Wednesday, November 16 2011
THE BBC's idea to save £700 million by spending £500,000 on consultants to advise on Delivering Quality First (DQF) - the broadcasters cost cutting programme - could lead to some sad-face, crying in a bucket, changes to their output.
Getting some sharp-suited consultants with Parker pens in is the only way a bloated mega-corporation can deal with identifying where to make the best cuts - after all, no one else could come up with inspired, original and profound ideas such as making people redundant and scrapping Homes Under the Hammer.
Of course, if I'd been invited in to come up with some radical proposals, a) I would have charged much more, b) come up with a better name, probably Cash in the Pragmatic, and c) I’d have merged BBC programmes together to make super-programmes. With the cash I make I’d have bought more suits and Parker pens and gone to ITV with a very definite view on Vernon Kay.
Anyway, Tonight’s the Night would merge with Newsnight to become Tonight’s the Newsnight in which John Barrowman wears a brightly-coloured suit with lights in the sleeves, and interviews leading political figures such as Ed Balls, before making their dreams come true by popping up in the Commons disguised as Jeremy Paxman in a hat and inviting them to sing on the Tonight’s the Newsnight stage.
Each night Barrowman sings a topical opener. Like tonight for instance, it would be about increased unemployment and would be to the tune of It’s Raining Men. Dancers would symbolise the misery of the prols as the Bank of England's governor Mervyn King tells teary-eyed, hard-working Britain that the economy could stagnate until the middle of next year. And there’d be glitter cannons.
To lighten the nation’s mood, A Question of Sport and Question Time would become A Question of Time, in which politicians and fat-mouthed minor celebrities like Richard Bacon or Vanessa Feltz answer one question. The audience of angry voters wearing jumpers and chinos sit there tutting and looking at their watches, waiting for the government to do something about life and unemployment and stuff.
BBC News 24 would be scrapped and linked with BBC News at One, BBC News at Six and BBC News at 10 to become BBC News at 246110. There would only be one presenter and that would be Huw Edwards. Each morning he would be filled with helium and pushed in the direction of news so he can do it live and on the scene. Which is what everyone watching the news wants to see. Otherwise it's boring.
Doctor Who could merge with Who Do You Think Your Are? to become Doctor Who Do You Think Your Are? in which the ageing Timelord goes back through his history, meeting his predecessors, and recalling how his fourth incarnation defeated the Daleks that one time. Richard Madeley would narrate because he’s not up to much these days and is cheap - unless Chris Evans is having another holiday and he's asked to fill-in on Radio 2.
Top Gear of the Pops could provide much needed "youth interest" by combining the latest cars with the latest fad in singers. I can imagine Justin Beiber in a Ford Cortina would go down well with the 10 to 12-year-old demographic that's so hard to cater for. Justin would then discuss the car in detail before launching into an argument with Jeremy Clarkson about prostitutes.
Springwatch and Crimewatch would join forces with Watchdog and have a programme that deals with villainous Springer Spaniels who commit antisocial acts in parks and then find it difficult to return a television to Currys, but only during the spring. Unless you add in Autumnwatch, then you can have two series each year.
Finally, BBC’s Children in Need would drop the child angle and just become BBC’s in Need. The seven hour charity fundraiser teleathon of wonder would see Terry Wogan host non-stop and include clips of BBC staff saying why they need the money.
Perhaps someone wants to cover an important issue in Birmingham or the drama department needs some extra cash to do another Jane Austen adaptation for Radio 4 and wants to hire Martin Jarvis to narrate.
Intermingled with the sadness would be fun though, people sleeping in baths filled with beans desperate to make enough cash so we can keep The One Show on the air and fulfill the contract renewal of Alex Jones.
Wednesday, September 14 2011
Homes Under the Hammer
DEVELOPING countries Lucy Alexander and Martin Roberts visit a semi in Doncaster and marvel at its size, despite it not being fully erect. A Victorian in London has Lucy baffled and a house in Norfolk goes up for auction but isn’t sold because everyone forgot their bidding paddles. The team then follow the sales and talk to the buyers about their plans for the buildings before tailing off towards the end when it descends into a 1960s acid-inspired road trip movie complete with melting estate agents.
Cash in the Attic
ANGELA Rippon rips open people’s cushions in a frantic Vimto-fuelled ecstasy looking for her “precious treasures” and Jonty Hearnden takes his glasses off and helps art enthusiast Beaut Francis-Brough-Beater find collectibles to sell at auction, hoping to raise £23,000 so she can buy a new pair of lips.
ULRIKA Jonsson talks to Andrea McLean about why she has knees, Lisa Maxwell, Janet Street-Porter and Jenny Éclair discuss cakes and why women love baking.
Janet Street-Porter talks ad nauseum about her latest novel in which an empowered woman writes a novel and goes on a daytime TV talk show to discuss it, and John Barrowman performs a number from his new album Tonight's the Night that Tomorrow would be Yesterday Night, Tonight.
Who Do You Think You Are?
COMEDIAN and actor and presenter and man Alexander Armstrong decides to follow up on suspicions that his family background isn’t all that it seemed when his mum claimed to be the Greek Goddess Aphrodite. As his search takes him further back through time, he accidentally ends up in the Triassic period fighting off a Euskelosaurus before learning one of his relatives was a Royalist military leader during the Civil War.
The One Show
ALEX Jones struggles to listen to interviewee’s answers, think of questions, listen to her ear piece and read an autocue all at the same time while Matt Baker nods at every answer agreeing with whatever they say, even if it’s dismissing problems in Africa.
A team of roving reporters present topical stories from around the UK, normally fluffy stuff that you have never cared about, are slightly interested while on the tele but ultimately you immediately forget them and wish you’d never watched it and want to butcher your own eyes out for having marginally enjoyed a film about where tinsel is made.
Saturday, September 25 2010
EVERYONE knows that extraterrestrials are monitoring our each and every movement on television. The signals are being beamed out into space and they’re watching, discerning; plotting their unpleasant plans to invade - waiting for when the time is right. They’re grey with big eyes and big probes.
With all the depressing news about murderers, terrorists, and the human predilection for malevolence, they’re holding off. That’s why the government insist on going to war - it’s to show how powerful we are and keep the aliens at bay. But they’re biding their time, waiting, watching Merlin, Hole in the Wall and Total Wipeout. But if these horrible aliens (they’re not soft and cuddly like ET, Alf or Zippy for God’s sake) catch sight of Five’s “Live from Studio Five” or the BBC’s “One Show” we’re all doomed. They’ll zip down and enslave us all; force us to watch Piers Morgan over and over and over again.
They’ll think we’ve rolled over like a cat who’s just bottom-burped itself awake and is revelling in the relief of being home-alone. Aliens have probes, spaceships and superior fire power. They can turn corn into concentric circles. We need to make the news hard again or we’re all going to kick the bucket!
I got bleach in my eye last night so I wasn’t really following Live from Studio Five (Channel 5, 6.25pm) all that well but I was eager to find out what had happened in the world during the day. From what I could squint, it involved two women on a sofa, waiting for their pizza and dough balls to arrive, chit-chatting about rubbish. (Striped tights are all the rage thanks to Cheryl Cole, but they cost over £40 and they “won’t make you look like Cheryl Cole”) Somehow they were on my TV and I was scared. I was clutching the cushion and now it’s all bent and ruined and covered in tears and blood.
One of them was called Jayne Middlemiss and the other one was called Kate Walsh. As I winked at their faces and thighs they spoke of Lindsay Lohan being jailed for the third time (this was the top story), marvelled at dancing dogs (item three on the news-agenda), interviewed Caprice looking like Pete Burns from Celebrity Big Brother, evaluated Kelly Osbourne’s secret slimming system (a bit of human-interest to lighten the mood, yeah, she was so fat! Mock the fatty!) and interviewed Ben Affleck (need a bit of celebrity interest to keep the plebs watching). It’s hard news for the 21st Century with tights.
Over on BBC1 Chris Evans was twiddling Gordon Ramsay’s gruff-box on The One Show (BBC1, 7pm) before the face-crevice became too busy laughing at helium balloons. Some bloke with a little beard was talking about condiments and marmalade-beef and the Welsh Alex Jones looked thoroughly fed-up in her blue sparkly dress. It’s hard news for the 21st Century with balloons.
If you’re reading this aliens, Lindsay Lohan will get you, Kelly Osbourne will make you eat lettuce, Cheryl Cole will come at you with her tights and Gordon Ramsay can send you back where you came from with his helium balloons. You have been warned. We’ve got marmalade-beef.