As the legendary Glam Rocker Noddy Holder would say “So here it is merry Christmas everybody’s having fun”, especially it seems are the advertising agencies of the big retailers. The last few days have seen them roll out their TV ads in preparation for their busiest time of the year.
The adverts are getting bigger and more expensive each year, and have almost become a Christmas event in their own right.
John Lewis has gone all Disney-esque with a full featured animation (“The Bear and the Hare”) with a sound track from Lily Allen (“Somewhere Only We Know“)
Morrisons have plumped for popular culture with adorable duo and the nation’s housewife’s favourite, Ant and Dec, fronting the company’s campaign (“Go on…It’s Christmas”). Morrisons also give a nod to Disney with the sound track “Be Our Guest” taken from Disney’s The Beauty and the Beast.
Meanwhile at M&S homage was being paid to Alice in Wonderland with a Christmas Fairytale themed advert (“Magic and Sparkle”). Featuring Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, David Gandy and Helena Bonham Carter.
Boots have decided to go all urban with an advert featuring a gift giving geezer. If it weren’t for the snow it could easily be mistaken for a short film on Channel 4′s urban youth season. The advert featured a sound track from Bronski Beat – “Smalltown Boy“.
For Debenhams their Christmas offering is a traditional “coming home” for Christmas featuring Billie Piper.
Even cost-conscious mega discount store Lidl has got in on the act. In their video they bring together the unlikely pairing of a Harry Enfield voice over with a cover of a One Direction track (“Little Things“ notice the subtle pun there). The track, sung by Swedish band The Majority Says, and the video combine to produce a simple but very effective advert.
When Citizen Khan first came on air I thought “Here we go another misguided attempt at multi-culturally diverse programming on BBC1″. Don’t get me wrong there have been great successes like the “The Real McCoy”, “Goodness Gracious Me” and “The Kumars At Number 42“, but there have also been abysmal flops like “The Crouches“.
Which way was Citizen Khan going to go? The first few episodes were not encouraging. With its heavy reliance on stereotypes the programme plunged depths that would have embarrassed even the late Bernard Manning. It was like someone had unearthed a scripts from “Till Death Do Us Part” swapped Alf Garnett and his family with a Pakistani family and voila! we got citizen Khan.
Despite my reservations I think the programme has improved, largely because it has moved away from relying too heavily on stereotypes and racially-tinged jokes (largely with Indians as the butt of the jokes). The humour has become broadly based, drawing on experiences that even if you are not of Pakistani origin you could still find amusing.
Is it great comedy? No I would not say so, but it does still raises the odd chuckle as I watch it. It is also a brave attempt to portray Muslims and Islamic life in a way I can’t recall being done on British TV before.
Homeland Season 3 has struggled. The main bogey-man from the first two seasons, Abu Nazir, is gone and Brody is faraway in Caracas, Venezuela. It has been left to Carrie and Saul to provide the suspense and drama that season 3 desperately needs.
Carrie it seemed was being hung out dry by the CIA over her relationship with Brody. Saul had apparently washed his hands of her, and was determined to have her permanently detained in a mental institution as her trademark erratic behaviour appeared to worsen.
Just when we start to think where was this all going, the story took a dramatic turn. Carrie, it became clear had all along been undercover with Saul’s approval. The plan to make her made a pariah was an elaborate hoax to get people representing Iranian interests to contact her on the basis that she was now vulnerable and isolated, and she had information they needed.
It worked, contact was made. It seemed however it may have worked a bit too well as the Iranians seem somewhat eager to speak to Carrie. So much so in last night’s episode they kidnapped her at night from the flat. Once more Carrie is “out in the wild” and in real danger.
Saul meanwhile was fighting his own battles, battles of a more political nature. After the Langley bombing in Season 2 he had ended being the most likely man to head the CIA going forward, but was outmaneuvered as the President handed the position to a man who sees less of a benefit in human intelligence and more reliance on technology, a view Saul thinks is madness. The appointment clearly put Saul’s career in jeopardy.
Now that we are done with the seemingly pointless distraction of Dana Brody running away with her boyfriend, all the main pieces of season 3 are falling into place. The Iranians are in town and mean business, Carrie is out in the wild with only her skill to rely on, Saul is one again at odds with the powers that be but still needs to protect his people. Folks, Homeland Season 3 has finally got its groove back.
If you were to take a large dollop of the 70′s hit series M*A*S*H, mix in a couple of teaspoons of Channel 4′s comedy ‘Green Wing‘, add just a soupçon of the ‘Carry On’ films, flavour with an essence of the Oscar winning film The Hurt Locker while not forgetting to sieve out any thought-provoking darkness or depth, the end result? Bluestone 42.
Bluestone 42 is a light-hearted take on what is potentially a controversial subject. The Comedy drama follows the day to day goings on in the lives of a bomb disposal detachment serving in Afghanistan. With Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) accounting for over fifty percent of British casualties in the ongoing Afghanistan war it was always going to be a tricky topic to base a comedy on. The writers, by concentrating on the often mundane downtime in the camp that the troops experience between patrols and being called into action, manage to avoid any really tricky issues.
What you get is a very funny comedy with a focus of banter between troops who find themselves with a lot of time on their hands, and a very unlikely wartime romantic “would they, wont they” arc between an officer and the camp chaplain.
Following in the steps of ‘Gavin and Stacey‘, ‘Torchwood‘ and ‘Little Britain‘. Bluestone 43 has made the leap from the youth programming laboratory that is BBC 3 to the mass market, big audiences and promise of multiple series offered by BBC1.
For fans of Borgen, the Danish political thriller that was a big hit for BBC4, yesterday’s episode of Bluestone had a bit of a crossover with Birgitte Hjort Sorensen (Katrine Fonsmark in Borgen) making a guest appearance as a Danish Journalist. Preview is below.
Sometimes the most ludicrous ideas have a way of defying their critics and going on to become things of beauty. Thirteen years ago someone once thought “why don’t we plant a big Ferris Wheel in the middle of London to mark the new millennium”, people around the country sniggered and probably thought how a fool and his money are soon parted.
Today the London Eye, as it is now known, is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the country.
Is GoggleBox going the same way, can a TV program about people watching TV really capture the nation’s heart? Well, Harry Hill’s TV Burp was a big ratings winner, so who’s to say GoggleBox is incapable of achieving the same, and last night it showed why it has become an unsung hit.
In showing the nation’s reaction to TV programmes that ranged from the plain ridiculous to the endearingly tender, it held a mirror on ourselves.
We all would collectively watch opened-mouth that there is a TV programme about collecting sperm from a Walrus (in all its gory detail!), we all would collectively acknowledge that Cilla Black is no longer even close to the singer she once was, and we would all collectively understand the fears that a partner feels when they realise that their time on earth with their loved ones is about to come to an end.
As we watch the GoggleBox’s household’s reactions to BBC2′s Natural : Two Tonne Tusker, ITV’s The One and Only Cilla Black and on Coronation Street, Hayley revealing to Roy she has terminal cancer. The reactions we saw were the reactions we felt.
I not a marketing guy and have no idea if it will get Sky new customers for their BroadBand service. Whether it does or not I think it is a cracker.
I don’t know if it has been showing for a while, but I caught it for the first time during Sunday’s X-Factor Ad breaks. I first thought it was an advert for Toy Story IV, but only clicked it was a Sky Broadband advert. It had all the regulars, Woody, Buzz Lightyear “to infinity and beyond…”, Mr Potato Head and The Green Aliens.
It was nicely done but I suspect it would have cost Sky a few bob in copyright fees.
Yesterday was just like an appetizer for today. Today the news networks and BBC went over and above the call of duty in their attempt to report on every little facet of information about the new Royal Baby…HRH Prince No Name.
And when there was nothing to report we were treated to lingering shots of hospital doorways where people of import may or may not be entering or exiting.
Occasional they did hit jackpot when they grabbed an interview with either one of the royals (major or minor) or the Middletons.
On the Middletons, I am sure the they would have been ecstatic about a grand daughter whatever the circumstance but when they were being interviewed today I couldn’t help but think this scene from Eddie Murphy’s ”Coming from America” must be running around in their heads.
He got his own money and, baby, when I tell you he’s got his own money, I mean the boy has gotten his own money!
A prince. He’s a prince!Oh, Lisa, you did it this time. You hit the jackpot. Your little goat herder makes Darryl look like a welfare case!
The British People have a new future king as Prince William and Kathrine have they first baby boy…and that is essentially the news tonight. So why has the BBC spun in out into a never ending rolling news special so far clocking up 2 hours with no interruptions.
They are telling us over and over either things we already know, have no interest in knowing or simply don’t want to know.
All sorts of special guests, experts, royal commentators are being rolled in front of the camera largely telling us the same thing in different ways and invariably it is an opportunity to replay endless clips from the archive about Princess Diana.
Congratulations to William and Catherine. To the media it has only been 2 hours and we are already drowning in the media saturation.
Sometime one picture says it all. The moment of pure, raw and unadulterated joy!
Congrats to Andy Murray, it was well deserved.
Quick note to Alex Salmond, dude there is a time and a place. Andy Murray’s victory ending 77 years of waiting I suggest is not the place for a political point winning. Even if it is slightly amusing how David Cameron is totally unaware of what your getting up to. It is like the political equivalent of “Bunny Ears”