Channel Four is, in my opinion, the best TV channel in the UK. They make the best documentaries on British TV, and have some of the most innovative and entertaining programmes. Who would have thought ‘Countdown’ would still be on TV today! ‘Sunday Brunch’ with Simon Rimmer and Tim Lovejoy is another example. Originally on the BBC, Channel Four commissioned the show when it became available, got rid of the worst features, started some better ones and the show has gone from strength to strength. It’s a cookery show first and foremost, but they have an eclectic mix of guests and features as well, it’s worth a look on a Sunday morning.
Let’s make a TV shown about people watching TV.
But I applaud whoever came up with the idea for Gogglebox. On paper it doesn’t sound good – A TV show watching people watching TV.
But it’s hilarious. The reason it’s funny is simply this, firstly it’s brilliantly edited and put together, but it’s the people who matter. Dom and Steph the posh B&B owners. Leon and June the retired teachers, Sandy and Sandra the best friends from London, and many others. Ralph on the Wirral, Scarlet from County Durham, the Reverend Kate, they are all so opinionated. How on earth did they find these people?
In one episode one person, not the sharpest knife in the drawer this one, said that he really looked forward to the ITV Show ‘I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here’. I really can’t imagine why. If Gogglebox is the best show on TV, I’m A Celebrity, for me, is one of the worst. And here’s why.
British people are obsessed with celebrity. Totally. More that any other nation on earth I think. Katie Price, why is she famous? Peter Andre, what has he ever done that merits attention? Kim Kardashian, Harry Styles, Coleen Rooney, Simon Cowell, Zoe Ball, Sandi Toksvig, give me a break! Don’t even get me started on ‘The Only Way Is Essex’ and ‘Made in Chelsea’. These plastic people, told what to do and what to say in front of the cameras, are not real people, not celebrities and should never be regarded as such.
But the British people love them all. There are dozens of magazines you can buy all about so called ‘Celebrities’. Ok, Now, Heat, Closer, Hello, that started life as a Spanish Magazine called Hola, and many more. We idolise our celebrities, put them on pedestals, queue for hours just for a glimpse of them, buy overpriced tickets to see them, buy their ghost written books, their exercise videos, their DVDs, their CDs. We can’t get enough of them.
Why then is there one thing we like even more – and that is to see them humiliated?
‘I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here’, is all about that. Of course real celebrities would never do a show such as this. They are above that. Most of the people on this show are not what you might call ‘A’ list celebrities. Most of them are barely famous at all and appear on this ridiculous show, presented by two lucky Geordies, for one of three reasons. Many are not really celebrities at all but are hoping their appearance will boost their celebrity rating. Some are down on their luck, and are hoping their appearance will help restore some of their former glory. Many of them are hoping that the appearance fee they have negotiated will continue to fund the lavish lifestyle that their dwindling celebrity status no longer affords.
But they have to do the most outrageous things on this show. They are forced to eat kangaroo testicles, have live insects shoved up their noses, made to sit in locked boxes full of snakes, but why? This is not entertainment, it’s pure and simple humiliation. Why, when we love these people so much, do we want to see them being belittled? For me it’s the equivalent of queueing at a Black Friday sale to buy a 48″ flat-screen TV, taking it home, putting in on a stand, and then smashing it to bits with a hammer. I just don’t get it.
Having been lucky enough to work in the radio industry for many years, I was able to meet and talk to many celebrities, some of them real genuine celebrities, some of them not. I’m not that impressed by famous people to be honest, but I certainly don’t want to see them having to pick up pigs innards with their teeth. Okay, the world has moved on from the days of ‘The Black and White Minstrels’, and ‘Bruce Forsyth’s Generation Game’, thankfully, but I’m not sure the world of TV entertainment has moved in the right direction. There are many alternatives to mainstream TV today, paid services like Netflix, Apple TV and Amazon Instant Video, unpaid services like IPTV, so we really do have a choice. Thankfully there are still some shows on TV that are genuinely worth watching, and surprisingly perhaps, Gogglebox is one of the best.