Wednesday 14 March 2012

Thought Processes of a Douche

Though I would later read about the BBC’s latest money making venture later in the day, I was thinking about the BBC and it’s finances apropos of nothing as I cantered to work this morning. To attempt to explain what, when and why my brain thinks about any one thing is akin to trying to slice someone’s leg off with a butterfly so I won’t.

The beginning of my mental phlegm was possibly the article I read the other day about regional comedies being sought. My first reaction to this was the frustration of the concept of regional anything. Surely the countless BBC1 family orientated middle-class sitcoms are based in a region; why does there have to be something idiosyncratically geographical about something. As I read the article the point was made – when creating Gavin and Stacey Ruth Jones and James Corden were just trying to write a comedy series.

Yes, the two places – particularly Barry Island – in which the series was set had a strong character, but they were just places: story and characters, i.e. brilliant writing, were the key. Is the success and a couple of other comedy shows that had the cheek to be commissioned and made by BBC’s regional teams to mean that we will now see a slew of absolute shit? More accurately absolute shit in Geordie, Glaswegian and Norfolk accents? Just make good shows and not try to force the issue focussing on the wrong element some successful series have had.

This was my immediate reaction. As I walked to work this morning I realised that, whilst I had a point, a less London-centric view to anything; a chance for people to write series set everywhere, was a good thing. Why not have shit set in Hereford rather than Camden? (plucked that out of thin air, can’t think of any BBC comedy set in Camden.) My anger came from the right place – I hate the phrase regional, there is something very dismissive about it. But if the message is not to my taste, the result – if it is broader scope than Greater London and the home counties – is something I am in favour of.

So, I am about halfway to work when my thinking is at this point. My mental stream from here goes like this: maybe there would be more money for developing talent and programmes if the BBC didn’t have spells of throwing millions of pounds at shit. And good people. Let’s accept..no, let’s suggest Jonathan Ross is very good at what he does and is popular. Was he that much better at presenting a chat show and a film review show that he was worth all the money BBC paid him? He can’t even pronounce Rs.

I’m being facetious. Wossy is bwill. He is a force of nature. He is not irreplaceable. People just think he is. Someone could do the job on his chatshow given the chance. At a fraction of the price. Not Vernon fucking Kay before anyone says it. Graham Norton is also not worth some massive deal. These people are very talented and greatly popular but they were rewarded with grotesque contracts by the BBC. Let’s be clear: people at the top of the game should be rewarded handsomely. But within reason. Let’s be clearer about another thing: The BBC is fucking amazing, easily better than almost anything else people claim is great about this nation. People shouldn’t need to be handcuffed to it, they should be sectioned for wanting to work for any other broadcaster.

I am quite near work now and my brain is thinking about BBC buildings closing and staff cuts and all the money wasted on things because they threw money at popular things too quickly and didn’t concentrate on quality. I arrive at Audley Harrison.

Audley Harrison captured the heart of the nation..and yes, it was on the BBC. He did this by winning the gold medal in (super) heavyweight boxing at the 200o Olympics. Let’s not knock this achievement, it’s a gold medal at the most prestigious amateur boxing tournament in the world. He deserved acclaim and he seemed intelligent and alright when he spoke. But the BBC made him – they showed the fights and the interviews. Of course they benefited because people like watching someone do well. There was interest in him.

He was also 29 and still an amateur boxer. Unless you are Cuban or have been in coma for a few years, being 29 and still amateur suggests you might not be the best fighter ever. Over a year later – strike while the iron is hot! – the BBC announced Harrison had turned professional and would sign with them, signing a deal for a million pounds to appear on the BBC. One million pounds.

There was a torrent of publicity for the start of his professional career. You know professional boxing: people fight for 12 rounds unless one knocks the other out (or is stopped etc). Audley Harrison started off with 6-round fights. But still doesn’t fight very often. It take him three years to schedule a 12-round fight. The BBC deal never managed to cover him being crowned undisputed heavyweight champion of the world [He will fight in a big fight – in 2010 he fought David Haye and didn’t even last 4 rounds, the amount of rounds in Olympic fights; the fight is stopped in the third round; Harrison had talked a big fight, not unusual for any fighter, however his total of punches landed was 1 (one) which is unusual for a boxer in three rounds). He also, away from small featurettes on BBC’s Olympic coverage being humble, seems a bit of twat.

You know how many TV programmes could have been made with the £1 million? Well not many, it’s expensive to make television but it could have been used to pay a lot of people to develop and nurture something more interesting to the British public than a large man looking out of his depth at a physical contact sport? Also it cost money to broadcast it live, so the money invested was well over the million ‘cuffs deal for Audley.

And then I was at work. And that was my thought process as I walked down Lloyd Street this morning – listening to a kick-ass playlist on my iPod.

Picture of The Day

My employers provided us with some link to a wellness website in honour of No Smoking Day, which was today apparently. The site didn’t really seem to concern itself directly with smoking, or not. It did have some advice on wellness in the key places: work, home, etc. Each were accompanied by a picture: home was parents doing homework with a child, for example. This was the work one, just like you picture work right? I’m not asking for people sat around looking miserable looking at Facebook, but this?

It's work, see - a water cooler moment. One of them has just mentioned something Monica tried to clean (that was already clean) in Friends the night before.


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