Posted by Polonius on 29 May, 2007
I’ve written before about what I call “cellar floor television“, but the digging continues. William Harrison wrote Roller Ball Murder, then came Stephen King’s The Running Man. More recently, we had the Doctor Who episode Bad Wolf. But these were parody and “reality television” is beyond parody. Extreme Makeover set a new standard, but it comes as no surprise that Endemol have stooped to lower the competition to new depths.
So it was a hoax, and in a worthy cause. Still, it leaves a bad taste in the mouth. This one, I think, was acceptable, on balance. I’m not sure whether the fact that I was taken in says more about Endemol or about my prejudices.
Of course, the publicity will have done Endemol no harm, and the media often use worthy material to peddle drivel. In some cases, it’s simply using the drivel to pad out an inadequate amount of material. Crimewatch UK, last time I saw it, still maintained a reasonable ratio of worthy material; the same can’t be said for Watchdog. But on other occasions, worthy causes are used as a form of advertising.
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Posted by Polonius on 13 December, 2006
I read in today’s Grauniad of The Verdict, the latest concept in “reality” television. Ever since Big Brother broke through the bottom of the barrel, the most cynical minds in tabloid television have competed to tunnel deeper and deeper into the cellar floor. The Verdict is a serious contender for the deepest yet. Lord Perjuror may be otherwise unemployable, but that is hardly sufficient justification for throwing licence-payers’ money at this drivel. If this is reality, stop the world – I want to get off.
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Posted by Polonius on 21 September, 2006
BBC News’s Web site is currently leading on the story of yesterday’s car crash involving Top Gear presenter Richard Hammond.
Let me say at the outset that I have no doubt this has been a terrible experience for Mr Hammond and his family. I am pleased to hear that his condition is improving and wish him and his family, friends and colleagues all the best for the future. But is this really the biggest news story of the day? It was the lead story on BBC1’s Breakfast Time this morning and featured prominently on Today on Radio 4.
Choosing and ranking the day’s news stories obviously involves weighing up a number of factors. If most of the readers/viewers/listeners are in the UK, then they are likely to be more interested in events close to home than, say, a military coup in Thailand. A story involving a familiar face (even if it’s only from TV), will attract even more interest. I can even understand that colleagues at the BBC, who may know Mr Hammond personally, may allow their personal feelings to influence their judgement as to the significance of the story.
But I’m conscious that too many stories about BBC programmes feature in the BBC News. I can’t be the only person who has noticed the preposterous number of “news” stories about Doctor Who over the past year or two. And I can’t be the only person who suspects the prominence given to this story is partly down to a particularly cynical attempt to plug Top Gear.
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