Penny Lancaster is the only arresting sight on the criminal Famous And Fighting Crime

But fear not. Penny Lancaster, off Loose Women, is in hot pursuit shouting: “Slow down. Slow down.” Repeat. Penny ­Lancaster is in hot pursuit.

One of the more bizarre ­spectacles offered up by a Channel 4 show, designed to highlight the work of volunteer special constables, that’s called Famous And Fighting Crime.

Presumably because C-Listers   Dressing   Up  As  Police- men was a bit too close to the truth and Tw*ts Camera Action was just too blunt.

It’s a reasonable enough description of the show, though, I suppose, with the “famous” officers in question being a pretty underwhelming bunch.

Penny is by far the most famous and got the best reaction from her new colleagues in the Cambridgeshire force.

There was a noticeably more muted response for Katie Piper, Gogglebox’s Sandi Bogle, Made In Chelsea biscuit heir Jamie Laing and the even posher Marcus Brigstocke, who regular officers thought: “Will be funny.”

He won’t, obviously. Marcus is NOT that type of comedian. He’s the left-wing, moralising variety, which didn’t prevent him becoming the advertising face of multi-billion-pound, Dublin-based, credit- checking company Experian, which has a history of tax avoidance and paid a grand total of zero pounds to the UK Exchequer in 2012.

Nor was it about to stop Marcus getting on his high horse here and start FAFC by claiming: “The view of the police in London is, broadly, that they’re racist and not all that clever.”

A moot point, as most of the Londoners I know are from the boot-up-the-ar*e school of law enforcement and think of The Sweeney era as a golden age of policing.

So it’s hard then to think of anyone “famous” who’s less suited to a role with the police than Marcus, apart maybe from Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott.

But if she could put her uniform on the right way round, even someone as dense as Diane could cope with the “rigours” of Famous And Fighting Crime.

Because, for all the show’s dark talk, it was quite obvious, by the end of last night’s episode, the celebs were dealing with pretty low-grade stuff.

Aside from Penny’s junkie chase, Katie and Sandi had to stand around looking concerned, as people kicked off, Jamie gave £20 to a drunk Pole, for which he was rightly b*****ked, and Marcus watched eight other officers restrain a bloke who’d tried to start a fight with a street light.

South Central LA it is not.

But then, just when my patience was waning, during episode one, Rod Stewart suddenly called Penny, to see how she was getting on.

A welcome intrusion, ’cos, I don’t mind telling you, I love Rod and so, clearly, did all the coppers who were thrilled by his appearance.

As much as he kept me watching, it did rather give the game away about what’s really going on here.

A channel that’s so exhausted the possibilities of police/crime shows, it’s reduced to viewing them through the prism of very minor celebrities.

As a result, my attention to FAFC is now hanging by a thread and I’m only committed to a third episode because the trailer suggests one of next week’s arrestees doesn’t just recognise one of the celebs, he nails him with the best three-word insult ever.

“Is that fookin’ Jamie Laing?”


“Fookin’ digestive biscuits.”

Great Sporting Insights

Steven Gerrard: “We’re not talking a huge eight-figure bid of £1million.”

Charlie Nicholas: “I genuinely don’t know what Everton fans want from their team, but I know they want effort.”

Phil Thompson: “He takes five touches, right foot, right foot and then his left.”

Poopdeck crisis on Shipwreck

IF global warming continues at its current rate, the Pacific Ocean’s Cook Islands will soon be engulfed, destroying all human and animal life.

In its wake will come disease, famine and mass extinctions across the planet.

But on the plus side, at least there’ll be no more Shipwrecked, on E4 – a franchise I thought had been killed off for good in 2012.

Then Love Island happened, the Channel 4 network clearly didn’t have any alternative ideas and it returned with the same format as the previous series.

Two rival tribes, the Sharks and Tigers, who’ve been attempting to win £50,000 by engaging in a series of challenges and seeing which of them can attract the larger collection of self-absorbed young morons to their island.

Without watching a second of the show, you’ll already know the type. Most of them don’t have proper jobs (“I’m a freelance videographer”), some haven’t got proper names (“Hi, I’m Big T”), and one isn’t even properly house-trained.

Liv, who soiled herself – actually SOILED herself – on day two and didn’t die of embarrassment, or even seem to bother getting changed.

Others, like Tom and Stacey, are actually quite likeable and even industrious, but only one has chanced upon a business model that might just define post- Brexit Britain in the 21st Century.

Beth: “I’ve been getting me t*ts out, for two years, in Magaluf for a euro.

“Then I thought, I might as well do this in the comfort of me own bedroom and I had a connection to the job straight away. It’s what I’m meant to do.”

And if that doesn’t calm Project Fear nerves, nothing will, frankly.

EASTENDERS, Karen Taylor: “I’m going to be in The Sun tomorrow, Page Three, with my ­Bristols out. D’ya fancy that?”
Hang on, I’ll check.
No, we don’t.

Random TV irritations

  • BBC News not even bothering to disguise its enthusiasm for ­Friday’s ridiculous schools strike.
  • Channel 5’s 13 Moments That Killed Whitney Houston describing one of its experts as “Diane Youdale, psychotherapist,” rather than “Jet from Gladiators”.
  • The Good Morning Britain caption writer who thinks there’s a north-east England city that’s spelt “Middlesborough.”
  • All of television’s dullest talent show judges ordering contestants to “go hard or go home”.
  • And a BBC2 continuity announcer introducing The Great British Sewing Bee with “the one and only Joe Lycett”. ‘Cos that’s what British light entertainment’s really been lacking up to now, isn’t it. A camp, over-the-top show-off.

MEANWHILE, in a Russian health retreat, on The Real Marigold On Tour, blood-sucking leeches are about to be applied to Miriam Margolyes.

“F*** you – bloody hell, it’s f***ing painful. Horrid little ­bastard.”

Which was pretty much Miriam’s ­reaction as well.

Saw point for hero Baptiste

SUNDAY night, BBC1, saw the welcome spin-off return of Julien Baptiste, the thinking man’s Inspector Clouseau.

Two series of The Missing this bloke was on the case and he left utter mayhem in his wake both times.

Because Baptiste did it with lots of Gallic shrugs and Froggie philosophising, though, he’s still in demand and now freelancing for the Dutch plod, who want him to find a missing prostitute with the help of her “uncle” played by Tom Hollander.

Unusually for Baptiste, he’d actually found her by the end of episode one, so you can be sure Romanian sex-traffickers and the transgender brothel owner, Kim Vogel, will now unleash all manner of bloody chaos and credibility-stretching sub-plots.

It’ll probably be worth the viewing effort as well, thanks to the brilliance of Tom Hollander and the attention-grabbing style of the writers, Jack and Harry Williams, who had a character beheaded, with a chainsaw, to the sound of The Bellamy Brothers, in the opening scene. A death that must surely go down as one of TV’s most unpleasant ever.

I mean, Gallagher & Lyle, fair enough, but The Bellamy Brothers? That’s depraved.

Quiz show doughballs of the week

Tipping Point, Ben Shephard: “Luxair is the national airline of which European ­country?”
Kim: “Belgium.”

The Chase, Bradley Walsh: “What World War One monument was unveiled in Whitehall on the first peace day?”
Valerie: “A ship.”

Bradley Walsh: “The so-called space race was between the USSR and what other country?”
Irfan: “Russia.”

And Ben Shephard: “Cured with salt the meat from which animal is used to create bacon?”
Zach: “Cow.”

CLARIFICATION: Channel 4, tonight, 10pm, 100 Vaginas. It’s a “thought-provoking documentary”, not an All Together Now spin-off.


Sent in by Kaz M, via email.

Picture research: Alfie Snelling.

TV Gold

Eric Bana’s terrifyingly good performance in addictive Netflix drama Dirty John.

Tom Hollander’s outstanding turn on BBC1’s Baptiste. A thrilling, if conveniently timed, capture of all the contestants at the climax of Hunted.

Jimmy Carr’s guess after Through The Keyhole had nosed round Joey Essex’s house: “He’s got a 75in TV and no bookshelves. Is it an idiot?”

And Warwick Davis’s response to a Tenable ­contestant who said: “I would describe my music as an ethereal, ­electronic-driven experiment rooted in R&B, hip-hop and jazz.”
“Do you do any Westlife covers?”

Great TV lies and delusions of the month

The Real Marigold On Tour, Miriam Margolyes: “I think I’m good with people.”

The One Show, Josh Widdicombe: “James Acaster and I did an Edinburgh show, in 2009, with Nick Helm, another brilliant comedian.”


And The Break Up, Vicky Pattison: “You’re about to watch the story of some of the darkest moments of my life.”


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