Wednesday, 27 May 2009

This cruel show's popularity shames us all

IT is a hugely popular programme but it is wrong, wrong, wrong.

I refer, of course, to Britain’s Got Talent – the shameful cackfest that is pulling in the punters back to the (once great) ITV1, now re-branded especially for this column as The Moron Channel.

I think most reasonably intelligent people (errr, that’s probably no more than a third of Britain’s Got Talent’s viewers) will feel a little queasy about watching this freak-show-come-karaoke kontest.

Let me spell out why that queasiness, that stirring of moral consciousness (at last!) in bubble-headed modern Britain, comes from.

It comes from a residual – and correct – feeling that to showcase people as they are publicly humiliated, for the sake of making vast amounts of money for Piers Morgan, Simon Cowell and other ITV ghouls, is absolutely cowardly - and it stinks!

Take the case of Susan Boyle – the winner of the viewers’ phone vote last Sunday night. She’s a good singer, no doubt about it. But she is being encouraged to distort herself and cavort in a most unseemly manner by the ugly limelight this show has cast upon her.

It is not right to put a woman such as Susan Boyle through that process. I would say it is not good for her mental health. It is not good for the viewers either.

And on the same night Susan won, a 10-year-old girl, Natalie Okri, was rejected by a vote of the ghastly panel of Cowell, Morgan and Amanda Holden.

You could see the torture in poor Natalie’s face as she shuffled off in tears, shamed, and with a feeling of profound rejection rattling round her head, at the end.

No-one was there, in the few seconds when it mattered, to put their arm around her and comfort her.

And no-one was there, when it mattered, to stop her entering this dreadful series in the first place. The show's popularity shames us all.

Saturday, 2 May 2009

Reasons not to be cheerful ... (1) Phillip Schofield ...

I SWITCHED on the box, hoping to cheer myself up, but – urrrgh! – the inane cheeriness of Phillip Schofield has the opposite effect on me.

The Moron Channel - ITV1 - now has a "celebrity" version of Mr & Mrs, the cheesy seventies couples’ quiz formerly hosted by Derek Batey, who’s now 103 and living in Lytham St Annes.

These days the show is called “All Star” Mr & Mrs – so of course it is packed with C-through-to-Z-listers from the worlds of acting, modelling, pop music and sport.

The hosts, fittingly perhaps for such mind-rotting awfulness, are now Philip Schofield (otherwise known as the Prince of Blandness) and the increasingly hysterical-sounding Fern Britton (all those diets and gastric bands have send her gaga … and she’s STILL a fat lass).

The contestants on the show included the goalie, Peter Shilton – who I’m glad to see has stopped perming his hair – and his normal-seeming missus Sue.

Apparently … wait for it! … Shilts once bought Sue a fur coat even though she’s an animal lover.

That little nugget of couple-iness had Phillip Schofield gagging for air in shock … then virtually wetting his pants from laughing so much.

Don’t ask me why mainstream TV presenters find everything that’s said on a show staggeringly amazing and funny. Maybe it is something they slip in the tea before filming.

Shilton did describe his wife as “my best friend as well as my wife”, which was (a) an isolated snippet of genuine emotion that somehow got through the editing stage, and (b) sweet, though not necessarily entertaining.

I don’t think there was a prize for ghastliest couple from the contestants – and let’s face it they’d all look quite appealing alongside Phil and Fern!

Also taking part in this nonsensical quiz were: an oaf out of Boyzone; and the giantess and actress of several dodgy films, Brigitte Nielsen , and her “model” husband, a dwarf called Mattia.

I was depressed when I sat down to watch this junk. I was virtually suicidal by the end of it.

Apparently Mattia’s “great in bed”, according to Brigitte. Oh Please! She’d never have been allowed to say that if Derek Batey was still in charge. Maybe they should bring him back. I see from his website he’s still available for after-dinner speaking and the opening of supermarkets – and those sorts of things take much more mental energy that fronting a prime-time cackfest on The Moron Channel.

What gets me is how intelligent people such as Phillip Schofield can bring themselves to take part in such condescending, demeaning rubbish.

Then again, he’s always been up for the gig.