Friday, March 07, 2008

That joke isn’t funny anymore

Welcome to the new look BBC Three, made specifically for you, the ‘yoof’ of today. Auntie BBC doesn’t want to be your stern, finger-wagging, Catholic auntie anymore. This is something far less dignified; your embarrassing uncle, who shows up at a wedding, drinks too much, desperatly tries to be down with the kids, and vomits over one of the bridesmaids.

The tent-pole show in this ‘re-branding’ exercise is Lily Allen and Friends, a sarcastic cackle-fest with nothing to say. It wants to be frank and direct but settles for crude and horrible. Amid nervous smiles and drunken applause Lily Allen strives for incompetence, any conspicuous show of talent or ability might unsettle an apathetic audience.

The BBC3 controller, Danny Cohen, says his aim is "To reflect that it is a world buzzing with new talent… Youth brands today live or die by their openness to the creativity of their users or viewers," Presumably, he’s referring to the point in the show when viewers are invited to send in videos of themselves humping lampposts and mail boxes.

It’s not good enough to claim that shows like this are reflecting society back at us, just showing things how they are. Firstly, because it’s not true and secondly because I think television should be doing more than that. It’s also not good enough to shrug and say, well, it’s only TV. It’s time the people in charge of these things started taking some responsibility for what they produce.

Just a quick glance at the schedules, tonight on BBC Three we have, Freaky Eaters and Bizarre ER - “An angler with a fishing weight buried in his eye socket arrives at A&E.”

When you look at the contempt with which the BBC deals with programming intended for young people its little wonder they want to drink themselves into a hole. Where else is there to go? These programmes are stupid, complacent, and patronising, they don’t offer any sense of ideas, identity, or culture and if this is the best the BBC can offer young people they’d be better of scrapping the whole enterprise, marking it up as a failed experiment, not to be repeated.


Blogger Benjamin Nakizo said...


9:32 AM


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