Kilimanjaro: The Bigger Red Nose Climb
With all the tears and gushes of emotion at the Oscars, you’d think acting was hard. It isn’t. Richard Gere does it all the time.
As media baron Max in the splendidly abysmal MotherFatherSon (BBC2), Gere showcases every one of his acting talents, often in a single scene.
I reviewed this glossy, expensive drama last week and gave it one star, but it’s so gloriously bad that I can’t keep away.
Gere’s tanned, immobile face reminds me of a whole trout on a dinner plate — nothing moves but you can’t help feeling the eyes are trying to tell you something.
When Max is thinking, his eyes narrow, and then narrow some more when he’s about to speak a line. When he doesn’t have a line, but he’s sad, his eyes narrow and his head drops. When he’s happy, they narrow and do a little blink, the Gere version of a dance for joy. And when he’s overwhelmed, the eyes shut.
If only medical science could have married Richard Gere’s eyes to Roger Moore’s eyebrows. What an actor we would have had then.
Richard Gere stars in the ‘gloriously bad’ TV drama MotherFatherSon as media mogul Max, a US-born man who finds himself at the heart of British politics wielding incredible power
Unfortunately, medical science was fully occupied with Max’s son Caden (Billy Howle), trying to sew the top of his head back on. Newspaper editor Caden snorted too much cocaine last week, causing his brain to explode, and surgeons had to chop open his skull.
We saw the op in detail: it looked rather like peeling back the underlay in the spare room. A neuroscientist explained to Max and his ex-wife Kathryn (Helen McCrory) that he’d had to remove Max’s brain filter: ‘Without this filter, every thought can become a speech.’
Apparently all the characters had their filters out along with their tonsils, because they spoke in great and weighty speeches, with heavy pauses to show they knew how meaningful their words are.
Giant error of the night
Hornby model train execs were aghast on Big Trouble In Model Britain (BBC4) to discover that a detail on their latest loco was a 17,000th of an inch out of place. If they want realism, they should just make sure it’s two hours late.
Much of the dialogue was chiselled from blocks of solid hokum. Here’s Kathryn describing her divorce: ‘Our world fell apart, but we continued to host Prime Ministers and Presidents.’
MotherFatherSon is deliriously bad in so many ways that anticipation of the next howler becomes a delight. The Leader of the Opposition (Sarah Lancashire) makes cider from her own Somerset orchard: ‘I understand it’s very, very good,’ murmured Max, his eyes narrowing.
Plainly, neither Max nor writer Tom Rob Smith has ever tasted home-brew scrumpy. It might be potent but it has no pretentions to being a fine wine.
Best moment of all came at the end, when Caden ripped the top of his head open and grabbed his mother to suckle at her breast. She gazed at him adoringly while he bled over her blouse and the nurse tutted. That missing filter is going to be a problem.
Ed Balls’s filter slipped as he hiked to Africa’s highest point with a bunch of celebrity pals, on Kilimanjaro: The Bigger Red Nose Climb (BBC1). Altitude sickness made him teary, and he had a little weep.
Climbers Shirley Ballas, Ed Balls, Anita Rani, Dani Dyer, Alexander Armstrong, Dan Walker, Osi Umenyiora, Jade Thirlwall and Leigh-Anne Pinnock undertake an arduous eight-day trek scaling Africa’s highest mountain, Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania
This is celebrity wonderland, a place where semi-famous faces burst into tears for no reason at all. Simon Cowell ought to stage the X Factor heats here.
It was all in a good cause, but the conversation wasn’t exactly edifying. Why is it that when two or more celebs are gathered together, they talk about body functions?
Dani Dyer, the Love Island contestant and daughter of EastEnders landlord Danny Dyer (the one who never stops boasting about being descended from William the Conqueror), knew why she was scaling Kilimanjaro: ‘I’m not here for myself, I’m here to change people’s lives.’
Whatever happened to climbing a mountain ‘because it’s there’?