I'm convinced that most of the reality/celebrity programmes that swamp the schedules like an overflowing sewer these days are conceived by drunkards at mix 'n' match planning meetings in which they write down all the different programme types on scraps of paper, throw them in a slop bucket then fish them out two at a time and commission the resulting combinations. My favourite would be a hybrid of Amir Khan's Bad Boys and Hell's Kitchen, in which gang members are taught to box like world champions then sent to punch Gordon Ramsay's lights out.
Don't Call Me Stupid (ITV1, Tuesday) appropriates the fish-out-of-water/life-swap concept (eg. deaconess goes on the game for a week while a hooker assumes her cathedral duties) and factors in the big-challenge template (eg. Page Three girl gets three days to build a kiddies' day care centre assisted only by 150 famous friends and the entire resources of Channel 4). It features a pair of celebs, each coaching the other in their speciality, with a quiz at the end. This week it was Phil Tufnell, celebrated aesthete and cricketer, versus Brian Sewell, the legendary Hunslet prop who found equal fame later in life as an art critic.
Tuffers took Sewell to Hambledon, where the modern game was born (according to Hambledon Tourist Board) and they gazed at a photo of WG Grace.
"Why isn't he wearing a box?" Sewell asked. "You can't see it," Tufnell told him. Sewell looked closer. "But his penis is hanging down..." It was, too.
Tuffers won the quiz, astonishingly. He knew the meanings of "chiaroscuro" and "renaissance" and was au fait with the nation's acquisition of The Madonna of the Pinks. Sewell knew what a runless over's called, and that Dennis Lillee once brandished an aluminium bat; but asked to name the method used to decide rain-affected matches he offered, "Something like Boosey and Hawkes?"
Tufnell also showed Sewell one of his own works, an abstract thing resembling Fifties wallpaper. "Have you seen an analyst recently?" the critic inquired. "I did that banged up on acid," Tufnell replied. Sewell was astonished. "LSD? That's for people of my age. It's wonderful. The one thing you could not do, however, was drip it into your eyeballs. It sent you absolutely bonkers." I must remember that.
Dispatches (C4, Monday) promised "explosive findings" related to London's 2012 Olympic bid. The most incendiary allegations were that that the government knew earlier than it told us that the original budget estimate of £13.50 and a sheet of Green Shield stamps was slightly out, and that Lord Coe is seeking to advance his business interests using the Olympic cachet.
So there it is, today's news: politicians lie and rich men get richer. Coming up later: a new study proves that ursine defecation often takes place under arboreal cover.
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