Posts Tagged ‘Simon Cowell’

NewsGush: Bookies on Boyle

April 17, 2009

Now, I don’t watch ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent because it’s a pile of shit. It’s also got a judging panel made up of three arseholes and is fronted by Ant & Dec. Frankly, if I tried to watch that rot, my telly wouldn’t survive the thrashing I’d inevitably mete out to it from a mixture of frustration, despair, ruinous fury and good, old-fashioned common sense.

But some people do watch it, and the majority of them are going mental about Susan Boyle in the clip above. She’s turning into an ‘internet sensation’ with her Youtube clip being watched at a frightening rate. Bookies have shortened her odds on winning the thing, and Guardian journalists are getting in a tizzy about her initially being judged on her appearance.

So – apparently people who look like normal folk can sing!

Who’d have thought?

What a patronising and worryingly profitable shit-bonanza Cowell’s running.

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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.

Just a Thought: Comic Relief

March 16, 2009

In the past it would’ve taken an iron will or three VHS tapes to get through the nearly-annual maelstrom of goodwill they call Comic Relief. Luckily, in times of broadband and fibre-optics we can press the relevant button and watch it all back at our own pace. If you’ve paid your money, you makes your choice – and there’s no shame in avoiding such a long stint on the couch if you’ve already coughed up.

But is donating ample justification for having a pop at the format of a show founded on what is undoubtedly a good cause? Or is it churlish to criticise the production values of a well-intentioned telly marathon?

Well – that depends. It depends on whether or not the stuff they put out in return for your charity is insultingly manipulative and needlessly shallow.

With the best will in the world, and with the complete understanding that telethons are fired by the contribution of funds from the viewer, this year’s Comic Relief was borderline unbearable. Unless my nostalgia blanket has crept up over my eyes, the BBC seem to have reneged on the deal somewhat, and the old structure we’re used to – wall-to-wall comedy interspliced with occasional and thorough information pieces – has been shipped out, wholesale. The appeals are now relentlessly repetitive, too short to leave any lasting understanding and the footage around them leaves a sour taste in the throat as a consequence.

One five minute sequence featuring Catherine Tate squawking, with barely any context, would be quickly followed, clumsily and offensively, by footage of a baby dying and endless requests for dollar from the overpaid likes of Claudia Winkleman and Davina McCall. Neither of whom are comedians. Both of whom are irritating at best, and hideously insincere, attention-grabbing slimers at worst. The sight of them on Comic Relief does Top of The Pops, infiltrating the stage when FloRida attempted to plug his new single (proceeds presumably going to his own coiffers), was breathtaking.

It was impossible to ignore them, in the company of the now beyond-irrelevant French and Saunders, mugging along during the whole of the TOTP sequence as they’d been placed right at the front of the audience. Had they been told to make arseholes of themselves by Production, or had they just grabbed the opportunity to blag screentime off their own backs? Either way, it was teeth-grindingly annoying, and added insult to the injury of the likes of Take That promoting non-charitable singles in the wake of shots of poverty-stricken children breathing their last breaths.

The idea of sending celebrities overseas to film VTs to show us where the money goes – or why it’s required – is essential to Comic Relief. There are some classic examples from the past. But this time round, despite Christine Bleakley’s good efforts on The One Show in the preceding week, the night itself concerned itself with a stream of superficial films which misappropriated extremely upsetting, shock images and all ended with the likes of Davina or Annie (bloody) Lennox weeping – as though that would help us to empathise. As though we were too stupid to empathise without seeing a familiar face, urging us to empathise. And the less said about Fearne Cotton fainting, the better.

I haven’t yet mentioned Simon Cowell. They had an appeal from Mr. Simon ‘Fuck You I’m Rich’ Cowell. Didn’t this idea ring a few alarm bells in pre-production? It’s one thing to have the media megalomaniac Jonathan Ross and his enormous salary presenting a slice of the show, and quite another having a shamelessly greedy arsehole like Cowell asking us – recently redundant, credit-crunch victims – for our cash, whether the appeal is genuine or not.

And speaking of Annie Lennox – it’s nice to see her crawl out and into the limelight following a media silence that seemed to last years. And now she’s back – just in time for Comic Relief and the release of her new album. Nice to see that the two happened to coincide.

Despite these howlers, Comic Relief improved over the course of the evening. James Corden was (I can’t believe I’m typing this) brilliant in his England team pep talk. The Celebrity Apprentice was excellent, with the trio of Dee, Carr and Ratner making it last year’s equal. Graham Norton and Alan Carr’s presentation was far better than the earlier stuff because of their lack of earnestness, their avoidance of faux-sincerity and their awareness of the incongruence between the comedy and the tragedy. To their credit, they got on with the job without crying their eyes out between links, then wiping their eyes for a mum-dance to a new release.

There’s got to be an argument for a more intelligent take on the charity telethon. Audiences’ viewing habits have changed and their knowledge of how editing and scheduling works is more developed than ever before. If the BBC learns that we’re not all reliant on Davina’s moodswings when it comes to making a decision on whether or not we donate, we might end up with a product that makes just as much money for the cause and doesn’t leave us feeling soiled and bemused. Here’s hoping.

The X Factor – Quarter Final

December 3, 2008

And so the longest advert in history trundles on, destroying all that might dare to threaten the global dominance of Cowell et al. The contest itself is an irrelevance, a deus ex machina of neccessity in place to guarantee the further financial obliteration of all rivals and to homogenise the music industry so that it can be controlled by one man and his Blackberry.

There was a time when asset-stripping was a tactic reserved exclusively for the hardnosed Gordon Gecko’s of the world, but Cowell has admirably stepped into those shoes – cherry-picking the elements of art, music and culture that will make him the most profit and willingly discarding all that is extraneous and unnecessary. Even the songs the contestants perform are fractured into two thirds of their original length, just in case the audience become bored or there’s not enough space left for tie-in adverts, painfully repetitive VT autocues and phone number announcing.

It’s hard to blame the contestants here. Each have genuine talent and see the show as an opportunity to become recording stars. They naively believe they’ll be the ones to defy the curse of Cowell-meddling that will see them reduced to bargain bins and further reality show humiliation over the next few years.

It’s sad to think that, not only does that man resculpt the still growing identities of a number of teenagers to further his swelling bank account, he also does it under the guise of concern and consideration. He’s an evil soul – not the pantomime villain he plays – but the face of corporate greed, pummelling and psychologically bullying all in favour of a third house in Barbados.

The X-Factor didn’t used to get to me too much in the years past – it was always an ignorable piece of fluff that didn’t matter much. I’d watch the auditions for a laugh and then abandon the show as the remaining contestants were whittled down to the least offensive, most bland nadir and then roll my eyes at the woeful Christmas release that inevitably followed.

This year I’ve stayed with it all the way through – mostly at the bequest of my lady – and I’ve found my eyes opened to the summit of evil that the show really is.

The music industry is, by and large, a hugely corrupt and morally bankrupt industry. The X-Factor manages to represent that far better than any sharply-worded critique or snappily dressed indie anthem ever could. From the fawning faux-praise of the grown up Martin Prince that is Louis Walsh, to the bought-and-paid-for ‘controversies’ in the newspapers, this is not a television programme – it’s a vertically integrated business model that’s found a legally allowable method of advertising during the period in which networks are meant to be broadcasting content.

This week was Britney week. The overproduced pop princess decided to bestow a rare UK miming event upon us and so, as a result, we were forced to watch a clinically depressed redneck being forced to pretend to sing her latest vocoder-featuring single while a bunch of semi-talented amateurs all murder her previous hits by occasionally alternating the intonation on a couple of words.

Actually, scratch that, it wasn’t Britney week – it was Disney Cross-Platform UK Tween-Push week as the show also featured, inexplicably, an appearance by Kevin Federline fuckee-in-waiting Miley Cyrus and a ‘spirited’ performance of a High School Musical number by the shows resident dashboard-nodding grandson fantasy, Eoghan Quigg.

And yes, Britney – poor, poor Britney. If ever there was a warning shot across the brow of the contestants it’s Britney. Brought in to stumble across the floor, forget which lyrics to lip-synch to and to display no knowledge of what show she was on – she was a walking / talking advert for the destructive nature of fame. Still the contestants blithely waffled on about how fame and money were their dreams. It was like watching smackheads looking at an ODd corpse and not being able to make the connection.

Dead-eyed Britney was the low point of a show that has plumbed the depths more times than I can count. I wouldn’t object so much if it acknowledged its fakery, but it insists on ploughing ahead, repeating the lies enough times to be heard as truths – it’s about the artists, it’s about music, it’s about making people’s dreams come true.

It’s none of these. It’s about making money – huge, unimaginable piles of money – and may God have mercy upon whatever singers, songs, impressionable children and cultural legacies get in its way.

NewsGush – X Factor: Viewers Dig at Gig Rig

November 11, 2008

Have you seen that performance, in the video above? It’s breathtaking.

Now – was The X Factor fixed on Saturday night?

What were the final two even doing at the bottom of the pile?

Should Ruth Lorenzo have gone instead of Laura White?

Was it harsh and unfair that the T&A of the Spanish power-ballad mistress were deemed preferable to the silly voice of the Yorkshire lass?

No! It wasn’t!

Now get on with your lives!

I’ve met one of the blokes who works behind the scenes in the operations department of The X Factor, and he assured me that it’s all above board. Laura White was a girl with a decent voice who ruined her chances by affecting a sub-Winehouse croon that didn’t suit her in the slightest.

The simple fact is that the British public are easily swayed and love novelty. Whether it’s Daniel crooning Don’t Leave Me This Way in the most nauseating manner possible, as above, or that dullard Diana twisting her claws about and yodelling like an idiot banshee, they’ll keep in the freaks so they can have a laugh and boost the confidence of the underdog before returning them to obscurity.

So why do people get up in arms about this sort of shit?
Why do politicians mention this rubbish in parliament? 
Why does this make the front pages of entertainment websites?

Some answers:

  • Because they’re idiots.
  • In this instance, for a laugh.
  • It’s a slow news day.



The X Factor (again)

October 6, 2008

Auditions? We’re past all that now. Boot Camp? Stick your Boot Camp – we’ve moved on! Luxury Villas? Gah – you’re too late! Because we’re on the brink of the Live Finals now! It’s time to put on your snazziest balaclava and apply lipstick to your nipples as Saturday Nights become X Factor showbiz bonanzas!

In truth, I’ve never made it to this point before with the X Factor. Like most right-minded folk, my interest wanes after the auditions. It’s more fun tutting over the modern bedlam of the regional try-outs, as mentally-impaired plebs line up for humiliation than it is listening to a load of half-arsed, half-baked sob stories and lies. But this time, somehow, I’ve hung on in there. And now I’m DAMNED if I’m going to give up. I’m a scabrous barnacle clinging to the X Factor’s arse and I’ll not be letting go until we land at victory’s shore.

Over the weekend, the luxury pad section consisted of that arsehole Danni Minogue ruining the lovely Suzie‘s chances of another stab at fame (despite the fact that she’s one degree of separation away from being properly famous herself).

Suzie was once in The 411 – a fact which everyone seems to have forgotten about. I’m sure I haven’t made them up. Doesn’t matter anyway – a blonde Ricky Gervais lookalike took her place. There’ll be no votes for him from the red-blooded males who took Suzie to their hearts.

Nice to see Danni for a bit, mind you – considering she’s usually almost completely edited out to make way for (that arsehole) Cheryl Cole’s footage.

Speaking of the devil, we also saw (that arsehole) Cheryl Cole mucking about somewhere hot, floating around in a white dress and sitting on white sheets as she destroyed the dreams of people more talented than her.

And we also watched Simon Cowell (that arsehole) kicking out Alan Turner. He had to kick Turner out, because he’s a cheat – though the show went to great lengths to cover its arse on this – with Cowell asking him straight and repeatedly saying ‘I believe you’ when he heard the response. That was before he booted him out, presumably because he didn’t believe him.

There were no other real surprises apart from (that arsehole) Louis Walsh kicking out some nice young Motown singing children. They couldn’t get their act together, but they were the only performers with any real charm… He’s lumbered with the groups. The groups never win. So it doesn’t really matter anyway.

Let’s look at the movers and shakers in the four sets of final threes. Does that make sense?

Boys – mentored by (that arsehole) Simon Cowell

Scott Bruton
That brute Scott Bruton got through despite being a Pontins no-hoper. The former bluecoat has sorted his hair out (which in X Factor world means shaving it) but is still not much cop at singing. In fact, he’s not much to look at neither (I’m reliably informed). Let’s move on.

Austin Drage
Austin has a name that wouldn’t look out of place in a Dickens novel or a seventies sitcom and for that reason alone, I like the boy. Cowell reckons he reeks of desperation, but when he says this he overlooks the fact that every single person that auditions is a desperate wannabe, so it’s a moot point. Come on Austin. WWM is behind you – unless you win. Then we’ll hate you. Our underdogs must remain lowly canines and never rise to winner status. Underachieve or be scorned.

Eoghan Quigg
Another weird name on this one. Any ideas how we’re meant to pronounce this? I’ve forgotten how they referred to him on screen. I think they just whistled at him and he came running, like a little blonde terrier. 15 years old with the voice of an emasculated Ian Paisley, he’s going to be a Mum’s favourite whilst simultaneously having all of Ireland on his side. Could win it.

Girls – mentored by (that arsehole) Cheryl Cole

Alexandra Burke
Alexandra tried out for the X factor a few years ago and failed at the luxury villa section – but not this time! This time, when told she’d made it to the humiliation of the Live Finals, she wept like a woman who’d lost her favourite pair of shoes in a fire that had wiped out her family. For a pretty girl, she don’t half weep ugly.

Diana Vickers
With one of those faces that screams ‘I’m really annoying!’ and a haircut to match, Diana isn’t bothered by fame – she ‘just wants to be up on stage doing something she loves’. Which makes the fact that she’s never gigged a bit baffling. Her reaction to Cheryl’s good news was cringeworthy. Faux-sincerity and teeth-grinding cheeriness abounded. They refer to her as ‘little hippy’ when she’s clearly a Nazi beneath all those flowing clothes.

Laura White
She’s a northern Amy Winehouse minus the drug-dependency, pale and interesting looks and vinegar-soaked vocal stylings. So, essentially, she’s a bit of a non-entity with Amy Winehouse’s hairstyle.

Over 25s – mentored by (that arsehole) Danni Minogue

Daniel Evans
This blonde Ricky Gervais smiler was chosen ahead of Suzie – so minus points from the off.

Rachel Hylton
Rachel’s representing the street, yeah? At 26, she’s got five kids and custody over two of them. One of them is 13. Do the mathematics. Hard not to like Rachel. She’s been to prison, been addicted to drugs and still found time to pop out more kids than she knows what to do with. You have to admire a background as chaotic as that simply because it is completely insane.

Ruth Lorenzo
Hola senorita! Our taste of Spain – Ruth Lorenzo – is a beguiling mess of unwashed hair, loads of eyeliner and denim that is far too tight. She sometimes sings in Spanish! She got a big bottom! She actually cries whilst crooning! Marvellous.

Groups – mentored by (that arsehole) Louis Walsh

Bad Lashes
What kind of name is that? I’ll tell you what kind of name it is – a rubbish one that makes you think of really craply applied mascara. These girls were clearly assembled before the auditions from adverts in local newspapers or an airfix model kit. They’re so obviously a corporate creation that they’re barely worth talking about – but it’s worth watching how they hold themselves. They’re permanently posing like shop window mannequins. At first this is amusing, but then it’s downright terrifying.

Girlband
And the prize for the least inventive name goes to… what were they called again?
Girlband all have the look of people you’ve seen somewhere before. Isn’t that Charlotte Church… but a bit younger? I’m sure I’ve seen her before. Former page 3? Married a footballer… come on – you know the one. Was Miss GB for a bit. No? Wasn’t that one in Hollyoaks? I’m sure I’ve seen her in Club International… etc..etc…

JLS
With a name that makes them sound like an airline rather than a boyband, I can’t remember anything at all about these chaps. Sorry.

So there you go!

Gear yourself up for long autumn weeks spent with these hopefuls as they sing for your votes, Saturday after Saturday after Saturday. Keep your eye out for a ‘LOUIS WALKS’ headline and your ears pricked for rumours of a phone-rigging scandal.

A miserable, drizzly October starts right here as we head for the absolute fucking nightmare of winter with those X Factor bastards’ overstressed syllables warbling in our ears, like aggressive, sponsored tinnitus.

Get dialling.

Britain’s Got Talent Live Final

June 3, 2008

Well, it’s over… after months of drawn out untalented humiliation this beefed up Opportunity Knocks has finally ended it’s 2008 run – just in time for the football and Big Brother to start. The auditions were, as usual, the only truly entertaining section as hoardes of delusional regionalists proudly offered themselves up to be mocked, booed and buzzed by a baying crowd of cackling misanthropes.

The semi-finals was an easy weeding of those who were only put through to be hate figures (a tone-deaf singing magic act, a senile keyboardist who covered Star Wars to make it more spacey) and those who showed a genuine talent. After months of audition they rushed these semi-finals through in a week, clearly aware that audience figures drop like flies once the tedious process of adulation and voting begins.

Piers Morgan, Amanda Holden and the ubiquitous Simon Cowell were our judges. Much has already been said about their questionable right to judge talent – particularly in Amanda’s case – so we shall skip right ahead to Saturday which was the final. These were the finalists:

The Cheeky Monkeys: The kind of kids potential parents fear having. These are all grinning, all dancing spangly visions of hell rolled into one cutesie dance act. High kicking and backflipping to the Grease soundtrack, they summed up all that is grotesque and perverse about parents forcing their kids into entertaining people. In 20 years time they’ll be like Quiz Kid Donnie Smith, cruising bars to find cheap smack.

Andrew Muir: the requisite cute boy singer gurned like Ruprecht from Dirty Rotten Scoundrels whilst murdering John Lennon’s Imagine, although a shorter version because, y’know, those songs about peace really are too long. Amanda thought it was great “like David Gray” whilst Simon and Piers chastised him for his choice of song. “It wasn’t my choice”, protested Andrew “I had no say in my choice of song” but his complaints were quickly hushed up.

Kate and Gin: a dog dancing act featuring a shut-in social pariah and her overly trained dog. It’s acts like this that make you truly weep inside – admirable only in the way that it must have taken her hours to do, the act however was neither entertaining nor satisfying. Just a little sad.

Nemesis: a street dance group that started impressively and steadily slid downhill the more routines they did. Much was made of them not having a rehearsal studio and using the Milton Keynes bus station instead. While they were admittedly impressive, they’re still basically an act that looked like it rehearsed in a bus station. Piers Morgan praised them for being outstanding examples of modern youth as the media was portraying them unfairly these days – a statement so hypocritical that it could only come from the former editor of a tabloid.

Strike: a martial arts act of which Amanda said “turned martial arts into entertainment”. Huh? What the fuck do the Shaolin Monks and Jackie Chan do then? They were impressive due to the fact that I can’t do high kicks, but it was like watching extras in a Jason Statham movie get it wrong. Amanda loved their ripped abs, though, and much was made of their ability to take their shirts off to sound effects.

Andrew Johnston: the sort of act that it seems unfair to include in these competitions because he’s so naturally talented. No matter how much work the other contestants put into their acts, few will be able to match the natural ability of this falsetto 12 year old. Unfortunately, his remarkable talent wasn’t enough for the producers and we were subjected to such overemoting about him being bullied at school for his voice that by the end you wanted to swipe the little fucker’s pocket money yourself.

George Sampson: another child entry, this time a teenage breakdancer who’d failed to make the grade last year but scraped through this time around. His routine was an admittedly very impressive sequence of fluid motion that only went wrong at the end when a poorly thought through section under a shower of water made it look like he was in remake of Flashdance.

Faryl Smith: a 12 year old singer who, much like Andrew Johnston, kind of made a mockery of the whole competition by being so preposterously naturally talented that everyone else paled in comparison. Simon was so besotted with her that you could actually see the pound signs flashing up in his eyes.

Escala: a quartet of high-class Nuts Magazine hotties who play string instruments in a really high-class hot way. They were the favourites to win on account of their incredible hotness and the fact that they were really good at what they do. Simon went a tad too far, claiming that they “turned classical music on its head” while simultaneously forgetting that Live and Let Die isn’t actually a classical track and that Vanessa Mae had ever existed.

Signature: an Indian Jay and Silent Bob whose Michael Jackson-themed dance routines were actually very charming and quite funny…

And the winner is… Simon Cowell!

Let’s face it – who really cares who gets to perform in front of Prince Charles when Cowell’s income for the next few years is at stake? Luckily he’ll be ok with Faryl Smith and Escala as his bread and butter, so watch out for albums from them in time for Christmas.

The real winner was George Sampson, the teenage breakdancer – and his victory was sweet and appreciated – the 14 year old being genuinely overwhelmed and very flattered with the honour. None of the bookies’ favourites made it into the top three, which makes you wonder if, with ITV’s reputation, they didn’t just decide it themselves.

Sampson’s career won’t last long because Cowell can’t push his single in 24 countries simultaneously, but he was a sweet kid and as deserving a winner as any of them I suppose.

And so the Cowell juggernaut thunders on – next week America’s Got Talent starts on ITV2 and the endless pursuit for fleeting fame continues…

American Inventor

February 27, 2008

American Inventor 

Q: I say, I say, I say… what happens when you cross Dragon’s Den with American Idol and transfer it across the pond, produced in an executive manner by that Simon Cowell fellow and the Peter Jones we know and loathe?
A: You’re left with a pile of stinking shit.

It seems that to make money in American television these days, you only need to take a UK reality show that’s not yet been adapted, stick ‘America’ or ‘USA’ in the title, remove any element that made the show half-watchable in the first place and then stick it up on the box. Our American cousins will get their square eyes slavering over it in huge numbers.

I tuned in to American Inventor hoping it’d be Dragon’s Den transplanted across the Atlantic, but maintaining the basic premise. It was a foolish mistake and I’m sorry.

I was even poised to make notes throughout, the way I used to when I followed the Apprentice, making sure I got everything in. This time my scrawl finishes after a few sentences with the words ‘this is utter, utter shit’.

So where did they go wrong? Let’s bullet-point it, as if we were making a presentation to the Televisual Taste Adjudication Board.

  • Completely unconvincing edits and cutaways, clearly filmed later or before, introduced with no effort whatsoever to cover themselves up.
  • Needless celebrity panellists who had nothing to do with anything and who couldn’t offer expertise even if they had any.
  • Show offs and actors made up the ‘contestants’ rather than bona fide inventors.
  • Streams of transparently manipulative incidental music accompanied ‘whoa! he’s kooky’ contestants, fat contestants, sob story contestants etc…
  • A needless, sentimental montage involving a firefighter dominated the final quarter, inducing a bucket-load of vomit and a laughable denouement.
  • Titles, presentation style and production all complete carbon copies of the X Factor. The two styles (invention pitches / auditions) mix like orange juice and milk.

The panellists are right out of the economy drawer. Apart from Jonesy (who kowtows to the lowest common denominator at every opportunity and is only included to play the ‘cold Brit’ character), we have George Foreman, some woman who invented slimming pants and a bespectacled weirdo without portfolio.

Foreman’s clearly taken a few batterings in his time and, as a result, says yes to everything. The woman’s as thick as two tiny planks and the other bloke sits there contributing nothing.

This time, rather than the investors putting up their own money, they’ve gone and ruined it by offering a fifty grand prize to every idea that gets three ‘yes’es from the panellists. Apart from the cosmetic failures, this is where we really see the problems seep in.

In the UK version, the entrepreneurs put themselves on the line and stump up their own money, putting their reputations on the line. Here, the studio puts up the money, so it degenerates into a charity effort.

The best example of this is the aforementioned firefighter. Affable but terminally thick, he invented a ‘Guardian Angel’. The theory is that it sits atop your Christmas Tree and, should the tree burst into flames, the angel turns into a sprinkler system. For the tree. The stupidity was further compounded when this tit in a uniform pulled out his blueprint – a felt-tip monstrosity a brain-damaged goose could’ve come up with.

Ludicrous? I thought so. But all the judges gave it a ‘yes’, including Peter Jones, who in the UK version would have told the geezer to get himself fucked. But no – he’s in America where firefighters are treated as Gods, rather than the hare-brained, admirably backward part-timers they actually are.

I would go into the other inventions on display but they weren’t even breath-takingly stupid – just boringly and obviously crap and unfunny. An hour of my life gone. A whole hour.

The reason we (or maybe it’s only ‘I’) watch Dragons’ Den is to see the smart but awkward entrepreneurs make tits of themselves or praise and reward someone who’s put a lot of effort into a genius idea. There’s none of that here.

In fact, there’s nothing here apart from a badly repackaged turd of a television programme that should never, ever have been emitted from the anus of television. Avoid at all costs.