I met George Lamb once, in my other incarnation as a gossip columnist.
It wasn't very glamorous: he was presenting the Hair magazine awards (no, me neither), I was desperately trying to grab a few minutes' interview. At any rate, he was almost as bemused at his selection for such an occasion as I. He said as much which, of course, made for particularly amusing column fodder, though I gather the poor guy got into rather a lot of trouble as a result. So, George, if you're reading this, I'm sorry. If it's any consolation, I'm about to give your turn at reportage – in BBC3's Can I Get High Legally? – a very good review indeed.
Mind you, with a title like that how could he go wrong? High? Legally? Great! Who wouldn't want a piece of the action, if it meant by-passing the shady car parks and fear of getting busted. Well, maybe. As Lamb points out, in a pleasingly non-Calvinistic way, legal drugs are constantly evolving to escape legislation, so no one really knows the consequences – just ask the American children who developed Parkinson's as a result. George had a video of them on his laptop; it was awful, enough to scare anyone away. Speaking of which, perhaps they should start showing that in Guernsey? Everyone there gets high (legally) all the time. The tourist board must have been thrilled. It was amazing, like Amsterdam only... well, Guernsey. Everywhere Lamb went, there were people getting high. He even managed to call up Mr Delivery and get 60 quid's worth of drugs delivered. Somehow, he also managed to track down the only girl on the whole island who wasn't doing it. "Don't you ever feel like a bit of a killjoy?" he asked. This is sort of what makes him work: he's not all stern words and BBC accents. As my mother would say, he's a bit of a lad (and not bad to look at), which makes his general anti-drugs message that much more plausible.
Oh, and of course he tried the stuff. Just salvia, which is basically like weed, and probably the least concerning of any but still, it's something. It was also the funniest scene of the whole show: the whole experiment was conducted under the watchful gaze of Lamb's doctor, flanked by an army of other stern-faced supervisors. "Shit, man," giggled Lamb three puffs in. Ah yes, he's stoned. And no, he didn't end up in hospital.
Of course, were you to become an island caretaker in Queensland, you probably wouldn't need such mind-altering substances. It is, after all, The Best Job in the World. Or maybe not? As the four English applicants soon learned, it might be little more than a publicity stunt. What begins with a classified ad ends with a headline-making international campaign. But you probably know all this. Remember? Just as you were settling into your boring old nine-to-five after Christmas, that story popped up: Australian paradise seeks inhabitant, advantages include £70,000 salary and luxury villa. Who didn't consider applying?
The point, last night, was to whittle down the top 50 to 10 (or 15 as they decided later). This is where things started to get confusing. The candidates were all told to get themselves as much publicity as possible, so that people would vote for them online. Weirdly, though, this didn't seem to affect how likely they were to get the job. There were four Brits: Ben, Holly, Dougy and Sarah. Holly was my favourite, by a mile. One of the only girls who didn't include a bikini shot in her application, she's nice, funny, normal; though to be honest she didn't really stand a chance with the likes of Ben hanging around. Ben's the opposite of Holly, which is to say an utter berk. He was constantly undermining the other candidates, pointing out why they shouldn't win. In the event, this seemed to work (it always does). He got the job. Life, eh?
No such opportunities in Psychoville, where Pemberton and Shearsmith's bleak vision continued. This week was a particularly dark episode, properly creepy. Turns out Mr Jolly did take Mr Jelly's right hand – in his former life as a surgeon. He amputated it at the wrist and then stole Mr Jelly's box of tricks (as it were), nicking his spot as a children's entertainer. Even more exciting, we finally found out what connects the characters. Well, sort of: taking the place of the mysterious notes they've been receiving was a video of what appeared to be some kind of mental institution: the millionaire who sold his eyes for a toy on eBay, the nurse who thinks her doll is a real child, the murderous mother and son, the lot, all engaging in some kind of strait-jacket exercise class: Breath in, breath out, and relax... Brrrr, creepy.