The Big Day, BBC1

by | Jul 5, 2007 | All, Reviews

Did we like it?

As with the whole wretched genre of ‘lifestyle’ TV (in itself a misnomer as it entertainment for people with a fathomless abyss where their own lives should be), this is the epitome of mining through the subterranean grime to discover those rare chunks of executive gold – making someone cry or exhale gaseous euphoria in a moment of ‘real’ emotional amid the churning industrial machinery of Nick Knowles’ Atlantic bridge-sized grin.

What was good about it?

• Phil and Sarah were genuinely nice couple and it was pleasing to see they were impressed by the results of their friends and family’s efforts to make their nuptials as joyous as possible.

• Excerpts from Blondie’s Atomic and Art of Noise’s Moments In Love.

What was bad about it?

• For about the tenth thousandth time in the past week, we heard a presenter use the word ‘serious’ as a juvenile, moronic substitute for the expression of many or much. This time it was co-presenter Hannah Sandling, who also regressed to the sandpit upon gazing upon the hallowed beauty of that most pulchritudinous of human endeavour that could have dropped from the mouth of Venus herself – a roulette wheel, to decorate the reception, which she greeted with “That’s awesome! Wicked!” as if an illiterate 1940s ruddy-cheeked French teenager denied an education by the Nazi occupation who is extolling her appreciation at the Allied liberation as they match through the Paris streets.

• The Farm’s Altogether Now, a song so excruciatingly numbing Egyptian pharaohs requested it to be played while they were being embalmed alive.

• Chief bridesmaid Louise using the phrase “End of”, which is the idiot’s safety-mechanism to neuter dissent when any conversation starts using words of more than three syllables.

• Phil’s mother Jean looked like a plague pit that has been spruced up a bit for a visit by the relevant government figure who even then is holding his scarf about his mouth to prevent potential infection.

• The central conceit of The Big Day is to take a unique occasion that on all counts must be perfect, or very close to it. The responsibility is then delegated between the couple’s friends and parents, which of course generates not only differences of opinion but also spans more than one generation – all of them then clamour in their own way to hold a wedding that they believe fits in best with the deliberately vague wishes of the couple while also selfishly serving their own ends – for instance Louise wanted a classy reception meal, but Sarah’s mum Sylvia lobbied for fish and chips.

• All of this inevitably causes conflict between all the parties, when in fact there is not a good reason why the couple couldn’t choose for themselves and demolish this unnecessary ordeal for everyone.

• It also relies on the stupidity (natural or directed by the producers) on various friends/family to act with such myopia as to outrage others. Phil’s friends bought him a tacky Austin Powers suit to wear for the wedding (actually they bought him two – one purple and one blue), this naturally sent Jean spare.

• When Hannah ejaculated her ideas about how to transform the dingy youth centre into a glamorous casino for the reception, Nick and helper James cast puzzled, incredulous looks at one another to coerce the viewer into thinking her plans were unfeasible so that when they ultimately came to fruition it seems all the more impressive.

• “During a quiet moment,” Nick says, “Sylvia’s thoughts turn to Sarah’s [late] father who will be sadly missed on the big day.” A quiet moment, but not quiet enough not to be hi-jacked by a BBC presenter and camera crew who see it (or perhaps even engineered it) as a chance to get someone to cry on television and achieve the Holy Grail of all simpering lifestyle shows.

• When the cost is totalled up at the end to see if the friends and family managed to keep within their budget of £4,500, noticeably absent from the balance sheet were the band playing at the reception, the Austin Powers car that took Phil to the church and the replacement chairs demanded by Sylvia for the reception.

• The paradox that every single couple desire that their wedding day will pass off without a hitch but that to make The Big Day work even on a rudimentary level, Nick Knowles and his team need to pray each day for calamities to make the whole escapade come as close to collapse as possible, and often conspire to cause disasters themselves such as Hannah’s hissy-fit over the receptacles for the reception.

Luke Knowles

Luke Knowles

05/07/2007

Editor of the website and host of the podcast. A general TV obsessive. I've been running the site since 2008 and you can usually find me in front of the TV. My Favourite show of all time is Breaking Bad with Cracker coming a close second. I feel so passionately that television can change the world and I'm doing my little bit by running this site. You're Welcome!

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