Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Bored of telly

I'm beginning to hate those TV programmes where "food historians" whatever they are, dress up in period clothing and make meals the way we used to cook. Usually they're also given really awful dialogue and are expected to embarrass the shit out of themselves delivering it. These days, these particular shows are presented by a glamorous female BAME presenter of non-specific ethnic origin who was plainly educated at a top public school and rather singlehandedly destroys any notion of a broadcaster offering opportunity where none existed before. I suppose it's one step up from my other least favourite style of documentary which is almost always presented by Caroline Quentin. She starts the programme with a piece to camera where she says: "I'm here in Cornwall. This place has been important to me ever since a childhood holiday when I came to Devon and wondered what Cornwall was." Most of her "input" in the film is limited to the odd interview and a really annoying jokey voice-over. There's also the bit where she's in a sweet-factory or a glass-blowing workshop and has to ask that care-worn old question, "can I have a go?" We, as an audience, lap it up and have a great laugh watching her fucking it up. She has a cursory go before handing it back, saying, "I think I better leave it to the experts." She laughs nervously. She knows what she's doing is embarrassing telly. The factory owner is silently cursing to himself, wondering what the hell he's going to do with the spoilt batch of cakes which Caroline has had a go at icing.

Sometimes, just sometimes, I long for a documentary which isn't "talent-led" or interactive, or full of fake jeopardy with Michael Portillo saying "I've got just two days to get from London to Rome by train..." If it's impossible to do it in two days, take three days, Michael! 
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Sometimes I just want to see what is there in a documentary. I don't need to be told how to feel. I don't need empty minimalism on a piano to tell me I'm meant to be sad, or computerised pizzicato strings to tell me something isn't taking itself too seriously, or that dreadful Vaughan Williams pastiche on Audio Networks which is used every time anyone goes to the countryside. In short, I'm bored of telly.

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