Am I The Only One?
I don't know whether it's an age thing, a middle aged crisis perhaps or just a feeling of disinterestedness - and if that's not a word then it should be - but I find myself watching BBC1 and BBC2 less and less as the years go by.
In the last month I have watched just one and a half hours worth of television offered by BBC1, that's two editions of Have I Got News For You and one programme in the Nativity series, I didn't have the time to watch the other five in the series. Prior to that the only BBC 1 programme that had lured me to the remote control was The Apprentice, even then I couldn't be bothered to watch the final.
ITV fares little better and to be honest BBC2 only gets a mention because of the Three Men Go To Scotland programme. Part of the reason is the lack of programming to attract me, I've never bought into the 'celeb fests' that seem cheap and cheerful and which suck the oxygen out of any real talent out there.
The Strictly franchise, the X Factor, I'm A Celebrity, Dancing on Ice etc just seem to be either an opportunity for minor celebrities to prove they are crap at anything but the reason they became celebrities in the first or members of the public who really have very little talent to be humiliated by people who given their position within the 'industry' really ought to know better. I mean does being the least talented member of the Minogue household really put you in a position to hold court on what is and what isn't a decent singing voice.
I put the blame for all this celebrity exposure firmly at the door of Terry Wogan. If the whole Children in Need saga hadn't introduced the public to the idea of celebrities doing 'wacky' things in the name of charity we'd have none of this. Prior to Joanna Lumley doing her strip back in the 1980's the only time you saw somebody performing outside of their normal environment was if they appeared in a film or as a guest on Bruce Forsyth's Generation Game. But Children in Need spawned all sorts of evil from Red Nose Day to The Celebrity Apprentice.
Huge numbers tuned in this autumn to watch Ann Widdicombe get dragged across the floor by some perma tanned hunk, I can only assume that this was for two reasons, firstly to remind the panel of judges that they are too far up themselves to spot they are being sent up and secondly because the public likes the idea of an ex-politician being made to look an arse whilst she actually thinks she is being ironic.
Television has allowed celebrity to displace talent. The BBC are serial offenders at this, a tax funded public service broadcaster who mistakingly thinks that ratings are more important than quality. The last time Labour were swept from power and the economy was in tatters our Saturday nights viewing began with Dr.Who and a programme fronted by Bruce Forsyth, thirty two years on and not much has changed really. Except perhaps that quality control no longer exists in some areas of the BBC. Let's face it any organisation that thinks Graham Norton is 'edgy' and 'dangerous' when in reality he's simply a sad, gay, Irishman scratching at the door of the opportunity like a one eyed cat who can't locate the cat flap, has missed the boat.
When the BBC is good these days it's generally in areas which are safe rather than mould breaking: Dr.Who, Merlin and Sherlock drew viewers in coach loads this year yet each programme was a rehash of a previous generations ideas - Sherlock being lauded as new and exciting when in fact it was really Jonathan Creek updated to the 21st century. A show featuring a bi-polar, curly haired sleuth with a slightly dim sidekick, the show only just this side of panto (although it was good to see Una Stubbs back on TV).
The BBC needs to produce some innovative programmes this year to get me back onside, BBC4 does well with its imports and BBC3 is fine if you are under 25 or want to slip your brain into neutral now and then but BBC1 and 2 look tired and jaded. We have the writers, the facilities and the imagination in this country to produce quality programmes that don't involve dancing, daleks or dragons, come on Auntie show us you still have the drive.