Belfast Telegraph

Round and round - the BBC is just one long repeat but Bishop's a wizard in Oz

The programmes to watch... and the ones you'll really want to miss

By Joe Nawaz

As sure as eggs is eggs, the long-suffering folk at BBC NI Press office email me their list of programmes to look out for on TV and Radio in the coming week. You know: the exciting new programmes on the block, the flagship shows. Sometimes it's a big list laden with big hitters, other weeks it's Hugo Duncan and Gerry Kelly.

Sometimes it's radio heavy ('Number 2s' was a show they pushed really hard but I sadly never got round to hearing), sometimes it favours telly – like the week in May when every programme had "bike" in the title.

But it can always have reasonably claimed to have been a list – being that it possessed, as the Oxford Dictionary would have it: "A number of connected items or names written or printed consecutively, typically one below the other."

Speaking as someone who obsessively prints items one below the other myself, I was somewhat perturbed by what arrived in my inbox in this week's dispatches from Broadcasting House. 'THIS WEEK'S HIGHLIGHTS on TELEVISION & RADIO/WEEK 28' read the bold, declamatory heading. Followed by a solitary entry for Saturday, July 12. It was a programme called – you've guessed it good people – The Twelfth (BBC1).

Nevertheless, I checked my twitching Inspector-Dreyfuss-in-The-Pink Panther impersonation at the definition of a singular televisual pleasure as 'HIGHLIGHTS'. I ignored the glaring question of who actually watches a programme about something that is (unfortunately literally in a few instances) a stone's-throw away from most doorsteps in the land. The marchers will be busy marching, the onlookers will be busy onlooking, the holiday-makers will be blissfully uninvolved, and then there's those battening down the hatches who, logic suggests, won't be letting something into their living room they're already attempting to escape from through the media of ear-plugs and gin. The real question was ... what happened to the BBC NI schedules? Was that single 'HIGHLIGHTS' the equivalent of leaving the light on in the bathroom when you take that fortnight in the caravan in Killybegs? Or even the cardboard cutout of Octopussy-era Roger Moore by the bedroom window, as neighbours of ours used to do, in an inventive variation on the theme? Is it tacit acknowledgement that this is indeed the silly season and programme-makers need their fortnight to march/vacation/drop out like any other self-respecting inmate?

A quick look at the schedules this week was something like taking the DeLorean back to early 2014, and just as disappointing a temporal shift. Programmes from as far back as January and February were on repeat. Getaways, Jigs And Wigs and even Belfast City: Mud, Sweat And Tears – which I actually remember first writing about when my central heating went down.

There was even the admittedly sterling double of Farm Fixer and True North from way back in 2013. But really, you know it's time to not consume locally when the only fresh produce available is an event you've been avoiding or involved with, or The View.

But spare a thought for that person locked away in the bowels of the BBC Press office, issuing programming missives when all else are sunning and funning, and maintaining the illusion that the rusty gerbil wheel is still turning during "silly season".

Accordingly, I look forward to next week's HIGHLIGHTS with only a slight twitch in my left eye.

Seriously, comic Bishop's a wizard in Oz

I've tried to like John Bishop's comedy. But he just isn't that funny. The more popular he gets the more unfunny his Peter Kay-ish "have you ever noticed ... " routine becomes.

He was, however, a surprisingly congenial host of John Bishop's Australia on BBC1 (although he was a bit cagey as to when the deeds were actually handed over to him).

An enjoyable celebrity travelogue was rounded off by a trip to the chlamydia clinic. That's a Koala chlamydia clinic, you filthy-minded cynics. Bishop had been here before – Australia, not the chlamydia clinic – and his enthusiasm for a second crack at this big, weird, wonderful continent was infectious.

And we'll just leave it there for now, shall we?

Moy Park played blinder as Brazil surrendered like a lot of chickens

Things I learned from the World Cup this week. The Moy Park incident was finally explained.

Following much merriment over the previous weeks about "our own" Moy Park sharing hoarding space in the Maracana with the likes of Nike and Coca Cola, Newsline finally offered us a way out of our amused bafflement.

In a story about new jobs coming to Craigavon's finest purveyors of chicken, it transpired that Moy Park was actually as Brazilian as Gary Lineker's bikini line.

It's unclear whether or not the jobs have come as a result of extra exposure on the world TV stage and a commensurate increase in demand for chicken from Craigavon.

But at the very least, with the host nation taking seven of the best the other night, Moy Park can legitimately lay claim to being the last Brazilians remaining on the pitch.

And Craigavon folk can sing, without a shred of irony "we're not Northern Ireland, we're Brazil".

Great news for a region that's suffered more than most recently at the hands of stetson-wearing millionaire Garth Brooks.

Switch over...

Fill Your House For Free (Channel 4): Why is Kirstie Allsopp? Am I missing something? In Kirstie's Fill Your House For Free, she trawled skips for people less well-off than herself. Or rather, employed people to trawl skips for people less well-off than herself. The Big Society in horrific technicolour.

Switch on...

World Cup (various): For those of you who've had enough – it's nearly over. For the rest, even those dismayed by the exit of the host nation, you can't have failed to have been nevertheless thrilled by the German decimation of a Brazil team so lacking in lustre, even their boots looked black by the end.

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