TV dregs?

Channel 5 (UK) is about to start a series where leading thinkers in Britain express their views on the quality, or otherwise, of today’s television programmes.

An interesting proposition, and may be interesting, it should be.

I will be watching with interest, as the “Leading British Thinker” that is billed to appear in the first programme is Selina Scott. A “Leading Presenter” perhaps, but I’m hard-pushed to see how a former TV newsreader and presenter of assorted programmes joins the ranks of the previous group.

(dregs: sediment or residue that settles at the bottom, usually of a liquid)

Follow-up to the programme, after broadcast:

Channel 5’s abstract for the programme was very poorly written, and Ms Scott actually provided an excellent presentation of the programme. It was very revealing as to the pathetic state of the industry, driven as it is more by the chasing of viewer numbers and funding (driven by commercial demands and perceived ‘target audiences) rather than producing substantial viewing material that will have a future value.

Of particular note was the comparison of programmes such as Big Bruvvah with the situation 200 years ago, where the public could pay 1 penny to gain admittance to the lunatic asylum of Bedlam, where they could watch the inmates. Sick and mentally disabled individuals, the truly mad and untreated, the violent and the victimised, free to prey and be preyed on by one another while others merely watched, or egged them on. Has there really been so little progress in those years, where vulnerable individuals who seek the status of celebrity and ‘5 minutes of fame’ are placed into what is little more than a sanitised torture chamber for a few weeks, to be humiliated in the hope of winning a prize? Whether he was serious or not, the fact that one ‘participant’ was suicidal should have been enough for ‘Time’ to have been called on this embarrassment.

But that would have upset the sponsors, and put all that lovely money in jeopardy, and we can’t have that, can we?

Returning to Ms Scott’s presentation, I really have to to speak up for Dan Cruickshanks, who was slated by her for creating excessive distraction, by waving his hands around for emphasis while he spoke. If only that were the biggest problem on the box.


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