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Eurovision Top 10 -2016

Published March 31, 2016 by Naomi Rettig

After listening to all entries again and again, I have narrowed down my top ten Eurovision songs for this year’s contest. (To save anyone feeling compelled to read through my reviews on all 43).

  1. Finland – I just love this song so much! I think I’m in the minority though as it’s 100/1 with William Hill (other betting sites are available) right now. I love the energy, the sentiment, the tune you can dance to, Sandhja the artist – I love her, her hair and the fringing on her leisurewear in the video. I’ve even ordered an electric blue swimsuit with heavy fringing on it to wear on Eurovision night in tribute. Yes, after repeat playing repeatedly, this is my favourite song this year.
  2. Russia – This is tipped by the bookies at 6/4 favourite and I can see why. Catchy tune, dance factor high, Sergey is gorgeous, eye-catching video. I just wonder if it’s too much like Mans Zelmerlow’s winning song last year. Gorgeous bloke, upbeat dance track, clever digital stage animation. I’m not complaining with that, but maybe something different for this year? (Like a girl, with shaved hair, and fringed clothing).
  3. Armenia – This is now on my mp3 player too. This is very Eurovision to me, beautiful lady, eastern European sounding stringed instruments, dramatic, and when the beat drops at 49 seconds in – I get a tingly spine. Tingly spines are good. 25/1 with the bookies. I’m predicting a wind machine on stage.
  4. France – Now I don’t normally like the French entry, I just don’t seem to be on a musical level with France, but I really like this one. It has a catchy chorus in English I can sing along to, verses in French I can pretend to sing along to, and some ooh’s. Good oohing in a song works for me. No fringing, but I’m happy with the ooh’s. 12/1 with the bookies.
  5. Belgium – An upbeat cheery song, good to dance to and sing along with. Cute singer Laura, but not overly cute. I think she will bring great energy to the stage in Sweden. No fringing but a sparkly silver jacket I am a little envious of. 100/1 odds at the bookies so not many people sharing my choice here.
  6. Iceland – Extreme fringing alert, combined with a wind machine. Excellent. Has a lovely Celtic feel to it, Greta has a lovely voice, slow bits and dancy bits, something for everyone. I think this will be staged very well. Wind machine or smoke machine? That will be my question on the night. If it’s both I don’t think my excitement levels will cope. 50/1 odds, the same as us in the UK so not much chance of winning.
  7. San Marino – When I first heard this song I think I scored it one of my least favorites’ but this is a grower for me. Serhat has a voice like gravel coated in treacle, rolled in oats and shoved deep in a volcano. At first listen I found this menacing and creepy and it came across, not as a love song, but as someone I would get a restraining order for. It has now grown on me, helped by the disco backing. In fact, it’s the disco backing that saved it for me. 100/1 odds but I don’t think this will make it past the semi-final stage unfortunately.
  8. Netherlands – Now I didn’t think I’d like this one, it has a country music twang to it, which is not normally my cup of tea. However, this is catchy and the chap singing and playing guitar is easy on the eye. Although I do get distracted by his name, Douwe Bob. I just think of the coffee Douwe Egberts. Other coffees are available, although Nescafe Jim didn’t make this year’s contest. 66/1 at the bookies, not looking good considering the UK is 50/1 and we all know there’s zero chance of us winning.
  9. Denmark – Three lovely men with three good voices. No fringing, wind machine or smoke machine but a good chorus with a bit that makes you want to punch the air. You’ll know when. 100/1 odds at present, I don’t think Denmark will be hosting next year.
  10. Cyprus – Something a bit different, gravelly rock with euro-pop vibes. Could Eurovision viewers want something alternative this year? I certainly enjoyed it and with odds of 25/1 it seems to stand a fair chance.

 

So there’s my top 10 of Eurovision 2016. I want Finland to win so much I am tempting fate by saying that if they make it through the semi-final I will record my dance routine to ‘Sing it Away’ while wearing my fringed swimsuit. If they then go on and win I shall post it online! But before a petition starts up to stop this happening (I’m well aware it won’t be a pretty sight) let me remind you it’s 100/1 odds. The UK is 50/1. We’ve got more chance of winning twice in one night than I have appearing on Youtube in an electric blue fringed swimsuit.

 

Now, what shoes would match my swimwear….just in case 😉

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Eurovision Song Contest 2016 Preview

Published March 24, 2016 by Naomi Rettig

I’ve listened to and watched (via the official Eurovision videos) all forty-three entries for Eurovision this year. I know, sad, mad or dedicated, take your pick. Here’s my summary and my scores. The scores are out of thirty. I’ve scored them on their videos but during the contest that will change to scoring on their stage performance. So my winner is not set in stone yet! It’s also worth pointing out that my winner last year was Austria, who actually came last. I’ve also listed them in the order that they will perform in the two semi-finals, with the automatic finalists listed last. Wave your flags and get your dance pants on, here we go:

Semi-final 1:

Armenia – (LoveWave by Iveta Mukuchyan) 49 seconds in and I feel like I’m on a jet plane with g-force tugging at my sequins. Lots of oohs to sing along with. Wind machine usage in the video that I’m sure will be transferred to the stage. Beautiful singer. Arty video. Lovely man with long hair too in the video, he doesn’t sing but looks pretty and moody at the same time, I hope he’s on stage. Scores: Song 8, Artist 9, Video 8. Total: 25

Croatia – (Lighthouse by Nina Kraljic) The time lapse video of the coast by the lighthouse looks like the idents they play between songs on the night itself. Typical ballad, nothing new or exciting. Don’t know what Nina looks like as she wasn’t in the video, a surprise for the night. Scores: Song 5, Artist 5, Video 2. Total: 12

Finland – (Sing it Away by Sandhja) Leisure wear with fringes, a smoke machine in kids’ park, horses on a beach and in the woods. Interesting video. A small selection of sad kids in said video not so depressed after ‘singing it away’. Upbeat song. Scores: Song 9, Artist 9, Video 8. Total: 26

Greece – (Utopian land by Argo) Haunting stringed instruments, a Greek rapper that wouldn’t be out of place in Goldie Lookin’ Chain, as I swear I heard a Newport accent. Sung in Greek. Black and white video of a topless man running which got tedious after a while, this is Eurovision, not Baywatch. Scores: Song 6, Artist 4, Video 5. Total: 15

Hungary – (Pioneer by Freddie) Air traffic control glow sticks and a drumming monk, a gravelly voice on a handsome man. Nice song, too average though. Scores: Song 6, Artist 8, Video 6. Total: 20

Moldova – (Falling Stars by Lidia Isac) Wind machine usage high. Pretty Lidia reminds me of Paris Hilton. Typical sounding Eurovision uplifting song. Nice drum at the end. Scores: Song 7, Artist 7, Video 4. Total: 18

Netherlands – (Slow down by Douwe Bob) Good looking chap playing guitar with a country music twang. Video is of him and friends hanging about in a bar. I’d have a drink with him. Scores: Song 8, Artist 9, Video 7. Total: 24

Russia – (You are the only one by Sergey Lazarev) Love this one but is it too much like last years’ winner? Fantastic video, digital trickery, very creative. Interesting to see if they stage it like last years on the night. Hot bloke. Dancy tune. Scores: Song 9, Artist 9, Video 10. Total: 28

San Marino – (I didn’t know by Serhat) This has a seventies vibe for me. Serhat has such a deep voice he makes Barry White sound falsetto. I actually found his voice quite menacing though rather than seducing. Scores: Song 5, Artist 5, Video 4. Total: 14

Austria – (Loin D’ici by Zoe) A pretty redhead singing a pretty song, and a pretty video of her walking through the seasons. With a wind machine. Scores: Song 6, Artist 7, Video 6. Total: 19

Azerbaijan – (Miracle by Samra) An upbeat dancy song. Catchy. Scores: Song 7, Artist 8, Video 6. Total: 21

Bosnia & Herzegovina – (Ljubav Je by Dalal and Deen feat Ana Rucner and Jala) Very rustic and charming, good electric cello usage. Ambushed in middle though by a performance by a rapper which didn’t fit for me. I would have called security. Scores: Song 4, Artist 4, Video 4. Total: 12

Cyprus – (Alter Ego by Minus One) Ooh rock and euro vibes combo. A gravelly voiced rock band but good to dance to. Fun desert video. Scores: Song 8, Artist 9, Video 8. Total: 25

Czech Republic – (I Stand by Gabriela Guncikova) Beautiful lady with an amazing voice. Good solid ballad. Fun video, I loved the flowers at the end. Scores: Song 6, Artist 8, Video 7. Total: 21

Estonia – (Play by Juri Pootsmann) Very smart young man. Catchy tune. Another deep voice but not a scary one. Scores: Song 7, Artist 8, Video 5. Totals: 20

Iceland – (Hear Them Calling by Greta Salome) Extreme fringing and a wind machine! Celtic feel. Slow bits and dancy bits. Great energy. Scores: song 8, Artist 8, video 6. Totals: 22

Malta – (Walk on Water by Ira Losco) Good dance track. Middle of the road for me. Scores: Song 6, Artist 7, Video 6. Total: 19

Montenegro – (The Real Thing by Highway) Grungy, more hardcore. Lady dancing in a leotard was distracting as it was mismatched with the song. Different but not my cup of tea, too much of a downer for Eurovision. Scores: Song 4, Artist 5, Video 5. Total: 14

Semi-final 2:

Australia – (Sound of Silence by Dami Im) Ballad, beautiful lady, smoke machine, topless man dancing. Average. Scores: Song 6, Artist 8, Video 6. Total: 20

Belarus – (Help You Fly by Ivan) Didn’t grab me. Nice enough song but it doesn’t stick in my mind. Scores: Song 6, Artist 6, Video 5. Total: 17

Ireland – (Sunlight by Nicky Byrne) They kindly put the lyrics on the video so that you can sing along. Nice tune and Nicky, formally of Westlife, has a great voice but not shouting winner at me. Scores: Song 7, Artist 8, Video 7. Total: 22

Israel – (Made of Stars by Hovi Star) Nice but nothing special. Scores: Song 6, Artist 6, Video 6. Total 18

Latvia – (Heartbeat by Justs) Felt that this was missing something. Had potential but didn’t deliver for me. It could be a grower. Scores: Song 6, Artist 6, Video 6. Total: 18

Lithuania – (I’ve Been Waiting for this Night by Donny Montell) Uplifting song, fun video, fit bloke. Scores: Song 7, Artist 8, Video 7. Total: 22

Macedonia – (Dona by Kaliopi) I didn’t enjoy this one, too screechy for me. Scores: Song 4, Artist 5, Video 5. Total: 14

Poland – (Colour of Your Life by Michal Szpak) Ballad. Michal is a man with long hair and a wind machine. He gave lots of Zoolander looks. Found this song a bit cheesy. Scores: Song 5, Artist 5, Video 5. Total: 15

Serbia – (Goodbye by ZAA Sanja Vucic) The singer looks like she’s possessed, or had too much caffeine, lots of jerky movements. Quite dramatic. Nice orchestra. Scores: Song 6, Artist 6, Video 5. Total: 17

Switzerland – (The Last of Our Kind by Rykka) Dull ballad. Scores: Song 5, Artist 5, Video 5. Total: 15

Albania – (Fairytale by Eneda Tarifa) Average. Didn’t grab me. Although I liked her hood at the end of the video, she looked like a Venus flytrap closing. Scores: Song 4, Artist 5, Video 6. Total: 15

Belgium – (What’s The Pressure by Laura Tesoro) I thought it was ‘Another One Bites the Dust’ when it started. The video looks like an ad for GAP clothing range. It reminds me of another song too that I can’t put my finger on. Lively, upbeat, funky with high energy. Scores: Song 8, Artist 8, Video 7. Total: 23

Bulgaria – (If Love Was a Crime by Poli Genova) I liked the bits that sound like helium was used and some bits reminded me of the Clangers. Catchy. Dancy. Scores: Song 8, Artist 8, Video 7. Total 23

Denmark – (Soldiers of Love by Lighthouse X) They can be my soldiers of love, handsome men with good voices. Catchy tune. Uplifting. Has a bit where you want to jump up and punch the air. Scores: Song 8, Artist 9, Video 7. Total: 24

Georgia – (Midnight Gold by Nika Kocharov and Young Georgian Lolitaz) Nighties Manchester just arrived in Georgia with a synth-pop back up. Scores: Song 6, Artist 7, Video 8. Total: 21

Norway – (Icebreaker by Agnete) Sparkly blonde with a smoke machine and laser beams, but it didn’t do anything for me. Scores: Song 5, Artist 5, Video 5. Total 15

Romania – (Moment of Silence by Ovidiu Anton) Melodramatic West End Musical meets rock opera. Not for me. Scores: Song 4, Artist 4, Video 4. Total: 12

Slovenia – (Blue and Red by ManuElla) Vibes of country music and The Corrs. Spoiler: I knew she had another outfit on underneath her first outfit as she was an odd shape. It was no Bucks fizz moment. Scores: Song 6, Artist 6, Video 5. Total: 17

Ukraine – (1944 by Jamala) Crikey! The song starts with the line ‘when strangers come to you house and kill you all’. Cheery little number it is not. Wailing and miserable. Jamala sings ‘our souls’ but it sounds like arseholes to me. Scores: Song 2, Artist 2, Video 3. Total: 7

Finalists:

Sweden – (If I Were Sorry by Frans) Starts with talking which I dislike. Sweet but underwhelming. Scores: Song 5, Artist 5, Video 5. Total 15

France – (J’ai Cherche by Amir) Catchy. Bi-lingual. The singer reminds me of James Purefoy. Uplifting. Scores: Song 7, Artist 8, Video 8. Total: 23

Germany – (Ghost by Jamie-Lee) I was far too distracted by the weird outfit Jamie-Lee was wearing, this was just as well as I found the song quite dull. Scores: Song 4, Artist 4, Video 5. Total: 13

Italy – (No Degree of Separation by Fancesca Michielin) Not my cup of tea. Average song. Scores: Song 5, Artist 5, Video 0. Total: 10

Spain – (Say Yay by Barei) Good dance tune, cracking voice. Score: Song 7, Artist 8, Video 7.  Total: 22

UK – (You’re Not Alone by Joe and Jake) I like this one, I picked it in the UK vote when it was chosen for the contest. Catchy tune, nice lads, but we won’t score high. Scores: Song 7, Artist 8, Video 7.  Total: 22

So there you go, my opinions on the Eurovision entries for 2016. My results are: 1st Russia, 2nd Finland, 3rd Armenia & Cyprus, and 5th Netherlands & Denmark. Roll on May 10th, 12th and 14th! Get your Eurovision party started!

Lesser Known Disappointing Book Sequels

Published November 22, 2015 by Naomi Rettig

1. The Portrait of a Lady – The Selfie of a Ladette
2. Cold Mountain – Chilly Hill
3. Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café – Baked Red Peppers at the Hum Go Tearoom
4. Three Men in a Boat – Five Men in a Canoe
5. The Thirty Nine Steps – The Forty Steps
6. Brave New World – Cowardly Old World
7. The Quiet American – The Noisy Canadian
8. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie – The Retirement of Miss Jean Brodie
9. Catch 22 – Catch 23
10. Far From The Madding Crowd – In the Midst of a Quiet Gathering
11. P.S. I Love You – P.P.S. Divorce Papers are in the Post
12. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe – The Lion, the Witch, and the Sideboard
13. The Very Hungry Caterpillar – The Full Up Butterfly
14. The Grapes of Wrath – The Sultanas of Anger
15. Life of Pi – Death of Quiche
16. Lord of the Rings – Lord of the Bangles
17. Little Women – Bigger Women
18. Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy – Hitchhikers Guide to the Toblerone
19. Wuthering Heights – Wuthering Lows
20. The Da Vinci code – The Pollock Code
21. The Picture of Dorian Gray – The Snapchat of Dorian Gray
22. Lord of the Flies – Duke of the Spiders
23. Fahrenheit 451 – Celsius 15
24. Trainspotting – Buswatching
25. Of Mice and Men – Of Gerbils and Girls
26. The Lovely Bones – The Quite Nice Veins
27. Middlemarch – Endstroll
28. Catcher in the Rye – Tosser in the Wheat
29. The Firm – The Wobbly
30. Watership Down – Fireboat Up
31. Breakfast at Tiffany’s – Lunch at Bianca’s
32. Great Expectations – Mild Assumptions
33. The Secret Life of Bees – The Exhibitionist Life of Wasps
34. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil – Midday in the Allotment of Shallots and Chives
35. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time – The Mundane Appearance of the Cat in the Day Time
36. Lonesome Dove – Popular Pigeon
37. In Cold Blood – In Warm Saliva
38. And Then There Were None – And Then There Were a Few More Found
39. A Walk to Remember – A Jog to Forget
40. Eat, Pray, Love – Starve, Swear, Loathe
41. It – That
42. The Virgin Suicides – The Loose Women Murders
43. Heart of Darkness – Liver of Light
44. Oliver Twist – Oliver Jive
45. Flowers in the Attic – Potpourri in the Basement
46. David Copperfield – David Silvermeadow
47. Shogun – Hideknife
48. A Room With a View – A Back Bedroom With No Windows
49. The Neverending Story – The End of the Story
50. Girl with a Pearl Earring – Woman with a Pearl Necklace
51. The Velveteen Rabbit – The Velcro Hedgehog
52. I, Robot – You, Human
53. The Secret – The Well Known Fact
54. A Streetcar Named Desire – A Pushbike Named Passion
55. Roots – Split Ends
56. The House of Spirits – The Apartment of Soft Drinks
57. The Cider House Rules – The Gin Shed Anarchy
58. The Green Mile – The Purple Kilometre
59. Never let me Go – F**k Off
60. Howl’s Moving Castle – Howl’s Static Caravan

Terry, Maude and Me – The Right Funeral

Published June 23, 2015 by Naomi Rettig

INT. TAXI. DAY.

TERRY, MAUDE AND CHARLEY ARE SAT ON THE BACKSEAT OF A TAXI, CHARLEY IS IN THE MIDDLE. THEY ARE ALL DRESSED IN BLACK, CHARLEY IS IN A TROUSER SUIT, PLAIN BLOUSE, FLAT SHOES AND FUR HAT, MAUDE IS IN A TIGHT PENCIL SKIRT SUIT, FRILLY BLOUSE, STILETTOS AND TINY PILL BOX HAT WITH VEIL, TERRY IS IN A SUIT, TUXEDO T-SHIRT AND CONVERSE TRAINERS WITH MESSY HAIR.

TERRY
We’re going to be late, going back to change your hat was foolish.

MAUDE
Darling a French navy hat with a black suit is foolish. Charley made the right decision.

TERRY
It looked ok.

MAUDE
Looked ok? We don’t want Charley to go out looking just ok.

CHARLEY
I am here.

TAXI DRIVER LOOKS IN REAR VIEW MIRROR, SEEING ONLY CHARLEY SAT THERE.

TAXI DRIVER
What’s that love?

CHARLEY
Oh, nothing. Sorry, thinking aloud.

TAXI DRIVER LOOKS BACK TO ROAD AND CARRIES ON WITH HIS DRIVING.

MAUDE
Remember to talk to us telepathically poppet. People get funny when you talk out loud to us. We’re your voices in your head and no one else’s.

CHARLEY
(Audible thought) I know, I know. But my lips forget sometimes.

TERRY
You could have just not worn the hat, I don’t think people do hats at funerals anymore.

MAUDE
I don’t think we need to take fashion advice from someone wearing a tuxedo t-shirt to a funeral.

TERRY
I feel I’ve made quite an effort, I could be sat here in pyjamas.

CHARLEY
(Audible thought) You both look very smart. Thank you Terry for not wearing your pyjamas. Maude, thank you for being a part of the hat brigade. And I like my hat, I think it makes me look Russian.

TERRY
It doesn’t. You look ridiculous.

MAUDE
Don’t be mean.

TERRY
OK, you don’t look ridiculous if you are trying to capture the ‘I’m wearing a dead cat on my head’ look. If that’s what you were trying to achieve you have succeeded marvellously.

MAUDE
That’s not any better.

CHARLEY
(Audible thought) It’s OK Maude, Terry’s entitled to his opinion.

TERRY
I’m surprised Pablo hasn’t hidden some vodka in your Russian cat hat to liven up today, funerals can be so dull.

MAUDE
Is Pablo going to be with us today?

CHARLEY
(Audible thought) No. I’ve told him it’s a serious day today not a party day.

MAUDE
Sorry Charley, this isn’t a nice day for you.

CHARLEY
(Audible thought) Its ok, I didn’t really know my great aunt did I. I just thought it would be a shame if no family turned up. I don’t know any of her friends if she had any or if they’ll turn up.

MAUDE
Well at least you’ll have us with you for moral support. You’re not on your own poppet.

TERRY
Technically Maude she is physically on her own.

CHARLEY
(Audible thought) Thank you both for your unwavering support.

TERRY
Sarcasm alert.

CHARLEY
(Audible thought) No, I really don’t know how I would get through my days without your positivity and sunshiny smile Terry.

TERRY
You are definitely being sarcastic aren’t you?

CHARLEY
(Audible thought) Yes.

THE TAXI PULLS UP IN FRONT OF CHURCH GATES.

CHARLEY
(Audible thought) This is it.

TERRY, MAUDE AND CHARLEY CLIMB OUT OF THE TAXI, CHARLEY PAYS THE TAXI DRIVER AND HE DRIVES OFF.

EXT. OUTSIDE CHURCH. DAY.

TERRY
I thought St Stephens was the church by the river?

MAUDE
No, no, this is St Stephens, look (indicates sign). There’s a lot of people going in, she must have had more friends than you thought Charley.

CHARLEY
(Audible thought) Blimey, I thought I might be the only one here.

TERRY, MAUDE AND CHARLEY WALK UP THE PATH TO THE CHURCH ENTRANCE, PEOPLE ARE GOING IN AND A VICAR IS AT THE CHURCH DOOR.

TERRY
It’s probably all the staff and other residents of her care home filling it up, a day trip out and a buffet brings out the vultures.

MAUDE
Terry!

TERRY
What? It’s true. The mere whiff of a sausage on a stick and the Zimmer frames speed up. I’ve witnessed a fight over who has the last cheese and pineapple on a stick previously. Carnage.

CHARLEY
(Audible thought) Let’s try and avoid carnage today please. And yes Terry, that’s aimed more at you than Maude.

MAUDE
(Smiling smugly) Ooh look, a lady vicar, how lovely and modern.

TERRY
Is she a vicar or a vicaress?

TERRY, MAUDE AND CHARLEY STOP WHEN THEY REACH THE VICAR AT THE DOOR.

VICAR
Hello there!

CHARLEY
Hello, I’m Charley. Charley Watson

VICAR
Yes, hello.

CHARLEY
I’m here for my great aunt Doris’s funeral?

VICAR
Oh! Wonderful! Well, not wonderful that it’s your great aunts funeral but wonderful that you are here. I didn’t realise she had any family.

CHARLEY
Ah yes, I hadn’t seen her since I was little but when I heard that she had died, well, I thought I’d better come and see her off.

TERRY
Come and see her off? She’s not going on a cruise.

CHARLEY
I mean come and say goodbye.

VICAR
Wonderful, she should be any moment, there’s a traffic hold up on the ring road, go on in and sit down. (SHE TURNS TO INSIDE THE DOOR) John. (JOHN POPS OUT OF THE DOORWAY) John is anyone sat on the front row?

JOHN
Just Mrs Parsons.

VICAR
Wonderful. Show Charley here to the front row seating please.

CHARLEY
Thank you.

TERRY, MAUDE AND CHARLEY FOLLOW JOHN INTO THE CHURCH.

INT. CHURCH. DAY.

THE PEWS ARE FULL OF ELDERLY PEOPLE AND A FEW CARERS. CHARLEY, MAUDE AND TERRY WALK SLOWLY DOWN THE AISLE BEHIND JOHN.

MAUDE
Crikey she’s a bit jolly for a funeral, imagine what she’s like at a wedding!

TERRY
Like a grandma on crystal meth.
MAUDE GLARES AT TERRY.
Front row seats, do we get popcorn or choc ices?

CHARLEY
(Audible thought) Behave, people don’t eat during funerals.

TERRY, MAUDE AND CHARLEY REACH THE FRONT PEW, JOHN INDICATES TO IT THEN EXITS BACK UP THE AISLE. MRS PARSONS IS SAT IN THE FRONT PEW SWATHED IN PINK CRIMPLENE EATING A BAG OF JELLY BABIES.

TERRY
Someone didn’t get the memo.

MRS PARSONS BITES THE HEAD OFF A JELLY BABY AND CHEWS IT OPEN-MOUTHED WHILE STARING AT CHARLEY.

TERRY
I didn’t know your great aunt knew Barbara Cartland.

CHARLEY, TERRY AND MAUDE SQUEEZE PAST MRS PARSONS AND SIT DOWN. CHARLEY SMILES AT MRS PARSONS. MRS PARSONS CONTINUES CHEWING JELLY BABIES OPEN MOUTHED.

MAUDE
(LOOKING AROUND) Fascinating. It’s like a museum of fashion over the decades.

TERRY
With the amount of polyester and hairspray in here we could go up at any moment. It’s a good job it’s not a cremation, one loose ember from a furnace and whoosh. Especially Barbara sat next to you. I wonder how flammable jelly babies are.

CHARLEY
(Audible thought) Stop it. Have a look at the programme and keep quiet. (SHE PICKS UP THE PAMPHLET ON THE PEW)

TERRY
It’s not a programme, we’re not at the theatre. Unfortunately. We could be watching A Comedy of Errors, that’s on at The Sherman Theatre.

CHARLEY IS FROWNING AT THE OPEN PAMPHLET IN HER HANDS.

MAUDE
What’s wrong Charley?

CHARLEY
(Audible thought) This biography, it doesn’t seem right, I don’t know any of these facts about her life. (SHE TURNS TO THE BACK PAGE WHERE THERE IS A PHOTO) Sweet Jesus.

TERRY
(LOOKING AROUND) Where?

MAUDE
Not the most flattering photo is it poppet. Bad camera angle. And a chunky neck like that shouldn’t wear a choker.

CHARLEY
(Audible thought) No, it’s not the photo that’s wrong. That’s not Doris.

MAUDE
Yes, (POINTS TO NAME BELOW PHOTO) Doris Wilson.

CHARLEY
(Audible thought) My great aunt was Doris Watson.

MAUDE
Are you sure?

CHARLEY
(Audible thought) Yes I’m sure!

TERRY
This is priceless.

MAUDE
Did she marry again? Change her name?

CHARLEY
(Audible thought) No, she never got married, she was always Doris Watson. And that’s not her.

MAUDE
Oh. Well that’s good, you won’t have inherited this ladies shocking genetic aging. Your neck isn’t fated to end up like this.

CHARLEY
(Audible thought) No it’s not good, we’re in the wrong funeral.

TERRY
I can confirm that this is not good. We could be watching a Comedy of Errors but instead we are in a Comedy of Errors.

CHARLEY
(Audible thought) I’m failing to see the comedy myself.

MAUDE
Its ok poppet, we’ll leave now and you can explain to the vicar on the way out.

CHARLEY
(Audible thought) Ok.

TERRY
(STANDS UP AND STEPS INTO AISLE) Do we have a plan B?

MAUDE
Why?

TERRY
The wrong Doris’s coffin is coming down the aisle. And I don’t want to sound rude but there isn’t any room for you to squeeze past it Charley.

CHARLEY
(Audible thought) No! What am I going to do?

MAUDE
Go along with it.

CHARLEY
(Audible thought) What?

TERRY
Disaster alert.

MAUDE
Well if your Doris is being buried at eleven at the St Stephens by the river you’ll never make it in time so just pretend this is her and leave straight after.

COFFIN IS WHEELED PAST WITH A SQUEAKY WHEEL BY JOHN AND PLACED IN FRONT OF THE CONGREGATION FOLLOWED BY THE VICAR.

CHARLEY
Oh god

TERRY
Ditto that.

VICAR
We are gathered here today to say goodbye to our friend Doris, a lively member of our community who touched the hearts of all she met. We have her great niece Charley with us today and I was wondering if she would be kind enough to come up here and say a few words for us. (SHE LOOKS ACROSS TO CHARLEY AND SMILES)

CHARLEY
(Audible thought) No, no, no. This can’t be happening to me. Please make it stop.

MAUDE
Bluff it. You’ll be fine. We’re here with you poppet.

VICAR
Charley?

TERRY
Would you like me to come up with you?

CHARLEY
(Audible thought) I want you to beam me out of here.

TERRY
Now you know I can’t do that. Your mind is amazing, obviously because I’m in it, but it’s not that advanced. Yet.

CHARLEY
(Audible thought) Then yes, stand up there with me please.

CHARLEY AND TERRY GO AND STAND AT THE PULPIT, GUIDED BY THE VICAR.

TERRY
What a hideous bunch they look from up here. Your hat looks really nice in comparison.

CHARLEY
Oh dear lord. Oh dear lord thank you for sharing Doris with us. She was a kind and loving lady who taught me how to…

TERRY
Knit.

CHARLEY
Knit (LOOKS QUICKLY AT TERRY)
(Audible thought) Knit?
and she liked…

TERRY
Jam.

CHARLEY
Jam. (RAISES HER EYEBROW AT TERRY) (Audible thought) you are not helping me. (out loud) Strawberry was her favourite.

TERRY
Ooh I was thinking apricot.

CHARLEY
And she enjoyed travelling.

TERRY
That’s good.

CHARLEY
She entertained me with many a tale of her circus travels when she was young.

TERRY
That’s not so good. I think you’ve lost the audience now. We were alright with knitting and jam but the circus has blown it.

CHARLEY
(Audible thought) Oh no, what now?

TERRY
Put your head in your hands and pretend to cry. Maude does it all the time when she doesn’t want me to talk to her, it’s highly effective.

(CHARLEY PUTS HER FACE IN HER HANDS)

CHARLEY
(Audible thought) No tears, I can’t cry.

TERRY
Think of something really sad. Like your Aunt Doris the other side of town being buried on her own because you’re here cheating on her with dodgy Doris Wilson, jam eater, knitter and circus freak.

CHARLEY STARTS SOBBING.

EXT. CHURCHYARD. DAY.

CHARLIE, TERRY AND MAUDE ARE STOOD AT THE SIDE OF THE CHURCH, THEY HAVE MOVED AWAY FROM DORIS’S OPEN GRAVE, PEOPLE ARE SHUFFLING AWAY AND SOME OLD PEOPLE ARE GIVING HER DIRTY LOOKS.

CHARLEY
(Audible thought) I’m so embarrassed.

MAUDE
It’s ok. It could have been worse.

TERRY
Not much it couldn’t. It was bad. It was like watching a car crash. Someone should have recorded it for internet humiliation. If a younger demographic was here that would have happened.

MAUDE
Why don’t we make a move poppet? We could call by to the other St Stephens, see the real grave and say goodbye properly.

CHARLEY
(Audible thought) Yes, that’s a good idea.

A MAN WALKS TOWARDS THEM, PETE, SMILING. HE IS WEARING A BLACK SUIT, WHITE SHIRT AND BLACK TIE.

PETE
Hello.

CHARLEY
Oh, hello

PETE
I’m Pete.

MAUDE
He’s gorgeous!

CHARLEY
Charley.

PETE
I know, saw the eulogy.

CHARLEY
Oh yes, not my finest moment.

TERRY
Understatement.

PETE
I was surprised to see you.

TERRY
If this is going to be a cheesy chat up line I may vomit.

CHARLEY
Really?

PETE
Yes, I’m Doris’s nephew.

TERRY
Uh oh.

CHARLEY
The vicar said there was no family here?

PETE
I crept in below the radar, we weren’t a close family so I just wanted to blend in.

CHARLEY
That was my plan.

PETE
(LAUGHS) Didn’t work well.

CHARLEY
I know. I need to plan my plans a little better.

PETE
I don’t recall you in our family tree.

TERRY
Now you’re stuck. Tell him you’re from the circus branch of the family. Bearded lady.

MAUDE
No, just be honest, it’s the best policy.

CHARLEY
Ah, that’s because I’m not. There was a mix up. I’m at the wrong funeral. It snowballed. It’s a long story.

PETE
Then how about telling me over dinner tonight?

TERRY
Oh god it was a chat up manoeuvre. I may still vomit.

CHARLEY
Oh, um..

MAUDE
Say yes!

TERRY
Be like Zammo in Grange Hill, just say no.

CHARLEY
OK, yes I’d love to go to dinner with you.

TERRY
Too keen. You’ve just made yourself look desperate.

MAUDE
Ignore Mr Grumpy Pants. That’s the correct reply.

PETE
Great. 7pm? Where shall I pick you up from?

TERRY
Serial killer alert. Don’t give him your home address.

CHARLEY
7pm is good, name a restaurant and I’ll meet you there.

PETE
A modern independent woman.

TERRY
No, a sensible one who wants to stay alive.

PETE
Do you know The Acorn?

MAUDE
Swish!

TERRY
Pretentious.

CHARLEY
Yes, that’s good, it’s a date. Well it’s not a date. It’s just a meal out. With a new friend. New acquaintance. Maybe.

TERRY
You’re blowing it, stop talking.

CHARLEY
I’m going to stop talking now.

TERRY
You said that out loud.

CHARLEY
(Audible thought) I know. I meant to.

PETE
Ok, I’ll see you at seven tonight, my cousin that’s not my cousin.

PETE WALKS OFF SMILING.

TERRY
Oh that’s creepy, tell me that’s not creepy.

CHARLEY
(LOOKING BEHIND TERRY AND MAUDE IN PANIC)
Oh quick we have to go now.

MAUDE
Why?

PABLO DRESSED IN CUBAN PARTY GEAR AND HOLDING MARACAS IS SALSA DANCING ACROSS THE GRAVEYARD TOWARDS THEM.

PABLO
Yoo hoo.

TERRY AND MAUDE TURN TO SEE HIM.

TERRY
I thought you’d banished him today?

CHARLEY
I did, he’s got over excited and forgotten.

PABLO SUDDENLY DISAPPEARS INTO DORIS’S GRAVE THEN POPS BACK UP STILL SMILING.

PABLO
I’m ok, I think I may have dented my maracas though.

TERRY
Leg it.

CHARLEY, TERRY AND MAUDE WALK FAST THEN RUN FROM THE GRAVEYARD WITH PABLO DANCING AFTER THEM.

(END OF EPISODE)

Hotdog

Published January 15, 2015 by Naomi Rettig

Hotdog stand, half time at football match.
A hotdog stand is set up on SL, faint football crowd noise can be heard in the background, EDDIE is stood behind the hotdog stand stirring onions in a pan, there is a queue of people to the right of the stand, JAMES is stood at the front of the queue.
EDDIE: Aright mate, what can I do you for?
JAMES: Chicken please.
EDDIE: Chicken?
JAMES: Yes, a chicken pie please.
EDDIE: I do ot dogs. I aint got no chicken pies.
JAMES: A steak and kidney pie then?
EDDIE: You avin a laff?
JAMES: Not at all. So you don’t have any steak and kidney pies either?
EDDIE: No I aint got no bleedin pies, I got ot dogs.
JAMES: Do you have a beef and onion pie then please?
EDDIE: Listen mate, I’m gonna do you some damage if you carry on askin for a bleedin
pie. You can eiver av an ot dog or you can do one.
JAMES: Ah, is there a special nod or handshake I need to partake in to be able to have a
pie? (winks at Eddie)
EDDIE: Special nod or andshake?! I’ll give you a special nod if you don’t clear off you
nutter.
JAMES: Well, we clearly seem to be on different pages sir, and quite frankly I find you
extremely ill mannered.
EDDIE: Diff’rent pages? You’re on a diff’rent bleedin bookshelf mate! Now clear off
before I shove my boot up your arsenal.
(JAMES walks away SR shaking his head in disgust, EDDIE carries on in the background serving the queue, DAVINA enters SR, sees JAMES and walks towards him)
DAVINA: Darling! You’ve been gone such a long time I’ve come on the hunt for you.
JAMES: Sorry sweetie, I’ve had no joy with the food, the man on the stand was so
unhelpful. He protested he had no pies at all.
DAVINA: Well of course he doesn’t silly, he sells hot dogs.
JAMES: But sweetie, you said he had lovely pies.
DAVINA: (laughs) Oh darling you are too funny. Yes I did say that, I was speaking the in
the amusing slang these people use. I said he had nice pies. Eyes silly, eyes. He
has nice eyes!
JAMES: Oh! I’m such a silly billy!
(JAMES and DAVINA laugh together, hold hands and exit SR)

Change a letter to change the crime show

Published January 15, 2015 by Naomi Rettig

Some alternative TV show pitches achieved by just changing one letter of existing UK crime shows.
Agatha Christie’s Marple = Agatha Christie’s Marble. Documentary looking at Agatha’s hidden Italian statue collection in secret vault in Torquay. Hosted by Angelos Epithemiou.
The Body Farm = The Body Fart. Spin off show from Embarrassing Bodies. Dr Christian travels the UK with Joe Pasquale trying to capture the perfect specimen of wind.
Case Histories = Vase Histories. Open University feature showcasing vases of the world and their histories. Presented by Danny Dyer.
Cold Blood = Cold Bloom Reality TV show about the early morning flower markets in Amsterdam, Voiceover by Alan Carr.
Cracker = Fracker. Drama starring Neil Stuke about a man sent into a hostile North East community to carry out fracking for the government.
Crime Traveller = Prime Traveller. Travel show presented by Joan Collins and Johnny Vegas showing only the most luxurious destinations, hotels and travel options.
Death in Paradise = Heath in Paradise. Drama sequel to Wuthering Heights where Heathcliff stops mooning over Cathy and sets sail to Barbados for fun and frolics. Noel Fielding to be Heath.
Foyle’s War = Foyle’s Bar. Cheers style comedy set in the 1950’s when Foyle retires from military life and opens a bar.
Good Cop = Good Cod. Foodie show travelling the UK to find Britain’s best fish and chip shop, hosted by Keith Chegwin.
Law and Order = Jaw and Order. Sitcom starring Jon Richardson about a dentist with chronic OCD.
Line of Duty = Wine of Duty. Period drama about a wine making dynasty and their vineyard. Starring Frazer Hines, Martine McCutcheon and Stephanie Cole.
New Tricks = New Trucks. Top Gear lifestyle show for HGV drivers, presented by Su Pollard and Mickey Flanagan.
Prime Suspect = Price Suspect. Reality TV show following a Trading Standards task force. Voiceover by Bobby Ball.
Ripper Street = Hipper Street. Makeover show where two neighbouring streets compete to be the ‘hipper’ street. Presented by Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford, team captains for each street.
The Sweeney = The Tweeney. Reality documentary following CBBC ‘star’ Milo as he leaves The Tweenies and tries his hand at stand-up comedy in working men’s clubs up north. Commentary by Sean Lock.
Silk = Sulk. Supernanny Jo Frost and Vinny Jones take on Britain’s most troublesome teenagers in a boot camp in West Wales.
Vera = Verb. Do you know your verbs from your adjectives? A grammar quiz show hosted by Jimmy Nail.
Waking the Dead = Waking the Head. Comedy about a narcoleptic teacher. Starring David Morrissey and Coleen Nolan.
Waking the Dead = Baking the Dead. Cooking for cannibals. Hosted by Anne Diamond.
Wire in the Blood = Fire in the Blood. Drama about a family of fire fighters. Starring Martin Kemp, Emmett J Scanlan and Danny Young.