When it comes to British humorists, Noel Edmonds is right up there with Margaret Thatcher.

Testing the late-night breezes, ABC (Channels 7, 3 and 10) has been trying out “The Noel Edmonds Show” at midnight this week, preempting the bloodshot “Eye on Hollywood.” And the network has been trying out a new daytime series, “Fame, Fortune & Romance,” from that Cockney Captain Video, Robin Leach (“Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous”).

A comedian who isn’t funny and a “journalist” who is.

You might say that Edmonds--who hosts his own show in London--is taking America by calm. Bring back Joey Bishop. Bring back Alan Thicke. Bring back Jerry Lewis. Send back Noel Edmonds.


Love the compatibility. What an ideal hour to follow Ted Koppel. Can’t you just hear the breathless comments in America’s homes?

“Now that we’ve gotten the latest on South Africa from ‘Nightline,’ let’s stay tuned to Noel Edmonds for the latest jokes on women’s panties.”

ABC is using five nights of Edmonds to shoot for the youth crowd, and his guests do include some of pop music’s big names: Huey Lewis, Roger Daltrey, Ozzy Osbourne, Annie Lennox, Julian Lennon, Marilyn Martin and Peter Allen, whose Wednesday night production number was easily the highlight of the first three nights.

Instead of singing, unfortunately, most of the big names in music are required to join Edmonds in awful comedy bits. Edmonds interviewed Daltrey while sitting in a bathtub filled with water.



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Edmonds has an unseen female announcer with a sultry voice. He’s also one of those people who laughs at his own bad jokes, which are the only kind he tells. This show isn’t written, it’s regurgitated.

You gag on his gags. NBC’s David Letterman has “Stupid Pet Tricks.” ABC has Edmonds’ show.


Yesssss, you really had to see the “Jockey Shorts Jumping Challenge” to believe it. And Edmonds might have interviewed Osbourne about his controversial music, except that he had to move on to the “Hold a Broom Over Your Head While Spinning 10 Times and Then Try to Stand on the Broom Challenge.”

On Monday, meanwhile, the always-in-demand George Willig (the “human fly” who scaled the New York World Trade Center in 1977) broke away from his busy schedule to participate in a Houdini escape stunt with a member of the studio audience. At least that was the billing. The two men left to do the trick out of sight and Edmonds promised they would return Wednesday for an update.

They didn’t.

There probably wasn’t time, for Edmonds was too busy showing America how to “find out whether the man in your life is really a woman.” It’s the question that’s been on everyone’s mind.


Somehow, you have the feeling that Letterman isn’t panicking over Edmonds. It’s not that British humor doesn’t work in America. On the contrary, there is no one on TV funnier than Robin Leach.

That old smoothie Leach is TV’s Grandfather Sleaze and Frederick’s of Hollywood rolled into one. Today (10 a.m. on Channels 7, 3 and 42) ends a two-week trial of his “Fame, Fortune & Romance,” which is “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” with a different title.

In other words, don’t count on Leach visiting Mother Teresa.

“Fame, Fortune & Romance” makes People magazine look like National Geographic.


There on the screen in last Friday’s episode was Kevin Dobson playing paddle tennis with his wife at their Hollywood Hills home, playing softball with the guys and eating hot dogs.

Leach (in his Cockney accent): “But Kevin prefers to save his appetite for magic nights.”

Although you heard Leach’s magical voice “agayn and agayn,” the man was only human, after all. So he had to limit himself to only those segments worthy of his presence. Even Telly Savalas didn’t qualify.

Liz Taylor did.


Leach: “A single glahnce turns grown men’s knees to jelly, including, I confess, mine.”

Oh, Robin, you romantic.

He reviewed Taylor’s career, including the “smoldering passion” of her marriages and revealed that “it was when I was writing stories behind the headlines that I got to know the lovely lady.”

For the record, Leach used to work for the National Enquirer. Anyway, our intrepid reporter took a camera crew and his jellied knees to a Beverly Hills art show attended by Taylor where, he confessed, “I lost my heart and much more.”


Are you on the edge of your seat?

There on the screen was Leach buying Taylor an expensive painting she was looking at.

Leach: “Dear Elizabeth, you always deserved the best.”

Robin loves ya, baby.