Entertainment for the masses?


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.  




Filed under Television

5 responses to “Entertainment for the masses?

  1. P Treg

    -I/we do not accept the blame for the lasklustre responses to Rejoinder. I blame you for you lack of knowledge on your target audience; we are all morons.
    -‘Andrew Lloyd Webber (being) a poor mans Simon Cowell’, I assume this would be valued metaphorically on entertainment. Old Webs makes Cowells empire look like a struggling cornershop in swilli.
    -Clive Swift wasn’t in Only fools and Horses?
    -‘Broadcasters will start scheduling for the masses once again’ I think this is TV for the masses, that is surely the problem mitchell?
    -You know how much i love snow…Plymouth hasn’t seen a flake, its a joke!


  2. bevan (real)

    Unfortunately, despite appreciating this rather concise televisual run down, I have not had a working TV since November so can’t really comment on this particular choice of topic. In fact, seeing our now defunct TV sitting in the garden, sporting a rather fetching 8 inch snow based “wafro”, probably entertained me about as much as anything that had graced its screen in the months leading up to its timely broken tubed demise.

    I was also delighted to note yesterday that 8 inches of snow had brought London to its knees, including the underground network that is (as the name suggests) underground and, therefore, technically as affected by snow as the George Forman grill that was sitting in my kitchen cooking bacon with its usual efficient verve, whilst I was celebrating not being able to get to work despite living in zone 2.

  3. Cheggers

    But ‘we can’t possible get the underground working because at least three of the stops at the end of most of the lines go overground!’

    Why can’t you just make them run for the bits that are underground?

    ‘Err…Not sure really. Well, we’ve closed them now so fuck off and play in the snow.’

    Great Britain = Laughing stock of Europe. And the Belgium’s in Europe, so that’s saying something.

  4. Ross Bone was one of 7 people out of a department of about 50 who made it in to work.

    His reward? An email yesterday from HR explaining that those who didn’t make it in would not be required to make up the time or lose a day’s holiday. In conclusion, “well done for making it in, but if you hadn’t bothered you would have had a free day off, so really you are an idiot.”

    Still we’ll see who’s laughing when “bring your AK-47 into work day” finally takes off.

  5. JT

    I love the fact we live in a nation that can only survive on grey weather….a bit cold, ice and snow closes the transport networks….a bit hot, and the tarmac and train tracks melt….closing down the transport networks. I understand that this “freak” weather only occurs once every 10 or so years, and so why spend the money on preventing such problems…well, earthquakes only happen once every 50 odd years in San Franciso, however children are trainined monthly on evacuation procedures, millions of dollars are spent on ‘earthquake proofing’ homes….now I am not trying to equate human life to businesses being shut for one day in the UK, but at what cost….how many people were affected directly or indirectly of people simply not going to work? ….and to you Mr Bone, fuck the establishment, you did your civic duty by going to work, so i applaude you….for the rest of you….shame on you.

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