Any industry as bloated and stale as TV is can be forgiven for endlessly recycling old formats which once were culturally significant.
It happened last night when ‘Sunday Night at the London Palladium’ came back – fronted by that grinning ninny from TV central casting, Stephen Mulhern.
As a viewer I didn’t share Mulhern’s breathless excitement as the show plodded on. I stayed sufficiently alert to record his pisspoor spoken words, mind!
Mulhern spouted clichés right to the end of the show. He’d “had a ball” apparently. Presenting the show had been “a dream come true”. At one point had “literally goosebumps”. At another, he rubbed his hands in theatrical glee and shouted “I can’t wait”. Yes, it was that sad.
Talking of sadness, Bryan Adams looked tired and old as he put way too much rock posing into a mediocre song for the finale.
That was almost as dolorous as Alfie Boe warbling his way through a (predictably) miserable ballad from Le Misérables – the stage musical that appeals to soppy luvvies and naive liberals in equal measure.
The Beatles, the Stones and quite a few big US singing stars appeared on Sunday Night at the London Palladium in its heyday (early to mid 1960s).
More than 20 million used to watch each show, when it was presented by the likes of Bruce Forsyth and Norman Vaughan, who were quite funny and charming. Now the show will be lucky to get 6 million.
We are now set for another five shows, thankfully not presented by Mulhern. But I doubt I’ll be watching.
The performance mix of silly magicians, near-nudie prancers, moronic contemporary girl and boy bands and dinosaurs of pop (such as Neil Diamond and Art Garfunkel, who are both lined up for appearances, apparently) simply does not appeal.
Nor does the shouty ‘Top of the Bill’ game show element give any pleasure. That’s even worse that the ‘Beat the Clock’ element from the show’s good old days; which come to think of it weren’t that good.
This show’s been revived several times over the years but it simply doesn’t work any more. The theatre itself looks small and strangely provincial. Society’s moved on. So should clueless telly bosses.