THAT is the problem with celebrities.
The ones you expect to hate usually turn out to be absolute sweethearts, and the ones you want to love are often grumpy, arrogant, self-centered egomaniacs like Ewan McGregor.
Then bow down to Alex Beresford, who I always imagined would be thin-skinned, prickly, vain, obsessive and so smug that he becomes almost unbearable when he’s not on his Good Morning Britain weather card.
But what do you know?
To my delight, it turned out to be exactly as I had imagined.
Proof of this elusive pudding is BBC1’s Celebrity Race Across The World, a show I unashamedly love and miss more than anything except the Australian jungle when lockdown rolled most decent TV channels into one Forced to hibernate for two years.
The civilian version returned in March with a relatively disappointing race across Canada, but is back on form with the celebrities and the most ingeniously simple format imaginable.
Four groups of two (celebrity and a family member) must get from point A) Marrakech in Morocco via six random European checkpoints to point B) Tromsø in Norway, on a budget of £1,947, without using planes or killing each other.
It’s a monumental task that involves improving cohesion and, for the most part, getting the best out of the duos that have been chosen with some care and attention.
Most impressive are either McFly’s Harry Judd and his adoring mother Emma, or the indestructible double amputee F4 driver Billy Monger and his equally impressive sister Bonny, both of whom clearly have a competitive edge over the idle All Saints singer Melanie Blatt, who has hers Paving the way towards the Arctic Circle with mother Helene.
But the core of this oyster is, above all, Alex Beresford, who gave us all a good taste of what to expect right from the start when he sniffed the Marrakesh air and said: “I can really smell the horse manure.” ”
Viewers also got a clear sense of this by the end of this tense episode, even if it didn’t hurt them quite as much as it hurt his sweet, long-suffering father Noel, who said with some emotion, “Alex usually gets what he wants.”
He certainly does, and the results aren’t exactly great to look at, even if you try to ignore the fact that Alex wears a baseball cap backwards to front and talks about himself in the third person: “That’s me, who throws off old Alex because that’s the way things are. “I’m pretty wise.”
For someone who has a science-based job, it’s quite worrying that weatherman Alex also believes he has the sixth sense, like Bruce Willis with a closed front.
The wonderful thing, however, is that he didn’t do it and is not wise at all.
In fact, he’s fantastically wrong all the time.
Train doors are slammed in his face, ferries are missed, and whenever the route requires turning left, Alex insists they rush right.
What’s even more disturbing is that, given his profession, he seems to have little idea about time zones, but always thinks he knows more than his father, including the time when they reach Seville, where Noel has worked for years and it like his Vest pocket white. Why?
Well, Alex may have been a born know-it-all, but I’d like to attribute it to the job.
At the time, there were only about a dozen weather forecasters in Britain, relying on a helium balloon and their grandfather’s barometer for some truly random predictions.
Now, as others have pointed out, there are hundreds of them and they are no longer weathermen.
My goodness, no. They are “meteorologists,” great harbingers of doom who cannot be contradicted because they are all who stand between us and a fiery climate holocaust.
The presenters therefore hang on every solemn word and even ask Alex on GMB for his lofty opinions on other things like Harry and Meghan, which is why Piers Morgan was upset.
He’s not even the worst of them either. That would be Laura Tobin, the passive-aggressive queen of ITV’s end-of-the-world predictions.
Hopefully she’ll be supported for the next CRATW series, because I think Alex is learning a certain amount of humility here and seemed to have slacked off a bit in Wednesday’s episode.
If he does, it will certainly be a small loss for television, no matter how much he benefits from it.
Because from a purely entertainment perspective, you can’t beat the moment in episode two when Alex, hundreds of miles behind the other participants, leaned conspiratorially towards Noel on the ferry to Corsica and said: “You know, ever since I was a child, I could sense things? Well, I sense something or someone. . . ”
Me too, Alex.
I feel . . . an ass.
Unexpected idiots in the bottling area
THE Finish Line, Roman Kemp: “What do you usually call a penguin’s young?”
Paul: “A calf.”
Roman Kemp: “On which part of the body are garters usually worn?”
Tommy: “The face.”
Tipping Point, Ben Shephard: “Before the name of a member of the clergy, Rev is an abbreviation for what religious title?”
Ben Shephard: “Who was the US president when the Berlin Wall fell?”
CHANNEL 4’s hopeless partygate docudrama arrives with all the subtlety, skill and timing of a three-year-old Made In Chelsea repeat.
Strictly Come Dancing is without Les Dennis, the only contestant who might have been a regular source of laughter.
The offscreen American creep, Fisher Stevens, kissing David Beckham’s butt repeatedly during the Netflix hagiography.
And the political parasites who run Football Focus showed us exactly where the beautiful game really sits on their priority list when they closed the show on Saturday with free PR for Extinction Rebellion/Labour Party supporter Dale Vince.
So please stop pretense about what’s going on here and just call it Focus.
Bear with Ben? This is not fun
At the start of Channel 5’s Endurance: Race To The Pole, Ben Fogle declared: “It’s not just a bunch of guys fooling around in costumes.”
And immediately you knew, deep in your heart, that it was exactly that.
You’ve probably also come to terms with the fact that Ben, who is full of self-confidence, will eventually get his bare bottom out to try and relieve the boredom.
But Professor David Olusoga was on the other channel, wearing his hurt expression, so you watched Ben and his buddy Dwayne Fields treading in the Antarctic footsteps of Scott, Amundsen, Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Michael Palin and all the other annoying idiots, Those who can’t leave this place alone.
Along the way, Ben himself provided the commentary, which didn’t make it clear whether he was referring to the adventure or the spectators when he said, “I’m starting to wonder what kept these men going.”
But with Professor David Olusoga on BBC2 still muttering to himself, I carried on and somehow survived the moment where Ben and Dwayne spontaneously decided to get their bare asses out to the final scene where they raised the flag and that uttered two of the most frightening words known to man.
“Next week . . . “
Next week, in the immortal words of Captain Oates, I’ll go outside and maybe spend some time.
AND on Wednesday, TV Biz happily reported on her upcoming Alaska survival series: “Sue Perkins will learn how to survive a bear attack.”
But let’s try to remain optimistic. It may be that he is really hungry.
Unless you’re an obsessive fan, I’d think twice about watching all four installments of Netflix’s overrated Beckham series.
For me it brings nothing new, other than a lot of PR and a juicy anecdote about the real star of the series, Fergie, deliberately sabotaging the Beckhams’ honeymoon at Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber’s house in the south of France.
However, Victoria raises an important psychological and anatomical question about halfway through the second episode.
“What do you say when you sit next to someone and 75,000 people sang that you’re taking it in the ass?”
Um, do you need a pillow?
Meanwhile, on Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins, it was time for the hostage release, with narrator Shaun Dooley slowly setting the scene: “The DS have separated Michelle Heaton from her teammates and placed her in an abandoned compound. Two locals are also being held hostage. To pass the task?”
They must hand over the rest of Liberty X to the terrorists and then leave.
This is no time for heroics.
Great sporting insights
MIKE DEAN: “He went for the ball, which he obviously didn’t do.”
Kris Boyd: “As a player you have to do wrong.”
And Paul Merson: “It’s not like the striker scored four goals without playing.”
(Compiled by Graham Wray)
TRYING to justify the existence of poltergeists on Celebrity Help! In “My House Is Haunted,” Jake Quickenden claims that wherever he goes, “the television turns itself on and off.”
Click. Come on, Jake.
BBC1’s hidden gem Prison: Inside Maghaberry Prison, where brilliant journalist Stephen Nolan lets no one off the hook.
Les Dennis portrays both Benny Hill and Captain Birdseye at Tango on Saturday.
Michael McIntyre and Bradley Walsh’s majestic handling of The Wheel and Blankety Blank, both of which are more entertaining than Strictly.
Read more on the Irish Sun
And SAS: Who Dares Wins DS Foxy added some much-needed payoff when Towie’s Amber Turner tried to describe herself in the most flattering words imaginable on Sunday’s show: “I’m caring, passionate about what I do do, and a bit, what’s that word?” “Arrogant.”
Doppelganger of the week
THIS week’s winner, submitted by Pablo from South London, is Edward Tattsyrup from The League Of Gentlemen and former LA resident Kevin O’Sullivan, who barks like a madman all the time on TalkTV, but mainly weekdays from 15 till 17 o clock .