If ever there was a time to take your beloved out for dinner, go see that Academy Award-tipped film you’ve not yet caught or wash your hair, tonight is the night. The last in the series of Piers Morgan’s Life Stories is on ITV at 9pm, and the guest is Nigel Farage.
While there may have already been better episodes of the programme (Barry Gibb sang on his, Peter Andre didn’t) and better potential episodes (Life Stories with Paul Nuttall might contain a moving anecdote about Hillsborough), Piers Morgan’s Life Stories with Nigel Farage begs one obvious question – will this be the worst TV programme of all time?
A quick précis of other leading contenders for that title leads one to believe that each of them had at least one redeeming feature. For instance:
It had a half-decent theme tune.
Celebrity Wrestling (ITV)
By its very nature, some of the people involved in the making of this were duffed up. Sadly not those most deserving (the production team), but small mercies…
Michael Jackson: The Search for…His Spirit (Sky One)
June Sarpong presided over a 2009 seance in a Dublin castle (as opposed to the Dublin Castle pub in Camden, North London) where David Gest, psychic Derek Acorah and friends wondered aloud if the spirit of the King of Pop was present. Not even a squeak. There was one glorious moment when Acorah, channeling Jackson, said “say hello to Quincy Jones from me”. This was close to being the worst show of all time but had one saving grace (unlike the ITV documentary made on Jackson six years before his death): it didn’t feature a voiceover added in the edit with Martin Bashir whispering “But I couldn’t help thinking…”
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Tony and June (Channel 4)
WAGs’ Boutique presenter June Sarpong spends the day with then-PM Tony Blair ahead of the 2005 Election. As she wrote in a preview: “Top of his agenda were peace in Palestine, building bridges between the Muslim and Christian worlds and stability in Iraq.” How did that work out? The bonus: Derek Acorah stayed at home.
The Royals (E! channnel)
Elizabeth Hurley played Queen Helena of England with her 14 year-old son playing the Crown Prince of Liechtenstein and Joan Collins as the Grand Duchess Alexandra of Oxford. The heir to the throne was called Liam. It was every bit as good as that sounds. The programme may have been on E!, but the writers were clearly on something else. Not as funny as It’s a Royal Knockout but had its comic moments. Unlike…
Mad About Alice (BBC1)
This sitcom, where divorced couple Jamie Theakston and Amanda Holden quibbled, was proof that Britain hasn’t always Got Talent. Theakston and Holden sang the theme tune. There was a laugh track which displayed a certain kind of blind faith.
Elaine C Smith’s Burdz Eye View of Hogmanay (STV)
Elaine C Smith reminisced about New Year’s Eves gone by in the company of Nicola Sturgeon, her sister and her mother. (This actually happened.) Just as Channel 4’s documentary about the late Graham Taylor was called The Impossible Job but became universally known as Do I Not Like That, this programme seems to have been renamed in posterity as Hogmanay With The Sturgeons. The 2015 programme wasn’t an entirely wasted experience. It received so many complaints to Ofcom that the First Minister stayed away from 2016 New Year telly.
The Great British Driving Test (ITV)
A primetime, two-hour quiz where Gabby Logan and Dr Fox asked men and women facts about the Highway Code. Televisual roadkill. Ratings: a well-deserved hidden dip sign.
Mrs Brown’s Boys (BBC1)
Millions of people like this. You might not know anyone prepared to admit it in public, but they do.
Host Robert Kilroy Silk had his own catchphrase for this quiz: “to share or to shaft”. Given that the network axed it after four episodes (16 were unaired), they answered Kilroy’s question with commendable speed.
An Audience with Celine Dion (ITV)
The same franchise gave us An Audience with Billy Connolly, which remains one of the great memories of The Big Yin in his prime.
Snog Marry Avoid (BBC3)
At least a third of the title provides useful advice.
Question Time (BBC1)
David Dimbleby’s ties may be loud but they have a certain charm. Admittedly, most panellists on the programme only fulfil one of these two qualifications.
So is Nigel Farage on Piers Morgan’s Life Stories the worst television programme of all time?
I’m afraid you’ll have to ask someone who’s prepared to sit through it to tell you.