The Rambles of Neil Monnery

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On Chris Evans and Top Gear…

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In one of the biggest shocks in the history of the world, the BBC in one last desperate bid to keep one of the their biggest assets relevant have turned to the man they always turn to Chris Evans. He is like the John Reid of the BBC, parachuted in when he’s widely not wanted to try and fix things.

His denial saying that him taking over the show was, ‘100% not going to happen’ is shall we say rather hilarious considering he’s been announced as the main presenter and indeed will be the executive producer of the show, which actually goes against the BBC’s own rules following the Jonathan Ross/Russell Brand incident in 2009, but still the BBC will bend rules for Chris Evans because they are desperate.

The reason they are desperate is because quite simply, they had a really big asset, not only in terms of prestige and world wide appeal but also in terms of straight cash homie. You see that is the real reason why they don’t want to let Top Gear die, they want the cash.

The problem they have is whilst they own the intellectual rights to the show, the show was successful because of the presenting trio and Andy Wilman. All four of these people will not be working on the show going forward. So the BBC have to start from the bare bones (a good old fashioned Harry Redknapp reference there) and build from the ground up.

I see this situation as very similar to what I think about Page 3. The people who don’t like Page 3 are unlikely to buy The Sun even if they stop putting tits in their newspaper. Many of those who didn’t watch Top Gear who are happy Clarkson has gone are saying the right things about now watching Top Gear but most won’t. They are just glad that someone they didn’t like is off of the BBC.

Who presents a TV show does influence whether or not people watch it. For example I have point blankly refused to watch The One Show since they shafted Adrian Chiles to crowbar Chris Evans into the show for reasons that were never that obvious. It felt as though they thought Evans would bring in a new audience on the Friday edition of the show or maybe he’d attract bigger stars to appear so out went Chiles. If it ain’t broke then don’t fix it is an old motto but it works.

I know Jeremy Clarkson had to go and don’t have an issue with how the BBC dealt with the situation but instead of trying to keep Top Gear alive, they should have put it on hiatus. This now smells to me like it is a case of arrogance from the BBC who believe that they can carry on with a whole new presenting team like nothing has happened. Making it seem like people watched because of the production values and the camaraderie between the three wasn’t the reason we all watched. It was fun. It was stupid. It was Last of the Summer Wine for slightly younger people with cars who wanted easy TV on a Sunday evening.

The news that they’ll hold open auditions for new presenters is absolutely hilarious. Talk about a desperate way to keep the show in the news for a while. The likelihood of the BBC hiring unknowns to help front one of the (at the time of writing) biggest shows in the world is just mind-boggling. Also Chris and the exec controller of BBC2 are already disagreeing over whether a woman will be part of the new presenting line-up with Chris saying it is ‘100% going to happen’ – yeah like Chris’s ‘100%’ things mean jack – and the exec controller saying that it isn’t written in stone although they would like to have more female presence on the show.

Another issue is Chris Evans hosts the BBC Radio 2 breakfast show and therefore will not be able to go overseas on shoots that often unless he leaves that gig, which he’s not going to do. This means that Top Gear will not be having many overseas trips any more and it will be very British based. This goes against the global appeal of the show. This means that they’ll be unable to recreate some of the best bits of the show. Another knock on whatever this new incarnation of the show will be.

Lastly the biggest problem the show has is the Clarkson, Hammond and May haven’t gone and indeed seem extremely likely to present a new show together, most likely on netflix and the odds of the show being released on netflix at the same time as the next series of Top Gear would seem short to me. People will give the new Top Gear a shot I have no doubt but Clarkson, Hammond and May will still be the people the audience flocks to.

Chris Evans will now be the highest paid person at the BBC for his various gigs. Not bad for someone who has had a rather tempestuous relationship with the corporation in the past. I actually don’t mind Chris Evans per se but when someone says that something will, ‘100% not happen’ and then it does, I just look at them and think they are a bald faced liar. His commitment to the BBC Radio 2 breakfast show means that he’ll be unable to put in the time to Top Gear like the former team could and the idea that the show can carry on being a global success just doesn’t add up.

I wish him well but as long as the most recent incarnation is firmly in our memories and indeed should as expected the former presenting team are doing a similar show for another outlet – Top Gear as we all know and loved is dead. Can Evans’ magic recreate another version of the show that attracts the demographic that the BBC want (because it is the demographic that sells well to overseas broadcasters) then I doubt it somewhat. Top Gear will never be the same again and many will rejoice, the problem is most of those who will rejoice won’t watch it anyway and that is Evans’ and the BBC’s main problem and one they re unlikely to be able to solve.

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Written by neilmonnery

June 18th, 2015 at 10:54 am

Posted in Media

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On John Oliver v Jack Warner & FIFA… (Videos)

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In the past few months John Oliver has become quite the household name. It seems a long time since he was on the early series of Mock the Week and he has disappeared off my radar. I didn’t realise that he had gone to The Daily Show but one day a few months back I was stunned when Tony Kornheiser spoke about John Oliver during an episode of PTI and I did some research – he had become a pretty big star in the US.

Since then I have been an avid watcher of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver on HBO (broadcast in the UK on Sky Atlantic) and his work is truly first rate. To be named in Time’s list of the 100 most influential people in the world says something.

Still despite the fact that he lives and work in the USA, a country that traditionally doesn’t give two hoots about ‘soccer’ – his pieces on FIFA have been right up there amongst his very best and the past couple of weeks have been rather epic. Below I’ll embed all his FIFA related pieces if you haven’t seen any of them but they are truly first rate. John Oliver can be a huge star and his show is really making inroads and if you haven’t seen any of his work then YouTube his show – there is plenty of excellent comedy on a variety of subjects that is both funny but also shocking and thought provoking.

We start with his piece last year on the World Cup…

Then a quick news hit before the Presidential election…

Then a couple of weeks back after the arrests of seven FIFA executives and Sepp Blatter’s re-election…

Then after Blatter resigned…

and later in the episode this…

Then of course The Mittens of Disapproval Are On – via T&T TV.


John Oliver – The Mittens Of Disapproval Are On by kzf1

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June 14th, 2015 at 1:00 pm

Posted in Football,Media

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On Dion Dublin and Homes Under The Hammer…

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There are a few things that bind students, stay at home parents, the unemployed and those who work from home. One of those is that at 10AM on BBC1, more often than not you’ll see two excitable faces shows us around three homes that have been sold at auction.

Homes Under The Hammer has been steered through the choppy waters on daytime TV successfully by just two on-screen presenters since 2003 (although for one series there was an alternative set of presenters, Jasmine Birtles and Marc Woodward) but apart from that one season, it has been the job of Lucy Alexander and Martin Roberts to front the show. They are both fantastic. Like seriously brilliant.

They know what daytime TV watchers want and they deliver it in buckets and spades. We know about Lucy’s love of original features, if a property has a fireplace or a Victorian ceiling rose then we know she’ll be a happy bunny. Martin too has his own quirks but their enthusiasm and charm makes this show stand out from the abundance of other property shows on the box.

The show is essentially as close to daytime TV perfection as you can get. Great presenters, pure cheese half the time with all the music puns throughout, something that can inspire people to try their hand at something and at the very least, it is just perfect TV to have on in the corner of the room when you are doing something else as you often look up and see a home and think ‘wow, that is beautiful’ and gets you thinking about your own home.

The show gets around a 30% share in its time slot for new episodes and has long been one of BBC daytimes most successful shows, so why did the powers that be decide to change the presenting line-up? Former footballer Dion Dublin has joined Lucy & Martin for this series and has already failed to impress. He’s wooden to camera and when he speaks there isn’t that sense of genuine excitement that exudes from the other two. Today he opened with a line about how Oldham was the birthplace of footballer Paul Scholes, who cares? Yes sometimes Lucy & Martin link a place to a person or to an event but when Dion relies on a football link, you just cringe.

He’s appeared in several episodes now and he still hasn’t found his feet. He may well get better but when you are the new kid on the block on a show with two extremely popular presenters and you are edging them out to some degree (mostly edging out Martin as he generally does two homes per episode with Lucy one although that isn’t a hard and fast rule and now in new episodes they do one each), but when you are marginalising popular people then you are always going to struggle.

The forums haven’t warmed to Dion Dublin as yet and most I’ve read think similar to me that why mess with a fantastic set up? I don’t know if Lucy or Martin wanted to scale down their operations for whatever reason but if they had, I still question why Dion Dublin was picked to be the right guy to join in? He just doesn’t fit in the style of the show of knowledge and excitement. You have to be over the top like Lucy & Martin can be, being stilted and wooden isn’t what Homes Under The Hammer is all about.

Dion has proved himself to be a solid (if unspectacular) football pundit, so far he’s proved himself to not even reach those heights on Monday-Friday at 10AM on BBC1…

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April 23rd, 2015 at 11:23 am

Posted in Media

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On being a liberal and not rejoicing at Jeremy Clarkson’s suspension…

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Jeremy Clarkson is a sacking away from becoming the most valuable free agent in the history of UK television. Should the BBC bite the bullet and part ways with one of the three presenters of Top Gear then they will have struck a decisive blow for the majority of people that I follow on twitter. The outpouring of sheer delight has been overwhelming. I’m pretty sure the Pupil Premium didn’t get as much praise as Jeremy Clarkson’s suspension and that is because the biggest problem with liberals is that anything they don’t like, they believe that other people should not like as well. It is the most frustrating thing I’ve found with a lot of (predominately young) liberals. They are right. What they like is right. Anything else is wrong.

We don’t know the full story behind Jeremy’s suspension but we do know the BBC are in a very tight spot. They have a presenter who they can sack and move on from pretty easily. The problem is that all the talent that make one of their most popular shows worldwide will in all likelihood go with him.

My timeline is full of suggestions for who the BBC could use to replace Jeremy Clarkson but they have failed to grasp that should he leave, in all likelihood Richard Hammond and James May follow him out of the door. Andy Wilman most certainly would. This means that Top Gear would essentially cease to exist in its current form and I’ll tell you this, so many liberals would rejoice at this because it would mean more money for Doctor Who (well actually it wouldn’t as Top Gear earns the BBC an inordinate amount of money but still, facts…)

We aren’t that used to TV suspensions over here but I’m used to it as I watch a lot of American TV and ESPN dish out suspensions all the time to on screen talent, sometimes with no rhyme or reason. When a journalist (Keith Law) called out a pundit (Curt Schilling) on twitter for saying that creationism should be the only thing taught in school then yes, the journalist got suspended. When a presenter (Tony Kornheiser) mocked what a colleague was wearing on his radio show, then he got suspended.

Every time Bill Simmons makes a run at Roger Goodell (which happens all the time) then he gets suspended. Stephen A. Smith got suspended for his comments on domestic abuse and Keith Olbermann got suspended just a week or so ago for his attack on Penn State students for raising money for cancer research (yes this actually happened – a presenter attacked a school for raising money for cancer research). So on-air talent suspensions is nothing new. People go away for a while and come back. It is no big deal.

When it comes to Top Gear and the BBC though, the BBC have backed themselves into a corner. They desperately don’t want to sack Jeremy Clarkson. They know that his worth to the corporation is probably more than any single other individual they have. Should they get rid of him then they are walking away from the best part of £150million a year in profits. So that is a significant chunk of change. Yet if he was on his ‘final warning’ and he has indeed punched a producer then they have no choice. They have to be seen to do the right thing and watch Clarkson go to a rival network, create a similar show and make a tonne of money whilst they watch their biggest worldwide asset wither.

Zoe Williams in the Guardian has written an interesting piece on the subject. She says herself that she, ‘stayed up late last night trolling Jeremy Clarkson’ in writing the piece, like Jeremy Clarkson really cares about what someone who clearly doesn’t watch the show thinks about him but still. The long and short of it is basically she thinks Top Gear should be focused on car reviews and not light entertainment.

She obviously doesn’t remember why Top Gear disappeared from our screens in the first place or why nobody watches Fifth Gear but her piece is full of factual errors and shows that it is just an attack on someone she doesn’t like because she can. Living the dream. For example she attacks the show for being stuck in the past and not reviewing cars of the future, saying, ‘The coolest car in the world right now is the BMW i8, a part electric, part petrol dreamscape of silent majesty.’ She obviously didn’t watch Jeremy reviewing it and giving it the big thumbs up this season.

This though is typical. People will attack the show because they want it to be something different and they want different presenters because they think their version of Top Gear would be better. The problem with this point of view is that everyone’s tastes are different. I saw a well-known member of the liberal twitterati (basically those liberals who do considering themselves better than everyone else – heck there are lots out there) yesterday on twitter going on about how Sky didn’t understand her because they spent money on football. Well I’d argue that Sky aren’t catering their whole business plan to her (I mean how self-centred would you have to be to think that?) but also has she not noticed that Sky’s whole existence and business model is based around football? I mean it isn’t exactly a secret… Another member of this ilk tweeted about how he’d not seen anyone on his TL do anything but rejoice at Clarkson’s suspension and that it showed the quality of person that he followed. I mean really…

Sometimes people like things that you don’t, instead of changing that thing to suit you, maybe you should look elsewhere to find something that you like. I don’t like many TV shows but I don’t think, ‘well if they changed this, this and this about a show then I’d like it and if I like it then everyone else should.’ Liking Top Gear is something you whisper in hushed tones around some people. It isn’t clever enough and people who enjoy it are simply not smart enough to know any better. If they ran Top Gear it would be more informative and it will appeal to those people, the problem is the ratings would plummet and no-one would buy it overseas. It is a similar scenario to those people thinking The Sun should base its business model around those people who don’t (and would never) buy The Sun. Yeah, like that makes any sense…

I hope Jeremy Clarkson survives because I enjoy Top Gear. If he goes though he probably can’t complain should the rumours be correct. The thing is though he will be fine, he’ll get whatever he wants from ITV or Sky and all the Top Gear talent would follow him. He won’t disappear from our screens so victory would be hollow for those rejoicing in his demise. This isn’t Ron Atkinson folks, he won’t become persona non grata in the broadcast industry, the truth is it would be quite the opposite, he would be the biggest free agent to ever hit the marketplace and broadcasters would be crushing into other broadcasters’ lorries full of cash ready to back up and dump it on his front lawn. Jeremy Clarkson may survive at Top Gear, he may not but whatever happens he’ll certainly survive on TV and if he goes to a commercial station then he’ll arguably be a lot better off.

Top Gear isn’t popular because its about cars, its popular because of the three presenters and the back stage team who put together a show that has morphed into something far bigger than anyone could have predicted a decade or so ago. Still if he goes the outpouring of joy will be quite something and it’ll be chalked up as one for the good guys whereas in reality he’ll be relatively unscarred no matter how it plays out.

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Written by neilmonnery

March 11th, 2015 at 11:48 am

Posted in Media

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On being a romantic at heart – a rare Take Me Out extra on Looci & Nick…

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Every year I write a blog about the women of Take Me Out. It is a bit of fun that I do because it allows me to write a bit differently from my usual style. I like the show as it is a bit of Saturday night cheese.

Tonight whilst watching I saw Jonathan get a blackout. All thirty women turned off their light and he got no date. There was nothing wrong with him at all. He seemed like a nice guy, not unattractive, but yet all the women decided that didn’t want him. I planned on writing about that as people often ask me why I don’t apply to go on the show because I do the blog etc. and I always say the same thing – there is literally no way that I’d get a date because I’m not an attractive man, my VT introducing me would be, ‘well I’m a bit of boring sod who does naff all with his life but is content with things’ and yeah, couple that with this face *points to his face* oh and not to forget my lack of style, I’d do well to get through two rounds let alone three.

Still then things changed when the next guy came down the lift. Seemed like a nice chap, seemed like a regular sort, loved the fact he was just in his regular clothes and was just being who he was. So then we go through the VT and then Paddy speaks to one of the girls who has kept her light on and she is his ex. Boom. She kept her light on because he was and I quote ‘beautiful inside and out’ – she had dumped him a while ago and as we’d find out he was her last serious relationship. This was genuinely emotional. You could tell there was something still in the air between them. All the other girls bowed out gracefully to let Looci get a date with her ex apart from one girl, Elisha. I thought that was poor form. I said so on twitter. Weirdly she favourited that tweet.

So the guy (Nick) had the choice between his ex and another girl. There was zero doubt in anyone’s mind that he was going to pick Looci and indeed he did and they kissed and I jumped up and fist pumped in joy and I’m not going to lie, I welled up a little bit. These are two people I don’t know from Adam and I never will and yet I was rooting so hard for them to get together. You don’t go on a show like this and keep your light on if you see your ex if you don’t still have serious feelings for them.

If its an ex who is in the past you turn off your light, say you did but say he’s a great guy and anyone would lucky to go on a date with him and move on. She kept her light on. There was a serious chance of romance. Paddy even clearly welled up as he visibly wiped his eyes after they embraced (and seeing Claire – who is fast becoming a favourite – when I say fast – I mean she’s amazing – jumping up and down in sheer delight was just so so cool). It is just a TV show but it brought happiness into two people’s lives. Who knows if they got back together – I hope so that is for sure.

I turned over to watch on +1 just to watch it again and whilst we never saw who his ‘love at first light was’ – if you watch closely and see how to writes on Paddy’s pad, it does very much look as though he writes ‘Looci’ so yes. Just brilliant. Was genuinely happy. A friend said to me that I was a romantic at heart and that might be true (and a surprise to many) but I love happy endings. Like they make me happy that other people can be happy in this world full of horror that we all live in.

I also want to write a brief comment here on how to get a Valentine’s Day card from Looci. She is doing this to raise money for Yorkshire Cat Rescue. All she wants is for a donation of at least £5 within the UK and at least £10 internationally and she’ll send you a personalised Valentine’s Day card. It is for a good cause and you get to receive a Valentine’s Day card from a bloody gorgeous woman. In addition, she will have a half hour Skype date with whoever donates the most by the end of Valentine’s day, and she’ll send you an actual gift.

So to do this then please donate via this link and then send a screenshot of your donation to her e-mail address address along with your address and she’ll get this done for you. For this project her e-mail address is loocicat@gmail.com.

It is all in a good cause so go on folks, donate to Yorkshire Cat Rescue, the more the merrier and you never know, you could have a Skype date with someone who may or may not have made you well up this evening (if you had a heart then you’ll have welled up). I hope she raises lots of money. As a cat person who has always said he wants a ginger kitten when I finally settle down and buy somewhere, cat rescue is in my eyes an extremely worthy charity to give a few notes too.

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Please leave any comments or contact me directly via the E-Mail Me link on the Right Hand Nav. You can stay in touch with the blog following me on Twitter or by liking the blog on Facebook. Please share this content via the Social Media links below if you think anyone else would enjoy reading.

Written by neilmonnery

February 7th, 2015 at 10:34 pm

Posted in Media

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On the return of boobs to Page 3 and the next step…

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Who is shocked or even in the least bit surprised that Page 3 of today’s edition of The Sun has a woman with her boobs out on it? Anyone…? If you have your arm raised then I’m looking at you very quizzically.

You see the newspaper never said that it had dropped the topless photo from its daily editions. They actually went out of their way to say very little on the issue. If they were dropping it then you know what, they would’ve said it very openly and very loudly for the positive publicity that they would get from the media and from those who do not buy the newspaper.

Wait a minute…what were those last few words again?

those who do not buy the newspaper

And that my friends (and those who are indifferent and heck enemies if any of them read) is the issue. I wrote this a couple of years back and it still stands true today as much as it did then:

Page 3 to The Sun is nothing to do with their thoughts of sexual objectification. It is all about money (like most businesses) and financially it obviously is worth it to them otherwise they wouldn’t do it. The people who don’t like it don’t buy it anyway so why would they care what these people think? Isn’t that a very bizarre way to run a business? Would you run a business where the people who make you money like what you do but those who don’t make you money are complaining and you listen to the latter and not the former?

So this is what in most likelihood happened over the past few weeks. The Sun decided that they were going to experiment with dropping the tits and seeing how it effected circulation. No-one said anything after Friday’s edition had no boobs but when none appeared on Monday, the news ran with it and ran with it hard. This meant that Tuesday was the first day the newspaper had no tits on show where most people knew about it and what happened? By Thursday the boobs were back.

Either they were trolling the world or they lost a whole load of sales because maybe, just maybe, some people buy the newspaper not for the news but for a picture of a naked woman’s top half. Another newspaper still has topless photos of women on its page 3 and I bet the Daily Star’s sales went up dramatically on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The Sun is not a bastion of morality. It is about making money. If they get more sales by having a picture of a woman baring her chest then they’ll continue to do it. That is just business logic. Those who don’t like Page 3 in its current guise don’t buy the newspaper anyway and they won’t return to the paper just because the picture stopped appearing, whereas they would lose sales from those who like it and don’t have it any more, those people will find an alternative tabloid and look what else is out there, is that the Daily Star I see…?

Quoting myself again:

Sometimes we see the world from our own point of view and not from the point of view of others. Page 3 sells newspapers. I don’t like it. You probably don’t like it but it is a fact and until it doesn’t then why would they stop? The Sun as we all know isn’t the bastion of moral fortitude and it doesn’t pretend to be. It is a newspaper that serves as the news of the lowest common denominator. I don’t think that is an unfair statement and the people that buy it are not those who care about tits on Page 3.

I know people will say I back Page 3 because I’ll say I’m not shocked that they continue to publish it. It is either that or I can be the business logic behind it. I don’t understand why people would ever think that a newspaper would change its content to suit those who didn’t buy the newspaper in the first place. If The Sun drops Page 3 then it loses money and also it loses influence and that shouldn’t be overlooked. Having the biggest circulation gives (or at least gives the perception) of more influence over more people. One thing we know about Rupert Murdoch, he likes having influence!

Page 3 will continue to exist as long as more people buy The Sun (and the Daily Star) than would if those newspapers didn’t have a topless woman photo. It is just business plain and simple. Sexual objectification of women and changing attitudes towards that won’t be achieved by cutting off the access to boobs in a newspaper. This is a deeper problem in society and this one symbolic gesture was never going to work as long as they went after one newspaper only and the left the other newspaper who did exactly the same alone.

I’ve said it repeatedly over the years and people say I don’t know what I’m talking about, that is because they are only seeing things from their own PoV and not from a business point of view. Nearly 2.75million people buy either The Sun or the Daily Star daily at a near 5:1 ratio. If just 10% of The Sun’s readership switches to the Daily Star that is a dramatic change and puts The Sun in the clutches of the Daily Mail for biggest daily newspaper and in turn moves the Daily Star above both the Daily Express and the Daily Telegraph.

The Sun wants to have the largest circulation in the UK. Tits help them do that. I just wish people would take a step back and understand that this has nothing to do with how The Sun perceive women. This is all about how much money they make, how big a circulation they have and how much influence the newspaper (and its owner) has over the British electorate. It is no less and no more. It is that simple. Whether we like it or not that is why the boobs are back. I’m not a fan. I don’t buy the newspaper. I won’t buy the newspaper with tits or with no tits but I’m not their clientèle and that is the issue. Those that buy The Sun knows it has tits and either doesn’t care or actively like them.

Having written about this several times and along the same lines, I know that people think I’m a moron because I can compartmentalise both my personal opinion and the business decision behind the tits. To get boobs out of newspapers it needs a ban and not out of the goodness of the hearts of the editors of the two dailies who put boobs there. Turkey’s wouldn’t vote for Christmas so why would newspaper editors vote for something that would lose them money? They wouldn’t. The Sun has now seen that they sell more newspapers with boobs than they do without so the boobs will stay until their is legislation that says they can’t. The fight to get tits out of the newspaper has to go to through government, it always has been, now maybe those who are leading the fight will understand this.

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Please leave any comments or contact me directly via the E-Mail Me link on the Right Hand Nav. You can stay in touch with the blog following me on Twitter or by liking the blog on Facebook. Please share this content via the Social Media links below if you think anyone else would enjoy reading.

Written by neilmonnery

January 22nd, 2015 at 1:19 am

Posted in Media,Politics

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Take Me Out Girls 2015 – Season Seven

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To watch Becky’s first cooking video of Boom Bangers & Wholegrain Mustard then click here.

So here I am once more. I have just collated all the profiles and photos for the flirty thirty as the seventh season of Take Me Out gets under way on Saturday night.

Like last year, I’ve got together the photos Fremantle Media have sent out along with the details and some random facts about the girls as sent out as part of the press pack. It is intended to be a light-hearted and whimsy look at the people that will be lighting up our screens for the next few weeks.

This year Laura Jackson will be joining Mark Wright as host of The Gossip and of course Paddy McGuinness is the master of ceremonies for the main event as per usual. The show has been responsible for three engagements, two weddings and one baby already and another is due in March, so it isn’t just entertainment, it has changed lives too. If I recall correctly Blind Date had two weddings in its entire run so TMO isn’t doing too bad for itself!

On communicating with the girls, in general most of them over the past few series have been fine with follows/tweets but prefer not to be contacted via Facebook. Most of them will have twitter accounts so feel free to search for them and tweet them, however I’d recommend not trying to get in touch via other social media platforms as in general they prefer them to be kept more private.

Adding people to Facebook when you don’t really know them can come across as a little bit weird and creepy, just trust me on that, I have been there and done it and yeah, not good. It can easily lead to awkwardness and regret and stuff so honestly folks, just don’t do it. I’m pretty laid back on this front but other people, less so and if I was a girl and on a show like Take Me Out, I suspect I’d be pretty weirded out lots of random guys I didn’t know adding me to Facebook so think folks, think.

Anyway, no-one cares about the preamble. You are here for photos and details. They are all provided below. You can click on the photos for a larger version. I hope you enjoy the light-hearted take on things and enjoy the show. I wrote it all up and WordPress decided to lose over two thirds of my text so I had to re-write most of it, I hope it is as interesting second time around because I was writing it whilst swearing at WordPress a lot.

So what time is it…?

Peanut Butter Jelly Time, Peanut Butter Jelly Time…

No wait, that’s not it.

What time is it?

It’s Chico time.

No, No, No. That isn’t it either.

Paddy, what time is it?

It’s time to bring on the girls…

flirty-thirty-take-me-out-2015

Flirty Thirty

abigail-take-me-out-2015

Abigail

Age: 19
Job: Administration Support Assistant
Location: Cardiff
Length of being single before Take Me Out: Seven Months
Random Fact: Her nickname is ‘Abs Cabs’ as she keeps dating guys who don’t drive and she has to drive them around. As an aside here, I don’t drive but don’t ever feel the need to get driven around. Yes I get the odd lift here n there but in general I just use the choo choo and walk everywhere I need to go. People should use public transport and walk more, they shouldn’t rely on people driving them around. Anyway…back to our regularly scheduled programming…
Reason why I think she’s great: She goes to a spin class and annoys others by her constant talking and cheering herself on. I’m sorry but I love the mental image I have of people cheering themselves on whilst working out. It is quite lovely.
Reason why she wouldn’t think I was: She is turned off by those who wear 1980s sneakers and don’t drive. What is the verdict on Nike Air Max 95s?

aimee-jayne-take-me-out-2015

Aimee-Jayne

Age: 29
Job: Transport & Logistics Co-Ordinator
Location: Bolton
Length of being single before Take Me Out: Eighteen Months
Random Fact: She flushes public loos with her feet to avoid getting germs on her hands. Look I know public loos can be pretty grim at times but that seems like a lot of effort, doesn’t it?
Reason why I think she’s great: She has a soft spot for geeks. More people should. Am I clever enough to be classed as a geek? Answers on a postcard…
Reason why she wouldn’t think I was: Her ideal man is a racing driver, how does she feel about a guy who doesn’t even drive…? Oh.

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Alison

Age: 27
Job: Vintage Dress Maker
Location: Staffordshire
Length of being single before Take Me Out: Four Months
Random Fact: She knows all the words to most of the big 90s rap songs. I’d sing-song against her with Coolio’s Gangsta’s Paradise.
Reason why I think she’s great: Have a look at the dress in her photo that has been sent out. I mean come on, who wouldn’t instantly fall in love with someone who was wearing a dress that was a comic? Seriously awesome.
Reason why she wouldn’t think I was: Her ideal man runs his own business, well technically I do so I’m in the game folks, I’m in the freaking game *starts to hyperventilate* but wait, there is more, and this ideal guy also drives a Lamborghini. Bugger.

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Amy

Age: 34
Job: Nail Technician Student
Location: Blackpool
Length of being single before Take Me Out: Two Years
Random Fact: Her nickname is foghorn as she is loud and chatty
Reason why I think she’s great: She loves Am Dram. More people should enjoy the arts.
Reason why she wouldn’t think I was: Her ideal first date would be something energetic and fun-packed like rock climbing. My idea of energetic is rolling over in bed to the cold side (ok that might be slightly facetious but still…)

Becky Take Me Out 2015

Becky

Age: 28
Job: Catering Student
Location: Sheffield
Length of being single before Take Me Out: One Year
Random Fact: She has a green belt in Karate.
Reason why I think she’s great: Three of the six notes sent out by the production company about Becky are about her love for food. I mean that is enough to like someone isn’t it, her obvious love of food? As an aside here, when I first scanned the press pack, I looked at her and I have seen her before somewhere, I have no idea where but the face rings a bell, weird.
Reason why she wouldn’t think I was: She once ended up in A&E with a sprained ankle whilst doing a runner from a boring date. I can’t imagine what she’d do to herself in her desperation to get away from me on a date, I fear she’d do a lot more damage than that.

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Christina

Age: 26
Job: Personal Trainer
Location: Stevenage
Length of being single before Take Me Out: One Year
Random Fact: She was once a club 18-30 rep.
Reason why I think she’s great: She has been known to sack her clients who aren’t putting in the effort with regards to their personal training. I like this hardball attitude. I know she could whip me into shape (and not in the good way I thought about when I typed that sentence…)
Reason why she wouldn’t think I was: Because of that previous sentence. Oh and her ideal man should be manly and dressed well amongst other characteristics and I’m afraid they are two things that I am not.

claire-take-me-out-2015

Claire

Age: 23
Job: Fairy/Murder Mystery Role Player
Location: Manchester
Length of being single before Take Me Out: Eight Months
Random Fact: Her biggest fear is the tube and the idea of getting trapped in the doors.
Reason why I think she’s great: He nickname is ‘Two Teas Claire’ because she loves food so much that she used to have two teas, one at 4PM and one at 8PM. I could be fully on board with this Claire. I really could.
Reason why she wouldn’t think I was: She is looking for an older man, she’s 23, I’m 31…we are in play here folks, we are in play, *high fives the non existent crowd of people behind me* but wait, there is more, preferably a silver fox, ok I’ll just go to the mirror and check…bugger. What if I get silver hair glitter, will that do…?

daisy-take-me-out-2015

Daisy

Age: 23
Job: City Worker
Location: London Town
Length of being single before Take Me Out: One Year
Random Fact: She once thought the Lake District was in Essex *shakes head in despair*
Reason why I think she’s great: Her biggest passion is chocolate. Someone who knows where it is at!
Reason why she wouldn’t think I was: Her celebrity crush is Joey Essex. All Joey Essex and I share is our mix of chromosomes. She also wants a guy who can street dance well…

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Danielle

Age: 23
Job: Account Manager for a Bank
Location: Cheshire
Length of being single before Take Me Out: Four Months
Random Fact: She is obsessed by Legally Blonde and tries to model for life on the lead Elle Woods.
Reason why I think she’s great: She has a first class degree. Brains are sexy folks. Brains are fecking sexy.
Reason why she wouldn’t think I was: Her ideal man would be a traditional guy, nice teeth, good clean-cut face and a well-fitting suit. O for 4 folks. I don’t even own a suit, let alone a well-fitting one. Also, me? Traditional? Yeah right…

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Dani

Age: 26
Job: Events Recruitment Agent
Location: London Town
Length of being single before Take Me Out: Seven Months
Random Fact: She was crowned Miss Globe England in 2013
Reason why I think she’s great: Her dream man is the laid back surfer type. I can see that and think that shows good taste. Whenever I think of laid back surfer dudes I think of Brad Willis from Neighbours and Hayden Quinn from Masterchef Australia. If you don’t know the type Google them.
Reason why she wouldn’t think I was: Her ideal date would be something outdoorsy, like rock-climbing or scuba diving, well scuba diving is fair but rock-climbing…*runs away screaming* – have you not seen that advert where the cheap guy buys the rubbish rope because he likes a bargain?

emily-take-me-out-2015

Emily

Age: 23
Job: Speech Therapy Assistant
Location: Guisborough
Length of being single before Take Me Out: Six Months
Random Fact: Her worst first date is scuba diving as the open and deep water would freak her out and she doesn’t want to cry on a first date. I’m taking bets on what her date will be on the Isle of Fernando’s should she get there…
Reason why I think she’s great: Degree in linguistics. I’ve said it before folks, brains are sexy.
Reason why she wouldn’t think I was: Her ideal man would treat her like a Princess…I think many women want this and this might be a big fail in my love life endeavours. I need to learn how to treat people special.

farah-take-me-out-2015

Farah

Age: 26
Job: Sales & Marketing Executive
Location: London Town
Length of being single before Take Me Out: Eighteen Months
Random Fact: Her love of pink and lipstick has earned her the nickname ‘Barbie’
Reason why I think she’s great: Her ideal date would be quad biking (ok) or swimming with dolphins (Yes, Yes, Yes – I love dolphins!)
Reason why she wouldn’t think I was: She is turned off by bad teeth, bad skin and no sense of style. Well a few months back folks I had a date with someone who decided to write up a review of it for the world to see and here is what she wrote about my sense of style, ‘Mr M was in scruffy jeans, scruffy t-shirt and outrageous trainers. He did look like he had just rolled out of bed, chucked some clothes on and walked down the road.’ That is my style through the eyes of someone else. Would it shock you that a second date wasn’t pending…?

gabriella-take-me-out-2015

Gabriella

Age: 18
Job: Disney Princess
Location: Norfolk
Length of being single before Take Me Out: Two Months
Random Fact: She has four jobs, the aforementioned Disney Princess at Disneyland Paris, but also a gymnastics coach, a stilt walker and a dancer.
Reason why I think she’s great: She back-flipped a mile for charity. C’mon that is seriously amazing. Huge props.
Reason why she wouldn’t think I was: Her ideal date would involve an element of danger, well how about me cooking a meal? With my culinary skills that is serious danger. No? Oh.

jade-take-me-out-2015

Jade

Age: 23
Job: Customer Service Advisor
Location: Grimsby
Length of being single before Take Me Out: One Year
Random Fact: She cannot tell her left from her right.
Reason why I think she’s great: She has a photographic memory and that is a very handy skill to have, although she uses it to remember any outfit that someone has worn before. With me you wouldn’t need a photographic memory for that, as explained a couple of profiles ago, my sense of style is shall we say, pretty basic to say the least.
Reason why she wouldn’t think I was: Her ideal man would be good with their hands, have brown eyes and a Welsh accent. Well my tickling prowess has been commented on before but otherwise my hands are just hands, my eyes are blue and I speak with a broad southern accent.

janine-take-me-out-2015

Janine

Age: 30
Job: Site Secretary for a Constriction Company
Location: Kent
Length of being single before Take Me Out: Two Years
Random Fact: She has failed her driving test four times and has taken over 200 lessons.
Reason why I think she’s great: In her spare time she also works in Ann Summers. Need I say any more…?
Reason why she wouldn’t think I was: I have no idea who her ideal date of Joe Manganiello is. Like no idea.

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Kat

Age: 23
Job: Personal Assistant
Location: London Town
Length of being single before Take Me Out: Two Years
Random Fact: She has a (very) irrational fear of oblong and square plates and would prefer to not eat dinner than eat off of one and people say I’m weird…
Reason why I think she’s great: She is an aspiring film maker and makes short films in her spare time. I mean just how cool is that? Always get big thumbs up from me for creative people.
Reason why she wouldn’t think I was: She wants a guy who is tall, tattooed and bearded. Well I did grow a beard not that long ago and I can assure you people of the internet, it was not a good look. Oh and I’m neither tall nor bearded. Woe.

kayleigh-take-me-out-2015

Kayleigh

Age: 23
Job: Ballet Teacher
Location: Dundee
Length of being single before Take Me Out: One Year
Random Fact: She used to be a cheerleader at Upton Park for West Ham.
Reason why I think she’s great: In her final year of uni she lived in a convent and the nuns would catch her and her friends sneaking out on CCTV. Those pesky nuns. I just like the idea of having to sneak past nuns.
Reason why she wouldn’t think I was: Nothing obvious in her notes that have been sent out but she is very spontaneous and that is something I most certainly am not and whenever I am, it backfires spectacularly.

kelly-take-me-out-2015

Kelly

Age: 35
Job: Oil Company Account Manager
Location: Cheshire
Length of being single before Take Me Out: One Year
Random Fact: Once Kelly’s friends dared her to kiss an old man in the pub so she did and his false teeth fell out in her mouth, that sounds proper grim although I bet she made that old guys evening! Why aren’t women ever dared to kiss me…
Reason why I think she’s great: Her ideal date is mud wrestling. Yep totally down with that. I mean totally (although I’d prefer jelly but still..)
Reason why she wouldn’t think I was: In the notes sent out just like Kayleigh above, nothing stands out for this section. I will note here that she eats a pea sandwich every day, quirky doesn’t cover it but I like it.

kim-take-me-out-2015

Kim

Age: 20
Job: Education Studies Student
Location: North Wales
Length of being single before Take Me Out: One Year
Random Fact: Her nickname is (unsurprisingly) Lil Kim based on the fact that she is 4ft11″
Reason why I think she’s great: Her celebrity crush is Dougie from McFly. I think that is a pretty good and normal crush. Some would say my crush on former PSU star volleyball middle hitter Katie Slay is a bit left field but Dougie from McFly in the context of this is pretty out there but I do like it.
Reason why she wouldn’t think I was: Her ideal man has a life plan. I had a life plan but then life got in the way and everything changed. Doh.

kirstie-take-me-out-2015

Kirstie

Age: 26
Job: Admin Assistant
Location: Belfast
Length of being single before Take Me Out: Three Years
Random Fact: She is afraid of many things (and not just actually meeting me, I often wonder what would happen if one of the girls ever bumped into me in the real world just how they would react, I mean I sit here in my mother’s basement – well that bit isn’t true, I actually live on my own with more bathrooms than people – but writing this does make me sound like a bit of a sad loser, which I am, but still, gotta keep up the appearance) but yeah, would they go, ‘oh my word, your blog is just so freaky you big freaky weirdo’ or would they say ‘your light-hearted whimsy tale of thirty women you’ve never met for a TV show was rather amusing and I of course don’t think of you as some freaky weirdo’ – I wonder if we’ll ever know? (deep down I suspect not and I fear the answer…) Anyway I have digressed quite spectacularly. She is afraid of the dark, the sea and any creature that is flying towards her.
Reason why I think she’s great: I love her logic of wanting an electrician because of her dislike of the dark, she thinks an electrician would be handy in a power cut. Logic people. Logic.
Reason why she wouldn’t think I was: Her celebrity crush is Tom Hardy due to his muscles, tattoos, lips and swagger. Well I technically have muscles (like we all do) and have lips (again like we all do) but I think I know what she means and alas 0% for me.

kirsty-s-take-me-out-2015

Kirsty S

Age: 26
Job: Horse Trainer
Location: Cheshire
Length of being single before Take Me Out: One Year
Random Fact: She owns twelve horses and two Dalmatians. Yes I did have to double check that to ensure I got that the right way around.
Reason why I think she’s great: Her ideal date could involve a banana boat. I would certainly do that.
Reason why she wouldn’t think I was: Her ideal man is strong-willed (yes), honest (yes) and confident (feck). Why oh why oh why do women not like awkward shy weirdos? I mean look at all we offer, awkwardness, shyness, acting weird, I mean who wouldn’t look for those characteristics in a potential beau? Oh I see, everyone. Dagnamnit.

lauren-take-me-out-2015

Lauren

Age: 19
Job: Sports Science Student
Location: Cardiff
Length of being single before Take Me Out: Never had a serious relationship (Oh Lauren, preaching to the choir, preaching to the choir…)
Random Fact: She is a very keen roller-blader but admits that she isn’t very good as yet.
Reason why I think she’s great: Her ideal date is something competitive because she likes the idea of a bit of rivalry and most importantly, she wants to win. Yes. This. I’ll tell you a story folks. Many moons ago I fancied this girl in the year below at uni. I once played her at Pool in the SU and all my mates told me I had to lose to let her win, that isn’t my style folks, that is so not my style. Instead I potted an extremely tricky black and won. That date wasn’t forthcoming although weirdly I did end up in her kitchen in the early hours of one morning talking abstract Journalism theories. That was abnormal.
Reason why she wouldn’t think I was: She is a chubby chaser, which sounds great as I have a bit of a belly on me (although less so than a year ago, lost two stone boys and girls, yes, props) but I don’t have the big curly hair nor the strong body frame that she desires. Sad times.

looci-take-me-out-2015

Looci

Age: 26
Job: Fire Breather and Circus Entertainer
Location: Leeds
Length of being single before Take Me Out: Eleven Months
Random Fact: She cannot break the three date barrier, she never hears from guys after the third date. I kinda know what she’s going through. I can’t break the one date barrier. That is more or less the same, No…?
Reason why I think she’s great: Circus performer, fire breather, body burning, hand candle dancing, poi spinning, fire hooping, static trapeze, hoop, silks, rope…I mean come people, who couldn’t fall head over heels for this person? As an aside, every year I mentally try and guess who’ll get the most Google searches from the show and Looci is the red hot favourite at this juncture, red hot favourite.
Reason why she wouldn’t think I was: She is turned off by men who wear smart leather shoes still live at home and have facial hair, but wait, what is that? I wear trainers, I live alone and am clean shaven/stubble depending on how lazy I’m being. Her worst idea for a date would be being serenaded over a candlelit dinner. I once had a first date that was a dinner date and I’ll tell you this folks, never again. Nothing in her notes says that I would send her running for the hills so let me dream people, let me dream…

melanie-take-me-out-2015

Melanie

Age: 27
Job: Nurse
Location: Norfolk
Length of being single before Take Me Out: Two and a half Years
Random Fact: She is afraid of the sea because she can’t swim. I love the sea and can’t swim. Heck I once went swimming in the sea even though I can’t swim. That was an erm…’interesting’ experience.
Reason why I think she’s great: She does animal impressions and her favourite is the dolphin. I freaking love dolphins!
Reason why she wouldn’t think I was: Her ideal man would be fun and silly, family orientated and has to have ambition and drive. Well I’m dour, deadly serious, a loner, how am I selling myself here? Apparently not very well. I love the word dour, it doesn’t really fit me but in this context I’m going to stick with it for comedic effect.

natalie-take-me-out-2015

Natalie

Age: 28
Job: Department Store Worker
Location: Wokingham
Length of being single before Take Me Out: One Year
Random Fact: Her celebrity crush is Gregg Wallace. If she wants a crush on a Masterchef judge she needs to Google George Calombaris. Now he is a man we could all have a crush on!
Reason why I think she’s great: She has a law degree people. As I’ve said before, brains = sexy.
Reason why she wouldn’t think I was: She is turned off by a guy who doesn’t like to go out. I was once nicknamed ‘hermit crab’ by someone, yeah I’m guessing I’ve turned her off already.

natasha-take-me-out-2015

Natasha

Age: 25
Job: Tennis Coach
Location: Essex
Length of being single before Take Me Out: One Year
Random Fact: Her brother is James Argent from TOWIE. I have no idea who that is, that says a lot about me I suspect.
Reason why I think she’s great: She loves the smell of new tennis balls and that is not a double entendre nor a euphemism. The smell of new tennis balls are genuinely pretty darn awesome.
Reason why she wouldn’t think I was: Her ideal man would be down to earth, kind-hearted, good looking and sporty. Well I’m sporty… (and I’d like to think kind-hearted but that is for others to decide)

risha-take-me-out-2015

Risha

Age: 24
Job: Mobile Hairdresser
Location: Sheffield
Length of being single before Take Me Out: One Year
Random Fact: Her mum is so desperate to marry her off that she keeps giving out Risha’s phone number to guys.
Reason why I think she’s great: She talks, shouts and swears a lot in her sleep. Just how entertaining would that be? (Well until you were really trying to sleep but still..)
Reason why she wouldn’t think I was: Her ideal date starts with dinner, No, No, No, No, No. I’ve had one dinner date and never ever again (well probably never, I won’t close the door to it but it was bad). However her ideal date does end in a jacuzzi, that I am fully on board with.

shadz-take-me-out-2015

Shadz

Age: 31
Job: Fashion Designer
Location: London Town
Length of being single before Take Me Out: Eighteen Months
Random Fact: She has partied with Pharrell Williams, Kelis, Timberland, Justin Timberlake and Evander Holyfield. Haven’t we all…? I once saw Sir Trevor Brooking on an escalator and saw Steve Claridge on the tube, how does that compare?
Reason why I think she’s great: She has her own fashion label called Mz Fits and that is pretty darn cool is it not? I know of the fashion label Mizfitz but that is a completely different type of clothing and probably not something I should know about. Ho hum…
Reason why she wouldn’t think I was: Her ideal man would be over 6ft and preferably be a plumber, electrician or personal trainer. I once fixed a boiler but apart from that I’ve got nothing.

sophie-take-me-out-2015

Sophie

The initial Press Pack had some inaccurate information for Sophie so the following has been amended.

Age: 24
Job: Marketing Assistant
Location: Surrey
Length of being single before Take Me Out: Two Years
Random Fact: Sophie lives in fear of being shat on by birds. It is a fine fear to have but I wouldn’t worry, it has happened to me twice, both bizarrely when on school grounds, maybe the birds were trying to tell me something (either that or seagulls hang around schools because lots of crumbs and discarded food to be had, either/or)
Reason why I think she’s great: Her pride and joy is her Border Collie Bella and any man who comes into her life would need to understand this. Well I’m a cat guy first and foremost but anyone who has real love for their pets gets the big thumbs up from me!
Reason why she wouldn’t think I was: Her biggest turn-off would be for a guy to turn up driving a bad car, notably a yellow Cinquinto. How would she feel about a guy driving an imaginary car…? Mentally I’m picturing a Fred Flintstone type vehicle at this point.

vanessa-take-me-out-2015

Vanessa

Age: 25
Job: Lampshade Designer
Location: London Town
Length of being single before Take Me Out: Four Years
Random Fact: Vanessa hates the gym but to keep her model physique in shape she loves to skip.
Reason why I think she’s great: Her guilty pleasure is Top Gear. That is cool. Certainly the cheap car challenges and the specials.
Reason why she wouldn’t think I was: Vanessa is turned off by men who have bad teeth or who are too into themselves to pay her any attention. To once again quote from that date that I had a few months ago that a young lady reviewed publicly, ‘So we walked along the beach to the pub, spent a couple of hours there and walked back. In this whole time, I think I talked about myself for all of 5 minutes, with not many questions or interest aimed at me. True, when you are nervous, you can talk too much. But if you are getting to know someone, surely you want to hear what they have to say?’ – So maybe, just maybe I am too into myself (which I think is bollocks but still, this lady thought so) oh and my teeth, not perfect, not bad but certainly not perfect.

All photos are copyright Fremantle Media and are courtesy of ITV.

Take Me Out starts on Saturday 3 January on ITV1 at 8:30 PM.

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Please leave any comments or contact me directly via the E-Mail Me link on the Right Hand Nav. You can stay in touch with the blog following me on Twitter or by liking the blog on Facebook. Please share this content via the Social Media links below if you think anyone else would enjoy reading.

Written by neilmonnery

December 30th, 2014 at 4:24 am

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On my top ten Masterchef Australia contestants…

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So season six is in the can for the UK audience after Brent lifted the trophy last Friday night. It was a welcome return for the show after a rather disappointing season five, where the producers casted based on personality over food and that led to a bunch of being average chefs getting on to the show.

So for fun (and for maybe the two people I know who watch MCA) – here is my list of my top ten favourite contestants, this isn’t to say the ten best contestants, but my personal ten favourites chefs based both on personality and cooking ability.

10) Andy Allen – Winner of season four. He was an average contestant, who could easily have gone early doors in week five when he and Sam were in the bottom two but the judges decided to send home neither in the elimination challenge in Tasmania. Was part of the Ben/Andy Bromance and his cooking about three to four weeks from the end really kicked on and in the final two weeks he won near enough every challenge. Nice guy and I was happy to see him win.

9) Hayden Quinn – Sixth in season three. Hayden was without a doubt one of the most popular contestants of all time on the show. The lifeguard from NSW was one of the first six through to the top 24 and he won the first challenge and backed that up with an immunity pin victory. Eminently likeable with a natural flair for cooking, he was always going to do well and fell just before finals week. Unsurprisingly was brought back for MCA All-Stars.

8) Brent Owens – Winner of season six. Brent, a bit like Andy was a journey contestant whose progression was clear to see as the competition went on. It looked unlikely he’d win at any point but as we whittled it down it was clear he had a chance. Arguably only Emelia was a better cook than him in this season but Brent was pretty sensational at Service Challenges and rarely got flustered. Another flat out likeable guy. Seems to be a pattern emerging but…

7) Claire Winton Burn – Third place in season two. Cold. If you were to describe her in one word, that would have been it. However she could really cook and seemed to take criticism well and learned from it. We have seen several ‘cold’ candidates in the show, Julia from S4, Emelia from S6, but I learned to root for all three as the show went on but Claire I liked from a long way out. I thought she was a fantastic cook who dished up some wonderful dishes.

6) Beau Cook – Eighth place in season four. When I was sorting out my list he wasn’t in it and then I sat here (or actually lay there, I was mentally doing this in bed last night) and I realised that there had not been a more fun contestant in the six years of the show. His dry wit was fantastic to see, although the way both he and Ben tried to throw themselves on the fire for Emma did bug me.

5) Peter Vickery – Ninth in season three. In the first episode of top 50, the judges gave dishes of the day to Kate, Michael, Alana and Peter. Even in the first episode, they may have found the four best cooks in the competition. Sadly for Peter his lack of self-confidence held him back at times and in his final elimination he was up against Kate tasked with making an apple pie. He had no chance although he did run her close. Great guy who I rooted for hard and when he was him v Kate I was so torn as they were my two favourites from that season.

4) Kylie Millar – Sixth in season four. Who couldn’t love Kylie? She was just flat out loveable and in the task when they were asked to cook with love and passion and it came out that she’d yet to be in a relationship, so hadn’t felt these emotions my heart broke just that little bit, I mean what on earth were the young men of NSW doing? Her pudding in the Masterchef magazine challenge was one of the most pornographic cakes that I have ever seen. She was just fantastic.

3) Marion Grasby – Ninth in season two. The biggest shock in MCA history. Marion quite simply was the best amateur chef ever to walk into the MCA kitchen. Not only was she a fantastic cook but also a great person, fun, always smiling. Like Hayden she was brought back for All-Stars like the top two in this list were. She also formed quite the double act with one other contestant who is still to appear on this list.

2) Kate Bracks – Winner of season three. I called Kate to win from the first episode. It may have had something to do with the fact she was attractive and ginger but also she served up a flatbread kofta that the judges raved about. In the first challenge in the top 24 she made a coffee cake that the judges were stunned by and she was terrific all the way through. Liked Kate a lot and she is still the only person I’ve tipped to win from top 24 who has done so.

1) Jonathan Daddia – Eighth place in season two. Quite simply…The Eliminator. The producers seemed to play up to Jonno as the bad boy of the bunch but he was very much hit or miss, he was great or he was terrible but most of all he was entertaining to watch. Eight times he survived elimination and it showed that when he was on, he could flat out cook. He and Marion were a fine double act, certainly in All Stars and there is on doubt whatsoever that Marion saying, ‘Jonno’ is etched on my memory.

I know no-one from S1 or S5 made this list, the reason is that Chris and Justine were in the mix but I wasn’t a huge fan of season one. Season five was just shocking and only Lynton and Rishi deserved really to even be thought about. Others who were in my thoughts for this list included from S2 Callum, from S3, Kumar, Ellie, Arena, Alana, from S4, Ben, Alice, Tregan and from S6, Emelia, Sarah and Kira.

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Please leave any comments or contact me directly via the E-Mail Me link on the Right Hand Nav. You can stay in touch with the blog following me on Twitter or by liking the blog on Facebook. Please share this content via the Social Media links below if you think anyone else would enjoy reading.

Written by neilmonnery

November 26th, 2014 at 4:15 pm

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Sky Sports NFL Coverage 2014 – Once more stepping it up

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The NFL season got underway the other night and tonight we are back with our usual Sunday night doubleheader. On Thursday Sky Sports showed us some of their plans for the 2014 season, the 20th that they have been coverage the league and I must say I’m quietly impressed with what they are doing. Here is an overview.

Firstly they are making their analysts more permanent. In recent years it has been Nick Halling and latterly Neil Reynolds being joined by a seemingly random cast of others. This year it will be Shaun Gayle joining the team until Thanksgiving whereupon he’ll be aside for Jeff Reinebold to take us the rest of the way.

Personally I like this set up as it gives the team more of a chance to gel and I wasn’t overly keen on the show being used as a tryout for former NFL players who wanted to get involved in broadcasting, Rocky Boiman (who sounds like Lisa’s character in The Simpsons when she was pretending to be a boy to do Maths at the boys half of Springfield Elementary) aside, I have not been impressed by any of these people and any set up that gives us more Jeff Reinebold is one that I can fully endorse. I think Jeff is by far and away the best analyst we’ve had on Sky Sports NFL coverage in the decade plus that I have been watching. He has a relaxed style but also has the technical nous to take us through the x’s and o’s so I’m happy.

Of course then there is big Cecil Martin. I know many of the more knowledgeable fans get annoyed by his antics but I like it. He’ll be around for the Wembley games this year so he is still involved. A Gayle-Reinebold-Martin monopoly in the analysts chair is a ok by me. I don’t know if they’ll be extra guest analysts but between those three they have a good solid team.

Neil Reynolds received a tonne of stick when I wrote the blog post about Nick Halling leaving the NFL team for the Boxing gig three years ago. The comments do not read well for Neil but my namesake isn’t half as bad as some of those comments say. Reynolds is a more than solid guy and if we all put up with Kevin Cadle’s presenting style then we can put up with Neil Reynolds.

The Red Zone is back on Sunday’s and they’ll show more highlights on the main channel as well as live look ins. For the Thursday night game, Sky will also show the CBS pre-game show, which will be something different. Like other Sky shows, they’ve also been given a ‘SkyPad’ aka a rather large touchscreen where Reynolds and the analyst can go through tactics and the like. Again Sky showing some decent investment in the NFL.

I don’t think the NFL brings too many subscriptions to the company but I do think it is a relatively inexpensive and popular filler for Sky. If the NFL does expand to London in terms of a full-time franchise based in the capital then it will be a very significant sport for TV companies over here. I think Sky do a very good job in terms of most sports and I think they treat NFL with more seriousness the more they cover the sport.

When you throw in what Channel 4 do with the Sunday Night Game then fans of the NFL in this country get a pretty good deal. Eurosport will show the Monday Night game against this year and that is a strange one for me but heck, it is live on TV. I think if my memory serves me right this is the last year of Sky’s three-year deal they signed in 2012 and that means the rights will be up over the summer and I have zero doubt BT Sport will make a play for them. As I said earlier, it isn’t a sport that brings in a tonne of subs but it will be a very nice addition to BT’s portfolio should they steal it and I suspect a key thing to keep for Sky Sports.

Personally I hope Sky’s long partnership with the NFL continues beyond this season but I think it is very much up for grabs. Sky are showing commitment to the sport with their coverage and I expect another good year this year both on the field of play and in the TV studio.

Lastly you can tweet the team here:

Kevin Cadle – @kevincadle
Neil Reynolds – – @neilreynoldsnfl
Shaun Gayle – @85worldchamps
Cecil Martin – @cecilmartin1
Jeff Reinebold – @jeff_reinebold
Sky Sports NFL Account – @skysportsnfl

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Please leave any comments or contact me directly via the E-Mail Me link on the Right Hand Nav. You can stay in touch with the blog following me on Twitter or by liking the blog on Facebook. Please share this content via the Social Media links below if you think anyone else would enjoy reading.

Written by neilmonnery

September 7th, 2014 at 2:11 pm

Posted in American Sport,Media

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World Cup – The TV Battle – BBC v ITV

with one comment

So far I have seen every minute of the World Cup bar a snooze during the first half of the Iran v Nigeria game yesterday. I also have read a lot of feedback on the presenters, pundits, commentators and co-commentators (otherwise known as summerisers to certain people who like a disparage me) so I thought I’d put my views forward for the seven people that might read this:

Presenters:

The BBC use a former Golden Boot winner, darling of English football, Walkers Crisps seller and all around Mr. Nice Guy. ITV use an overexcited 47 year-old Brummie. It really should be a slam dunk for the Beeb shouldn’t it? Well it isn’t. Gary has improved a lot since his shuttering start eons ago when he replaced Des Lynam as the host of BBC’s Football output.

There is nothing wrong with Gary but there is also a lot to say positively for Adrian (and indeed Matt Smith). Adrian’s style is certainly less relaxed than Gary’s but he certainly injects more of his personality. When they presented the pre-game show from the beach on Sunday afternoon, you saw Adrian in his absolute element and it was a thoroughly enjoyable pre-game.

Both the Beeb and ITV have more than competent front men. I have a feeling Adrian gets a lot of stick because a lot of people think that they can do better than him. Hosting live TV is not easy and I think he does an admirable job.

Pundits:

We’ll start with the cream of the crop – Thierry Henry and Lee Dixon. Henry has been the breath of fresh air that everyone expected him to be and shows why everyone is fighting over securing his services going forward. A Sky team of Neville, Carragher, Souness, Hoddle and Henry is pretty dreamy. Dixon is the class of the ITV field and we knew that going in once Roy Keane decided not to travel to Brazil.

Dixon anchors the ITV team and is the man who can put together some actual analysis and not just opinion. Something his fellow pundits seem to struggle with.

Away from the top pundits we have Rio Ferdinand who I’m just not warming to as a pundit, his defence of Wayne Rooney’s performance seemed to show that he is still too near to the team to be subjective. In what was a bizarro moment it was this exchange that shown Alan Shearer is not as awful as the popular opinion says. Shearer was adamant that Rooney has to get that effort on target in the second half and he wouldn’t let it go. Good for Alan.

Over on ITV we have Glenn Hoddle who has always been a more than solid pundit. I still don’t understand why he hasn’t gotten another crack at management – certainly at Spurs. Fabio Cannavaro seems to struggle speaking in English and Patrick Vieira is missing Roy Keane as they could have been a fiery pairing.

Of course there is also Ian Wright but he’s in the Robbie Savage mould of just being awful but keeps getting TV work. Robbie Savage had a stint at co-commentary last night and oy vey.

Commentators:

Guy Mowbray has been handed the gig as the top man at the Beeb again for this tournament but he is being dragged down by the choice of co-commentators he’s been stuck with. This is an issue across the BBC. Jonathan Pearce had an absolute stinker in the France game the other night getting all in a fluster regarding goal line technology. He needs to learn that silence is golden and a TV commentator doesn’t have to speak for every single second.

Over at ITV then Clive Tyldesley has been the top man since Brian Moore retired. There is nothing wrong with his commentary and he calls big moments well but I just yearn for Martin Tyler and/or Ian Darke who are both better but both commentating for non UK audiences once more this World Cup. ITV’s number two is the only one of these people that I have met during some work experience with 107.4 The Quay many moons ago – Sam Matterface. I still have very little idea how he rose from calling Portsmouth games on local radio to going to the World Cup as ITV’s #2 commentator but he has. He isn’t Jon Champion and he probably isn’t even Peter Drury but he isn’t horrific and is certainly better than Jonathan Pearce – although that isn’t saying much.

Co-commentators:

Phil Neville was given the chance to call England games after the auntie decided Mark Lawrenson was too dour for the top team. Then Phil Neville spoke and whilst what he said wasn’t actually that bad – the way he spoke was a real turn-off. The fact 445 people have complained to the BBC about him is a joke but it certainly wasn’t a great debut. Elsewhere the Beeb has Mark Lawrenson who is ok, Martin Known who certainly is not and the more than adequate Kevin Kilbane. They gave Robbie Savage a chance and er…yeah. I think the less said about that the better. Never again BBC. Never again.

ITV leads with Andy Townsend and whilst I think he gets a lot of very deserved stick, they might not have anyone better. They had Jim Beglin on staff for ages but got rid of him when he was in fact superior to Townsend and since then the likes of Clarke Carlisle have been given a chance to impress as they seem to really like the Matterface/Carlisle combination but I just don’t get it.

All in all I’d say the BBC probably has the better team and when it comes down to it I’ll watch the final on the Beeb I suspect. I think both channels can be comfortable with their studio outfit but when it comes to behind the microphone, the BBC has Jonathan Pearce who is a real turn-off but otherwise (bar Savage’s attempts) they are ok (I think Phil Neville will get better) but ITV just don’t have anyone bar Clive Tyldesley who I’d say was anything better than average.

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Please leave any comments or contact me directly via the E-Mail Me link on the Right Hand Nav. You can stay in touch with the blog following me on Twitter or by liking the blog on Facebook. Please share this content via the Social Media links below if you think anyone else would enjoy reading.

Written by neilmonnery

June 17th, 2014 at 3:20 pm

Posted in Football,Media

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