Channel 5’s tea-time offering is not OK and barely TV

The opening episode of OK! TV - with Kate Walsh, not Denise Van Outen - fails to impress

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Although the visually assaulting bright red set is presumably intended to make our presenting duo look like they are trapped in a giant copy of OK! Magazine (or perhaps the deepest depths of hell), as the camera slowly zooms out from a knee-high mount to reveal Ms Walsh’s long legs and short dress, one cannot help but think of Amsterdam’s De Wallen district.

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It’s show one. Kate Walsh and Matt Johnson, the perma-grinning protagonists, are on hand to guide us through the most important celeb news of the day with all the charisma and charm of two shop mannequins who’ve briefly received the kiss of life from Ken Barlow.

Aided by “expert” guests like “our Ruth”, the inaugural programme focuses on which celeb wore what at the Baftas, and just how strange Lady GaGa can be – groundbreaking.

Yes, I’m talking about OK! TV… the cornerstone of Richard Desmond’s brave new Channel 5.

The show replaces the network’s ratings-repellent Live from Studio Five, which finally – and this time terminally – derailed a few short weeks ago after two years of tortuous inane-o-tainment.

It was originally billed as Denise Van Outen’s sensational return to presenting, yet, mysteriously, the 36-year-old pulled out just days before the Valentine’s Day launch after touring the studio. When the lurid set, turgid script and her mechanical co-presenter-to-be were unveiled to viewers last night, well, you don’t need too many guesses as to why she got cold feet.

So new became old as Kate “Apprentice” Walsh was spared the dole queue at the eleventh hour and asked to return to tea-time 5 as the female lead in this low-rent pantomime.

OK would be a charitable appraisal of this show that stumbled from bad to worse at an alarming rate.

“You guys better get used to seeing us, because we’re here every night” warns Matt as he forgets to look at the camera, instead staring vacantly into the eyes of his co-presenter.

The arrival of X Factor judge Louis Walsh (Kate’s dad?) simply serves to highlight the presenters’ shortcomings.

Uncle Louis explains that although no contracts for the 2011 series of X Factor have been signed, he expects both himself and Dannii to return.

Matt immediately asks: “If you got the call, would you go back?”

“Of course,” replies a mystified Louis.

Proving that she’s not listening to a word he’s saying either (I wonder what is going on in her head), Kate then asks Louis if he thinks Simon Cowell and Cheryl Cole will go to America… after he’s just explained that they might not do the UK show because of their US commitments on X Factor.

Finally, with Louis bemused into submission, the show enters its final and perhaps most bizarre stage… Jenson Button’s Valentine’s tips from Selfridge’s… yep, you heard me.

The hunky – but rather inarticulate – racing driver uses his famous monotone to talk us through his top Valentine’s treats (at 6.55pm on Valentine’s Day – perhaps a little late) before interviewing Sarah Beeny (allowing her to shamelessly plug her dating website) and then disappearing off to the bank.

Much head nodding and hand waving from the “dream team” fronting the show signals that the programme has reached its conclusion… was it only half an hour? It seemed like a lifetime.

I never thought I’d say this, but this show makes Live from Studio Five seem cerebral.

We’re told this is just the first of Richard Desmond’s publications to make the move to TV as the media mogul looks to expand cross-promotional opportunities…

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With the Express, the Star, Asian Babes and Horny Housewives as yet unexploited on the small screen, one wonders just how bad things at Channel 5 might get before they get better?