Television.

It just isn’t what it used to be.  There, I’ve said it.

It says a lot that I seem to spend more time in front of my computer for entertainment these days than I do in front of the television.  Indeed, I have probably found more entertaining and interesting stuff on the internet recently – whether it be on YouTube, on someone’s blog or even on twitter.   And yet, I love television. I’ve grown up with it. I’ve been entertained, informed and educated by it.  My degree was in Film, TV and Radio. I wanted to work in TV as a scriptwriter, and dreamt of one day seeing something I’d written on the TV screen. I still would love to, but I can’t ever see it happening. Even at 30, you’re made to feel as if your best chance of making it has passed you by and they wouldn’t be interested in anything you did anymore – or at least, it seems that way.

There are still plenty of things that I like to watch on TV, but at the same time there are plenty of things that I would rather not. I am grateful that I am in employment and thus not in the house on a regular basis at the time that This Morning or Loose Women are on (actually I am at home when the latter’s on, I just don’t watch it).  I used to tolerate soaps, but now I find that most of them irritate me because their writers seem to want to make certain storylines stretch out over years rather than a few weeks to the point that they are completely unbelievable. Not to mention the fact that producers of such shows seem to want to make us all slit our wrists rather than be entertained, such is the emphasis on miserable stories.

What depresses me the most though, is the state of kids TV. When I was a kid, we had shows like Danger Mouse, Button Moon, The Trap Door, Pigeon Street, Inspector Gadget, Rainbow, Knightmare and Count Duckula. We had the original series of  Postman Pat and Thomas The Tank Engine (the new ones are alright, but not a patch on the old), and I saw reruns of Bagpuss and Camberwick Green. Disney meanwhile,  were actually making cartoon shows and not stupid series about youngsters who lead double lives as popstars. These days,there is very little for children on the main channels, as most of it gets shifted to dedicated channels on digital. What there is of it on those dedicated channels, isn’t up to much. There are a few honourable exceptions – the Ben 10 cartoons and Spongebob Squarepants are all winners, and CBBC’s Horrible Histories is exactly the sort of thing that would have been a huge hit when I was a kid. Indeed, the success of the last two lies in the fact that they are both popular with children and adults – which in my view is what truly great kids shows are.  You would never have thought that a CBBC show could beat the primetime likes of Armstrong and Miller to a British Comedy Award, but Horrible Histories did just that.  Still, it is, as I said, an exception.  I hope that one day, there is a return  to shows that are more like Duck Tales and He Man and less like Hannah Montana and whatever Power Rangers series they’re on now. I want my nephew to have mostly good memories of the TV he grew up watching.

Britain’s Got Talent – the aftermath.

Unless you’ve been in the North Pole over the last few weeks, you’ll have known that Britain’s Got Talent has been on TV.  Actually, you’ll have probably been hearing about Britain’s Got Talent even if you have been in the North Pole.  Everyone else in the world seems to have.  The contest finally reached it’s conclusion last night, when the winner was revealed as not Susan Boyle. Yes, while Sim0n Cowell was hoping for her to claim victory so that he could make many millions of pounds out of her, the British public had other ideas and voted dance troupe Diversity to perform for the Queen at this year’s Royal Variety Performance.

Overall, I thought this year’s series was good, however I did think that there were far too many singers and dancers among the competitors. For something that is supposed to be a variety show, this years final appeared to have as much variety as Oasis’ entire back catalogue. That’s not to say the eventual finalists were bad – Diversity were excellent and worthy winners, while Stavros Flatley provided the laughs.  However, I hope that next year the line up will have fewer acts like Shaun Smith and Susan Boyle and more acts like Gareth Oliver, the ventriloquist who I still believe was cruelly robbed of a place in the final.

THE BGT HONOURS:

MOST OVER-RATED ACT – Susan Boyle Yes, the hairy angel was a good singer and she deserved to go far in the competition. However, all the media fuss around her did get a bit too much in the end- even for her, if the stories were to be believed.  She will almost certainly have a career, so she didn’t really need to win the final.  And at least her coming second was one in the eye for those who believed the competition was already wrapped up.

BEST JUDGE – Piers Morgan While he may not be my favourite person in the world (or indeed anyone’s for that matter), Piers actually understood that BGT was a variety show. There were some real WTF?! moments from him (his praising of DJ Talent and the Human Saxophone being prime examples), but you can excuse them when you think that he was trying to be fair to everyone who was in the competition most of the time.

BEST ACT NOT TO MAKE IT TO THE FINAL – Gareth Oliver The ventriloquist who made people across the nation think there was something wrong with their TV sets (and later made the world think there was something wrong with YouTube) on his first audition proved that he was deserving of a place in the final on his second. However, he was denied the chance thanks to Simon’s hatred of any act that is not all singing and/or dancing. Weird thing is, Gareth’s act on the night showed that he probably had a better singing voice than many of the other singers there – and he can do it without moving his lips. And let’s not forget Pava, his puppet.

THE “HOW THE HELL DID THEY GET TO THE SEMI-FINALS?” AWARD – DJ Talent, Nick Hell and the Human Saxophone. I don’t need to explain why I chose these three, do I?

SADDEST MOMENT – Hollie Steel breaking down during her semi final performance. Or rather, the horrible reaction of some people towards that moment. Ok, I didn’t agree with the fact she got a second chance to perform and I did think that sympathy voting played a part in getting her in the final. However, there is absolutely no excuse for making nasty comments about a ten  year old girl, even if she appears to be having a bit of a tantrum. If you want to have a go at someone, have a go at the parents who let her go on the show in the first place. Or the show’s producers, who have allowed children that young to compete.

ACT THAT SHOULD’VE WON IF DIVERSITY DIDN’T – Stavros Flatley. It was a shame that they didn’t make the top three.