Archive | Reality TV RSS feed for this section

Channel 5…Can Celebrity Big Brother Redeem Jim Davidson?

30 Jan

Celebrity Big Brother came to an end last night and was striking in two regards. Firstly it has turned out to be a big ratings winner for Channel 5, peaking at about 3.8 million viewers for the final.

So successful were the ratings for Channel 5 that the programme was extended by four days, and I suspect if it weren’t for fear of charges of forced imprisonment being levied against them Channel 5 would have kept the celebrities ‘locked’ up longer.

The other big surprise was the winner. In a field with reality TV stalwarts like Sam Faiers (The Only Way is Essex – TOWIE) and Ollie Lock (Made In Chelsea), well known figures from Pop Music Lee Ryan (Blue) and Dappy (N-Dubz) plus other older but entirely palatable celebrities like Lionel Blair and Linda Nolan, Jim Davidson would not stand out as your likely winner.

Not when you consider the supposed voting demographic of shows like Celebrity Big Brother, not when you consider media coverage he has received in recent years, but win he did!

I am not not sure what propelled  him to victory? It may be that the voting demographic is not as skewed towards the younger tech-savvy teenagers most people imagine, it may be that with too many celebs aimed at the the yoof it could be that a dedicated brigade of  matronly voters were able to seize the advantage of the divide in the the opponents ranks  provided and voted their man to victory, or it could simply be that viewers of the The Generation Game are just so damn loyal.

Well he has won and and unlike his last appearance on Reality TV on Hells Kitchen, this time around he has done so with little or no controversy. The question is will this mark a turnaround in his fortunes, will his phone be ringing off the hook as offers flood in?

Michael Barrymore went though the same sort of redemption of Celebrity Big Brother, but the revival was fleeting as the reasons why stars are no longer stars do not disappear from the general population simply on the back of a reality TV win. It may they have been mired in controversy, it may be ageism, or it may be the public’s taste has just simply moved on. Ultimately success in Reality TV shows is a “success of now” an ephemeral success that begins to dissipate from the very moment you are crowned.

Even less contentious winners of shows like The X-Factor, The Voice quickly realise how transient their popular appeal can be. So is this redemption for Jim Davidson? No not likely.

 

 

 

Channel 4…The Taste. If The Voice were a cooking programme, it would be this!

7 Jan

The Taste. ‘The Voice’ meets ‘Masterchef’.

  • Three judges…Check!
  • Can’t see the contestants at the beginning…Check!
  • Have to trust their senses alone…Check!
  • Judges compete to select the best and become mentors…Check!
  • Contestants decide when more than one judge wants them…Check!

Sounds like The Voice, looks like The Voice, feels like The Voice, but certainly does not taste like The Voice. The Taste, Channel 4′s much heralded gastronomic reality show hit our screen today and for me it gets a big thumbs up.

I love the judges. Nigella Lawson was imperious despite her recent problems. Anthony Bourdain of Kitchen Confidential fame was suave and urbane, a culinary equivalent of George Clooney. Ludo Lefebvre was a Gallic tour de force. I loved the interaction between the judges, it was competitive without being bitchy. You would expect that though, as all three judges are very accomplished in their own right and really have nothing to prove by grandstanding.

The food, yes it comes out it single bites sizes on a spoon, but some of those dishes looked absolutely mouth watering.  I love the format of the show, judging by taste is what it should be about, not the ‘journey” the contestants have been on – I am talking about you MasterChef!

I think my Tuesday nights are sorted.

Channel4…Introducing the couples watching TV on GoggleBox

10 Nov

I have written a bit about the cult hit that is GoggleBox, and as it rolls through its second season its success doesn’t show any sign of diminishing.  Not only is is show itself proving popular, but the veneer of fame is also spreading to the families who feature on the show.

In a recent article in the London Metro we were taken behind the scenes to meet three of the couples Steph and Dom, Chris and Stephen and Jeff and Tracey.

Steph and Dom


The posh couple who’s night of TV watching is rarely complete with out a tipple from their seemingly endless bar of plenty. Watching them in various states of inebriation only adds to the surrealness of their comments on some of the TV we watch them watching. In the Metro article Steph admits her fondness for Bloody Marys and her dislike for posh faux-reality show Made in Chelsea.

 

Jeff and Tracey are from the other end of the spectrum, permanently ensconced in bed while watching TV, the couple have been unflattering compared to Harry Enfield’s character’s Wayne and Waynetta (from the Harry Enfield and Chums series).  In their defence they claim they have been relegated to the bedroom because their kids have taken control of the TV downstairs. They couple don’t seem to have a problem with the Channel 4 sharing their bedroom TV habits with the rest of the world,  and that’s exactly what we get.

 Stephen and Chris

Friends Stephen and Chris reveal they’re are not under pressure from the programme producers to watch any particular programme, if they find it boring they simply turn it off. Their fame has spread to the outside world, Stephen admits they do get recognised and asked for pictures, but he is still waiting for any real perks from being a minor celebrity.

Britain’s Got Talent…but is it new or even original?

14 Apr

Last night the latest variant of the vaudeville acts we get from Simon Cowell‘s pipeline hit ITV last night. Britain’s Got Talent is back. As usual we fed the good, the bad, the ugly and the downright weird (yes Mr Vicar with a nun on a broom stick, that was weird).

I guess from the producers point of view and also the crowd reaction one of the sensations of the night was the dance troupe from Hungary – Attraction with their innovative and unusual approach to dance, but was it unusual or that innovative?

Here are Attractions

 

 

Here is a similar group Silhouette from another of Simon’s shows America’s Got Talent

 

 

There are in their own right two great performances but I think the for me the problem with Shadow dancing is once you’ve seen it once, it loses its awe. Or am I being too much of variety show snob?

Secret Millions [Secret Millionaire Rebooted]…Channel 4

19 Mar

So let’s say I work in a Charity, social housing or some other part of the voluntary sector. Let’s say also my job is located in a former mining or industrial town somewhere up north that has seen better times. If one day a stranger appears out of nowhere with a camera crew in tow and tells me he or she is looking for some work experience and the crew are filming a documentary. Am I going to think “Secret Millionaire“? You’re damn right I would.

Secret millionaire has probably exhausted every ruse going and you even get the feeling in some of the later episodes that the people they met where pretty much going through the motions till the cheque turned up.

So how do you reboot a franchise that relies on that sort of deception. Well there is always Celebrity Secret Millionaire or Secret Millions as channel 4 now calls it. The twist is the celebrity is not pretending to be someone else, but instead needs to get people involved in a project to an extent that will convince the Big Lottery Fund to give them further funding.

This weeks episode feature TV architect George Clarke aka The Restoration Man and project was to get a bunch of London youths involved in a building apprentice scheme that would see them restore one of London’s thousands of abandoned properties back to a livable condition.

The youth were an assortment of young offenders and troubled teenagers. Including one chap, who had never left London before and never seen a cow either. His delight when he saw one was heart warming. It was somewhat more worrying when he couldn’t tell a cow and horse apart, and probably explains some of the problem’s in the meat industry.

The youngsters were a bit reluctant as the project kicked off but certainly the ones they featured really seemed to get into the whole thing and their sense of pride when the building was completed renovated was a clear to see.  Along the way we saw some real bonds develop between the youths and their mentors, the sort of bonds they clearly missed in parts of the earlier life. We saw the youths realise that there were opportunities for them through apprenticeship schemes in the building industry with support like that demonstrated in the programme.

So how do you do a big reveal in a situation like this? Typically on the old school secret millionaire, the millionaire went back revealed who he was and started doling out cheques, that obviously would not work in the case as everyone knows who the celebrity is.

That’s where the Lottery steps in.  George Clarke took the whole team to a swanky conference centre supposedly for a lecture on London architecture but it was a ruse for an opportunity for the The Big Lottery Fund’s spokesman to step in and announce funding of £1.7 million.

George Clark who had been very emotional through out the the programme was pretty much a blubbering wreck by this point.

The programme sent out a strong positive message about tackling youth unemployment and training opportunities, but there are serious challenges even for a laudable project like this. The construction industry is in recession, and British workers face fierce competition from experienced and cheaper skilled labour from Eastern Europe. Let’s hope are youthful apprentices are given the support needed to get through these challenges.

Gogglebox…Who’s watching who?

14 Mar

Sometimes you go to a hairdressers and they have mirrors on both sides of the wall and you look into one mirror and you see a reflection of your refection from the other mirror effectively a DIY infinity mirror.

Channel 4′s GoggleBox reminds me of that. We are watching people on TV watching programmes on TV, if one of the programmes they are watching ends up being GoggleBox there is a real and imminent danger we will all then become locked into a infinite never ending episode of the programme, so watch GoggleBox with caution.

Like all programmes about TV GoggleBox is a bit narcissistic, but nonetheless it has its entertaining moments. It is kind of like a less funny, but real version of the Royale Family. We see Britain’s diverse domestic units gathered around TV, families with kids, families without kids, friends, lovers and more.

All are entranced by what’s on TV which has been the centre of our domestic life for decades. Often the insights programmes like this give us are not just what we know, that everyone has an opinion on what is on TV, but the changing way we watch TV.

Increasingly we compliment what we are watching of TV with active or casual surfing, checking what the internet, social media, wikipedia and such have to say on a topic we are watching. On Gogglebox we saw Ipads and phones used by the by our TV watchers to check the amount of money winning crufts gets you, and when Pistorius last twitted amongst others. Fact Checking, as Americans referred to it, is now the order of the day. So TV programme makers beware!

EPISODE 1.

 

EPISODE 2.

 

EPISODE 3.

 

Interesting side observation. why did one of the Guys from the Siddiqui family always watch TV in a suit? He clearly takes it a bit seriously.

Channel 5 …Celebrity Big Brother

12 Jan

I know this is on, but I haven’t had time to watch it and even if I had time to watch it I almost certainly wont.

That means I am missing out on the antics of Claire Richards, Frankie Dettori, Gillian Taylforth, Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt, Lacey Banghard, Paula Hamilton, Neil “Razor” Ruddock, Ryan Moloney, Rylan Clark, Sam Robertson and Tricia Penrose.

Although it can be argued that the term celebrity is being used in an extremely broad sense, I still feel I need to do something to rectify the situation.

Step forward the legendary comedy duo French and Saunders. They provided a must watch summary of this and pretty much every season of Big Brother going. The best thing about it? It last 3 minutes rather than running on for weeks. Happy Days!

 

ITV…Will Tom Daley’s Reality TV Show “Splash” sink or swim?

2 Jan

Why do TV stations like reality shows? The Simple answer is because they are far more profitable when compared to the traditional format TV shows. Reality TV shows require no writers or actors and are often shot at a single location which means lower costs.

How do the costs compare? An episode of BBC’s hospital drama Casualty costs about £500,000 to produce, and BBC budgets at least £900,000 per episode for its top range dramas. An hour of Big Brother on the other hand can cost about £100,000 to produce. Reality TVs which are celebrity driven will cost a bit extra but still a lot less than scripted dramas.

More tellingly unlike other low-budget programmes Reality TV shows often deliver enviable audience figures. So it comes as no surprise that ITV’s schedule across the broadcasters network is stuffed full of reality TV formats of all flavours from “I Am a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here”, “Hell’s Kitchen”, “Dancing on Ice”, “The X-Factor” to the “The Only Way is Essex (TOWIE)”.

You would think that by now ITV have exhausted every possible reality format possible, but you would be thinking wrong. Their latest offering takes a very photogenic, relatively successful Olympic ‘Hero’, adds a bunch of personalities with varying degrees of celebrity, and throws them into a set of task challenging enough to humiliate and embarrass and but not serious enough to injure and voila! you have Splash the new reality TV show from ITV.

The show is is a vehicle to take advantage of the popularity of Bronze medal winning Olympic diver Tom Daley and involves a bunch of celebrities learning how to dive.

Try as I may I just can’t see how this would be interesting. As an Olympic sport diving is mildly engaging, but as the premise of a reality show? We will obviously get the occasional Peter Kay style “running bomb” and some of the fitter celebs in nice looking swimwear but beyond that? We’ll have to see, reality shows have a funny way of defying convention.

‘Celebrities’ that have been lined up so far are reality TV veterans like TOWIE star Joey Essex ,Shameless’ Tina Malone and comedian Dom Joly.

Alongside them are newbies like Hollyoaks actress Jennifer Metcalfe, Sugababes singer Jade Ewen,Comedians Helen Lederer and Omid Djalili, Olympic boxer Anthony Ogogo, Benidorm’s Jake Canuso , TV host Jenni Falconer, Sky Sports News presenter Charlotte Jackson, gardener Diarmuid Gavin, Changing Rooms star Linda Barker and ski jumper Eddie ‘the Eagle’ Edward.

The show is to be hosted by Vernon Kay and Gabby Logan and starts this Saturday.

I Am A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here…. because the final is boring

30 Nov

ITV’s top reality show I Am a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here winds it way to this weekend’s final. The celebs came and one by one they were weeded out.

Brian Conley who it seems bit off more than he could chew. Nadine Dorries who for understandable reasons prefers the snakes and creepy crawlies of the Australian jungle to the homegrown variety in the Westminster jungle. Limahl whom I never heard of before this and I suspect I will not hear of him after this either. Linda Robson who made as much impact as a vegan at a burger bar. Cuddly corpulent Colin Baker who shed a good few pounds – just what the Doctor would have ordered.

There was also Helen Flanagan who gave us a selection of “Myleene Klass shower moments” but we didn’t reciprocate with votes. Rosemary Shrager big boisterous and bulldozed her way over her days in camp. Suave, Urbane and minted Hugo Tylor whom I am sure has lived in houses with vegetable patches bigger than the jungle camp. Eric Bristow, the cockney diamond geezer always up for a bit of banter but less keen on taking part in titillating Pussycat Doll routines.

This left us with Ashley Roberts, Charlie ‘Janine’ Brooks and David ‘The Hay Maker’ Haye, all very likable and nice people, but you can’t help feeling not the most interesting three of the bunch that started. Often that’s the problem with public voting on reality TV shows. The big more controversial characters tend to divide the public, you love them or loathe them.

While their are people who religiously vote for the big characters which sees them through the early rounds, invariably they fall by the way side as the number of contestants dwindle.

Out of this cull emerge those who are the least grating, the ones who you think “well if my favourite doesn’t win I won’t mind him or her winning”, the apparently pleasantly nice folk, who bitch but do so in a refined almost unnoticeable fashion. Who want to win so badly like everyone else, but never in a manner that you would notice. They are seemingly nice but not incredibly fascinating.

It is a problem for reality shows how do you sustain interest when you lose your Rylan and are left with your Jahmene.  You lose you rabbit rissotto and are left with your Ryvita. It is almost inevitable and just goes to show how hard it is to win from the extremes.

We see it in the X-Factor, The Apprentice, Big Brother and all the other shows. I call it the RFC – Reality Final Conundrum.

I Am A Celebrity…How Do you Solve a Problem Like Helen Flanagan…

18 Nov

ITV’s ratings winner “I am a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here” has run into a big problem and it is causing the producers endless headaches. Simply put they have a problem with Helen Flanagan

For anyone who has never watched the show the premise is this.

  1. Pick a bunch of a bunch of “celebrities” who are looking to give their career a boost and earn some extra cash.
  2. Fly them out to Australia.
  3. Stick them in a “jungle” camp over there for three weeks. (In reality a camp built on the edge of a nature reserve).
  4. Put them on very basic food rations mainly rice and beans.
  5. Every day the public vote for one of the celebs to go through some sort of ritual humiliation (aka Bushtucker trial) to win more food for the camp. The trials range from eating Kangaroo testicles to crawling through bug infested slime.
  6. If doing the trail proves to be too much for the celebrity, they can yell out “I am a celebrity get me out of here” and the humiliation will end but obviously they will win nothing.
  7. If celebrity completes the trial successfully they win improved rations for the other celebrities back at the Camp.
  8. Next day repeat 5-7
  9. At the end of about two weeks of repeated celebrity humiliation the public start voting to kick out the celebrities they were least entertained by and the last man / woman standing is crowned King or Queen of the Jungle.

Now if all goes well the celebrities endure the rounds of humiliation, sometimes winning some times losing, but providing the show with lots of footage to keep the watching public entertained.

As most of the celebrities involved are only border line famous, a lot of pre-show publicity is required to raise awareness of who they are before it kicks off.  Some get more publicity than others and in the run up to this show a significant amount of publicity was given to ex-Coronation Street actress Helen Flanagan. In addition to endless shoots of her in her jungle kit,which she did look good in, much of the publicity was about the inordinate amount of things she was afraid of.

I suppose from ITV’s perspective she was the ideal celebrity a beautiful woman, guaranteed to provide oodles of amusing footage during bushtucker trials as wades through a pipe of slime, slugs and spiders a fetching two piece swimming suit.

It all seemed to be going to plan, the public were voting for Helen Flanagan  to do the trials day after day. The problem was Helen was not really playing ball, trial after trial she has either ignored the instructions, put in a half-hearted attempt or as we saw last night simply said she was not doing.

The problem now for ITV is that it seems to have a war of attrition on its hand. The viewers of the show are relentless in voting for Helen, and Helen in turn is becoming increasingly unapologetic about not doing the trails, leaving the producers with very little celebrity humiliation to pad out the show.

They’ve apparently tried to make the trails as easy as possible  and host Ant and Dec have cajoled, persuaded and pleaded with Helen to give the trials ago but it looks like it is not working and people are getting livid according to The Sun

An ITV source said: “The amount of time and effort to set up these trials is huge. “So it is infuriating for them to see that work go to waste.

This time the anger is so high producers are planning to use the trial again.”

The real big problem is unlike other days today’s trials is supposed to be beamed live and if Helen (who has been voted to do it again) wimps out they will be left with a significant amount of live broadcast time to fill in.

Looks like it is time for the production staff to really earn their keep, as they need to find a solution to this before tonight.