Nothing works

I’m beginning to think that our television is haunted. By bastards. Nasty ones* who wait till the last five minutes of whatever we’re watching on Uncle Rupert’s Emporium Of Televisual Tat to screw around with the picture and the sound, so we’ve got no idea what the hell was supposed to have happened. Now it’s difficult enough to find anything worth watching on the telly these days, so it’s extra vexing when you finally do turn up something that doesn’t have the word ‘celebrity’ in it, and the bloody TV Gremlins eat the last chunk.

Incidentally (as I’m in the mood for a small rant-ette**) what the hell is wrong with production companies these days? We’re constantly hearing how the licence fee is needed to produce quality programming and then they splatter the airwaves like a toilet bowl the morning after a hefty curry? Look at today’s delightful offerings:

06:00 am Breakfast
Fair enough, it’s the news and I’d have watched it, if my bloody Sky box hadn’t been complaining about a complete lack of satellite coverage (apparently you can’t see the North East of Scotland from space). But then it’s:

09:15 am To Buy or Not to Buy

10:00 am Escape to the Country

11:00 am Homes Under the Hammer
So that’s three programmes devoted to people buying houses. Two and a quarter HOURS of cheap nasty TV, that doesn’t need sets, costumes, actors, or scripts. Tat. And speaking of tat, what’s up next, Aunty Beeb?

11:30 am Car Booty
A programme about people selling any old crap they find around the house at a car boot sale. A CAR BOOT SALE!!! Don’t believe me? To quote from the BBC website: “Maureen Kurn calls in the team to help her clear out some of her clutter and raise some money for a new bathroom suite.” Stunning! And I thought all those house-buying programmes were cheap, they’re bloody Life On Mars compared to following some twonk to a car boot sale. And you know what comes next?

12:15 pm Cash in the Attic
“Emma Chisholm wants to downsize and calls in the team to help her get rid of some of her clutter.” Tell you what, Emma, why not get together with those wags on the programme before you and hump the lot down to your nearest CAR BOOT SALE! AAAAAAAAAARGH! So after two and a quarter hours of people buying houses we get an hour and half of people selling off the crap they’ve filled them with.

Christ’s sake…

At least there’s nothing in there where vacuous celebrities no one’s ever heard of do something no one bloody cares about, but might get voted off in a telephone poll that will later turn out to be a big scam used to fleece the viewers. Mind you, if they’re stupid enough to watch the bloody stuff in the first place, maybe it’s nature’s way of separating the wheat from the cow-pats?

And it’s not just the BBC***, it’s all over the place. The digital world is rife with this kind of mindless pap. Bring back the bloody test card, that’s what I say. What’s the point of having 3,000 channels of 24 hours, wall-to-wall programmes if you have to make cheap and nasty rubbish to fill them?****

Anyway, it’s not just the telly that hates me – the DVD player has developed a shitty sense of humour too. It doesn’t matter how often we clean the laser lens with one of those hairy CD things, the picture still skips and jumps all over the place. Freezes… then leaps forwards with a loud farty bellow.

And speaking of loud farty bellows, the Inerlopers go home tomorrow! I’ve got their little feline hats ready by the door, and their catty dufflebags are packed. Soon Casa MacBride will return to normal! NORMAL I TELLS YOU!

* As opposed to the ‘nice’ kind of bastards we’re always hearing about.
** Actually that’s a lie — this is a full-blown rantathon.
*** And right now I can just about hear Agent Phil screaming in agony as he desperately tries to convince the BBC to option a TV series from my books. But I’m guessing the people who make ‘Car Booty’ aren’t actually involved in the production of decent, God-fearing television, so screw them. In the ear. With a frozen fish.
**** What’s even more disappointing is the fact that the BBC are capable of making some of the best programmes in the world. Their drama stuff can be spectacular. So why do they keep commissioning the visual equivalent of gonorrhoea?

7 Responses to “Nothing works”

  1. I know what you mean, the television is just as bad in America. “Pit _____ celebrity up against 10 more in a series of ridiculous tasks. Watch who gets voted off.” So far, over just the past two weeks, I’ve seen three new reality shows come on. *sigh* I guess I’ll just have to go back to books, ha ha.

  2. If you believe the doom-mongers circling the WGA strike in the US, the networks are going to take this opportunity to cut back on all scripted deals and fill the schedules with even more reality shows.

  3. “…he BBC are capable of making some of the best programmes in the world. Their drama stuff can be spectacular. So why do they keep commissioning the visual equivalent of gonorrhoea?”


    Because they’re CHEAP. No writers, no expensive starlets jiggling their bits, no directors sucking up budgets, no costumes, special effects, nothing but a pile of bozos prancing around like idgits with electrodes up their butts as they seek their 15 minutes of fame. And prize money, which is a LOT less than the producers would spend if they hired real actors, writers, directors…

    Plus you can never go wrong selling to the lowest common denominator. Reality shows don’t require anyone – especially the viewers – to think. All they have to do is sit back and laugh at people who are apparently even more dippy than they are. Same thing with most talk shows. It’s like gawking as you drive by a traffic accident. Can’t help but look.

    No wonder book sales are declining. People’s brains are being sucked away by tele-crap.

  4. Spanky wants good tv too.
    But Antie Beeb would rather join popular culture and release strictly come johnathan ross fame acadamy in an east-ender fashion.
    Which’ll probably be released in time for x-max chirstmas on a Top Gear DVD.

  5. Hi, Stuart. I’m a fellow writer and discovered you this year. I love the books. I’m addicted to police procedurals. So, congrats!
    However to comment on British Television: Since I live in the U.S., I had only met British shows via public television — in other words, only the very good stuff. Now I have BBC America and was excited until I discovered that there’s nothing going on but some weird fantasy shows, something about a hotel full of sleazy guests and employees, and two absolutely gross things, one about filthy houses (referred to as rubbish tips and showing close-ups of rat droppings, filthy toilets, and mold growing on dirty dishes) and the other about the eating habits of obese couples complete with scientific analysis of their “poo.”
    What is happening in your country, for Christ’s sake??? And how do these subjects live with the shame of such public exposure?

  6. “how do these subjects live with the shame of such public exposure?”

    Believe it or not, anonymous fellow writer, they’re proud of it. The bastards can turn an appearance on a mindless crapfest TV programme into a lucrative ‘celebrity’ career!

    I’d bang my head off the table in frustration, only there isn’t a TV crew here to see me do it, so I wouldn’t subsequently get thousands of pounds to advertise socks at BHS.

  7. And Vincent – I hope that’s not going to be the case, otherwise Civilisation is doomed. Well, even more than it already is.

    Or quicker at any rate.


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