16 Oct 2015

TV on Earth...

I thought it was probably time to blow the several layers of dust off Brouhaha, and give you some semi-formed nonsense about terrestrial TV on planet Earth - well, in the UK, at any rate. Here's my completely irrelevant thoughts on some stuff wot I bin watchin'...

Have I Got News For You
Unbeknownst to yours truly, yet another series of this ancient satire show creaked into action a few weeks ago, so last night I watched the first episode on Catch Up. Having been a fan since series 1 back in 1990 (!), I probably now watch out of habit more than anything else, but it still makes me laugh now and again, and that's good enough for me.

Since 2007 as well as the usual half-hour programme, now broadcast at primetime on BBC1, an extended version with extra footage edited from its smarter prime time BBC1 cousin has been shown a few days later, buried on BBC2. I would guess that after all these years, HIGNFY's audience is 99% longtime fans who only watch the long version, so why they bother with the shorter one at all is beyond me.

Anyway, Episode 1 of Series 50 (no, really!) was chaired by that self-confessed dinosaur and professional oaf Jeremy Clarkson. Joining Hislop we had Jemima Daddysgotaporsche, an extremely irritating and entitled yahoo posh bird journo. Her actual name is apparently Camilla Long, and she writes for The Times, a Murdoch rag - 'nuff said. With Merton was the unfeasibly tall quiz show creator and all-round uber-brain and good bloke, Richard Osman.

As this show was filmed just after the Labour conference, and with Clarkson and Jemima on board, joined in tacit agreement by Hislop, it soon turned into a "Let's rip the piss out of Jeremy Corbyn" contest. I've always liked Richard Osman, a guy with a sharp wit, and I suspected a bloke in possession a top quality bullshit detector. My suspicions were confirmed, as he turned out to be the only one defending Corbyn while the aforementioned other three took great delight in highlighting the old boy's admittedly many shortcomings. Strangely during the Corbynfest, Merton remained largely silent, leaving his team mate to fight the red corner alone, although his question "Why have we got Trident?", which he answered himself with "...is it (to protect us from) attacks on the Undergound?" raised a smile.

Osman, when not defending Corbyn against the baying public school contingent, spent his time winding up Clarkson, a noble pursuit if you ask me. The very tall one likened not pressing "The Button" to never selecting ITV2 on his TV remote, with Clarkson chipping in with "What is ITV2?" Quick as a flash, Osman retorts "You'll find out soon enough, Jeremy" LOL, indeed! However, credit must be given where due to to the suddenly very old-looking former employee puncher, who for the most part held his cool against Osman's rapier-like incisiveness. Great telly!

Hislop, who quite rightly will have ago at incompetence or injustice wherever he sees it, redeemed himself with some typically astute observations, at one point getting righteously angry about the way in which the meeja has used the Cameron "Cock and Pig Story" to gloss over the real crimes our glorious leader and his party have committed against the poor of this country.

Yes, it's tired and arthritic, but it still makes me laugh. HIGNFY is the Beeb's equivalent of an eccentric, curmudgeonly but essentially loveable uncle in a care home. Of course, the care home is under constant and thoroughly unjustified threat of privatisation or closure, but while it stands, so does the show.

Just because you're using a Swedish lead actor and your story is seemingly about loss and grief does not mean you have a series to rival The Killing, no siree. River is based on a preposterous premise wherein our titular hero, a Detecive Inspector (what else?) is literally haunted by ghosts, or "manifests" as he prefers to call them from his troubled distant and recent past. He holds long conversations with these spookies, and he even gets physical with one of them, beating "him" up while incarcerated in a police cell (don't ask). This wildly eccentric behaviour while noticed by his colleagues seems to have no effect on his ongoing employment status, other than a few enforced but brief and truculent sessions with the in-house psychologist.

Even a committed Dr Who fan will find their credulity-o-meter stretched to breaking point by this daft programme. River is a ridiculously OTT failed Anglo attempt at Nordic Noir, right down to the introspectively gloomy theme tune. I won't be wasting any more time on this, needless to say.

Dr Who
Well, it had to get a mention, didn't it?

They shoot horses, don't they?...or...Why? When will it all end?

Cradle To Grave
Just to prove it's not all crap, this delightful and occasionally hilarious series has ticked all the right nostalgia buttons for those of us who entered the 1970s as kids, and left it as young adults. Great soundtrack, and a great theme tune, the title track of Squeeze's new platter, and if the rest of it is that good it shows that not all ancient bands should be banned from reforming. By the end I even got used to Peter Kay's variable take on a Cokernee accent, dinneye?

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