It’s dark before 6pm, brass-monkey chilly and winter is in the post via express delivery.
The worst possible time of year to have a barbecue on a roof terrace. Right?
Wrong, if you’re Kaye Adams and Nadia Sawalha and have an hour to fill on ITV at the weekend.
They’re hosting a dire mess called Sunday Scoop, the show that puts the “scoop” into “poop scoop”, alongside Peter Andre and Jeff Brazier on alternate weeks.
It’s one half of a two-headed beast that begins with an unnecessarily raucous sister show hosted by Stephen Mulhern being all upbeat when the rest of the nation is reaching for the Alka Seltzer.
This part of the equation, Sunday Side Up, is at least watchable, unlike Sunday Scoop which goes about its business – reviewing the papers, cooking lunch, interviewing guests – as if the format wasn’t being done infinitely better elsewhere.
To give an idea of the level they’re aiming for, the set’s armchairs look reclaimed from a student bedsit, minus the springs, and Adams had this burning question: “Chicken pie or beef burger? Which would you go for Matt (Cardle)?”
Unlike Mulhern she’s a total suck-up (“Zoe Lucker, you’re so beautiful and elegant”) and will not shut the hell up about being a vegetarian.
Week one: “Have you got to put meat in everything, Nadia?”
Week two: “Charlie Condou from Coronation Street is bringing in a cheesecake which yet again is going to be the only thing I’m able to eat. Am I the only veggie in the world?”
Week three: “I’m not going to go on about the veggie thing again because...”
Because that could get tiresome in a hurry, Kaye.
I wanted no part of this head-shaker of a programme long before Sawalha declared: “I’m seriously thinking of growing my moustache.”
It succeeds only in giving a moment of dull peace after the hour of Sunday Side Up which has two golden rules.
“We don’t do cooking. We don’t mention Mondays,” and added a third following Christopher Biggins giving Mulhern the Heimlich manoeuvre, or worse, from behind while trying to pop balloons he’d put under his shirt as breasts for reasons I genuinely cannot remember.
“If you’ve just switched on,” the host winced, “this is really happening.”
There’s unsolicited heckling from the studio crew, calamitous production links, some sub-TV Burp quips about X Factor with sideways looks to camera and parlour games you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy at their in-laws on Boxing Day.
One such has a viewer on the phone making animal sound effects for the guests to guess, including this exchange: “Woof-woof-woof, Miaow!”
“A dog chased by a policeman?”
It wasn’t the hangover kicking in when, I swear, Biggins arm-wrestled a Joe Pasquale lookalike or the moment Mulhern catapulted a cake from a skateboard across the studio into a bin held by Corrie’s Jennie McAlpine.
Those really happened.
As did this appalling sequence of events on Remembrance Sunday, when the presenter handed to the Cenotaph for the two-minute silence and the Queen’s wreath-laying, which returned immediately to Mulhern reading out a viewer’s embarrassing-parent anecdote.
“Laura tweeted in, ‘My mum farted in the supermarket and said, ‘wherever you be, let the wind blow free,’ as a family friend walked past.’ How about that?”
It’s what the Flanders fallen would have wanted, Stephen.