Tag Archives: ITV

ITV…Utopia. Mandela may be dead but Apartheid is still alive…In Australia.

24 Dec

Nieghbours, Bondi beach, Sydney Opera House, the lucky country,an easy going straight talking people. This is the image most of the world has of Australia.  Behind this sunny facade lies a very dark secret, a secret that most Australians profess to be unaware of.

The secret is the shocking treatment of Australia’s indigenous population. John Pilger, an Australian born-journalist, who has lived for many years in the United Kingdom returned to the country of his birth to film this documentary on the treatment of Australia’s first peoples.

It was a hard hitting documentary, and an unusual but welcome scheduling on ITV1 where documentaries are increasingly a very rare sight.

The title of the programme intentionally serves to highlight the glaring inequalities that exists in Australia. Taking it’s name from the town of Utopia, a poor desolate township inhabited by indigenous Australians, bereft of almost any of the facilities we take for granted in the rest of the developed world. The name is like a never ending cruel joke reinforced by the fact that the government appointed white district commissioner despite living in a smallish bungalow enjoys a staggering 18 air-conditioners while the residents of Utopia have no electricity.

In the documentary Pilger interviewed a range of Government officials on the situation with the indigenous peoples, officials who had a direct responsibility for enacting change that had been promised for decades but not delivered, the responses he got were a master class in willful negligence.

In one particular interview a prison official was questioned about what changes she planned to enact after an indigenous Australian was arrested and left in the police van in the middle of the scorching desert sunshine. The coroners verdict was that he slowly roasted to death. No one was arrested and the prison official proudly told Pilger how she has to sent her officers “cultural awareness training” in the aftermath.

We were taken to the Island of Rottnest, today home to a multi million tourist resort and spa. This has been built on the site of one of Australia’s largest indigenous Australian penal colonies, a colony that saw hundreds of prisoners perish due to the brutal conditions. Building a hotel, effectively cementing over the island’s brutal past, is equivalent in terms of sensitivity to say turning Auschwitz or Belsen into a tourist resort.

We are told how the how the the life expectancy of the average indigenous Australian is far less that his white compatriot with a third not living beyond 45.

We are told how in the Northern Territories prisons are being built to solely incarcerate indigenous Australians.

We are told how the Northern Territory imprisons indigenous Australian at a rate  six times greater than that of black people during the  days of apartheid in South Africa.

We see evidence of how the Australian government and press conspired to paint a picture of widespread child abuse having occurred in some communities, suspended civil rights and proceed to arrest many adults and remove their children, a scandal which was ultimately exposed as a cover for a land grab.

We find out that the UN high commissioner on Human Rights has repeatedly censored Australia on the “entrenched racism” in its treatment of indigenous Australians

In all a picture was painted of at best a very dysfunctional relationship between a government and a people it should serve in the way it serves others, and at worst a brutal systematic purposeful campaign that may lead to the extinction of an ancient people.

If there was a problem with the documentary, it was too long, and there was a lot of sermonizing, the facts of the situation on their own were screaming out the message that needed to be told.

If you missed it you can catchup on ITV Player.

 

 

 

ITV…Is The X-Factor in danger of becoming The Ex-Factor?

14 Dec

When The X Factor first hit our screens way back in 2004 the world was a different place,  “twerking” and “selfies” were unknown to the masses,  Facebook had just been invented and pretty much no one outside her family and friends had heard of Nicole Scherzinger.

With its ability to create instant success and celebrity, its unashamed and relentless use of the “sob story” to try to create emotional connections with the contestants, and the unleashing of Simon Cowell’s pantomime Mr Nasty persona, the basis for a Saturday night blockbuster were laid.

The first few series achieved good, but not sensational ratings , it still needed something extra, a winner that could step out of the shadow of the show to become a credible artist in their own right. In 2006 the show hit jackpot when it discovered London receptionist, Leona Lewis, who went on to wow the X-Factor audience, the nation and the world. The X-Factor had produced the global star it desperately wanted.

This also proved to be the fillip needed to create a breakout in ratings for the show as it went from strength to strength trashing all comers in the TV ratings battle. So dominant was the show between 2007 and 2011, that for many Saturday night became simply The X-factor night.

The peak of the show in audience figures terms, but not necessarily in quality, was the  Matt Cardle’s triumph in 2010 where the final show saw a TV audience of 19.4 million, a staggering 30% of the UK’s entire population, tuning in.

Those were the glory days, since then by its own very high targets the show has waned, changes to the show’s format, and tinkering with the judges and contestant selection has failed to stop the drift. While it still pulls in an average of 9.57 million people each week, a figure that would make any other show on UK TV envious, it is failing to fulfill its reason for existence, to dominate prime time Saturday night TV.

This year’s final featuring prison office and favourite to win, Sam Bailey , dreadlocked west country singer Luke Friend and the petite Nicholas McDonald are a trio that would probably be loved by grand-mums and grand-dads across the nation, but being one of the plainest set of finalist ever they are unlikely to reverse the declining trend.

ITV’s contract allows for three more series but it remains to be seen whether the show has enough steam to last that long.

X-Factor’s Average Audience Ratings (2004 – 2012)

Series 1 (2004) – 7.4 million
Series 2 (2005) – 8.73 million
Series 3 (2006) – 8.27 million
Series 4 (2007) – 8.57 million
Series 5 (2008) – 10.51 million
Series 6 (2009) – 13 million
Series 7 (2010) – 14.13 million
Series 8 (2011) – 12.36 million
Series 9 (2012) – 9.63 million

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?

ITV’s Ant and Dec’s Saturday Takeaway…My kids are in Paris????

10 Mar

Ant and Dec are British TVs most wholesome double act, so wholesome that they probably count as one of your five a day and ITV’s Saturday night line up is not complete without the dynamic Geordie duo turning up in some guise or the other.

The latest offering is a new series of their successful Saturday Takeaway a mix of prize giveaways,  celebrity appearances, competitions and surprises for the audience.  Nothing controversial and as I said all very wholesome. Sometime even the most wholesome show hits a “this is a bit awkward” moment.

A young lady was picked out of the audience and Ant and Dec explained how the Mothers Day spa trip her two daughters organised for her was far from ordinary.  In disguise were quite a few of her favourite celebrities.  Clips from the visit revealed to her that the receptionist at the spa was Olympic medallist Louise Smith, her chef was Dancing On Ice Judge Jason Gardner and the  swimming pool attendant was TOWIE‘s Mark Wright.

Each clip bringing lots of audience laughter and humorous surprise from the mum.

All fine and normal, it then moved onto her chance to win a prize – ” A trip to Paris”. The camera cut to her daughters who we were told were in Chesterfield as they read out three clues for their mum  ”Where do they say bonjour?”, “Where is the Eiffel Tower?” and “Where do they wear berets?”. Mum answered the questions and won the prize and then the real surprise she was  told she was off to Paris “to join her kids”.

Then her expression changed she was no longer amused more bemused. You did not have to be a mind reading to see the thoughts racing through her head. What the  h@#! were her  7 and 4-year-old daughters doing in Paris? How did they get there? Who was with them?

She was literally frozen to the spot with incredulity and not of the happy kind, and had to be subtly ushered off the stage. I suspect there are going to be many questions asked back stage.

It deem seem a bit gung ho,  I not sure if there was another parent present but there had been no suggestion on the show that there was, so I can imagine the mum being less than happy. I think Ant and Dec may have dropped a tiny notch on the wholesomeness scale.

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.

Holiday Home Sweet Home…Programme, Info-mercial or Advert?

17 Nov

It a damp, dull and dreary Saturday afternoon and to make it worse I have a bit of a flu. So taking it easy at home flicking through the channels when I come across a Holiday programme on ITV. What better way to take my mind away from the dreariness outside and be whisked away to dream locations for my next summer holiday.

Today there were back to back episodes of “Holiday Home Sweet Home” taking us through Idyllic holiday homes in South Wales and Devon. The programmes are fronted by Lisa Faulkner (Ex-Holby City and also a Celebrity Master Chef Winner). All good so far.

What I can’t help noticing is that unlike most other programmes of this type, it is does not focus on the people who are taking the holidays, nor the people who own the holiday homes but on the letting agents who are letting these homes.

Lisa talks to the letting agents and then takes on a tour of “the luxury awe-inspiring properties on their books”. As she guides us through the homes under the watchful eye of the agents, she gushes with superlatives on the desirability of the property.

We are taken in painstaking detail through all the details of the property marveling at luxurious en suite bedrooms, carefully restored exposed wooden beams, tasteful renovations that are sympathetic to the countryside, all with grinning boss of the letting agency hovering in the background.

It is all nicely done, but is it really a programme? How is this different from a series of advert for these letting companies? Do the letting companies pay for this or are they chosen to take part? How do they decide who to choose?

Strictly versus X-Factor…Whats’s the nation watching

6 Nov

It is now an autumn TV tradition now. The head to head battle between Strictly Come Dancing and X-Factor.  For years X-Factor bigger, brasher and more “glittery” won at a canter.  Strictly though was a dogged foe, it was tenacious and arguably delivered a more consistent level of entertainment and it seems it is making a difference as Strictly has squeezed past, and stolen a lead on the X-Factor as the infographics below shows.

 

Strictly Come Dancing v X-Factor

Strictly Come Dancing v X-Factor

Lucy Spraggan exits the X-Factor

3 Nov

Lucy Spraggan has left the building! Well it was not totally unexpected. She been ill, She’d fallen out with the Producers over her antics with Rylan Clark and she had pretty much used up all her self-penned songs.

In a statement this evening. The X-Factor production team said

“Lucy isn’t well enough to perform this weekend so she has decided to withdraw from the competition.  We are all sorry to see her go and wish her all the best for the future. She has been a fantastic contestant.”

Lucy also released a statement saying

 ”I am gutted not to be able to continue on this journey but I’m not well enough to perform. To accept another free pass having missed last weekend would not be fair on the others in the competition. I wish them all well. I would like to express my thanks to everyone who has supported me. There is no way that this setback will prevent me from fulfilling my ambition. You’ll be hearing from me again very soon.”

The success on ITunes of the her songs which she performed during the auditions means she will probably have more chance than most to get a record deal. We’ll see how that develops.

 S2BUMBDYRTPQ

How to Get on TV…Jeremy Kyle Style.

1 Nov

Have you ever wanted to be on TV? Would like to be beamed into the home of millions? It might be easier than you think, there is a just slight problem you must be ready to air your dirty linen in front of the world.

The Jeremy Kyle show is looking for guests (or should that be victims) for its UK shows. The categories of guests are

  • DNA – For a chance to make the father of your baby face his responsibilities.
  • Stolen – Have you had money or valuables stolen from you? Would a lie detector help get you the answers that you need?
  • Access – Are you fighting to get access to your child with an ex?
  • Relationships – If you’re worried your relationship will breakdown unless things change
  • Bad parents – Have your parents let you down? Or is your ex a bad parent
  • Addictions – Is a loved one suffering with a drug or alcohol addiction? Is it destroying your family?
  • Break ups – If you’re having problems with your ex, or want your ex back and want to be on the show

Who says misery doesn’t like company, certainly not Jeremy Kyle. Be a guest of Jeremy

X-Factor…Fag Ash Breath-gate

27 Oct

The X-Factor has long thrived on many things, the musical ability of some contestants, a controlled dose of weirdness from other contestants, the rivalry of the judges, etc. These have all been carefully balanced and orchestrated to deliver the Saturday night ratings winner that it has long been – ITV’s golden goose.

X-Factor’s shine has depended on all these parameters staying within acceptable limits. The show could deliver a final of 11 Leona Lewis’s but if it did that it wouldn’t be as entertaining as a show with clear and contrasting contestant abilities.

It could pack a show with Jedward’s, Wagner’s, Chico’s and Rylan’s but that would just be a Victorian freak show and would be probably illegal under some European Human Rights convention on dignity.

It could have the Judges bitterly at each other throats and getting real personal about it…it could and tonight it has, live on air.

In the past we were fed stories about Judges bickering but it generally was of two flavours, over the top in a pantomime fashion, or frosty but professional. It just never became vividly personal, nothing to seriously detract from the main show.

When someone refers to your breath as “fag ash breath” they’ve gone P-E-R-S-O-N-A-L in a big way. The scene was the judges’ comments after Christopher Maloney had sung. Tulisa is giving her feedback claiming Maloney, who Barlow mentors, was delivering poor versions of 80’s hits week after week, she really goes for it and Gary Barlow sits there seething, when he was finally given the opportunity to respond and boy did he do just that…

Tulisa: “I have to stop having a go at you and let your mentor take some blame for you. Gary, how many of these 80s hits are you going to let him keep destroying? He is getting the same critique every week, why not change it up for him? It’s not working.”

Gary Barlow: “Tulisa, I don’t know what’s offended me more, what you said or the fag ash breath!”

Tulisa (after a moment of stunned silence) replies rather weakly: “Lay off the red wine, because I can smell that from here as well.”

I am sure an apology will follow and the publicity people will be kicking into overdrive to clear up the mess, but the tight ship that was HMS X-Factor is beginning to unravel, standards seem to be slipping in direct correlation with the drop in its audience share and this does not bode well for the Golden Goose.