What to say of you liked it
Britain’s wittiest chat show host returns for a triumphant new series of top guests and loud laughs.
What to say if you didn’t like it
While Jonathan Ross effortlessly scales the talk show mountain each week, and Parky still manages to breathlessly reach the summit occasionally, Frank rarely ventures out beyond base camp, crippled by weak guests and his momentum being snapped in two by the schedulers.
What was good about it?
• Frank’s gag about Brooklyn Beckham caked in fake tan looking like Morph.
• Frank remarking to Latoya Jackson how he liked his celebrities to be weird like her brother Michael, and that he hoped Michael watched David Lynch’s film of the Elephant Man in the company of John Merrick’s skeleton.
• LaToya Jackson’s odd eyebrows, that hovered high above her peepers like hawks about to swoop on an unsuspecting mouse in a hay field.
• Frank on Michael Jackson’s forthcoming trial: “If he’s guilty, let him burn!”
• Trying to work out which celebrity scientists had crossbred with a hippo to create Har Mar Superstar. We settled on Elton John.
• The otherwise witless Har Mar’s acerbic assessment of Jennifer Lopez: “It’s hard to write for someone who has no traceable personality.”
What was bad about it?
• The opening routine was pretty feeble, especially the trite pun about Cliff Richard.
• The sketch about loan shark companies who blanket advertise on TV – it missed the comedy open goal.
• Richard Dreyfuss being so anonymous that Frank had to constantly refer to his two big hits – Jaws from 1975 and Close Encounters of the Third Kind from 1977.
• The glasses that hung around Dreyfuss’s neck that made his appearance seem like a quick interlude between script readings.
• Dreyfuss getting frustrated each time the conversation moved away from his West End play The Producers.
• Frank adopting the universal flaw of British chat show hosts in being far too servile to any American guest, which diluted his naturally caustic style.
• The chat with LaToya Jackson was, in essence, a Michael Jackson interview conducting vicariously through unsound medium LaToya.
• Breaking up the show with the ITV News was very disruptive.
• Har Mar Superstar – he is to music what Tamara Beckwith is to television.
• Too many of Frank’s half-decent quips received a round of applause.
• LaToya getting coy on the topic of her own life for “contractual reasons”, which was rather like the Universe refusing to speak about its vacuum.
• When Har Mar Superstar related an anecdote involving Simon Le Bon (who was on last week’s Ross) combined with LaToya always talking about her brother, it became apparent that while Ross and Parky can get the top guests, Frank has to make do with their relatives and acquaintances and make do with second hand stories.
Frank Skinner, ITV1
1 Rufus Wainwright. What a lovely, camp thing! We loved his northern England pronunciation of “latte” and the haunting Oh What A World – without doubt, THE song of 2004.
2 Kathy Burke. Aah, isn’t she lovely?
3. George Best. Still revered when he doesn’t deserve it.
1. Jamelia. The Birmingham singer established an immediate rapport with Frank and was prepared to indulge his cheeky line of questioning and often join in self-deprecatingly, especially on the topics of her footballer boyfriend or a photo where she had put her legs in a fridge.
2. Franz Ferdinand, well maybe just singer Alex as the rest uttered nothing other than a few indecipherable mumbles. As with Jamelia, Frank did most of the work, and he learned about their new World Cup song for Scotland, which is unlikely to see the light of day given the national side’s abysmal form.
3. Brian McFadden. The former dumb Westlife prop didn’t dodge questions about the breakdown of his marriage, but it was difficult to feel anything other than apathy for a man who has in part been responsible for some of the worst music of the past decade.
Best joke of the show from Frank – “If they put the Cheeky Girls in the [Band Aid 3] video, the Africans will be sending us grain.”
Frank Skinner, ITV1
1. Tony Bennett, who took Frank’s humour in good spirits even though he didn’t always get the joke.
2. Morrissey who sang his quite good new single.
3. Leigh Francis and Davina McCall, where the highlight was an inversion of the Matthew Kelly interview when Frank confronted the Bo’ Selecta comic about his portrayal of himself and David Baddiel as unfunny one-trick ponies.
4. Jodie Marsh, a festering in-grown toe nail on humanity’s already gangrenous foot