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42. Job/Dog

Tapehead 42

This week, Tapehead is thinking of changing jobs. The Guide have (thoughtfully) provided a selection of the week’s prospects to hasten his decision.

Sad to say, Tapehead has missed his true vocation, a job on One Man And His Dog, which starts this week with a new presenter and a new commentator.

Yes, after 17 years and 13,042 episodes, Phil Drabble has stepped down to spend more time with his family (his family of collies).
The new series comes with a new course, “with new hazards”. These turn out to be landmines under the fetch gates and a small patch of quicksand in the middle of the run-in.

Tapehead’s theory that the dogs do everything on their own and the blokes whistling in the flat caps have no control over anything is borne out by the farmer who does nothing except say:
“Lie down. Come out. Lie down. Come out.”

“She doesn’t do much on the farm, the wife,” he says, obviously rating her usefulness way below a collie.

Before the sheep are unleashed, we get some quick analysis of the course, some team tactics, and a pre-match potted history of the contestants.
“I never thought she’d walk again,” says one farmer about his accident-prone pup.

In the post-match interviews, the farmers talk about their sheepdogs like managers eulogising about centre forwards.
“Good temperament, fast feet, I knew Nan wouldn’t let me down.”

Nan agrees: “yeah, well, the gaffer sent me out to do a job and I think I done it so we’re happy with a point.”

More dogs, sheep and animals in Tapehead’s next job, as holiday rep (Inside Story) where “Louise from Blackburn” is a besieged rep in Crete.

There are 67 bars and six nightclubs on the doorstep of one of the hotels Louise looks after, though Louise insists: “Not everybody comes here to get steamboated out of their skulls for a fortnight.”

Louise spends most of the programme vainly negotiating between gangs of mad English lads and their mad Crete hotel owners.
“You cray-zee Ingleesh. Much drinky. Very cray-zee.”

Louise goes for the Vinny Jones school of diplomacy:
“Right you ! Foghorn-on-legs ! Some of them, you just feel like headbuttin’.”

Like the beerboy who gets his heel clipped by a passing car.
“Did you go to hospital?”
“Naah. I Sellotaped a couple of cold Heineken bottles to it.”

Watch out for an excellent streetfight between drunken, sun-crazed young ladies, which you don’t see very often (not nearly often enough as far as Tapehead is concerned).

This leaves Come Dancing as Tapehead’s last chance, judging by the standards of the International Final (from Bournemouth) also known, bizarrely, as The International Proton Cars Trophy.

The nosiest, most dazzlingest, show on TV (like dancing on fast forward) some of the sights in this, the last in the series, are, as ever, extraordinary, especially the Cha Cha Cha.

The costumes (notably the lime-green off-the-shoulder number that looks like a pair of satin-soaked curtains with a set of pink poodles tied to the hem) are an inspiration. And some of the girls’ outfits aren’t bad either. The winners put even Tapehead’s samba technique to shame.

Mind you, the “rock’n’roll” section (people in glittered tracksuits bopping to Shaky) heralds a definite decline in standards. What next? Foxy fat chicks doing The Butterfly to Shabba Ranks?

The BBC have begged, bribed and implored Tapehead not reveal the identity of the special guest, or the winner, realising (obviously) that Guide readers never miss an episode.

They could not, though, elaborate on the title. Come Dancing. Tapehead would if he could, believe me.

One Man And His Dog: Sun, 6.15pm-7pm, BBC2
Inside Story – Holiday Rep: Thurs, 10pm-10.45pm, BBC1
Come Dancing: Tue, 11.20pm-11.55pm, BBC1