Skip to content

Reality TV

October 19, 2011

No, this isn’t another diatribe about “Big Brother’s Driving School Twenty Below Zero In Essex.” It’s more about the more subtle ways in which ‘reality’ suddenly becomes fictional when a TV camera gets involved.

What sparked this was a programme last night about a local hotel. First, it amazed me that the show’s presenter actually got to it. I mean, the place has for many years been a local curiosity – and the relief when a “Premier Inn” opened nearby… but most people seem to find it easily enough (it’s unmissable, for many reasons). Anyway, the presenter managed to get there by driving completely the wrong way along our local high street, while speaking to camera. Even more interestingly, she managed to “do the time warp” by driving the same stretch of road several times in one sentence, and in fact go past several of the buildings in random order. Who knew that Mercedes manufactured Tardises? Note: Not sure if the plural of Tardis is Tardi, Tardes or as I’ve put – Whovians, feel free to email.

The rest of the programme was also curious in that several “local” businesses were invited – with the definition of “local” being rather wider than I’d put it, and one shop I didn’t recognise at all getting in on the act. Further, in the rest of the programme it seemed like few of the things the hotel has a local reputation for were addressed as we might expect. Still, it was entertaining viewing and I hope a local business will do well from it.

To pad out this entry, and tie in with the theme, “The X Factor” is back, and as ever I’m glued by its fakery too. For a start, the studio is far smaller than it looks on TV. The usual format of casting ‘types’ is evident too. The “young kid with a quirk” is ably filled by Janet Devlin, so fragile – turns out she is a well known horse rider, so used to pressure. Amazing voice though. The “Wicked Witch” falls to Kitty Brucknell, another voice that is getting lost in the negative hype about her. Personally, I think she is very talented but also needs help to sort herself out (post-traumatic stress disorder?) – which she won’t get on this TV trial.

“Cute Group for the Girls” falls to “The Risk” – who might improve as they get used to each other, but I quite like already. “Weird Fun” is our local boy Johnny, the only person to realise it’s an entertainment show and actually enjoy himself. Sami as the “Big Girl” of the year, and Mischa B as the “Big Street Girl” of the year respectively; both have voices that are almost too big for television, but provide welcome relief from the more aggressive “Boy Balladeer” and “Younger Boy Balladeer” performances from Frankie and Craig. It is odd that Amelia had to leave; but Sophie does have a quiet that is rather enjoyable amid the hype – one to watch, with luck.

If theatre is an illusion, then television is even more so… but we’d miss this stuff if it was gone, I think. Just so long as we remember those wise words of Davina to the losers who exited the Elstree studio sound stage, sorry, Big Brother House, each week: “None of it is real, it’s just entertainment, don’t forget that.”

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: