The Life of Riley
Our hot buttered Yorkshire crumpet of choice
is still Milandra Burrows' fluffy blonde, But the mouthy fat one
stole our hearts.
Then she became Miss Prime Time.
Give us our hearts back!
After last month's crack at poor
defenceless Richard Whiteley (Sorry YTV but we refuse to put your
new website on our links page until you take Mr Conundrum off
your front page!) I thought I'd turn Ayup's attention to
someone more, er, substantial. Someone with more gravitas. Someone
with clout. A true TV heavyweight. But then I discovered Lisa
Riley has eaten ITV for Christmas. And wants more.
Now for Emmerdale fans the presence of Mandy Dingle brought a
big ray of sunshine into our hum-drum stay-at-home lives. In the
funny stakes she rivalled Dot Cotton and Fred Elliot for laughs.
Her dramatic abilities were every bit as good as Patsy Palmer
and Barbara Windsor and when she scrubbed up she was Tracey Shaw,
Milandra Burrows, Tamzin Outwaite and Leah Bracknell all rolled
up into one fantastic bundle of woman. Hubba Hubba.
Highlight of her soap life was the Dingle trip to Venice, when
Mandy's hubby Paddy Kirk whisked our lass to Piazza San Marco
to run into the Dingle's Italian counterparts, the D'Inglesi family.
Marlon took over the cooking at the Bar D'Inglesi and got steamed
up over Elizabetta Riva. Mandy of course was the star of it all.
After the previous video trip - Dingle's Down Under we can't wait
for the next trip abroad for our favourite soap star. Somewhere
she can squeeze into a swimsuit, please.
But it's Lisa Riley, the actress
behind the Mandy Dingle phenomena, who is doing the most to destroy
the hard won soap goddess status. Because since she's become the
darling of the ITV schedule she's become the most annoying thing
on the box. It's a tragedy for those of us who've worshipped religiously
in Dingle Chapel to have our faith shaken like this. But after
that awful Xmas Saturday when ITV followed a Lisa Riley tribute
with You've Been Framed starring...Lisa Riley, the Dingle girl
has stopped ringing my bell.
The "You've Been Framed!" programme is the curse of
death, as Jeremy Beadle found out. Lisa's agent surely warned
her that she was liable to become a public hate figure if she
persisted with the luvvy routine. But she ploughs on regardless,
determined to be nice and jolly whilst forcing us to cackle at
other's misfortunes in her execrable home-video compilation show.
Grandma electrocutes herself whilst plugging in the Christmas
lights. Ha Ha. Look at little Johnny ride his new bike in front
of a bus! Ho.Ho. See Aunty Peggy crash headlong into an oncoming
bus! Hee Hee.
Now I could wash my hands of this Lisa Riley problem and blame
it all on the rather unusual phenomenon of her being a Rochdale/Burnley
lass who happens to be playing a Yorkshire lass for a living.
This alone would normally get her thrown out at the monthly Ayup!
editorial piss-up. But like Bill Owen we are prepared to give
Lisa the benefit of the doubt for Services To The Community. And
she seems like such a nice, uncomplicated northern girl who has
Bette /Midler, Dawn French and Absolutely Fabulous as role models.
I can't write her off my Yorkshire Crumpet list quite yet, due
to her continuing Mandy Dingle antics.
So what's the conclusion? If we
tell Lisa Riley to bugger off, where does that leave Mandy Dingle?
Stuck somewhere up the Pennines in her wellies and sequins, yelling
at Paddy and Zak? Lisa Riley herself (aged just 23, fact fans)
has a BBC comedy in the offing called Put Out Those Fags!. "It's
very funny, It's Fantastic" she gushed recently to our rival
southern glossy, Hello!. We'll wait and see, Lisa love. Just keep
on with yer Dingling!
With Lisa Riley crossing the Pennines
to give us Mandy Dingle can we cope with all these Lankies,
Scots and cockneys taking off our accents?
Sat there stuffing my face
with popcorn and watching Robert Carlisle struggling to
get his Scots pipes around the Sheffield brogue, it struck
me that few actors not born in the county can pull off the
accent. To the Americans who think that were all Aussies
anyway if we don't talk like Prince Charles, it might not
matter. But to us, staring up at some thespians poor attempts
at our mother tongue it can get a bit irritating.
Take the film Brassed Off. Pete Postlethwaite (fresh from
his strange Indian accent in The Usual Suspects as Kobayashi),
Tara Fitzgerald and Ewan 'Obi-Wan' McGregor struggled with
more than just their tuba, trumpet and cornet in a movie
that once again showed off our stock of council housing,
but failed to get the accents right. At least Emily Lloyd
didn't attempt to out shout Sean Bean in When Saturday Comes.
She opted for an equally silly Dublin brogue.
At school I was confronted
with teacher upon teacher from out o' the county who had
a real problem with the way we spoke. They used to despair!
God knows what they said behind our backs in the staff-room.
Probably too busy filling in job applications to somewhere
with kids they could understand.) So it was always quite
a find to hear a Yorkshire voice on the telly, even if it
was taking the micky.
The Goodies devoted a whole episode to a slapstick comedy
Yorkshire send-up replete with huge black-puddings and flat-cats
as big as bin lids. And we loved it. A mate at work always
shouts "Ecky-thump!" at me whenever he can even
now. The song Black Pudding Bertha is a rarity up there
with an A&M copy of the Pistols' "Anarchy In The
UK. Best of all, though, is the Monty Python Yorkshireman
Sketch. Led by local lad Michael Palin, and performed with
gusto by John Cleese, Terry Jones and the rest of the lads,
it uses a classic old bloke titfertat poverty theme and
is probably the funniest routine they ever did.
And now there's them League of Gentlemen/Royston Vasey
boys on BBC2, with their increasingly odd set of northern
freaks parading up and down the Glossop village where they
live. OK, it's technically Derbyshire, but the Donnie Rovers
shirt on one of the main characters in a recent episode
rather gives the game away. Elsewhere, the Royle Family
go for the North of Watford Couch Potato angle and makes
us secretly glad that they set the whole thing over the
other end of the M62. You wouldn't catch us slobbing out
on front of the telly, belching and burping now, would you...
In the States, a former dancer
from the Benny Hill Show (and a Home Counties Posh Bird)
is a huge star on Frazier, playing a blunt Northerner. Jane
Leaves is holding down a day job by playing a role with
an accent normally heard down Coronation Street way. And
she's doing really well, keeping it as real as you can when
everyone for a thousand miles can't understand a word of
what she's on about. Then they blew it and brought in an
English brother with an accent that made Dick Van Dyke sound
like Selwyn Froggitt.
Quick mention to the late Bill Owen, though. Compo was
pretty darn good for a cockney lad. Nora Batty's going to