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An answer to the CBC’s prayers: the Ikea monkey fella

There's a rumour going around that the monkey fella who showed up at an Ikea store in Toronto on Sunday was an early aspirant to enter Amazing Race Canada on CTV next summer. It's vaguely plausible. He was dressed for the weather.

Others think the monkey, a baby rhesus wearing a shearling coat found wandering in an Ikea parking lot, was here for the next edition of Canada's Got Talent, should that show happen again. See, the monkey may note with interest that a dog won the most recent Britain's Got Talent TV thing (yep, Pudsey the dancing dog, won it, along with his teenage owner Ashleigh Butler) and being a monkey and all, he was in with a chance, hereabouts. By the way, Pudsey has an "Autobi-dog-raphy" coming out from a distinguished publisher and has two Christmas Day TV specials coming – one each on BBC and ITV over there.

A person can see the monkey's point.

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Still others believe that the arrival of the monkey fella is a sign of the looming apocalypse, the one predicted by the wise Mayans in their calendar. What scholars have failed to translate is the footnote that says civilization will end, and the monkeys will take over. First, they take over Ikea, for the home furnishings, and then they take over Canadian Tire, because Canadian Tire already prints its own money and that will come in dead handy as the new currency in the post-apocalypse world.

As it happens, the monkey fella was not the only surprising figure to show up in an unexpected place on Sunday. Like tens of millions of people around the world, I was watching Manchester City play Manchester United on TV Sunday morning. And who shows up? Tom Cruise and Robert Duvall, that's who. Cruise talked about being a great man for the soccer and being a pal of David Beckham, like you do if you're Tom Cruise.

Duvall stunned the soccer world by announcing, "I am very interested in football. I was in London years ago to see Pele travelling through when he was 17, and I have followed every World Cup since. I can safely say the greatest character I have ever met is wee Jimmy Johnstone. I named a dog after him."

The news that Duvall was aware of, and had met legendary Glasgow Celtic winger Jimmy (Jinky) Johnstone was beyond bizarre. Like finding out that Pastor Mansbridge isn't really a pastor. Then, Duvall asked if the Man City versus Man Utd. game might "end in a shootout," which revealed his ignorance of league games in soccer and that kicked the fun out of it all.

Anyway, monkey business and the TV racket: It's also plausible the monkey fella will be hired by CBC to anchor its Saturday-night broadcasting, should the NHL lockout go on much longer. Now famous worldwide, and cute as a button, he's a natural choice, and he's here, in Canada, at loose ends. He'd certainly be more agreeable to watch and more entertaining than Don Cherry, the noted hockey and Toronto municipal-politics expert. Also, he's better dressed for TV.

Fact is, if Hockey Night in Canada doesn't return soon, CBC's new "winter season" will be lacking a major promotional platform, one that's needed to promote the new crazy-cop drama Cracked, the return of Mr. D and the fact that Republic of Doyle moves to Sundays, starting Jan. 6. Listen, the monkey is internationally renowned now, and who better to promote CBC's new and returning shows? An issue might be the fee, since the monkey fella is way more famous than anyone on CBC right now. That news will come as a shock to Kevin O'Leary, but while O'Leary might be said to have more money than sense or good grace on TV, the monkey fella has more sense than money.

Put the monkey fella on TV. Just do it. Give him his own channel, like the Fireplace Channel or the Aquarium Channel. Just do it while the wee fella is world-famous. The future of Canadian TV, I'm telling ya.

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Airing Tuesday

The Pirate Tapes (SuperChannel, 9 p.m.) is a rough and eventually harrowing Canadian doc. (Seen at Hot Docs last year.) Somali-Canadian Mohamed Ashareh returned to Somalia, with sidekicks and a camera crew, to investigate the culture and meaning of the pirate trade that operates on Somalia's coast. He buys his way in, is put in extreme danger, and the confusing, contradictory ethos of the pirate business is illuminated. Some see themselves as revolutionaries, protesting against the countries and giant corporations who pollute their waters. Others are in it for the thrills and quick money.

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About the Author
Television critic

John Doyle is The Globe and Mail's television critic. His column appears in the Review section Monday to Thursday and on Saturday. He has been the paper's critic since 2000. More


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