It Like Beckham hits back of the net on opening night
Arts and Entertainment
The young sea-faring Charles Darwin – seen here in an 1809 portrait – is to be portrayed as an Indiana Jones-style adventurer
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

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

    The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

    Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

    Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
    Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

    'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

    Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
    Compton Cricket Club

    Compton Cricket Club

    Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
    London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

    Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

    'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
    The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

    The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

    It helps a winner keep on winning
    Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

    Is this the future of flying?

    Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
    Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

    Isis are barbarians

    but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
    The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

    Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

    Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
    Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

    'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

    Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
    Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

    Call of the wild

    How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
    Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

    'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

    If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
    The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

    The science of swearing

    What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
    Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

    Africa on the menu

    Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
    Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

    Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

    The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'