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Saturday, 26 January 2008

The Curse Of..., Five

The Curse Of Radio 1, Five
What to say if you liked it
An acute compendium of catastrophes in which the pompously premier radio station in Britain stumbled from one crisis to the next like a DJ overdosing on iniquitous insincerity and calculated conceit.
What to say if you didn’t like it
A typically tabloid vindictive assault on a national institution that mendaciously sought to illuminate the odd mishap while obscuring the teeming triumphs in a blizzard of white noise.

What was good about it?
• The often bizarre locations for the talking heads that were more interesting than what was said – Colin Murray whined in a London Eye capsule; Paul Morley spoke portentously from a park on top of a skyscraper; and Nicky Campbell grumbled on a stairwell in a derelict tower block as if begging for spare change.
• Joy Division’s Transmission was appositely used to soundtrack the desperate inanity of the Radio 1 Roadshows.
• The late John Peel’s accurate assessment of Tony Blackburn. “Tony Blackburn is a totally created person. Jollity at the flick of a switch. You wonder if he goes to the toilet.”
• Once more reliving the joy of Dave Lee Travis’s hilariously haughty resignation from Radio 1. Listeners were finally able to emerge from their soundproof shelters under dinner tables and sheds at the end of the garden as the popular airwaves were cleansed of his baleful ego.
• The awful Status Quo demanding that Radio 1 play their new single.
• Bruno Brookes looking and sounding like a once luscious and verdant field that is now barren and infertile, and is destined now for all eternity to be wasteland where gangland killers burn the corpses of their recently executed enemies.
• Mike Read’s very scary stalker. Shopkeeper: “I thought he was gay”, Stalker: “Don’t you ever say that about him!”

What was bad about it?
• Tony Blackburn “accidentally” dropping his listening figures into the conversation.
• The manner in which small incidents, such as a DJ resigning, were frequently heralded with the sort of exaggerated headlines used by the Sun or Daily Mail.
• Sun journalist Dominic Mohan ignorantly perpetuating the myth that in 1997 there was a “Cool Britannia feeling around the country”. That miasmic stench didn’t stretch very far beyond the borders of Camden and Islington.
• The fact that, like in the Curse of Noel Edmonds, there was very little evidence of a “curse”. Radio 1 has existed in the media spotlight for almost 40 years and the various troubles only looked like a curse when condensed into a cheap hotch-potch of subjective clips and opinions.
• The way in which dips in ratings were presented as national calamities and the blame universally placed in the lap of Radio 1 bosses, largely ignoring the increased deregulation of commercial and specialist radio stations
• Radio 1 winning “credibility” by having the Gallagher brothers (from Oasis, in case you forgot) swear for an hour on Steve Lamaq’s show.
• Chris Tarrant’s condescending narration.

The Curse Of Noel Edmonds, Five
What to say if you liked it
It was a wonderfully spiteful biography of one of the most malignant broadcasters of the last century.

What to say if you didn't like it
It was a tawdry, witless examination of Noel Edmonds that consistently sought to exaggerate minor foibles into deeds that could have brought about the collapse of Western civilisation.

What was good about it?
• When Noel was poetically duped by Chris Morris to campaign against the proliferation of "made-up drug." Cake, most keenly when Noel earnestly remarked: "It stimulates the part of the brain known as Shatner's Bassoon.."
• The Brass Eye sketch that reported Noel had shot dead Clive Anderson and tossed his severed head on to his front lawn.
• Noel's best Gotcha Oscar when he sabotaged Dave Lee Travis's Saturday morning pub quiz show with two awful teams.

What was bad about it?
• Noel didn't seem to be cursed at all. At the age of 25 he had already scaled the peaks of radio as he took the helm of the Radio One Breakfast Show; by 30 he was presenting the most famous Saturday morning kids' show in BBC history; and by 35 he had established a successful Saturday evening show. Sure, his career came off the rails a little in the 90s, but he is compensated by living a life of luxury in a castle in Devon with a multi-million pound fortune. If that's a curse we're off to the local witch to get her to hex us.
• In what was essentially a character assassination, exemplified by Alexander Armstrong's sneering commentary, it was quite distasteful to exhibit the most potent standard of Noel's "curse." being the death of Michael Lush while he prepared for a stunt on the Late, Late Breakfast Show.
• However, abominable Mr Blobby was (even though his Gotcha with Will Carling was very funny) the influence of the roly-poly freak was utterly ephemeral and harmless, and perhaps it's this reason why it is difficult to garner much enthusiasm a decade on to vilify him (and Noel) for his existence. Tommy Vance still hates hi, though, describing Mr Blobby as "a pure low of broadcasting" and "a terrible indictment of where the British mentality was at the time."
• The predictably dull talking heads – Myskow, Morley, Bushell, Hyland, Diamond.
• Mike Smith – the Gary Neville to Noel's David Beckham – claiming that he and Noel had been described as "the best double act since Morecambe & Wise"
• Desperate DJ Mike Read being hired to don a false beard and read out quotes by Noel who had refused to do an interview.
• The sanctimonious scorn of the odious DLT as he sat in supercilious judgement on his former colleague's career alongside Paul Burnett in a Smashy and Nicey combination
• As Ant & Dec have pilfered many of the best items of Noel's House Party for their own Saturday night show (NTV and the Gotchas), the Geordie duo should beware of the public getting as sick of them as they were of Noel in 1995.
• The collapse of Noel's House Party themed amusement parks was not illuminating and seemed to be crammed in as desperate evidence to prove Noel was a failure.

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