Broken News, BBC2

by | Oct 31, 2005 | All, Reviews

What to say if you liked it

Bite-sized satire for a complacent 21st century audience.

What to say if you didn’t like it

Broken News is to the Day Today what Bognor Or Bust was to Have I Got News For You.

What was good about it?

• Will Parker (Benedict Cumberbatch) delivering an acutely observed spoof of those TV journalists who have to aimlessly fill in the time on broadcasts through a mixture of circumlocution, exaggerated accentuation of irrelevant events and lies.

• The cloned Richard Pritchard and Katie Tate metronomically repeating each other’s inanities.

The patronising presentation accurately aping news channels who assume their viewers to be only a gene advanced from pond life.

So News, a not-cruel-enough pastiche of how appalling Liquid News became after the death of the brilliant Christopher Price. Choked to death by pseudo-celebrity reporters championing the trivial deeds of fatuous fame-hungry nobodies as though they were manifestations of the Ten Commandments.

That “scientists are searching for a link between tomato flu and anything that causes death.”

• Some of the banner headlines. “Mariah Carey demands Alps are painted black if the Swiss leg of her world tour is to go ahead.”

• Look Out East, the dreadful regional news programme fronted by journalists who look dead in the eyes in this graveyard of crushed dreams as their aspirations to front the Six O’Clock News will now never be realised and so they spend much of the bulletin cracking cosy faux risqué jokes with similarly mentally-moribund members of the team.

• The fawning film reporter (Jonathan Ross?) who spends the whole interview with a talentless actress saying that he is a “huge fan” of hers. And then afterwards castigates her latest film.

What was bad about it?

• There was sometimes too much going on at once, and it was difficult to follow both the audible broadcasts and the banner headlines flashing all around the screen like Blitz bombs in the night.

• We’re sorry to compare it to the Day Today, but that Chris Morris masterwork remains the benchmark in this field, and Broken News fell a little short. It might have been possible not to contrast the two, but Broken News aimed at many of the same targets and used similar techniques such as when the stockmarket journalist asked his global panel to sum up their news in one word. And the football teams had names similar to those on Alan Patridge’s sport round-ups.

Luke Knowles

Luke Knowles


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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