Johnny Smith go home

dirty lil boyWatching Channel Five’s Fifth Gear motoring programme is becoming really depressing. Woolly mop head Tom Ford is becoming the best full time presenter, as Vicki Butler Henderson’s endless guffaws are becoming more numerous during her reports, and are very tiresome and irritating. However, turn the sound down and her driving is still entertaining, even if you lose the point of the report as a result.

No, the depression comes every week when the pointless Johnny Smith makes his appearance.

What’s he there for?

In terms of intelligence, my cat demonstrates more sense and intelligence than this moron. Ever since he turned up, his items have been characterised as being little more than the rambling of an immature schoolboy, and every time I see him, all I can think of is the time this boy genius bolted a Smart car on to the roof of another Smart car, in the name of making a four-seater, and was then surprised when the pair rolled over as he demonstrated his driving skills.

His items are all in a similar vein, making you wonder how much he is paid to waste the programme’s time.

The thing I’ve never understood is what he thinks he looks like. Generally a shabby mess, he dresses in what looks like clothes rejected by a charity shop, and that they would have burnt as ‘irrecoverable’. From a distance, his face looks as if he sits with a black ‘Magic Marker’ and draws silly shaped sideburns on his cheeks, and a comical sliver of a beard down his chin. The reality is worse, and when the camera offers a closeup, then the result can only be described as horrific. The ‘beard’ and sideburns are real, but his skin looks like something that would send a beautician running for the hills, with the pores blocked solid with blackheads – or at least that’s what the director’s chosen camera shot and angle make it look like like.

No wonder the talent of the show, Tiff Needell and Jason Plato, make light of their appearances, and don’t appear in the main stream, just articles. They’ve probably got terms written in their contract to ensure that the programme is structured such that they remained distanced from direct association with the the other three, which could ruin their credibility… more.

I wish we could get back to simple motoring programmes, where the presenters aren’t chosen to be ‘stars’. Top Gear’s too full of itself and its larger than life presenters, AND has sold out to the cult of celebrity with free publicity for a ‘Star’ every week. Recent addition Vroom Vroom is so puerile, using an assortment of bimbos to flesh out its brainless car tests. The Used Car Road Show largely manages to hit the spot, but suffers some from vacuous moments (the dolly bird and the superfluous auction story each week, where she advises the buyer with gems such as – “Jason says it’s a good idea to start the engine and see of any warning lights come on, and listen to the engine” Duh!), and being stretched to fill an hour long slot. Possibly the best offering that manages to avoid celebrities, not insult the viewer, review real cars -with supercars appearing only occasionally for a little spice – is Pulling Power. The only problem seems to be the director’s overuse of the same piece of musical punctuation and logo between items – it seems to appear every time the presenter paused for breath, and the shortness of the programme. Little time is left for it in a half hour slot once the starting and ending credits and adverts are allowed for, and the ad-break takes place in the middle.

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