Tonight Frank Skinner breathes new life into Room 101 (8:30pm, BBC1/BBC1 HD). In the revamped comedy chat show, three celebrities compete to have their worst nightmares banished to oblivion. And we jumped at the chance to do the same. Vote below to tell us which of our TV/film irritants should be consigned to Room 101…
Reality TV – pitched by Laura Pledger
It’s time to get real – and put reality TV in Room 101. Big Brother is, frankly, just asking for it. But don’t forget Made in Chelsea, The Only Way Is Essex, Desperate Scousewives and their numerous sad stablemates: empty vessels all, for the even emptier-headed to “star” in. If those “characters” would only stick to the tawdry little worlds specially “structured” for them, that would be fine. At least that way I could avoid them.
But they’re like garden spiders that blunder into your bathroom in summer: ugly, unwelcome and blown up out of all proportion. I’m sick of seeing their vacant faces in newspapers. I’m tired of their “guest appearances” on comedy panel shows, where their plasticky smiles slowly slide in confusion as they’re skewered by rapier wit.
And as for The X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent – they can take their over-excited, under-educated studio audiences with them, too. Ahhhhh, that’s better. Peace at last – and more room on TV for intelligent entertainment and genuine talent.
CGI in films – pitched by Tom Cole
Just because something’s cheap doesn’t mean it’s good. I mean, booking David Van Day for your reality TV show is probably a thrifty move but that doesn’t mean it’s a brilliant idea. And it’s the same with computer-generated imagery in movies, the worst thing to happen to cinema since Showgirls got the green light.
I’ve yet to see a CGI-heavy film that doesn’t look utterly phony. Take Avatar, the supposed apogee of CGI film-making, which has all the visual charm of a second-tier Xbox game. Made with proper special effects and real sets it could have been an amazing film, but as it stands it’s as unfulfilling an audience experience as listening to a symphony played on a synthesiser.
And crowbarring CGI into more regular film fare isn’t any better, the results almost always being horribly jarring. For example, the scene from The Expendables where Steve Austin’s character is burnt to a crisp in craptacular CGI is woefully poor, a pointless effect that totally negates one’s suspension of disbelief.
I realise that CGI has been warmly embraced by studios eager to cut costs and boost profits, but it just looks awful. Compare the faux-epic Troy with its big budget predecessors like Cleopatra and you’ll see what I mean. CGI is awful. A pox on it and long live latex, stop-motion and the skills of set builders everywhere!
Restlessness in programmes – pitched by Helen Hackworthy
Heston Blumenthal is the Derren Brown of the culinary world; his magic tricks with food never cease to bamboozle me. So his back-to-basics Delia-esque series How to Cook like Heston, in which he offers up tips for average joes like me, is currently my must-see TV.
However, his programme, like so many factual series these days (and I have to say, Channel 4 seems to be the worst), falls foul of that most irritating of trends – constantly reminding me what I’m watching and what’s coming up later in the show. During a half-hour episode, I do not need a running commentary of upcoming items; I certainly do not need to be told after a four-minute ad break what programme I’m watching and what came before. Just think: let the show flow naturally, cut all this time-wasting and you could include another recipe – radical!
And during BBC2’s Stargazing Live this week, we were engrossed in a fascinating interview with an astronomy expert, but then, lo! he’s stopped mid-sentence so we can cut to nothing happening of any interest in a village in Devon. Programme-makers think viewers have the attention spans of gnats – they have to keep feeding us exciting morsels for fear that we get bored and switch to another channel. Believe me, this approach is more likely to make me reach for the remote. STOP IT.
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