Vernon Kay's dismal Game Of Talents is more a case of yodel-ay-hee-who?

ALMOST everyone who watched Vernon Kay lose his battle with ITV’s new talent show, on Saturday night, will have had to ask themself the same searching question.

If this is his reward for coming across well on I’m A Celebrity . . . Get Me Out Of Here!, then what the hell would the punishment have been if he hadn’t?

Water-boarding? Keel- hauling? Pro-Celebrity Knee-capping? Another series of The Whole 19 Yards?

They’d have had to get pretty barbaric to come up with something worse than presenting Game Of Talents, which has arrived from Spain, like the 1918 flu epidemic, where the show was called Adivina Que Hago Esta Noche, which was one of The Inquisition’s more bestial crimes.

Like everything else, since The Masked Singer became a monster hit, it’s another ­guessing game, of course.


On this one, in return for cash prizes, two civilian/celeb combos have to match eight unassuming-looking people to their respective talents, the list of which included: Yodeller, opera singer, dog agility expert, ventriloquist, world’s loudest burper, Europe’s ­greatest viral super-spreader and Northern Ireland’s most prolific self-abuser.

I’ve made a couple of those up, obviously, for the purposes of keeping myself sane.

I promise you faithfully, though, “World’s loudest burper” was as real as the pain etched on the face of Tess Daly, who’d been roped into taking part and was encountering a relatively­ modern phenomenon on game-shows — the pain-in-the-a*** contestant.

In Tess’s case it was a ­sockless hairdresser, from Kent, called Ryan, who was very obviously using the show to introduce his personality to the wider television world, under the apparent delusion that what the medium has really been missing, these past few years, is an over-the-top ­nuisance. I resented him and the £12,500 he won almost as much as I felt for the show’s poor dancers, whose humiliations included golf outfits (search me) and jiving round an Alpine horn, wearing lederhosen, during the yodeller’s reveal.

As much as Ryan annoyed me, though, I cannot, in all conscience, accuse him of ruining the show or even being the worst thing about GoT.

’Cos that would have to be the clues which accompany each “talent” and are of the thuddingly thick variety.

Yodeller’s identity, for instance, was teased by fake ITN News items about Swiss cheese and Arnold Schwarzenegger, while the 12-year-old dog agility expert was introduced by her mum who, ­sitting alongside a plate of dog biscuits, said: “I’m so proud she’s followed my LEAD.”

A grievous insult to all involved, you think — but the sucker punch here was that Craig Revel Horwood and his civilian partner, Shumi, ­actually managed to get the bloody thing wrong and guessed: “Ventriloquist.”

At moments like that, obviously, your life and career tends to flash before you and you lash out at the offending programme and everyone involved.

In doing so, of course, I’m painfully aware BBC1 was also dropping another light entertainment barrel bomb on its viewers, in the shape of I Can See Your Voice, at exactly the same time, on Saturday night. It will be dealt with, in due course.

I’ve given it a week’s grace, however, because I genuinely think it’s better than GoT, which just feels like another indication ITV hasn’t just become detached from its core audience, it’s pro-actively started to hate them as well.


With the very honourable exception of Unforgotten, the recent signs have been worrying and obvious, from its third-rate light entertainment shows and angst-ridden, Guardian-reader dramas, like Too Close, to the recent ­personnel-related issues at its breakfast show which were put into some sort of focus by the ventriloquist’s dummy, on GoT, who began his routine by rather ­poignantly announcing: “I was watching Good Morn- ing Britain this morning . . .”

Really? How was that then? Lonely, I’m guessing.


A BLOKE called Leon skateboarding on to the Naked Attraction set at the age of 31.

Alan Carr desecrating the sacred ­Bullseye format. The Circle finalists talking like they’d spent a month ducking sniper fire on the Western Front, rather than lounging around in luxury flats.

Miserable-as-hell drama Too Close ending up on ITV instead of Channel 4.

And Ranvir Singh and Ben Shephard grovelling to Greta Thunberg, in the most inappropriate fashion, on Good Morning Britain. Further evidence, as if it were needed, that ITV is now at war with its own viewers and it’s going to get really ugly.


ON Sunday night, Bafta – the organisation that made Harvey Weinstein a member and one of its New York trustees – heartily congratulated itself on its treatment of women and warmly applauded its all-round loveliness as well.

A grim old spectacle it was too, which could probably best be summed up by the expression “over-compensating”.

Given the pandemic restrictions, BBC1 could also have held it in Dermot O’Leary or Edith Bowman’s living rooms. But, for reasons of pomposity, they broadcast it live from the Royal Albert Hall, where the rows of empty seats felt like a glimpse into the future of cinema if organisations like Bafta seriously believe these awards do anything other than reflect their own overwhelming self-satisfaction and love of empty political gestures.

Two hours it lasted, and in all that time, with the possible exception of Anthony Hopkins in The Father and Riz Ahmed’s turn in The Sound Of Metal, I felt not a single urge to visit the cinema.

Quite the opposite, in fact. It’s a place to be avoided, unless you want another finger-jabbing lecture from these misery-mongers.

And if you’re woke and brainwashed enough to believe I’m swimming against the tide here, please Google “Bill Maher, The Debbies”, and just listen to the audience’s reaction as the Real Time host asks the movie world, among other things: “Would it kill you, once in a while, to make a movie that doesn’t make me want to take a bath with the toaster?”

It’s probably the most timely and brilliant demolition of an industry you’ll see all year.

MEANWHILE, “having a moment” at the European Rowing Championships, it’s James Cracknell: “He knows there’s a big beast pushing him along and I would love to stroke away with someone that size behind me.”

So I think we’ll leave James to it, don’t you?


TIPPING Point: Lucky Stars, Ben ­Shephard: “What food stuff is often grown in paddy fields?”

Stacey Solomon: “Potatoes.”

The Chase, Bradley Walsh: “Complete the famous advertising ­slogan, ‘Go to work on an . . . ’ ”

Mark: “Empty stomach.”

Ben Shephard: “Which leading ­hypnotherapist wrote the book I Can Make You Happy?”

Bob: “Freud.”

No, smart a***. “Paul McKenna.”

(All contributions gratefully received).


INCIDENTALLY, devastating looks, sublime ­talent, great wealth, a private school ­education and ­Cambridge University were clearly not enough for ­Thandie Newton.

What she really craved was the one thing that’s beyond her. Victim status.

That’s why the English actress told Vogue she’s reclaimed the original southern African spelling of her name, Thandiwe, from whoever it was that took it away from her in the first place.

There’s no point even rolling your eyes at the self-indulgence either.

We must all comply.

So, from now on, I too shall be calling her by her real name. Melanie.


MARK McADAM: “Curtis took the ball down on his left hand wand of a foot.”

RIO FERDINAND: “Liverpool made defensive mistakes, ­especially in defence.” And Chris Kirkland: “Football’s unpredictable, so we all know what can happen.”

(Compiled by Graham Wray)


AN otherwise horrific Naked Attraction anecdote ending with wrestler Jet Fashion (Iain) ­confessing: “I bought her a Moonpig card to compensate.”

Gogglebox’s Lee performing the egg-in-a-water-bottle trick on Jenny.

All of the Adrian Dunbar/Martin Compston interaction on Line Of Duty. And news footage of London’s black cab drivers spontaneously lining The Mall in tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh who was, let’s never forget, a war hero, a devoted consort and public servant and – thanks to the suffocations of political- correctness and his own ­cantankerous nature – one of the funniest men in Britain.

He’ll be missed sorely.

lTV quiz. What was being discussed here, last week? “Do you want me to hold the hole open while you shove it in?”

A) Anneka Rice advising Ade Adepitan how to insert a filling into choux pastry, on Celebrity Bake Off?

B) Jermaine Jenas advising Alex Jones how to insert her head into Michelle Obama, on The One Show?


THIS week’s winner is DS Buckells, from Line Of Duty, and Hal from Megamind.

Sent in by Sam C, of Wimbledon. ­Picture research Jim Taylor

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