Posts Tagged ‘Emmerdale’

Just A Thought – Children In Need

November 12, 2008

wogan pudsey

I know this is going to make me sound like a right miserable shitheap, but isn’t it about time Children In Need took heed of its own slogan – ‘Do Something Different‘?

I know I can’t be alone in thinking that a seven hour showcase of the shittest of the shit that Britain has to offer isn’t the best way of getting folk to stump up their money. Without referring to the schedules, I know it’ll go something like this …

  • Wogan and that fucking Fearne Cotton limpit introduce Westlife singing something shit
  • The cast of EastEnders sing some Godawful rubbish gleaned from the cultural wasteland that is musical theatre
  • Sugary bullshit artist Katie Melua sings something shit, yet wistful
  • The bollocks that is Strictly Come Dancing does some dancing
  • Take That sing their latest shit song
  • ITV gamely joins in by letting the stars of one of their few remaining popular shows (The Bill, Corrie or Emmerdale) sing a shit musical number that closely resembles their EastEnders counterpart’s efforts from earlier
  • Boyzone sing their latest shit song; the BBC newsreaders make fools of themselves as they sing an old 70s rock song dressed in women’s clothes
  • Whoever won the X Factor last year sings something soulless and shit that Simon Cowell’s minions wrote in a committee in five minutes flat
  • Over to Kate Humble and the mentally disturbed Bill Oddie for no reason other than everyone on a BBC contract is required to do something for the kids
  • Edgy Facebook generation singer Adele / Kate Nash / Duffy sings something shit about mobile phones or what-have-you
  • The cast of Top Gear prove yet again that anything they do beyond the bounds of their own editorial control is a complete disaster
  • KT Tunstall sings something shit, etc. etc. etc.

There must be a better way of mounting a televised charity event than simply filling it with hours and hours of the worst music this country is currently producing, surely?

If Comic Relief can do it, why not Children In Need?

NewsGush: Emmerdale Hit By Credit Crunch

October 9, 2008

Due to financial shortages, Emmerdale is the latest soap to enforce cutbacks in the form of AXING background staff.

There are genuine concerns on the back of the job losses that viewers who have grown used to the gritty, rustic realism of the series will now notice a shortfall in the amount of people pretending to sip fake pints of beer at the back of The Woolpack.

Television watchdogs are preparing for floods of calls via their specialist helplines from ITV-viewers who may have become disturbed by the lack of non-speaking characters tutting under their breath when an argument kicks off in the street.

Experts say the potential devastation that may be caused by the absence of unusually silent characters finishing their transaction in Viv’s post office at the very beginning of a scene, who then walk out before anyone says anything, is impossible to calculate.

Rumours that Eastenders is about to suffer the same fate, placing WWM favourite, stall-holder Winston Smith in the firing line, have not yet been confirmed.

The Hills

August 12, 2008

Soap operas have long been a supporting leg for the table of society; they provide common ground for discussion, offer up countrywide watercooler gossip and dangle before us the idea that somewhere within our barren, empty lives there is drama.

I’ve known more than one person who would, every night, start with Neighbours and then work through Hollyoaks, Home and Away, Emmerdale, Coronation Street and Eastenders in a straight flush of working class escapism. These people based their lives around those of others who didn’t exist. They spent their time absorbed in a fictional reality, whilst their very real one ebbed away.

When reality television became the genre du jour these people immersed themselves in that too – absorbing more and more cathode rays in the pursuit of gossip and speculation. Endlessly watching, discussing, watching, discussing, watching, discussing and all the while unaware that their days revolved around reacting to the stylised actions of others.

Which, in case you were wondering where this was all going, is a bit like sitting through half an hour of MTV’s reality soap opera ‘The Hills‘.

I wasn’t aware of this show until I stumbled upon this afternoon so a bit of Googled backstory may help the equally uninitiated – it’s a ‘docusoap’ about the lives of a bunch of rich and beautiful white people living in Beverly Hills, a spin off from another show about the same bunch of rich and beautiful white people living by the beach. I can’t quite work out who these people are or why they deserve their own TV show, but I’m guessing the fact they’re rich, beautiful and white has something to do with it.

Despite having no discernible talents, charisma or purpose we follow their every move as they are afforded the sort of connections and opportunities most people can only dream of, and we get to watch as they piss them away in a scat-orgy of mindless self indulgence and childish arguments. They work in exclusive nightspots, in high fashion, in entertainment and get to mingle with movie stars and industry giants whilst riding in private jets and squandering the income of your average household in one champagne-sodden long weekend. They are a Bret Easton Ellis novel come real.

First things first: this is not a reality show. If this is an honest portrayal of life then I have a gateway to Xanadu in my bathroom. It’s shot with the logistical complexity of a Robert Altman film – multiple camera angles no matter how impromptu the moment, exquisite lighting setups for each deeply-wrung conversation and editing so judicious it makes the Apprentice look like the work of DA Pennebaker. It’s also shot like a Michael Mann film – so cinematic in its portrayal of another indentikit LA bar that you wonder how they can have a normal conversation with a crew of 36 no less than 10ft away.

Each cast member is virtually indistinguishable from not only the others, but from themselves as well. With all the emotional complexity of a blueberry muffin they bitch about minute aspects of each other’s behaviour, overreact to the most basic of situations and prove themselves beyond all but the most simple human interaction. This is a world where a two minute conversation with an ex-boyfriend can lead to a screaming argument, where modelling for the editor of Teen Vogue is the most impressive thing ever and where the word ‘like’ features more than all other words combined.

I don’t see the point of this show. Soap operas offer consolation for the viewer, aligning themselves in sympathy whilst drama is supposed to offer blissful escape. But this programme does neither. The characters are so vacuous and pathetic that they’re not even worth scorn and their lives are so empty and repetitive that they make the supposed glamour of Beverly Hills seem dull. They don’t come across as special, or impressive, or even worth knowing – they’re not good guys or bad guys, they’re just people, boring ones at that, living the same life as the viewer – watching, discussing, watching, discussing – albeit in a different place.

Maybe, though, that’s the point – TV used to present excitement and escape as admirable pursuits, but that stopped us watching. Now it offers boredom and repetitive behaviour patterns; makes gossip and self importance important enough to be on TV and the audience will copy, they’ll ask less questions and do fewer things. Soon TV will be like an Escher painting, a self-eating circle snake of navel-gazing and nadir-worship.

Think I’m overreacting? Consider this – for the entire length of the show there was a piece of text in the corner of the screen advertising a new show on MTV that night, Totally Calum Best, in which the mentally-challenged fucktard attempts to go without sex for 50 days. I don’t want to sound like the old man in the corner, but if The Hills isn’t the beginning of the end of civilisation, then that certainly fucking is.

Coronation Street

September 18, 2007

David Platt 

When I was a useless, substance-dependent student living in the North of England, my day wasn’t complete without six cans of Spar Lager, a pouch of Drum tobacco, a hangover that made me question my very existence and, if conditions would allow, a few wheezes on the bum-sucked spliffs a pal had rolled. On top of this, if it was a weekday around five pm, I would become sucked into the world of Soap Opera after waking up in a filthy bed surrounding by pornography and dried blood. I was the type of lad you could take home to meet your mother.

My soap opera crawl would start on the other side of the globe. An antipodean hour of festering shit beginning at Yabby Creek, waddling along Summer Bay and ending up in Ramsay Street via the international business park that is Paul Robinson’s Lassiters. After confirming that I would be closer each day to Home and Away and being reminded that I might one day find the perfect blend, I’d pop over to Chester.

Hollyoaks passed in a whirl of horrific acting, idiotic trendy boys and dead-eyed blonde girls who looked like they’d been reanimated by a pervert. Emmerdale came next and I literally can’t remember a single thing about it, apart from Seth’s fantastic moustache.

After that, and Christ only knows why, I would subject myself to the mind-hammering that is Coronation Street. Or ‘The Street’, if you are over 60, work in the tabloids or are a complete twat.

It has been ten years since I was in that dark, dark place and last night, more by harsh luck than judgement, I sat through an entire episode of Coronation Street. It was a harsh reminder that television truly does rot the brain.

Very little in Corrie had changed. Roy Cropper was still going out with a transexual who was played by a born-woman, defeating the point of the fact that he’s going out with a transexual. Tyrone is still fat and stupid, but is now hairy and fat and stupid. Ashley still speaks like someone’s treading on his little toe. Kevin still looks even weirder without a moustache than with one.

Betty is still alive. That was a shock. And she’s still rooted to the same spot in the Rovers Return, banging on about her fucking hotpot. Poor cow. She’s surely earned herself a stay at an above average retirement home by now so the producers should do the decent thing and pack her off to one. And throw away the key.

The biggest shock came when I saw Gail’s boy – the one who was about six years old ten years ago and seemed like the most amazing child actor I’d ever seen. ‘He’s got a bright future, that one’ I thought to myself, all those years ago. Last night proved me bang wrong.

He’s turned into one of the worst actors I’ve seen in my life. In last night’s storyline he’d left his niece alone with a doll which had ecstasy pills hidden within its plastic torso (a la Danny in Withnail and I). The little kid (Bethany, I think) obviously ingested a few of these embalmers and we were subjected to the sight of this former child actor hollering and banging the furniture in frustration in the most unrealistic soap set-piece I’ve ever seen.

Aside from this moment of high tension, the thing that got me was just how slow Coronation Street is. I suppose it’s a fair reflection of life in a Northern town that very little seems to happen for long periods of time, but Christ, it ain’t half boring.

Give me the crazy streets of Walford any day. I switched over at 8pm and there was Sean flushing Deano’s head down a lavvy, Ian Beale narrowly avoiding being run over by his dead ex wife and, the icing on the cake, Billy getting in a bit of a huff. God bless the ‘enders. All hail the Beasts of the East.