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More argy bargy…

July 13, 2008

Another bit of fallout from the piece in ‘The Stage’, and The Independent picked up on it too. This is why I got narked at the angle of the original piece. I knew all this stuff would start swirling around and I’d end up spending too much time explaining myself…

I don’t want to have it said I’m complaining about shows that I actually love, so I want to be clear: ‘Pulling’ is great, ‘Gavin and Stacy’ is great, and (on Channel 4) ‘Peep Show’ is great. The latter, especially, is one of the shows that other writers have to watch in order to raise their game. I don’t have it in for shows that tackle ‘adult’ themes. I have it in for shows that tackle adult themes when the writers actually have little or nothing to say about them (or when what they do have to say is a disgusting lie).

I do, however, have a problem with BBC3. I’ve had a problem with BBC3 ever since I was in their office and saw a poster that described the ideal BBC3 viewer. I can’t remember the full shameful list of demographic-chasing bullet points, but the one that stood out for me was “She smokes Marlboro Lights” (seriously).

Since then, most of the material that I call funography has originated from BBC3. Programs like ‘My Penis and Everyone Else’s’ (pictured) and titles like ‘Pram Face Mansion’ made me suspect that it was actually morons who were being courted, not young girls with a cough, and while there are a lot of comedy shows that use the freedom the channel provides to good effect, there are as many if not more that have entirely the wrong tone because the creative teams behind them are being encouraged to appeal to that demographic.

A few of my favourite shows have been, or are in the process of being, ruined by this way of thinking. And  it’s not an ethos that is unique to BBC3…the relentless push for outrage and cheap, nasty, easy laughs seems to be endemic. I swear, if I hear the words “This program contains strong language from the start” one more time…

None of this is news to anyone who has been reading this site for any length of time, so I don’t quite understand why it’s being touted as such now. Except, as I said before, journalists do love a bit of argy bargy.

By the way, Independent editors? Asking me for an interview, stating that if I refuse “We’re just going to run the Stage story” (which they did) and then asking me to write a piece for the newspaper, is not the best way to get me to write a piece for your newspaper. You know what that process needs? A rethink.

2 comments

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