Get A Nurse Here Now! The Big Singalong Tribute To The Nhs Is Flatlining With So-called Celebrities

30

WHAT’S that you say, ITV continuity woman? It’s the NHS’s 70th birthday? Well why the hell didn’t anyone tell the BBC? They could’ve mentioned it once, or maybe even twice.

Instead, it’s left to the commercial broadcaster and poor old Tony Hadley, reaching something close to climax, to sing a hymn of praise to this much-neglected national treasure.

ITV Ashley Banjo and Sara Cox on the painful Big Singalong

At which point, I think it’s probably time to drop the laboured sarcasm, because this next event may have been the point the cult of the NHS met its Waterloo.

The Big Singalong Live, from Abbey Road Studios, where the disclaimers were heavier than Wednesday night’s rain as host Sara Cox quickly established: “This was not our idea, was it, Ashley (Banjo)?”

“No, no it wasn’t.”

The buck was being passed very much in the direction of the Lewisham and Greenwich NHS choir, who had come up with the perfectly ­reasonable idea of breaking television’s singalong record of 6,904 people, with a live version of The Beatles’ song With A Little Help From My Friends.

Rex Features Aston Merrygold cleared his schedule to be apart of The Big Singalong

Tireless and talented NHS heroes they may be, but for this thing to fly someone also clearly felt the process required some famous names to get on board.

Normally, of course, this is the point when the public realises, “Ah, so it isn’t about us or the NHS at all. It’s about celebrities improving their image.”

Oh, but what record-breaking names they’d assembled.

Robbie, Adele, Elton, Ed Sheeran, Coldplay and Stormzy, were just a few of those who didn’t attend.

ITV Celebs went up and down the country to sing along with NHS staff

Blue, Coleen Nolan, Amber Davies, from last year’s Love Island, UB40, Kimberley Walsh and Tony Hadley, on the other hand, were all involved, as was JLS’s Aston Merrygold, right, who said, on behalf of the NHS, he was: “Happy to clear my diary.”

So we thank him and whoever covered the shift at Domino’s.

Job demarcation, though, among the celebs, was a bit vague. A few just seemed to have backing track duties, like Kimberley Walsh who was given the line “What would you do if I sang out of tune?” (IF?)

Some were enrolled for the full, record-breaking, Abbey Road finale, while others went on recruitment drives at UK hospitals, where Tony unearthed “the singing ambulanceman”, and Sara set her sights on Debbie “who’s pouring custard on a spotted Dick” — in the staff canteen, rather than the Infectious Diseases Unit.

ITV Some of the celebs were merely there for backing vocals

Eulogies to the great NHS god, though, were compulsory and delivered with a glassy-eyed, lip-quivering intensity that has become a very familiar sight these past few months.

Good intentions, as we know, though, pave the road to hell. And so it proved with Wednesday’s Big Singalong Live, which kicked off with a parp of a klaxon, from Ashley, and Sara screaming: “Can we now please break that record.”

Perhaps we can put what followed down to the swirling p***storm, in North London, or the lack of practice time — they only had six weeks — but, dear Lord in heaven — Russell Crowe didn’t unleash this much hell in Gladiator.

Missed cues, frozen screens, flat voices, Tony Hadley giving it the big ’un, on the Abbey Road zebra crossing, with his “woh-oh ohhhs”.

ITV Tony Hadley was recruited to help break the singalong record

Seven thousand drunk Millwall fans chanting: “You’re going home in a London ambulance” could not have been much less unco-ordinated, but would undoubtedly have delivered an equally powerful message about the NHS.

Salvation, though, was on hand in the form of Sara Cox.

“The results are in and . . . (drum roll).

“We almost made it, but it looks like the weather may have rained on our parade. We didn’t break the record.”
Or to put it another way. They didn’t get by with a little help from their friends.

 

WORLD Cup subtitle of the week. Alan Shearer: “They’re missing Iniesta, he’s the one with the quick feet.
“They’re missing Iniesta, he’s the one with the Kwik Fit.” INCIDENTALLY, thanks to A PERi PERi Big Success for confirming that Vanessa Feltz’s partner Ben Ofoedu doesn’t have a Nando’s black card.Just a meal ticket.

 

Best quiz show answer of the week

BEST quiz show answer of the week. The Chase, Bradley Walsh: “In the 1960s, Ruth Handler named what doll creation after her son?”

Annie: “Cabbage Patch.”

Chicken gets a grilling

A MASTERCLASS in scheduling, editing and continuity, from Channel 5, on Thursday night, that began with the very chirpy announcement: “We’ll find out What Happened to Josef Fritzl after brand new Nando’s, A PERi PERi Big Success . . . ”

Which isn’t the first thing I associate Josef with, to be perfectly honest with you. Though, who knows.

Rex Features Vanessa Feltz declares she had never been to Nando’s until Strictly

The old sod may have loved their Spicy Mixed Olives with a Wing Roulette.

Unappetising start or not, I wasn’t going to switch off A PERi PERi Big Success until it had truly unlocked the secret of this much-loved high street dining phenom- enon.

Two minutes and 30 seconds into the documentary, bingo. Without the narrator even missing a heartbeat, up popped Vanessa Feltz: “I’d never been in Nando’s until I was doing Strictly with James Jordan. He’d go every single day and I’d trot in straight after him.”

“Nando’s empire now stretches from Inverness to Plymouth.”
Click.

Random TV irritations

Big Narstie guest Thandie Newton sounding idiotically proud of her young daughter for telling Boris Johnson he’s: “A c***.”

 Julie Etchingham beginning an ITN bulletin with “Hey.” The depressing discovery US and Australian Chase contestants are generally much smarter than our own.

 

All those clueless ITV presenters desperately trying to clamber aboard the football bandwagon, like Amanda Holden, who kicked off last Friday’s This Morning announcing: “We’re all excited about tomorrow’s World Cup final between England and Sweden.”

On the strength of which, I’ve booked a once-in-a-lifetime, cheap-as-you-like caving holiday in Thailand.

Column returns some time before Qatar 2022

Pundits’ load of balls

FINALLY, some awards for those fine men and women who really have gone above and beyond the call of pundit and commentating duty during this unforgettable World Cup.

STICKING HIS NECK OUT AWARD – Lee Dixon: “France are always French.”

Getty Images – Getty Rebekah Vardy speaks out on trolls

HISTORIAN OF THE TOURNAMENT – Ally McCoist: “And of course, the October revolution in Russia took place here in 1977.”

KING OF LOGIC – Gary Neville: “By avoiding bigger teams, you avoid them.”

GLASS HALF EMPTY TROPHY – Sam Matter- face: “Didier Deschamps has lost this game even though he’s won it.”

MATHEMATICIAN OF THE TOURNAMENT – Jurgen Klinsmann: “If nine out of ten are called correct, you won’t worry about the other one or two.”

RUNNER-UP – Fabian Delph: “A birth only happens once in a lifetime. This is our third.”

BEST USE OF TENSES – Martin Keown: “Both wingbacks will know they are in a game after this has finished.”

And THE GRACE UNDER FIRE AWARD – Rebekah Vardy: “The person insulting us is probably a massive fat Russian who doesn’t have any mirrors in the house. They do it to get a reaction. Well, they won’t get one from me.”

Attagirl, Becky. You rise above it. (Compiled by Graham Wray).

Quiz show mouth-breathers of the week

Tipping Point, Ben Shephard: “In 1649 which English war resulted in the establishment of the Republican Commonwealth?”

Kerry: “The Crimean War.”

The Chase Australia, Andrew O’Keefe: “What is the capital city of Australia?”

Kathleen: “Sydney.”

The Chase USA, Brooke Burns: “What’s the two-word motto for both the boy scouts and girl scouts?”
Elissa: “Truth.”

Andrew O’Keefe: “Which fashion designer and Dame was the partner of punk icon Malcolm McLaren?”

Reh: “Steve McQueen.”

TV gold

EastEnders beautifully merging the real life victims of knife crime with the drama of Shakil’s funeral.

Hairdresser Grace desperately searching for common Love Island ground with dreary Doctor Alex: “You save lives and I change lives.”

The heartening discovery The Chase’s Bradley Walsh is an infinitely better presenter than Brooke Burns and Andrew O’Keefe, on the US and Australian versions.

And BBC1’s The Man, The Voice paying deserved tribute to the soon-to-retire Barry Davies, who as well as being one of Auntie’s most versatile performers was, for many years, by far its most articulate and best football commentator.

What a pity the BBC didn’t realise it at the time.

 

Most homoerotic interview of the World Cup?

Good Morning Britain, Sol Campbell: “Hey, next time at the Chelsea Flower Show say ‘hello’.”

Piers Morgan: “Were you there?” “Yeah, maybe you’re not seeing me.”

“Sorry mate, I didn’t blow you off, were you lurking in the begonias?”

“No, just right in front of you.” “Well next time I’ll come and man up and . . . ”

Oh get a potting shed, you two.

 




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.