Some things in life are certain - death, taxes, Simon Cowell's teeth getting whiter and programmes presented by annoying tv couples. From the early 70's, eccentric tv cook Fanny Craddock and her cuckolded husband Johnny started the ball rolling as the epitome of annoyance. She was a middle-aged fruitcake who whisked a lot of eggs usually into souffles, and Johnny would... erm... look at things through his monocle and pass Fanny an occasional paring knife. Through the 70's and 80's, there followed the gruesome twosomes of Donny and Marie Osmond (sugary sweet toothsome Mormons), Bruce Forsyth and Anthea Redfearn (Give us a twirl my love), Richard and Judy (dumb and dumber) and Richard Whitely and Carol Vorderman (Countdown conundrums).
Achieving the perfect TV coupling is not an exact science. For it to work, it perhaps needs an on-screen chemistry, a shared sense of humour, trust in each other's professionalism and maybe a hint of a sexual spark.
Here's examples where these elements have been completely ignored and we just end up with a bunch of overpaid, annoying tv couples...
Put an 80 year old rug wearing old hoofer with a 30 something attractive ex-model and let the annoyance begin... The formula here is for Brucie 'I'm in charge' Forsyth to run the show, do a little dance routine and tell a few jokes. Tess Daly is cast in the role of Anthea Redfearn - pretty, fluffy and peripheral. As any good Northern girl, Tess scrubs up well and looks great in a frock although she lets the side down when she laughs like a drain at Brucie's jokes. During the last series of SCD when Brucie had the 'flu and gave us all a blessed week off from his well worn Mr Showbiz routine, did the BBC let Tess move into the spotlight and run the show? Did they Buxton... step forward (and trip on the stairs during the intro) the 80 year old Ronnie Corbett as Brucie's stand-in. Truly awful.
Adrian Chiles and Christine Bleakley present BBC1's the One Show - a kind of millennium version of Nationwide. Adrian's background is as a football presenter and pundit with a deadpan Brummie delivery. Christine Bleakley was a runner in BBC Northern Ireland tv productions. I think the role 'runner' is the general job description for someone who willingly does all all the crap jobs like grabbing lunch and cups of tea for producers in exchange for £9k a year. Initially, Adrian took on the Brucie role as the more experienced presenter and Christine assumed the 'I'll just sit here looking pretty whilst laughing at Adrian's funny jokes' role. Although a dullish programme, it became more interesting when Adrian looked like he had a little crush on Christine and began his constant shuffling of his seating position to be within an inch of her personal space. Christine bless her, seems to take it all in good part and is perhaps a little more preoccupied with her alleged romance with Chelsea's Frank Lampard.
For a really annoying twosome, look no further than This Morning presenters Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford. They bicker on screen and appear to 'flirt' with guests to ignite some element of jealousy in the other. They often drip feed items from their personal life to embarrass each other on air which is just nauseating. Eamonn looks mostly disinterested with guests unless they are female and good looking or they have any link to Manchester United. If the guests manage to get a word in edgeways, they are frequently interrupted when Eamonn tries to change any topic of conversation back to himself. He feigns mock disgust if 'women's problems' or sex if mentioned to the shrieking delight of Ruth. And to top it all, they're getting this year. Bet they don't mention that much...
There's a train of thought that perhaps Soccer AM on Sky 1 has run it's course? The original series presented by Helen Chamberlain and Tim Lovejoy was funny and a little edgy. Helen and Tim were true football fans who presented the programme in a blokey, good humoured and entertaining way. Tim has long since gone and Helen is now joined by the dufus Max Rushden. Obviously using Adrian Chiles as a role model, he seems a little in awe of Helen and shuffles non-stop to be within touching distance of her whilst reading the autocue. Helen, for her part seems a little bored these days both with the love-sick puppy Max and the constant stream of posse members such as Tubes and Baby Elvis doing the same old routines. Would love to see her as the token girl presenter on Top Gear as she's rumoured to be a bit of a petrolhead. Max just needs a girlfriend. And some bromide.
Justin and Colin won a few more fans after their recent appearance on I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here, but they're still an annoying pair of twonks. For evidence of this, check out 60 Minute Makeover. These two get very queeny and excited about doing a makeover with the help of 46 joiners and painters on a living room in a council house in Cleethorpes. Cue the arrival of the surprised owner with beaming style when presented with their new front room looking resplendent in the style of New York loft living or Cape Cod beach house. Cue Colin and Justin to go into full tears, hugs and shrieks mode. That's with each other by the way, as a way of self-congratulation at the wonder of their achievement. The owner is seen at the computer on the DFS website looking at a new brown and green sofa on interest free credit.
Examples of great, interesting and fun TV couples? Not many spring to mind outside the usual formula of older man and glamourous, giggly woman. See also Simon Cowell and Cheryl Cole / Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby. Thank God also we've seen the back of Katie and Peter as they would be numero uno in this list.
Can anyone come up with a tv coupling comprising of an older woman (who's sexy, funny and intelligent) with an attractive younger man who takes a backseat and makes her look good? No, me neither...