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Wednesday, 17 March 2010


OK, so as broadcasting networks go it isn't the worst. ITV is. People knock Five for only showing stuff about the Nazis and cosmetic surgery all the time, but I'd take Goebbels and Lesley Ash's botched face over Peter Andre and Kerry fucking Katona any day. And as for Jeremy Kyle, well, I do kind of feel sorry for him, being surrounded by the dregs of society every day trying to do his good work of promoting family values and... No, not really, obviously I think he's a cunt, same as you do. But ITV is too easy a target, and as literally everything they do is shit we'd be here all day, so let's look at the BBC instead.

The BBC is world renowned for making quality programmes. And it does. A lot of their shows are great, even with the most mainstream stuff they often manage not to insult you too horrifically. This is abundantly clear if you compare Doctor Who with its complex interlinked storylines and, for the most part, decent acting (OK yes, it does sometimes make you go, no, seriously, you're ending it like that? With the fucking mobile phone network? After I've waited like a week, you're ending it like that? Bastards.) to ITV's response, Primeval, which was shit and had one of bloody S Club 7 in it. Yes, I know Billie Piper was in Doctor Who, and yes, I know she was if anything even worse at the old pop music, but we'll gloss over that.

Even with the soaps, Eastenders manages to be sort of good, at least it has usually got some hardmen in it and a plot involving a "shooter", whereas Coronation Street is full of these weird scenarios where people work in a factory. This is confusing to me because it is set in Greater Manchester, not China. Also, the women drink bitter, and there are all these kind of stupid Northern storylines about pigeon lofts and butcher's shops and whatnot. OK, I admit I haven't watched it for about 14 years but I bet it's still like that. As an aside, I did get accused of being "regionist" after I said all Northerners were casual racists in my post about Cheryl Cole, but it's only casual regionism so don't worry.

But alas these shows that are top notch in their respective genres, and also the BBC shows that nobody has ever managed to successfully imitate like Top Gear (have you seen Fifth Gear? It's boring, they actually review cars, regular boring cars like the ones in the car park at work. And Vroom Vroom on Sky is just objectionable on every level - I'm not kidding, they have bit with a car with cat ears and a car with mouse ears and the cat one chases the mouse one while someone out of Blue or something drives it... It is really bad. Really fucking bad.) and that one everyone loves with the animals and the sea and David Attenborough, are not the whole story by any means. So I present to you, a by no means conclusive list of stuff that is pony about the BBC:

1) Kids shows that aren't any fun

You know the shit I mean, the shit that's urging kids to have a social conscience from the age of like five, and go to bed worrying about Rwanda and polar bears. Blue Peter. Newsround, that sort of crap. And really, who wants to watch a piece about some kids in Columbia that have to work down a mine followed by some light entertainment from the Cirque du bastarding Soleil or those cunts from Stomp when the other channels have SpongeBob SquarePants? It's patronising, it's no fun, and the kids watching it are the sort of goody two shoes little douchebags who want to be sponsored for shit every fucking week and quite deservedly get bullied.

Even the programmes that aren't preachy have some sort of depressing edge to them, Tracy Beaker there, getting into all those scrapes with her mates, but wait, she's in care? Nobody wants to foster her? Hell's teeth!

2) Sunday Nights

The Sunday evening schedule on the BBC has not changed since television was invented. First off, you get some repeats of a very bad, very old sitcom - usually Keeping Up Appearances or 'Allo 'Allo. Nobody knows why. In the what, 20 years since these shows were originally aired a lot of other shows have been made which they could put on instead, but they still believe this slot needs to be filled with that fucking woman that lives next door to Hyacinth breaking a bloody coffee cup, or that bloke who used to be Terry in Eastenders being an Italian. If "comedy" from the 80's is compulsory at this time, why not show one people actually liked like Only Fools and Horses or Blackadder? What's fucking wrong with you?

Then you get the Eastenders omnibus. Which is kind of redundant now everyone just watches it on iPlayer or Sky+ anyway if their life got in the way, but what the hell. This is followed by Points of View, where someone has written in to say they noticed a continuity error in Holby City, and someone else thought the background music on Masterchef ruined the show for them. These people are freaks, and this is their time.

Once that is over, a sense of numbing inevitability overwhelms you as the announcer announces (as is his wont) that it's time for Songs of Praise. Jesus Christ. No, really, it's his time now. I'm not being flippant (well, I am, obviously) but in modern Britain 99.9% of people are more interested in Jedward than in Jesus, and we're not all that interested in them. With that being the case, with this show being publicly funded by the most secular public in the world, the BBC aren't doing Christianity any favours with this laborious shit. That bloke who used to be the little boy in the Snowman, having a look around a cathedral, then some jowelly white haired old women singing? With the words on the bottom of the screen, like some kind of nightmarish game of Sing Star being played by people in nursing homes? Do people sing along at home? If so can I see this on YouTube?

Then of course, the Antiques Roadshow. This is the old school format of antiques show, which, if possible, is even more shit than the modern ones where at least everything gets auctioned off at the end, raising enough money for the old couple to go and visit their new grandchild in Australia (always, that is literally always what they want the money for. Honestly, watch one, I promise you. OK, sometimes it's Canada, but it's always that basic story), and you get some kind of closure. On the Antiques Roadshow, some people talk about the lovely veneer on the piece of furniture, tell some old bag her hideous plate is worthless because there's a fucking chunk missing out of it, and everyone just goes "mmmm" and nods. 45 minutes of that, just that. Even the music sounds like a portent of mindblowing boredom.

At least they don't put Last of the Summer Wine on anymore.

3) BBC Three

Again, not all terrible, but mostly this is the kind of stuff even ITV don't bother to try and rip off, it's that lame.

A typical night on BBC Three will contain at least one really piss poor sitcom aimed at the yoof. It will be painfully unfunny, but you will catch yourself laughing at a knob gag or an amusing way of referring to periods at some point and you will feel dirty for dignifying this pap with one of your usually far more discerning "lolz". I think they are aiming for something along the lines of The Inbetweeners on 4, but instead they end up with something along the lines of total shit. Examples of this include Lunch Monkeys, Coming of Age, Grown Ups, and that one I can't remember the name of where they're at university. The daddy of all this was of course Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps, which refuses to die. It's the crap that just keeps on giving.

There will also be some hardcore investigative journalism carried out by, er, Clare from Steps, Sonia out of Eastenders, or the girl that used to be the fat ginger one in Hollyoaks. Anyone who has lost a whole lot of weight basically. How this qualifies them, I don't know, but hey, at least they aren't making us look at fat people. This will usually be about binge drinking or some other topic close to the hearts of the yoof. In fact, everything about BBC Three has this air of that teacher at school who wore Converse trainers and had an earring. I AM DOWN WITH THE KIDS! HONEST!

And there's Snog, Marry, Avoid, but secretly I quite like that. Trampy looking girls being told they are a right mess and everyone hates them? What's not to like. I don't care about the makeover bit, I just like the bit when they get told they look like disgusting slags. It amuses me.

4) International BBC Channels

OK, so it's only fair that these channels, such as BBC World and BBC America, shouldn't be too good, given that it's us in the UK paying to make all the damn shows, but then we should probably at least make some effort to represent ourselves to the rest of civilisation as not being totally weird and retarded. And think of the ex pats! Will nobody think of the ex pats?

In Europe, often the only channels in English are CNN, which is just rolling news so you're pretty much done with it after 15 minutes, and BBC World. You think, great, BBC World. This will have some BBC shows on it. OK, it'll probably just be My Family, but still, I'm in fucking Italy, I'll take anything that isn't a topless version of Wheel of Fortune that goes on for four hours straight.

But no. All that is shown on BBC World is endless documentaries about climate change, interspersed with adverts for Singapore Airlines. What the holy fuck is that all about?

BBC America is less weird in that it does actually have some programmes on it that people might like to watch, but it is still notably odd for the fact that half the shows on it are in fact Channel 4 and ITV shows. Why? Why do that? How does that even work? Do they buy the rights for say, Gordon Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares off of Channel 4 but only to show in America? With the Channel 4 shows you can kind of see why they might want to put them on their channel, but the ITV ones, really? You want people in the States to think you made Primeval, even though, as we have already established, it is really fucking dire? They also bill stuff as being new when it blatantly isn't. All New Top Gear? No it's not, it's that one where they get the supercars stuck getting out of that garage in Paris. Hilarious, yes, new, no. My dad pointed out that you can work out how old an episode of Top Gear is by the plates on the cars. I tend to go by Richard Hammond's hair. Both are good systems.

Obviously this is not an exhaustive list, I haven't bothered talking about the daytime dross, the fucking One Show, Strictly Come Dancing or the fact they have no decent live sport whatsoever, and I'll cover off their radio stations in a future post, but hopefully you'll agree that this argues the case for the BBC being pretty pony after all.



  1. I tried watching that Two Pints and a Packet of Crisps show once. I could never quite figure out how they were allowed to get away with calling that a comedy. There's more laughs watching a child die of AIDS than in that show. Christ.

  2. Well, whatever you do don't watch Lunch Monkeys then, it'll blow your fucking mind.