Did we like it?
Jonny Daukes’ satire on British television had lots of that’s-clever moments, not quite enough laughs and wasn’t quite innovative enough to stop reminding us of Dead Ringers and The Day Today.
What was good about it?
• Writer/producer/director Daukes did succeed in conveying how much of British TV is the stupid, cynical result of ratings-obsessed back-watching latte-loving wimps.
• The production standards were so high that the fake trailers and ads were convincingly authentic.
• The best of the many elements was the surreal take on children’s TV, God’s Tiny Creatures, featuring a man dressed as a bee with a toy guitar singing “If you go down to the woods today…today’s the day the doggers all get their dicks licked.”
• The faked ads were uniformly spot-on, from Cokey Bear (a replica of the Hofmeister bear) to Jim’s Jam (a commercial aimed at the parents of teenage boys which concluded with the slogan “Keep ‘Em Hetero”) to The Anatomical Map Of Jesus (“the essential tool for anyone attempting some form of invasive surgery on the son of God”)
• The cleverest item was the public information film about a young man’s demise into drug-addled ruin which transformed from a hard-hitting black-and-white video diary into an commercial styled like one of those old-fashioned (100 yards from this) cinema ads in which his landlady tries to find a new tenant for his room in her north-west London house.
• The most effective item was the report by Quentin Montreal on Kick Poverty Out Of Football (aka KICK POOF) featuring the traumatic tale of James who’d suffered a £15,000-a-week pay cut (to a measly £95,000). Help was at hand in the form of a charity single, Kick the Shit Out Of Poverty, by a Lightning Seeds-like singer, aimed at keeping young professionals out of the “poverty panic zone” (£70,000 a week).
• Also amusing were the trailer for drab soap Laundry Blues, the Sleepwalking Superhero whose powers are failing him because he can’t drop off, and Laughentation Camp, which attacked the malevolence of Trigger Happy TV and its ilk.
What was bad about it?
• The bits that didn’t work. They included police drama spoof Bender’s Way, the video diaries, Keeper’s Lock (despite featuring the actor who used to be Shughie McFee in the Crossroads kitchen), Hobby Whores (looking at the pastimes of prostitutes, in this case a member of the Sherlock Holmes Society), the appeals for lottery money, Travels Among The Massai, and the Monkey Dust-ish Department of Darkness.