Firstly, my apologies for the amount of time that has elapsed since my last post; aware of other writing commitments I ventured that ‘Rejoinder’ would provide suitable fodder for back and forth commenting in the interim . . . but it didn’t, for which, you have only yourselves to blame.
Aside from that, I have been exercising my God given right to frolic in the heaviest snow in 18 years – frolicking having been decidedly absent in my life of late. There are numerous reasons that could go someway to explain my lack of zeal, but for the ease of this blog, I’m going to blame it solely on TV and, more specifically, weekend TV.
Regular programming during the week isn’t too bad, there is the usual smattering of decent documentaries, interspersed with 3 part series’ and staples such as Top Gear. But once you get to the weekend, it seems that any half decent, post watershed broadcasting is replaced by watered down ‘offend nobody/please nobody’ crap films, light family entertainment and bad sitcoms. It was the latter two categories that drained the blood of vitality from me on this particular weekend.
Fulfilling the light entertainment category is BBC1’s endlessly dreadful ‘Eurovision: Your Country Needs You’ – essentially, a copy of The X-factor, but without the viewing figures – in which, contestants that didn’t make it on to other talent shows, sing their hearts out to an indifferent public, in an attempt to be selected to perform in this year’s Eurovision Song contest. The show is hosted by Graham Norton, who wears increasingly garish attire with each week that passes – possibly hoping to mask the fact that his personality is just a long list of cock, bum, fanny innuendo – and is judged by a panel comprised of Lulu – who seems to have spent the past 20 years inventing a new hybrid accent – Duncan James (from Blue) – a sexist with a platform to project borderline lewd remarks to young impressionable girls, probably in the hope of obtaining some backstage handjobs – and of course, the man behind the show, the Eurovision song writer and poor man’s Simon Cowell, Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber.
Don’t worry about having to watch it in future, it finished this week and one of the hopefuls probably won – I don’t know who exactly because I switched over to watch Harry Hill’s TV Burp before the end – not that it matters anyway, because the UK couldn’t win Eurovision with the resurrected corpse of Mother Teresa singing the praises of communism. In fact, when you look at it like that, the doors of possibility for more entertaining versions of the show are flung wide open. Perhaps next year, if we seriously wanted to boost our odds of winning, we could set up ‘Eurovision: The Eastern Bloc needs us?’ A show in which, business tycoons and political figures battle it out to make changes to UK energy policies and befriend Eastern European leaders, in order to coerce more votes. Failing that, we should just make an ironic version of the show ‘Eurovision: Our Country couldn’t give a fuck!’ in which, the British public enter bizarre and surreal ways to make a mockery of the ‘competition’. If, battling it out in the final was a life-sized plaster cast of John Merrick with a ghetto blaster strapped to his head blaring out the wails of a baby . . . vs . . . An 80 year old man in y-fronts farting the national anthem of Bosnia Herzegovina, I’d definitely watch and possibly even vote!
I have a whole year to champion my new shows and I think it will take at least that amount of time to get them off the ground. Considering their level of absurdity, I imagine Andrew Lloyd Webber would shun them, so I’d have to get a new backer – someone with a sense of humour perhaps. . .
On the subject of sense of humour, that I have neatly segwayed into, I would have thought that two men endowed in that area would be able to come out with something more watchable than BBC1’s new sitcom ‘The Old Guys’. Written by Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong – the minds behind the brilliant ‘Peep Show’ – and eagerly anticipated by my TV guide, I was looking forward to it. However, after 5 minutes of cringing I was suitably convinced that I’d never watch the show again. I began a list of ‘good vs bad’, but it became grossly one-sided quite quickly, which is a shame, because some of the jokes were good, demonstrating the sort of acute observations and absurdisms that made Peep Show what it is. Unfortunately though, the script was over laden with gags, making the conversation trite and the addition of slapstick elements, canned laughter and bad acting – personally, I’ve not found Roger Lloyd Pack convincing in anything since Only Fools and Horses – made for another Saturday night neutered comedy, destined to plod around prime time with the likes of The Vicar of Dibley, coaxing groans from anyone with a funny bone.
With a growing number of these shows filling up their timetable, the BBC will be able to breathe easy and pat itself on the back for achieving its new primary objective of never offending anyone, but there is only so long that offering up this insipid broth can last, before people start turning off and looking to other sources for entertainment – namely the internet. I just hope that when the winter of public discontent has finally thawed, broadcasters will start scheduling for the masses once again.