Monday, February 7, 2011

10 O'Clock Live

Just out of mindless curiosity I filled in a survey about Channel 4's new satirical offering, 10 O'Clock Live. (The survey at one point includes a revealing list of the show's regular contents, evidently cribbed from the run-sheet.) Unsurprisingly I got a bit carried away with the "additional feedback" form, which apparently is shared with Channel 4 executives. Given they are likely to balk at the ridiculous length of my critique, I share it here in the hope that at least SOMEONE will find it of enough interest to actually read and give feedback....

Top-tier talent wasted on dreadful writing. The jokes are rarely funny and never imaginative. The presenters work best in their off-the-cuff moments, reacting to things. Jimmy Carr is a brilliant talent who tells hysterically funny jokes in his stand-up work - perhaps he needs to work with the writing team more closely. (Perhaps you need a different writing team.)

Usually the bit that makes me laugh the most is the newspaper headlines at the end - usually just Charlie Brooker reading out the funniest headline. That doesn't reflect well on the writers, who unlike headline-writers are paid to come up with things designed to make us laugh.

It's all way too left-leaning - the guest discussions usually have a balanced panel but always hijacked by David Mitchell's Guardian-skewed viewpoint. This is just as prominent in his interviews: the first one, with David Willetts, was a relentless grilling, but actually shed some light on the subject that had got lost under all the broken promises, mindless slogans, smashed windows and poked Duchesses in other media coverage - despite Mitchell's attempts to create his own soundbites for the "case against". The second week, he didn't ask Alastair Campbell anything he hadn't already been asked a million times over (Iraq, Iraq, Iraq), giving him a pretty easy ride overall - due to Mitchell's predictable anti-war slant. And the Caroline Lucas interview was a bit of a love-in, Mitchell agreeing with her on virtually everything.

Also it's just plain weird seeing Mitchell without Webb, as an anchor at least...

I have no idea what Lauren Laverne is doing there. She doesn't add anything to the programme and her presence is a rather patronising (false) suggestion that there aren't any good female comedians out there. Some tension between the cast would be welcome too - they spend most of the programme looking at the camera rather than each other, usually saying very similar sorts of things, which can create a disturbing impression of a hive mind. A more stylistically and ideologically diverse cast would solve a lot of these problems - Mitchell, Brooker and Laverne are essentially cut of the same cloth, and this does not make for good chemistry (the Two Ronnies for example didn't share much in common beyond the same first name!).

"This Week" is on BBC One half an hour later and has for the past three weeks been a bit funnier and a lot more informative. That is what you are competing with.