A list of the 20 most annoying talking heads, who were so appalling that, aside from the witty incredulity of Martin Deeson, the most likeable of them was the reptilian Max Clifford. The rest were largely voracious maggots munching on the interred, putrefying remains of the decaying celebrities they so wish to usurp.
1. Mark Dolan. The sort of decayed, rotting flesh you see trapped between eroding teeth distinguishable as human only because of his glasses. Has this revolting way of beginning each and every one of his bitchy sentences with ‘we’ to offer the viewer a sense of false inclusion. Seems content to “titter in the background”, a place where he will remain as he lacks even the charisma of the darkest shadow. On Robbie Williams he sneered: “The first time Robbie had a bout of self-loathing was when he left Take That, and at that point we loved him, ‘we feel your pain’.”
2. Julia Hartley Brewer. If she wasn’t so plastered in make up, we wonder if her wrinkles would exceed the cumulative length of all the tributaries of the Amazon. On Kate Moss, she scorned with all her inbred double-barrelled pomposity: “Kate Moss is a council estate girl who looks like a council estate girl.” On Heather Mills McCartney: “She has turned the whole nation against her, well done Heather. And Paul, if 59 million people hate your wife-to-be – take the hint!” Unaware that not everyone is willing to publicly execute someone without first having a trial – in the Dark Ages she would have been the warty harridan at witch burnings with a face twisted with sanctimonious fury before going home to her empty shack to weep at her eternal loneliness. On Pete Doherty she superciliously chortled: “What has Pete Doherty done?” Answer: Co-written some of the best songs of the past five years. “Can you name a single song by him?” Plenty, and so can anyone under 40 not throttled with a decrepit, middle-aged derision for youth.
3. Emma Jones. Where do we begin? Let’s start with how the ex-Smash Hits editor seems oblivious of the sound of her own voice. “James Blunt has an annoying, whiney voice,” she whined sounding like a pig with its snout in the trough. “He’s also a small man, which people find irritating.” On Lily Allen she bitched: “She’s got something of the street about her, she has a bit of a dinner lady face.” Perhaps, but a dinner lady face is infinitely preferable to a face like a frozen, snow-glazed lake that has been cracked to ruination by the impact of a small asteroid.
4. Nick Ferrari. An astonishingly ugly man whose fragile, podgy face seems forever at risk of being sucked into his bloated body like a sandcastle collapsing in the lapping coastal sea. Because of Jamie Oliver’s admirable crusade to rid the world of fat children he baselessly confided: “I predict the tide will turn for the Olivers in the next 12 months.”
5. Olivia Lee. Seems uncomfortable in the human form and her vile, pitiful, fabricated bitterness towards Kiera Knightley suggests she would be far happier being a vial of poison in a syringe about to be administered into the veins of a young woman to snuff out a life of someone who is prettier and more talented than she is.
6. Dave Berry. Each syllable he utters staggers from his mouth as though it is contemplating tossing itself off a cliff on to the rocks below. Exposed himself as that common strain of irradiated saliva who only like football when the World Cup is on. In a pre-composed tirade against Sven Goran Eriksson he wailed about Andy Johnson’s exclusion from the World Cup squad: “Go to Goodison Park. Don’t go to the park and get in the back seat.” What good would that have done? Johnson didn’t transfer to Everton until this season. He also threw in some tepid jingoism for good measure: “Ronaldo’s wink to the bench was like a typical slimy Portuguese waiter.”
7. Rick Edwards. A TV presenter so fearful of imagination and creativity that he regards ideas with the same suspicion as the residents of Hartlepool had for shipwrecked monkeys in the Napoleonic Wars and strings them up lest they should encroach on his joyless void of stupidity. At one point he moaned: “Why is an email more important than what I’m saying?” A faint intelligible echo of the twittering of a newly hatched seagull in a cove off the Aberdeenshire coast that is gobbled up by a wild cat soon after is more important than every single word you have ever uttered. On Ronaldo, he grunted his ignorance of football: “It’s not a British thing to do – you shouldn’t try and influence the referee, and that’s why I don’t like him.”
8. Darryn Lyons. Runs a paparazzi photography agency; frothy scum washed up on beaches near sewage outlets choking the lungs of over-inquisitive crabs morally looks down on him.
9. Carole Malone. Her tongue resembles blunt iron hammer while speaking in the intolerant, dogmatic tones of a marching fascist jackboot. But she shrank like a tumour being drained of its pus when it came to hard facts, and instead relied on the trusty journalistic tool of presenting “rumours” as unchallenged truths to vent her diluted, grey spleen.
10. Mark Frith. A spiteful whisper carried on the wind, visible only because it is drenched in sickening volumes of worthless black oil. Began each of his accusations with the craven disclaimer, “there was talk” or “there were rumours”, in the knowledge that Heat has conditioned the brains of its readers to assume such scurrilous lies are truth unless proven otherwise.
11. Hannah Sandling. “Kate Moss is rock and roll royalty.” No, she isn’t. She is a parasitic non-entity who gets paid £30m a year for possessing the ability to walk in a straight line. If anyone thinks differently, look at their shoes. And on Sophie Anderton: “All I can say is that I’m glad I wasn’t on the Island.” If that’s the case, then she’s unique among identikit blonde female TV presenters who would have scalped the face from Bianca Gascoigne to take her place so desperate are they to get on the box.
12. Piers Hernu. Said in his posh ancestral accent handed down from generation to generation to coax young men to their deaths in some foolhardy war: “I’m not the only idiot on the planet.”
13. Paul Dannan. “How did Manchester United take Ronaldo back?” Perhaps because he is a uniquely skilled, talented young man, the inverse of which qualities contributed to you getting invited back onto Love Island.
14. Lucie Cave. She raged at Kerry Katona for not exclusively revealing in Heat that she had dabbled in drugs and instead saved it for her autobiography. For a magazine that trades on half-truths and gossip with a fervour and devotion that would impress Goebbels, her anger really was impotent and facile.
15. Kevin O’Sullivan. A showbiz journalist who seems to enjoy being disgusted by the celebrity antics but whose very livelihood depends on such trivial hi-jinks in the same way as vultures’ stomachs rely on lions killing zebras in the wide plains of Africa.
16. Kirsten O’Brien. Still chained in the deepest dungeon of kids’ TV, her bitterness now spurts out like boiling blood. “What is the point of Peter Doherty?” she cackled while in the background a hunched shape dropped the fingers of an innocent child who was careless with a car door into a cauldron to concoct the formula to get the voiceover job on Three’s Outtakes.
17. Oliver Grady. “I’m sure if you look up ‘chav’ in the dictionary you’ll see a picture of Kerry Katona next to it.” And if you look up ‘pompous man whose hair curls with the same universal shame as the cowed inhabitants of a Cornish village found guilty of child sacrifice to Satan’ your leering mugshot will be present and correct.
18. Natalie Casey. “I think that Zidane should have sucked it up and been a man. And that’s why they lost.” If men acted like the popular stereotype of how men should be, then we’d still be hitting each other over the heads with clubs. Gross masculinity is a disease every bit as virulent and damaging as Louis Walsh’s promises.
19. Sarah Cawood. “I lost a lot of respect for Bianca Gascoigne!” Just how did this respect accrue in the first place?
20. Sarah Hendy. A wit as memorable and significant as the sweaty grime on a blacksmith’s brow. On Victoria Beckham she hilariously quipped: “V.B.! Very boring is what she is!”