Wednesday, 16 July 2014

The festival for morons that is British TV

A phrase that crops up in the excellent novel ‘A Prayer For Owen Meany’ by John Irving says it all - ‘made for television’.

'Made for television' ... it's not compliment. It's a withering remark by Owen Meany to sum up what he feels about TV output – that it's dull, feeble-brained and insensitive to the finer aspects of human experience.

Now, last night (Tue 15 July 2014), was one of those rare evenings I’d decided to stay home, so I thought I’d watch telly for a change. But the schedule on Tuesday was pisspoor. Sorry, that's the only word for it.  

A quick look at the TV guide offered up so much crap …

ITV1 had Alan Titchmarsh messing around in a garden in the charmless town of Runcorn. No! A thousand times, no! Frankly, I've only to read the name 'Alan Titchmarsh' and I feel starved of oxygen.

ITV1 had more torture later – the actor Robson Green having a look around Northumberland.  I decided to pass on that. It would be similar to a programme I endured a couple of weeks ago – some old time-server from That’s Life showing us round the Isle of Man. He was assisted by an offensively over-animated arm-waving fetishist called Bettany Hughes. What planet is she from?  

Surely there was something I could watch on mainstream telly on Tuesday night? John Bishop’s Australia on BBC1 perhaps? No thanks. Emphatically, no thanks. Don’t find him funny at all. I’d rather stick needles in my eyes than watch him.

I’m just  not interested in these endless vanity travel shows created for showbiz fluffheads that TV uses to pad out its schedules.

I’ve already suffered Joanna Lumley and Caroline Quentin gushing their way through such ghastly formats. Caroline Quentin, frankly, has spoiled Cornwall for me.

As for Sarah Millican on BBC2. Hmmmm. A comedian who isn’t remotely funny. How does that work, clueless TV bosses?

Well, Sarah’s been given a kind of chat-style show, unimaginatively titled The Sarah Millican Television Programme in which she apparently interviews other charmless TV presenters, such as Chris Bloody Packham. Arrrrghh!  There is no end to tedium of contemporary British telly.

Could Channel 4 rescue Tuesday night? No, seemingly not. On offer is Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares USA. Yes, of course it was a repeat. Even if it was new you know you'll have seen it all before. Total boredom.

Anything on C5 then? Well there's another vanity project for another bland entertainer … The Dog Rescuers with Alan Davies,  followed by the Festival for Morons that is Big Brother.

No, no, no, no ... to it all. It’s all so “made for television”. It's lazy and clearly aimed at thick people.

I decided I would rather sit in the garden instead and watch my geraniums in the westering sun, a glass of red wine in my hand.

So that’s exactly what I did on Tuesday. I couldn’t even be arsed to watch the Family Guy repeats – though actually FG is one of the few brave offerings on TV; take a bow Seth MacFarlane, I wish we had a British version of you.