Isn’t TV great at the moment? We’re nearly into summer, and Euro 2008 will overtake BBC1 and ITV1, but the sounds of cupboards being scraped are already being heard.
Starting last Sunday, and continuing for the next three weeks, is a new run of everyone’s favourite – Ultimate Force with Ross Kemp. I say “new”, but I don’t really mean it. These are the last three episodes of the fourth series that ITV1 wimped out of showing back in 2006. The credits reveal that they were made in 2005, and yet only now, three years later, are these episodes finally making it to air. Fear not, I didn’t watch two hours of this nonsense, but sped through it at 48x speed, laughing at an Afghanistan-set episode which was obviously shot somewhere in Wales where eighties episodes of Doctor Who and Blake’s Seven were made.
Of course die hard fans will already have the DVDs which were released some time ago, or watched them on ITV4. It’s very odd that they’re only now showing up on ITV1. I believe there are some odd TV accountancy rules which mean that the cost isn’t born by the channel until the show has aired. Mind you, the last three episodes of the Royal Navy set drama Making Waves have never been shown!
I wonder if Kemp is a little embarrassed by all of this now. He recently made Ross Kemp in Afghanistan for Sky One, and it wasn’t actually that bad. I’m sure lots of running around without helmets or much protective gear in dodgy ITV dramas that are basically made for export, is now not as smart as it might once have seemed.
Over on Channel 4 tonight, here is what they’re showing during peaktime:
20.00 How to Look Good Naked
21.00 Gordon Ramsay’s F Word
22.00 The World’s Smallest Man and Me
If that’s not a schedule to make your mouth water and wish that the licence fee was top-sliced for the benefit of Channel 4, then what is?
How to Look Good Naked: “Will an entire orhcestra be prepared to bare all?” Not before the watershed it won’t. And in any case this is simply worthless television. Bizarrely, this is the show which’ll have a special edition made for the Edinburgh TV Festival later this summer.
Gordon Ramsay’s F Word: You don’t hear much about Gordon Ramsay these days do you?
Sorry – you hear about him ALL THE TIME. He’s never off the telly. When he’s not making Kitchen Nightmares, he’s making the US version of Kitchen Nightmares (which in no way is faked in way at all). Or he’s making Hell’s Kitchen in the US. Or he’s writing a book. Or he’s running a marathon. Or, very occassionally one assumes, he’s actually working in one of his many hotels (Wikipedia has quite a list).
The World’s Smallest Man and Me: It has one of those descriptions-as-titles to ensure that even the most stupid person understands from the outset what the show is about. On that basis alone I couldn’t ever bring myself to watch it. But then, even worse, it’s presented by the moronic Mark Dolan. Now to be fair, I know only a single fact about Dolan, and for all I know he’s witty and the very personification of charm itself. But that single fact I know is that he presents easily the worst programme on British television – something that makes The Word look like The Ascent of Man. I am of course talking about Balls of Steel. And for that, there’s no forgiveness.
What’s wrong with Balls of Steel, an “hilarious” hidden camera show made by that stable of fine television, Objective Productions? Well what’s right? ITV1 showed An Audience Without Jeremy Beadle on Friday night as a tribute to the man. What came through from that is the lack of malace Beadle showed to people who were set-up on his programmes. That’s simply not the case with Balls of Steel whose producers simply mock those people who are set-up on the show. Half an hour of the testcard would be preferable. And Channel 4 would be more honest if they got people to phone up on premium rate phone numbers and then simply had the public chat to one another.
I’ve not got a great deal of time for famed scientologist, and sometime movies star Tom Cruise, but when these muppets squirted him with water at a film premiere, brandishing the Channel 4 name, I think he was entirely right to be upset. If the film company had withdrawn press credentials from Channel 4 for other programmes, then this show would have swiftly disappeared.
I can only imagine the amount persuasion it takes for the production team to get victims to sign release forms to air the footage. I’m staggered that Channel 4 persist with this rubbish. And they want some of the BBC licence fee to support this crap?
So yes, I don’t care how “Louise Theroux” your new Channel 4 series is Dolan, you’re forever stained in my eyes from three series of this.
Meanwhile, on Friday, ITV1 is showing Brtiain’s Best 2008, presented by Piers Morgan, who ITV has suddenly decided is some kind of talent. I’m not quite sure what he’s actually good at doing. I understand his books are mildly entertaining, but I’m not about to rush out and buy one. And there was that series he presented on BBC1, YOu Can’t Fire Me, I’m Famous. But ITV has rushed to grab him because of Britain’s Got Talent – Opportunity Knocks for the new millennium. I’m not entirely sure what he, or indeed any of the judges, have got to give them the experience to judge talent. Simon Cowell has obviously worked in music for a long time, and Amanda Holden is an actress, but Morgan is journalist. So to my mind, his views are as relevant as, well, mine. Which is to say, yours as well. It’s not even as though he’s witty – from the little I’ve seen of the programme, he’s just a bit sleazy if the contestant is female, young and attractive (all virtues he doesn’t have). Still – good luck with him ITV!