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Saturday, 19 January 2008

Robbie Coltrane: B-Road Britain, ITV1

Wednesday 15 August 2007
At the commercial TV station meeting on their hands a dead, decaying mound of formulaic tripe.
The steps ITV take in producing a prime-time programme.
1. See what is popular on the BBC and Channel 4, which is braided with an originality well beyond them. In this case Coast.
2. Implement a highly derivative show. In this case, whereas Coast sought out the peculiar tales that flavour the outline of Britain, ITV blunder through the middle of the country in the hope of stumbling upon something interesting.
3. Add a celebrity, it doesn’t matter if they have talent or not just someone idiots will turn on their TV to watch as if being in the glare of a famous face is enough to beguile the mind for an hour.
4. Unintentionally make the celebrity as repellent as possible. Here the charismatic Robbie Coltrane is reduced to the role of an obnoxious Steve Coogan grotesque as he aimlessly ambles from dull location to duller location.
5. Use language that suggests passion, authenticity and originality but frame it in such a way that drains it of all traces of the aforementioned attributes: “I’ll be trying to find the heart and soul of Britain along the way.”
6. Remember that most of your viewers are cramped in soulless urban dwellings and so twist the truth of what lies outside the city boundaries. The Chiltern Hills are “just 30 miles out of London but are a completely different world”.
7. Strip quaint local traditions of all their unique charm such as the weighing of the mayor of High Wycombe or the game involving a scrum between two villages in Leicestershire.
8. Muddle innovation and beauty with dreariness and banality. Whose idea was it to visit the disc golf centre? This is perhaps the most pointless sport in the world. Throwing a Frisbee into a hanging basket is about as much a sport as eyebrow hurdling.

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