WHAT a surprise. Having resisted all things reality talent-wise for some time, my wife has become unexpectedly hooked by the long-running Comic Relief Does Fame Academy (BBC1)... well, at least until broody DIY SOS presenter Nick Knowles got voted off.

"Hang on, I want to see who meets him when he leaves," she said as I made the first of several forlorn attempts to watch a recorded version of Fred Dibnah's Made In Britain (BBC2, Tuesday). I reassured her that he would probably be greeted by his grey-haired old mother or an ageing aunt, but there was definite disappointment when the Beeb avoided reunion scenes for Mr Knowles after his stint in the non-singers' paradise.

As this piece has to be finished before last night's result I will have to rely on the skills of my new-found expert to predict the winner. "It's got to be Adrian Edmondson, not because I like him writhing about on the floor or because he can sing, but he does represent Comic Relief," said Mrs Fame Academy, who somehow managed to stick photographs in an album while covering her ears as Top Of The Pops presenter Reggie Yates was "singing" for the last time on Thursday.

For once, it is the presenters and judges creating all the bad behaviour headlines rather than the contestants. The on-going dislike between "demon headmaster" Richard Park and Patrick Kielty may lead to one of these individuals gaining a red nose you can't remove at the end of the night. So far, it's led to Park being warned about his behaviour on camera - as well as him slamming Kielty for "sycophantically stroking" the celebs - while the presenter has cut Park dead in mid-insult. Charity begins at moan on this occasion.

Halfway through Fred's adventures my wife demanded that she simply had to watch You Are What You Eat (C4, Wednesday). "You realise that he knew he was dying of cancer when he made this series, and you quite liked him at first?" I said.

"This is a man's programme and I don't give a toss whether he spends his last days running around the country in a tractor or not," came a slightly Richard Park-inspired response.

Even the fact that it's actually a traction engine that Fred has spent 27 years restoring failed to elicit any sympathy for the Bolton steeplejack.

"Oh God, look at that tea he's spilling all over that Ikea tray," she groaned as Fred's hospitality for his helpers came under scrutiny. At least he didn't wipe the mugs with an oily rag. Eventually, Fred steamed off into the sunset and the series awaits his visit to the North-East. But I fancy I'll be in traction myself if my wife has to give the programme a second glance.

She was in similar mood about Eurovision - Making Your Mind Up (BBC1, Saturday). Having sat through Javine's Touch My Fire, and been something surprised that it won, Mrs Fame Academy saw very little value in the whole affair. Let's face it, our country's antics in Iraq will tend to keep the UK in the "nul" zone when it comes to voting in Kiev.

Published: 12/03/2005