Television (Part 1)
It feels as if the volume of television I consume has been going down in recent years. Yes, I’ll still hunt down comedy programmes and I’m guilty of indulging in too much Family Guy on BBC3.
Generally I often find myself watching interesting stuff on C4, re-runs of Father Ted on E4 or something informative on BBC 2. That’s provided I’m not watching Sky Sports of course, but let’s not count that as television.
I really don’t watch much on ITV nowadays, perhaps a bit of Coronation Street, but not religiously, and maybe Harry Hill’s TV Burp if I remember it’s on. I can’t recall tuning in for anything else.
Compared to the other channels, I reckon that ITV accounts for less than 5% of my viewing habits. In fact ITV has been going down the pan for quite a few years in my opinion.
Yes I am a TV snob. The kind of entertainment served up nowadays is perhaps just not my taste.
It all started dumbing down a bit a few years back. Saturdays nights nowadays seem to be comprised of a talent show, some dancing show or something with Ant & Dec in. Before that we had whatever programme Cilla Black was doing.
OK, you could argue the BBC do their fair share of Saturday night talent and dancing shows, and will never be forgiven for the various incarnations of Noel Edmund’s programmes we had to suffer for years.
But whatever the BBC do, ITV somehow strive to make the same stuff, not only worse and with adverts, but with some kind of premium rate phone vote involved to boot.
I had the misfortune to leave ITV on the other night and inadvertently consumed their new Celebrity Mr & Mrs programme. Now this, for those that remember, was originally a classic daytime show (and daytime TV is always low budget) that used to run in the 80’s hosted by Derek Batley (who incidentally owns the copyright on the format and name).
Yes it was a cheesy program, but it took ordinary (??) couples and quized their knowledge about each other. What made it great was that there were always a couple of awkward questions in there that resulted in them giving conflicting answers, usually too much embarrassment. You knew there were going to be arguments backstage and for several days afterwards. The prizes were crap as well, which made it all the more funny. It wasn’t cutting edge stuff, but just plain old daytime tv, catering for low viewing figures. It didn’t pretend to be something it’s not.
This new version that ITV show is primetime and has celebrity couples being quizzed about each other in order to win cash for their nominated charity. You just know you are onto a loser when it has Philip Schofield hosting it. They have spent probably about 500 times more on the set and budget but the whole thing seems to be sterile. It’s as if the celebrities themselves have vetted the questions beforehand to ensure there is nothing either embarrassing or likely to expose how shallow their relationships are. It runs twice as long as the original and is just the worse excess of celebrity promotion excusing itself as entertainment. It is just crying out for some gutsy questions.
“So Mrs Terry, If John was late home from training, where would you likely call first?
A: The Chelsea Training Ground
B: The Wine Bar on the Kings’ Road
C: Mrs Bridge’s house”
That’s when it finally dawned on me. ITV is now the TV equivalent of a sanitized tabloid newspaper, feeding the frenzied public their fix of Celebrity lives, Celebrity based games shows and low attention span, un-stimulating pulp, but without the cutting edge, the scandal, or anything actually interesting.
………It’s Hello magazine for people who can’t read.
…..To be continued…