145. Friday

Tapehead no 145

The summer may indeed be “silly” and may, in TV terms, be virtually bereft of anything worth watching, but at least we can take solace in the blessed absence of anything to do with the dreaded Chris Evans.

Unfortunately, like a hard-on in a porn movie, inevitably it couldn’t last.

TFI Friday (Truly Fucking Inept Friday) is back and we will of course all be watching, but only to make sure it’s as unbelievably bad as we remember it. (There’s nothing like having one’s prejudices confirmed.)

The man who disproves the old idiom “Good Evans” has already confirmed his complacency by promising that all the old features will remain – items such as Fat Lookalikes, which flagrantly contravenes the Trade Descriptions act.

“I’m a fat…Robert De Niro !” Er, no you’re not. (Turn the volume down and see if you can guess who any of them are meant to be.)

Evans’s habit of endlessly wringing the last drop of life out of any bits he thinks are funny reached a dismal new low when his ridiculous “ickle toy” woodpecker was inflicted on U2 in Las Vegas – something which not even U2 deserved.

As he has shown with his bum-slapping – sorry, back-slapping – sycophancy to the likes of Jon Bon Jovi, Evans basically likes anyone with as much money and fame as he has. Taste or talent don’t really come into it.

Next week’s show features that worn-out old prick, Elton John. Future appearances come from bands like Cast, Sleeper, and Cast are guaranteed.

Tapehead hopes you all saw It’s Ulrika, sneaked in by the Beeb to prevent Tapehead from warning you it was coming.

Now she’s on Room 101, another show full of the sort of showbiz bum-slapping that Smashie and Nicey were meant to have exiled. Ulrika’s impersonation of Cher (which made Our Lindsey’s look understated, not to say sane) is the first thing that should have gone in there, but anything from It’s Ulrika would do.

It’s Ulrika confirmed what Tapehead has suspected all alone: with humiliation as horrible as this, Vic and Bob must really hate her.

Her only good moment in a show that made Danny Baker or Frank Skinner’s solo outings look successful was her resemblance to breakfast TV bimbo Anthea Turner. Who would have thought it eh ?! 

Ulrika’s absolute lack of comic charisma or anything remotely approaching star presence had all the natural charm of well… a weather girl, generating the sense of excruciating/exquisite embarrassment usually saved for watching your relatives doing karaoke at Christmas (only with none of your relatives’ actual talent).

Nick Hancock of course is not much better.

Like Evans, Skinner, and Baker, he’s so smugly in love with the sound of his own punchlines, he can hardly wait to get another gag in.

Ulrika responds to the attentions of men like this (you’ll notice) by laughing at every word they say, rocking backwards and forwards, with her head thrown back and her mouth so far open you can see her epiglottis. And she can’t even do that convincingly.

At least Football Italia is back – presented by the estimable and rather cuddly James Richardson kicking off with 88 billion-lire Brazilian Ronaldo’s debut for Inter against the might of, erm, Brescia.

Richardson is like a clever, casual, combination of Des Lynam and Angus Deayton, managing to come over as an enthusiast who is both likeable and authoritative. (Garth Crooks can’t manage either.) 

His sketches with the likes of Lombardo (doing the Lambada), Gigi Casiraghi (offering to find a sports shop that would sell him a pair of boots for someone with two left feet), and Paul Ince’s fearsome wife Claire were funnier than anything on TFI (Thank Fuck It’s Finished).

And who else could work in jokes about Therese Bazaar into the state of Juve’s forward line ?

The Similes Of James Richardson would actually have been a worthier subject on Mastermind than most of those in this week’s final.

Last week, a professor whose specialist subject was something like The History Of France was beaten by a “full-time mother” from Bognor Regis whose specialist subject was something like One Episode of Trumpton.

This week she’s doing ‘The Rock Group Genesis’ while some poor idiot is doing The Works of Thomas Hardy.

Rather than London or somewhere full of museums, the arts, and brilliant modern culture, the final takes place on the island of Orkney, which Magnus Magnesium describes as “a fitting place for the 25th final and the very last edition.”

How true that is.


TFI Friday: Fri, 6pm, C4

Room 101: Fri, 10pm, BBC2

Football Italia: Sun, 2.45pm, C4

Mastermind: Mon, 7.30pm, BBC1