The Rambles of Neil Monnery

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Archive for the ‘tv’ tag

On putting Soccer AM out of its misery…

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I remember the days when I was much younger than I am now. Back in those teenage and early 20s years I would have a pretty steady Saturday morning ritual before either heading to Fratton or St. George’s Park to take in my live football. That ritual would involve enjoying Sky Sports’ Soccer AM. The show fronted by Tim Lovejoy and Helen Chamberlain wasn’t must-see TV but a nice relaxing route into the footballing day.

As I got older though I fell out of the habit, not just because of age (and maybe some maturity) but because when Tim Lovejoy left the show (taking a lot of the actual talent with him) it became a shell of what it once was. I know Fenners has returned and is now fronting the show but he was at his best when playing characters. Sheephead was first rate. Robbie Knox et al. They were what made the show funny.

Fans of the show will remember Hells Bells snogging Rocket for his birthday, Fixtures Man, Topless Weather is association with Gravy, ooo northern boys love gravy, Barry, Fenners punching Lovejoy, Lovejoy getting a ball to the knackers, Serge’s goal in the Wembley game, naked hikers, the Dance Off, the Save chip! campaign and the like. Those were the days…

The show is back is the news today as word comes out that having fronted the show since its inception, Helen Chamberlain won’t be on the famous red sofas this season. I have to admit I don’t think I’ve watched a whole episode in a decade or so. I have seen bits here and there but when Andy Goldstein came in, it lost a lot and Max Rushden wasn’t able to stem the tide (although I actually thought/think he’s a solid TV presenter).

Chamberlain though has been a permanent fixture on the show. Her departure would logically have been the catalyst for Sky to finally axe the show and move forward with something new on a Saturday morning. With the new Sky Sports channel line-up, this was the perfect opportunity to put Soccer AM to bed (albeit a decade after it should have been).

Sometimes TV shows evolve and move forward with the times. Soccer AM failed to do this and when it had to change things up once Lovejoy and the gang left, it instead just tried to replicate their success but with inferior presenters/crew.

What shouldn’t be overlooked is the culture of the sport itself changing. Maybe it is just because I have myself drifted away from it as a weekly staple (I’ve become one of those armchair fans mostly) but it does seem as though football has become more of a family outing than the blokey one it still was when I was younger. With that culture (from my PoV anyway) changing, the larks of the show don’t sit with what audiences want any more.

When the time is right for a complete overhaul or an ending, TV producers shouldn’t be afraid to get it done. Leave them wanting more. Fawlty Towers only ran for two season’s as did The Young Ones. Soccer AM had a great run but bringing in Jimmy Bullard to replace Helen Chamberlain along with comedian Lloyd Griffith won’t turn around the sinking ship that has lost around 80% of its audience in the past ten years.

So farewell Soccer AM. I had pretty much forgotten you existed (apart from the final two or three minutes when I see it as I’ve turned over to watch Jeff and the boys at midday and they are not getting stale). Without Tim Lovejoy and the gang you had lost your mojo but without Helen Chamberlain you’ll have lost your soul. The show will be a husk of what it once was and as I end and look outside of the window here in the south, I see that it is light drizzle…

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Written by neilmonnery

August 8th, 2017 at 9:56 am

Posted in Football

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On BT Sport locking out Champions League and Europa League coverage for another three years…

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Well that sucks.

BT Sport have stunned most casual observers not by re-upping their deal to show Champions League and Europa League football but by locking out all live games and highlights. This means they’ll be no terrestrial coverage even in highlight form. This shows us that UEFA are still money-grabbing so and so’s but also that BT are here to stay. They don’t care if they lose money on this deal because they believe it’ll be a loss leader for years to come.

Guy Laurent Epstein, who is the UEFA marketing director said, ‘UEFA is delighted to have extended the relationship with BT Sport for a further three seasons, taking our partnership to 2021.

BT Sport has proved to be an innovative broadcast partner, pushing the boundaries and covering the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League in new ways.

BT have delivered strong audiences in the UK and we are excited about their future plans for the use of social media which will engage a growing fanbase that consumes sport in different ways.’

I’ll translate that for you. What he means is ‘BT offered us the most money. Simples’ before he did an impression of a meerkat.

It makes little difference to me as I have BT Sport anyway but when they bid for the highlights package as well to deprive people without BT Sport any legal way of even watching the highlights, you have to look at the company and shake your head. This is a move designed to put BT Sport on the map and force football fans who want to watch any coverage of Europe’s premier club competitions to shell out the money. Talk about being ruthless.

In an article entitled, BT denies squeezing customers after paying £1.2bn for Champions League in The Guardian today John Petter, who is the chief executive of BT’s consumer division came out swinging denying that the rampant price rises for BT customers has anything to do with sports rights purchases. Even though most believed the previous contract was a massive overpay, BT have given UEFA 32% more money this time around. With Sky not expected to try and win back the rights with any massive bid, BT didn’t have to give UEFA just a big rise but chose to anyway.

Look I am a massive sports fan. Ask anyone who knows me in real life and I literally work my life around what games I want to watch on the tellybox. Yet even I can see when the TV rights bubble is ready to burst. This is a gross overpay by BT (as was the last Premier League deal by Sky) and with the fear that Discovery or Google TV will try to throw their hats into the ring, these two big companies will continue to pay over the odds for live sports coverage until one of them completely cracks. This surely can’t be too far away from happening.

I am appalled that they locked out FTA coverage of highlights. I just think that shows that they don’t care about people at all and are money grabbing eejits. I suspect this deal will lead to the brand of BT being tarnished even more. I am on the record as not being a fan of a multitude of their sports coverage (I can find it a bit too dumbed-down) but I’ll give them their due, when Gary Lineker anchors their CL coverage it works much better as when watching it I feel it is less pally and more robust discussion.

With the Ashes this winter being their first foray into English cricket (and with the best names all contracted to Sky) they say they’ll produce their own commentating team full of the second-tier commentators. This fills me with dread. I can only hope that Test Match Special can be synced up with BT’s pictures (or they at least offer the Channel Nine commentary from Australia) otherwise I think I’ll go stir-crazy this winter.

So BT Sport are here to stay. They’ll continue to ebb away at my enjoyment of watching sport. When a company thinks that Dareen Fletcher (or I should say ‘Fletch’) is better than Ian Darke as a lead commentator you know they aren’t looking to provide the most professional coverage about. They have it their own way. ‘This is how we do it on BT Sport’ yells Jake Humphrey all the time. Yes, so it is. It is worse than how everyone else does it and you ensure that FTA highlights aren’t available on TV and that you’ll show some clips through your social media Bravo BT Sport. Another bad day for fans, your customers and no doubt your shareholders.

What a day…

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Written by neilmonnery

March 6th, 2017 at 12:55 pm

Posted in Football

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On BT Sport blowing Sky out of the water for Ashes Cricket in 2017/2018

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I wrote this blog but by the time I went to publish it, Charles Sale had revised the fee to £80million over five years – I thought I’d leave in the original figure in the blog post just to show how much Charles Sale changed his report after publication. My fury is not quelled by the amount being a lot less but the money certainly isn’t completely insane. If indeed Sky walked away from the rights at that figure then fuck me did they overspend for the EPL and have dropped a right bollock on this one.

I was going to have a bath. Well I was thinking about it anyway. A way to soothe my aching limbs on a Sunday evening but thought I’d watch the end of the baseball first. My phone beeps, I wander over to it and I see a tweet with a link, so I walk over to my PC to investigate and the story is how BT Sport have reportedly won the rights to show all matches from Cricket Australia in a five-year deal worth – now don’t fall over or faint here – £70million per year. That is £350million over the next five years.

Now whilst this deal is for 32 test matches, for us in reality it is all about five, the next Ashes series down under. For the past two plus decades we’ve had all live England Test matches overseas on Sky Sports and whilst some of those matches haven’t been a full Sky Sports production, they have all had some of the Sky guys in the commentary box.

The thing is, Sky’s cricket coverage is the best coverage of any sport in the UK. I can’t really write that as fact but is merely my opinion – and indeed that of many avid sport watchers. The mix of voices in the commentary box is first rate. I have written about it before in a blog entitled, Why mess with nigh on perfection? and I very much stick by what I wrote in that blog post.

The joy of the Sky box isn’t just in the commentary and the presenting but also the chats during rain delays and the like. The level of voice they have is just second to none. From Michael Atherton to Nasser Hussein to Bumble to Lord Gower to Sir Ian Botham and of course to Michael Holding. Michael Holding is quite simply one of those people you wish you could just sit down with in a pub for a drink and a chat because he is quite amazing and Michael Atherton is the next Richie Benaud, he is that good. They get the right voices from overseas (both Ian Smith and Ricky Ponting just knocked it out of the ball park this summer) and to be frank, there is no way on Earth BT could even get close to the quality of coverage Sky do and do you know why we know this?

Because they cover football these days and there is no-one out there saying they want to see more Jake Humphrey presenting or need to listen to more Michael Owen butcher another co-commentary. Sky again outshine BT in football coverage and it is no surprise, they have been the best for a number of years so they know what they are doing. Yes sometimes a change can revolutionise a sports coverage (see Cricket, BBC to Channel Four – another thing I wrote about) but at best all this deal will do is mean for one tour BT will have to put together a second rate team to cover these matches as al the top dogs are signed up to Sky and indeed will stay with Sky considering all the other matches bar one England series are still with the corporation. Although it could mean that Geoffrey Boycott could return to live TV commentary but that is a long ways away.

As you can tell I’m not happy but it isn’t just the fact that BT will be showing the Ashes in 2017/2018 but look at the money they are paying. I have a friend who always says, ‘well its not my money so who cares?’ but as customers we should care. £70million a year (again if the report is true – it is Charles Sale) is just insane. Flat out insane for what they would be getting. The previous deal was for £50million over four years and this is £350million over five years. Cricket rights have not gone up that much and yes whilst I agree The Big Bash is worth a few quid, it is paltry compared to the Test matches and if BT really think that the value of these rights have gone up by 600% in four years well then, those that said Sky overpaid for EPL rights must be looking at BT and thinking there was an ink issue with the fax offer sheet.

The loser in all of this is firstly the cricket fan, a) they’ll lose the best coverage of the sport for five extremely important Test matches and b) will have to shell out yet another subscription fee to watch cricket but there is also c) the average BT customer who will likely have these exorbitant rights fees passed on to them with rises in their subscription costs, even if they don’t want to watch cricket.

We’ll see if this story is true but if it is, the next Ashes series might just be the host broadcaster coverage (and I don’t hate Channel Nine’s coverage but lets be honest, it is not what it once was with the passing of Greig, Benaud and the retirement of Lawry) but they aren’t Sky and of course if BT put together their own list of broadcasters then expect the 2017/2018 Ashes series to have commentary from the likes of Matthew Hoggard, Darren Gough and who knows, maybe they can get more value out of Michael Owen and put him in for a few stints just to brighten all our nights and early mornings in three winters’ time.

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Written by neilmonnery

August 23rd, 2015 at 9:13 pm

Posted in Media,Other Sport

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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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Written by neilmonnery

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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Written by neilmonnery

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

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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

Tagged with ,

Take Me Out Girls 2015 – Season Seven

with 34 comments

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.

alison-take-me-out-2015

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.

amy-take-me-out-2015

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.

christina-take-me-out-2015

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…

danielle-take-me-out-2015

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…

dani-take-me-out-2015

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.

kat-take-me-out-2015

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 the ending of The Newsroom…

without comments

Oh man. A show with so much promise, some first rate actors, some interesting characters and a star writer, how on Earth could it end so limply? I loved the first season, I enjoyed the second season in the main and even season three started off well but the final three episodes just sucked.

Let me start at the killing of Charlie Skinner at the end of episode five of this season, why Sorkin, why? I know you’ve explained why but once more I ask, why Sorkin, why? The Newsroom revolved around Skinner and the acting masterclass that Sam Waterston put on. I loved him in Law & Order and loved him just as much as the bourbon drinking head honcho at ACN. He didn’t need to die and the way he killed him was just so mundane and didn’t give him the gravitas that he deserved if he was to meet his demise.

So the final episode explored some of the back stories that put the cast together, we’ve seen this before from Sorkin. At the start of season two of The West Wing we saw a wonderful two-parter (In the Shadow of Two Gunmen) that showed how everyone came together. This time though it didn’t set up a season, it ended a shows run and it didn’t actually add too much to the storyline. We knew Sloane was into Don before (‘You never asked me’) and we knew Mac was dealing with issues from Afghanistan. We find out that Jim has had a bad long-distance (45 mins away by car) relationship before (thus setting up the Jim/Maggie ending) and we find out that Charlie is a true gent who wants to do the news right (er…we knew this already) and that Will cares about ratings and what people thought about him (again we knew that already) so is all seriousness for all the flashbacks we learnt that Jim has had a bad history in semi long-distance relationships. So worth it.

This brings me on to the most disgraceful part of the episode, the return of Neal (seriously dude, spell your name right, like all good Neil’s). Neal missed most of the season hiding out in Venezuela after refusing to give up a source ad what does he get after his near two months on the run? It gets announced at Charlie’s wake that his plane has landed and he gets a cool shot at the ACN Digital guys but he gets zero interaction with the rest of the crew. No pats on the back, no-one asking him how he was, nothing. Now I’m guessing this has to do with actor Dev Patel working on other projects so they just tried to shoehorn him into the episode but come on, film at least one scene where people welcome him back for fucks sake. As much as the fact he spells his name with an a instead of an i pisses me off, I loved Neal nearly as much as I loved Charlie. He reminded me of me, if only I was better looking, had better morals, was smarter…well he doesn’t remind me of me as such but his name is similar and I liked him, ok?

Mac is pregnant. Who cares? Mac gets promoted to be President of ACN without even being asked, like, for reals? Any scene with Leona is great as Jane Fonda is great. Seriously someone create a spin-off show that is just Leona and Charlie (assuming he can be resurrected from the dead) drink bourbon and bitch about the world and I’d be all over that. As would everyone who watched The Newsroom.

So we get to the finale of the most painful romance in TV history, Jim and Maggie. Jim (with whom I actually do identify in many ways despite not even being remotely close to my name) realised that he was in love with Maggie still, despite going out with Hallie (who was wonderful, if you were to possibly draw up my ‘ideal’ woman in terms of the type of person with whom I think I’d fall for then it would be Hallie, ambitious, smart, beautiful, quick-witted, sorry I’m just imagining the make-up sex with her after a fight, I’m sensing it would be amazing but I digress). So Jim and Hallie end after he is a dick (see, I told you I could relate to him) but in part it is because deep down he’s remembered his feelings for Maggie. She is seeing someone else too but he’s super smart and realises very quickly that she is hung up on Jim.

This tawdry love affair reaches a climax on a plane where they share an albeit beautiful kiss, the head stroke and smile on Maggie’s face seemed genuine and lovely. At times I can at least see romance even if I’m seemingly incapable of portraying it in real life. She finally had the one she wanted. Fast forward three days and after three nights of sex, Jim recommends her for a field producers position in DC, meaning they would have to be in a LDR (see the flashbacks did have a very small point after all) but having overcome the lazy blonde stereotype that she was in season one and after the abomination of what they did to her character in season two, she had blossomed into what we saw, a confident, smart, young woman. Hurrah. Yet here we are with her all nervous about Jim trying to ship her out of town. They end this mini-fight with her asking why he was so sure that this LDR would work when the others hadn’t and he walks away saying, ‘because I wasn’t in love with them’ – nice. A good line finally. Sadly we all know that in reality Jim would be too much of a prick for it to last and Maggie would find someone better suited in DC but we can all pretend, right? This wasn’t Josh and Donna from TWW, that love story needed no coercion, it was natural and the audience could see it and yearned for it, this was just meh.

To round this all off we of course get to Will and Mac. Mac is Will’s one. Will doesn’t care about ratings and doesn’t care about being liked deep down, that is all a mask, all he cares about is Mac and how she sees him. Mac and Will were together before but she cheated on him and he couldn’t forgive her at that point and went into years of depression that his one could do that to him. She is brought back by Charlie because he knows that the only way to turn both the show and Will around is to make him care once more and the only way to do that is to bring her in. Fair enough. It works as a storyline and we saw Will’s evolution into the character we all loved. Mac however never truly developed and her happiness came from being with Will and making him into the best person he could be. Sweet yes, but again shows how Sorkin struggles with writing female characters.

Look, don’t get me wrong, overall I enjoyed the show and Charlie and Leona were insanely good characters. Will was developed well and all three actors (Waterston, Fonda, Daniels) were first rate. Sadly though for an ensemble cast, the rest of the characters were never truly developed and this held back the show from becoming what it could have been, the acting was great but the writing concentrated too much on the holier-than-thou attitude of Sorkin towards the media (which may or may not be unfair depending on your take of the current media output that we are subjected to) but that air of arrogance held back the development of the other characters and forced relationships that didn’t sit well with the audience. It could’ve been special and when they were given six more episodes to end things then everything was set up for an epic climax, instead we got an average episode then summed up the missed chance once more that this show was.

The Newsroom 2012-2014. Loved, then liked, then watched. Sadly it won’t be terribly missed.

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 15th, 2014 at 3:11 pm

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