Posts Tagged ‘Channel 5’

Just A Thought – The Future Of ITV

March 17, 2009

There’s been a lot of hoo-ha in the meejia over the continuing decline of ITV. Britain’s third channel has recently shelved family favourites such as Heartbeat and The Royal, there are rumblings that local news will eventually disappear from our screens and many of the lavish dramas the channel is justly celebrated for have either already been canned or cancelled before a shot’s been filmed. Indeed, if advertising revenue continues to plummet, there’s a real worry that ITV could cease to exist entirely.

If this happened, we’d lose quite a lot of very popular and, in some cases, important television: Coronation Street, The Bill, Emmerdale, The X Factor, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?, Taggart, A Touch Of Frost, Harry Hill’s TV Burp, I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here!, You’ve Been Framed, Midsomer Murders … love ‘em or hate ‘em, there’s no denying ITV still pumps out some big ass shows. The loss of Coronation Street, for example, would be a hammer-blow to the very heart of what makes British television unique, and a personal tragedy for millions of viewers.

But would this really happen? If ITV dies the death many pundits fear, would a show as culturally significant as Coronation Street be allowed to go down in flames with the rest of the channel? Surely another broadcaster would come to its rescue? I don’t believe for one minute that a show that regularly brings in an audience of 14 million viewers would be consigned to the history books because the place it’s called home for the last forty nine years disappears from under it. If the worst happened, I strongly suspect Coronation Street would be snapped up by the likes of Sky One. Hell, I could even see it on the BBC.

If something as identifiably ‘ITV’ as Coronation Street appearing elsewhere seems hard to contemplate, just remember it wouldn’t be the first time. ITV originally broadcast Men Behaving Badly, yet it was the BBC that turned it into the comedy juggernaut it later became. Auf Wiedersehen, Pet had two series on channel three before being successfully revived, once again, by the good old BBC. And let’s not forget both Channel 5 and Sky have gone resurrection crazy with rubbish such as Gladiators, Minder, Going For Gold and Superstars shitting blood all over the schedules.

If we were to lose ITV, I suspect, sadly, that we’d never see the likes of Frost, Midsomer Murders or Taggart again, but I reckon the loss of the channel wouldn’t necessarily mean the loss of Coronation Street, The Bill, Emmerdale or Millionaire. I’d be willing to bet the truly inspired TV Burp would resurface on Channel 4, and you can bet your arse the monumentally greedy Simon Cowell would be banging on Rupert Murdoch’s door to make sure both The X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent didn’t go the way of the dodo. Similarly, I’m A Celebrity would be so at home on Sky, I’m surprised it’s not there already.

Losing ITV would be, for many of us, like losing a beloved family member. However, like the old family photos you come across every now and again, the bits and bobs of theirs you find in a drawer, there would be enough mementos of it about to keep its memory alive.

Indeed, the death of ITV could be the best thing that ever happened to the channel. We’d still have all its best bits spread about the schedules, and none of the shit that has brought the channel’s reputation to its knees. That, bizarrely, could be ITV’s saving grace.

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Trisha’s Guest Dilemma

February 12, 2009

trisha-goddard_280_465862a2

Can YOU solve yesterday’s Trisha’s Guest Dilemma? Here are the facts of the case:

Wayne comes home.

Wayne realises he’s lost his keys.

Wayne climbs in through an open window.

Wayne’s partner Rose comes down the stairs naked.

“It’s not what it looks like,” says Rose, without being asked anything.

Wayne goes upstairs to discover a naked man cowering in the wardrobe.

Rose explains the man’s her cousin, and there’s no funny business going on.

So, what Wayne wants to know from YOU, the WWM Trisha audience, is this:

Is his partner Rose guilty of adultery or not?

You may want to take a bit of time before reaching your conclusion …

Merton In India / Fry in America

October 13, 2008

How To Make a Television Programme
#16485 – Drop a National Treasure in a foreign country

Michael Palin’s spine is not what it once was. Apparently he can barely take a 168 to Hampstead Heath without buckling.

Ustinov’s dead.

So who could the BBC and Five send off on a jet plane for their travelogue programming? Which safe pair of hands could deliver quality footage, fit for a series at only the cost of their fee, their expenses and a handful of first class plane tickets?

Time to get out the Handbook of National Treasures…

David Jason’s too grumpy, Robbie Coltrane won’t fit on the plane and Parkinson’s not very interesting. In the end, stuck for options, Five chose Paul Merton whilst the BBC, probably thinking itself slightly superior, plumped for Stephen Fry.

Paul Merton in China was a bit of a drab affair. It was Merton’s first outing in the travel format and he didn’t look altogether comfortable. His constant asides to camera occasionally came across as slightly patronising towards the Chinese and the imported comedy moments, set-pieces created purely for camera, didn’t do it any favours. It still had a lot of good moments and thankfully the second series is a further improvement.

Paul Merton In India is a different kettle of fish. Merton’s in his element here, as the atmosphere is markedly more chaotic. This gives him the scope to make his witticisms to camera without so much of a reaction. The general hubbub around him means he is ignored, to some extent. He’s part of a constant movement rather than the focus and the show benefits from this change.

In episode one, Merton visited a gentleman called Bubbles who saved a city from exploding using guile and breathtaking bravery. Rather than focus on why missiles were being driven nearby and how one of them caught fire, we followed the story from Bubbles’ point of view and discovered that he put it all down to his worship of a Goddess. A Goddess who protects rats. He led Merton and his charming guide to a nearby temple where they hung out with the rodents and it was all very sweet, if not a little odd.

Things took an even stranger turn when PM hung out at a religious festival in honour of Shiva which featured naked disciples twisting their penises in all directions. Five didn’t shirk from showing this footage. I’m glad I wasn’t eating my dinner when the sight of a block of cement suspended from a bell end flashed on screen, filmed from behind, from the vantage point of the disciple’s arse-crack. Merton was speechless. The viewer was speechless. When offered a chillum packed with weed, PM toked on it like a man possessed, presumably to soften the blow of the visual assault. By the end of this sequence, he was visibly stoned out of his face – like an aged, slightly flabby Bruce Parry, intoxicated in the near-wilderness. It was great stuff.

On top of all this, having sat through a bizarre, faux-accident in a weird, nightmare flight simulator, Merton accidentally jumped out of the emergency door the wrong way, bounced on his head and fell arse over tit. It was one of the funniest things I’ve seen all year. The programme was littered with these amusing little accidents and it triumphed as a result.

Over on BBC1 in a Sunday night slot made available since Martin Clunes stopped fannying about with his dogs on ITV, Stephen Fry pretended to drive around America in a black cab. In Stephen Fry in America, he started his journey in Maine, speaking to fishermen engaged in catching lobsters. We didn’t learn much from this exhange, except that lobster-catchers in Maine are apparently the best in the world. But then, they would say that, wouldn’t they?

  • Later, Fry went hunting deer with some men who covered themselves in deer-poo. No deer made itself known, in the event, so Fry moved on.
  • He went to the Ben & Jerry’s factory and made some ice cream. Visitors to the factory enjoyed his mixture.
  • He went to Washington and talked to a satirist you’ll not have heard of.
  • He went to a Casino to act as croupier. He spoke to a Vietnamese lady who couldn’t understand his accent.
  • He went to speak with Sting, the self-styled Englishman in New York. Sting likes it in New York (when he’s not loitering in European brothels). This section was absolutely infuriating.
  • He spoke to an old man who pretends to be Abraham Lincoln for a living about the Gettysburg address.

And that was about it.

With Fry’s effort it didn’t seem items were linked by anything other than the location of the States – and several of these were completely glossed over with a fleeting apology. This was an episodic array of set pieces, all featuring Fry as he met with everyday, unremarkable Americans. There was something missing here. As with Dave Gorman’s recent America Unchained series, the central premise was flawed so momentum wasn’t allowed to build. Was Fry studying the history of America? The social relations between Americans? Was it an effort in cultural understanding? Or was it just a shallow toe in every one of those puddles, with too little exploration for it to be as engaging as it could have been?

If it was none of these things, then it should have dropped its game and opted to go for the same silly approach that Merton’s crew took. As it stands, Fry’s effort was a touch too earnest and less entertaining as a result.

His series may well improve as time goes on and Merton’s may well degenerate, but from episode one of either vehicle, Merton leads with a goal to nil.

The Friday Question: Best TV Balls Up

September 19, 2008

It’s brilliant when stuff goes wrong on TV. Whether it’s a live broadcast that wasn’t planned to perfection – as above – or just a flawed concept that never should have seen the light of day, TV history is riddled with horrendous production mistakes.

For me, the current Eastenders paedophile sitcom debacle is the most interesting televisual mess we’ve got available – providing shake-your-head moments every time the ill-judged script gets rolled out by actors who deserve better.

Through the ages, unplanned material can be pulled from the archive and now stored forever on Youtube as a reminder to our childrens’ grandchildren that we were rubbish at making television.

So what’s your favourite TV balls up? 

Is it on Youtube?

LINK IT.

How To Have Sex After Marriage

October 18, 2007

Bride and groom 

Last night I got drunk. Not only did this result in me taking my better half’s keys with me to work by mistake, locking her in the flat like some possessive psychopath and ruining her morning, it also meant that I watched this rubbish last night while round at my mate’s hovel. The subsequent review might be tarnished by my wobbly view and the Grolsch windscreen I watched it through.

From what I could gather, a married couple sat about and suffered an interview situation where three ‘experts’ (Christ alone knows what they’re experts in) assessed their problems. The first test of their relationship seemed simplistic to the power of a bajillion. They scored one another on big flip-pads out of ten on three fronts: interestingness, looks and sexual attraction.

Problems, for me, kick in at this point. For a start, Channel 5 are actively grinding years of marriage guidance counselling into a five minute sequence in which a hapless couple of berks, usually working in marketing or PR, make tits of themselves with magic markers on an almost-unwatched terrestial channel. Also – if they get a mark of five or lower for more than two of the three topics, are as yet unmarried and without offspring – surely the best advice is to tell them to split the fuck up? Being with someone you find boring and don’t fancy seems to be a bit of a pointless exercise, and no amount of televised activity is likely to help. You’d need a brainwasher to aid the situation, not a two-bit Channel 5 ‘expert’. It riles me, this rubbish, it really does.

They marked each other and didn’t get above five for any of the criteria, had a little cry then were separated for a week. It was in their week apart that we watched them find themselves with an expert each.

First up, the bloke did some manly things to assert his inner-bear. He swang from trees like a monkey, climbed a ladder and did other physical things, all whilst bizarrely sporting a leather jacket. Clearly image comes before performance in his worldview. The fact that he looked like a flabby Ian Beale is clearly beside the point. Obviously, any manliness he felt he’d built up from all this was kind of absorbed and spoilt by the fact that he admitted, on television, that he is completely squashed like a wingless gnat beneath his lady’s domineering thumb, the ponce.

In order to rid herself of her violent oppressive tendencies, his no-longer-beloved spent a bit of time learning how to be submissive (believe me, it’s not worth saying ‘ooer’ – she didn’t put on a French maid’s outfit or anything). The process entailed making dinner for an actor and being polite to him for a WHOLE afternoon. Bound to reverse an entire personality disorder, eh? She then went and tried on some lingerie with a woman who, if she didn’t have fake jubblies, definitely had a VERY supportive bra. Tits and thumb-woman swished around in the pants department of a rubbish shop and looked like they were as clueless as to what anything in the universe actually meant as the viewer was.

Finally, the couple went on their reconciliatory date after their obligatory established-reality-television-process makeovers. These makeovers were wholly unsuccessful, I ought to add, with the girl ending up looking like a flamenco dancer who’d let herself go and him resembling a randy 80s undertaker. When they kissed, I myself was almost reunited with the premium strength lager I’d poured onto an empty belly, in the form of sick. They snogged like truanting children, tongues flapping about and lips slobbering all over one another’s filtrum.

They said the sex that followed was ‘explosive’ in the final wrap-up, marking each other around the ‘8’ and ‘9’ mark in all criteria, not realising that this could only really be very much a temporary restoration of their relationship’s spark. Seeing as they were separated for a week and talked solidly about sex for those seven days, they were bound to have had a fumble. The pressure was immense – if they’d have bottled it and spent the night sexless they’d seem even more ridiculous than they already did. And on the telly n’all.

Really, judging by the way they dribbled over each other and fumbled and tugged during the snogging scene, they really need to look at their technique, above all else. Doctor Swineshead wouldn’t have bothered with the makeover, manliness training or lingerie shopping. He’d have prescribed hardcore, European SEXPORN to mend their ways. Watch and learn kiddies.

They’d be taking part in group DPs and experimenting with glory holes in no time, the slags.

The Wright Stuff (again)

September 12, 2007

Wright 

Did you happen to catch The Wright Stuff medical phone-in last Tuesday morning? If not, you missed the most revolting 15 minutes of television I’ve witnessed in a long time.

First to phone in was a man whose penis had gone all bent out of shape thanks to his bad diet (for examples of a bad diet see Piqued). This wasn’t all that bad, considering what came next.

Because next up was a man who, when he sat at his computer and farted, had an oil he described as being ‘like that liquid on the top of a curry’ leak out of his arse and contaminate his chair. He didn’t describe whether he was cursed with this mysterious arse-oil when he farted on other seats, so I was led to believe it only happened when he farted at his computer. The doctor suggested it might be pancreatic cancer – an illness I had no idea made you fart oil whilst looking at the internet.

Next was a man who’d picked up arse-worms whilst trekking around India. The doctor suggested he look at his arse in the mirror but, arse-worms being the shy little devils they are, he’d have to catch them off guard. The plan was to lull them into a false sense of security by turning off the lights, then catch them in the act of wriggling out of the guy’s anus by shining a torch at them as he crouched in the dark straddling a mirror looking at his own arsehole.

Finally there was the guy who, when attempting a fart, ended up belching instead. Of course, this being the most disgusting phone-in show ever devised by man, the belch stank of farts. He wasn’t best pleased. Who would be? Farting out of their mouth like that? Imagine if you did it at a dinner party? Or in Smith’s?

For years, my grandfather has been thundering at me that television has gone down the pan. For three decades I’ve dismissed his cries and wails as the moans of a hoary old misery guts stuck in a time-warp of Morecambe & Wise Christmas Specials and Dad’s Army. After seeing this … this … whatever it was, I am now in complete agreement with him.

The Wright Stuff

July 6, 2007

 Wright Stuff

If you’re a dole-scrounger, old, mad, or one of those fools who work from home, you need to keep yourself entertained during the day before the real human beings get home from a hard day’s work. May I recommend you start your pointless day with The Wright Stuff – Channel 5’s flagship 9 O’clock current affairs show for morons, drug-addicts, cunts and kiddie-diddlers hosted by jug-eared, Croydon-obsessed, big-nosed, flappy-mouthed, pig-eyed FREAK Matthew ‘CroydonCroydonCroydonCroydonI’mFromCroydon’ Wright?

For those of you who aren’t untermenschen and therefore haven’t seen it the show’s format, it goes a little like this:

(OPENING CREDITS – CUE MATTHEW WRIGHT LOOKING SMUG)

9:00 Hello! Welcome to today’s Wright Stuff with me – Croydon’s own Matthew Wright!

9:05 Here’s the dreadful, wide-mouthed, arrogant fishwife Lowri Turner … and here’s spiteful, boorish, pointless Fame Academy ‘Headmaster’ Richard A-Blahblahblah. And today’s special guest is … big-titted, completely insane, ex-sexy not-that-sexy-then definitely-not-sexy-now McFadden’s-had-his-way-with-her-and-she’s-full-of-Iceland-pasties … Kerry EricCantona!

9:10
Lowri? What’s in the papers?

9:11 Spittle spittle I’m a woman motherhood spit spittle goff spittle motherhood woman no no no spittle

9:14 Richard?

9:15 It’s a disgrace!

9:!! Kerry?

9:%% Brassy breezy northern northern … B-B-B-B-BRRRIIIIIIIIAAAAAAAAN! WHHHHHHHHYY?

9:£6 (7)
Did I happen to mention I’m from Croydon? Coming up after the break I talk to ‘Dr’ Gillian Makeeeef about shitting …

(ADVERTISEMENT BREAK)

!0:00 HI! Croydon! So, Gillian, what are we talking about today?

10:0K Well Matthew, today we’re talking about the ‘S’ word …

10:89 Croydon?

10:88 Huh?

10:87 Croydon?

10:86 Shitting vaginas are funny old things Matthew …
BLAST OFF!! They certainly are Gillian, snarf snarf … let’s go to the phones. Corin, who’s there?

10:24 This is Mary from Brighton (calls cost 10p, mobiles may vary, all calls will be charged but most won’t be answered)

10:25: Mary? You’re on

10:”7: Mumble mumble mumble pointless public opinion etc

10.30: Thanks Mary! That’s all we’ve got time … so tomorrow … MP BORIS JOHNSON!

(AUDIENCE APPLAUD WILDLY – CUE CRAPPY CLOSING TITLES)

It’s a great show.

Paul Merton In China

May 23, 2007

Paul Merton In China 

Donkey cock. It was thinly sliced and looked like tongue, served in a ramekin with a small amount of sauce. Paul gingerly ate a slice, he didn’t mind it but retched at the next dish. Not sure what it was (I think they were silkworm grubs, or was it a snakes reproductive sack?) as I was still in remission from watching a man chop up a winkle.With his rather fetching assistant, I watched Paul Merton undertake an engaging visit to The People’s Republic of China in order to discover more about its culture, people, blah blah. The largely friendly residents are clearly in the iron fist of The Communist Party, to the point that the Chinese rappers, aping the brothers in the hood, are forced to enthusiastically rap about how nice Chinese food is (‘It’s kinda tricky gettin da taste… But throw in soy sauce, you’ve got no waste’) rather than crack, bitches and guns which makes them seem a little, well, shit. Still, its better to tow the party line than getting beaten with sticks for a year before being sent off to till the land until your fingers drop off.

The highlight of the show was this bloke that makes robots. Apparently this chap had no formal training in electronics and using components from other people’s rubbish built an array of stunning robots, including this huge silver object that, in addition to speaking, had the strength and coordination to pull a fucking rickshaw and a couple of people. He’d even made a smaller version for his son. It was truly astonishing, much to the amusement of Merton and yours truly, sat on a couch smoking skunk. The only person unamused by all of this was his bloody wife. Instead of acknowledging his genius she just wanted him to go to work like everyone else. The miserable old cunt.

There was one glaring snag in all of this – the bit when Merton went and visited a truly horrific hotel. Built in the style of a French Chateau, this sprawling 40 million pound pile of shit was the equivalent of the perpetually fake Colleen McLoughlin, minus what brains it possesses. Its owner, a despicable rich member of the Communist Party, turned up unannounced to introduce himself to Paul as if he were an ambassador for the British government – the creep. But this wasn’t the main problem, it was a ridiculously staged scene whereby Paul is ‘woken up’ by a load of guests doing Karaoke and is ‘forced’ to join in. Paul dressed in an underpant flashing dressing gown hams the whole fucking thing up to the detriment of his status as a genuine and likeable man.

On the whole Merton managed to present a view of China that was at once charming, worrying and interesting. He’s no seasoned traveller (like Palin for example) but isn’t afraid to look bemused and confused by the people and it’s politics. Shame then that he felt the need for that shit karaoke scene, which isn’t even a Chinese invention.

Still, I’ll keep watching, dammit I like the guy.