CHRISTOPHER STEVENS: Softie Alan's chat with Fergie was fluffy

CHRISTOPHER STEVENS reviews the weekend’s TV: Softie Alan’s chat with Fergie was as fluffy as cotton wool

Love Your Weekend




When you need the lightest of fluffy interviews, gentler than a dab of cotton wool on a ballerina’s cheek, that old softie Alan Titchmarsh can be relied upon.

‘I don’t want to dig up anything from the past,’ he assured the Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson, as he returned with a new series of Love Your Weekend (ITV).

‘You’ve had difficulties,’ he added, tactfully omitting to list them. ‘Could any of your mistakes have been avoided?’

With searing honesty and a fearless determination to confront her own failings, the Duchess agreed she was ‘probably too enthusiastic’.

When you need the lightest of fluffy interviews, gentler than a dab of cotton wool, that old softie Alan Titchmarsh can be relied upon 

She added: ‘I’m stratospherically sensitive and I hurt desperately. I take everything personally. I am still a puppy, really. I think everyone’s my friend.’

Love Your Weekend is no place for difficult questions. I’d want to know whether her ex ever sweated — like a cheese under a sunlamp, I imagine — but Alan merely remarked that Fergie’s family had suffered ‘extraordinary pressure’.

‘I married a wonderful man and would definitely do that again,’ she replied, adding bullishly that her wedding day was the happiest of her life. Afterwards, she called this inquisition ‘gruelling’.

She was there to plug her new novel, Her Heart For A Compass, a Mills & Boon romance imagining the adventures of her ancestor Lady Margaret Montagu Douglas Scott, second daughter of the Duchess of Buccleuch.

‘I don’t want to dig up anything from the past,’ Titchmarsh assured the Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson, pictured, as he returned with a new series of Love Your Weekend

Graciously, the author read an extract, though not this one from Chapter Two: ‘If it’s not my hair, it’s my freckles or my figure,’ says her flame-haired heroine. ‘Or the way I enter a room — mother says I burst in like a London bobby — or the fact that I can’t seem to retain my fan, never mind use it properly.’

How different might Fergie’s life have been, I wonder, if she’d learnt to retain her fan.

All this was just one segment of Alan’s one-man One Show. Elsewhere, we learnt how to thatch a barn, admired viewers’ photos, met four woolly piglets and heard a snatch of Craig Revel Horwood’s Christmas single: Divine, Darling.

I’d rather sing-alonga-Craig than attempt to convince you that Vigil (BBC1) retains any credibility. We are expected to believe Britain and the U.S. are on the verge of war, with American subs sinking our trawlers in the Irish Sea.

Analysis of the weekend:

‘Fame is an illness,’ said Ruby Wax, watching herself with Imelda Marcos on When Ruby Wax Met . . . (BBC2). 

‘You catch it, it’s fun like any drug, but when you start to withdraw, when people stop calling, it’s a heavy weight.’ Smart psychology.

Transatlantic relations broke down after a bunch of boozy British sailors on shore leave in Florida got too lively. What did they do to provoke Armageddon — nuke Miami?

Suranne Jones, as DCI Amy, is receiving cryptic messages from Sgt Kirsten (Rose Leslie), who is also her ex-lover. These contain hints to the murderer’s identity, such as a warning to look out for ‘my favourite book’.

Who could this be? Is the killer revealed in The Da Vinci Code? Is there a Mr Darcy on board? Uh-oh . . . looks like that nice coxswain (Shaun Evans) is The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.

As well as being a literary critic, DCI Amy is moonlighting as a therapist. Questioning Lt Commander Prentice (Adam James), the officer who confessed to murder and then slipped off the hook, the detective asked him: ‘What’s the worst thing about this situation for you?’

She might as well have said ‘tell me about your childhood’. That may be why she wasn’t even slightly cross when drunken engineer Gary (Daniel Portman) helped himself to a pistol from the gun cabinet and threatened to shoot her. Instead of making an arrest, all DCI Amy wanted to do was psychoanalyse him.

Walsh claims the submarine is about to go into nuclear meltdown. This drama already has.

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