Anorak News | The Revolution Will Be Televised

The Revolution Will Be Televised

by | 1st, September 2006

IT was a week of the best and the worst of British television.

For we Brits, TV may be all dire soap operas (BBC), tatty celebrity vehicles (ITV) and American imports (Channel 4), but for American viewers it is something else. For them British television is period costume and cheap shoes.

The Sun brought news of the Emmy’s, the “US telly ‘Oscars’”. This was the American TV industry’s AGM.

And Dame Helen Mirren – our Dame Helen – was collecting a Best Actress In a Mini Series or Movie gong for her performance in Elizabeth I.

America might make all the funniest comedies, the most entertaining soaps and great innovative news shows, but when it comes to dressing in period costume and reliving history, we British rule the airwaves.

And here was Dame Helen to accept her award. “My biggest triumph is not falling arse over tit,” said she. “If you saw the shoes I had on you’d understand.”

Good on her. Not only did Dame Helen not fall over in her $49.99 Hollywood Boulevard stripper’s shoes, but she scored a palpable hit by lacing her speech with a quintessentially British phrase. Aspiring British actors should note that Dame Helen said “arse” and not the Americanised “ass”. Bravo!

Helen tottered off. And it was time for Jeremy Irons to collect his Best Supporting Actor in a Mini Series for his role as the Earl of Leicester in Elizabeth I (more period costumes and lusty thigh slapping).

The Mail looked on as Jeremy (shoes unseen) said: “I don’t watch television – it destroys my reading time.” Bravo!

While Helen performed her role as game British gel with aplomb, Jeremy was the classic snotty British male.

And, of course, Jeremy was wrong. You can still read and watch British telly. And here was Sharon Osbourne reading on the box, introducing her new daytime chat show.

“What’s smooth, hot and so long it makes women wince just to hear in the inch measurement?” asked the demented-Pixie-voiced professional mum.

Clue: it was not Sharon’s script. So it must have been “Penny Lancaster’s legs”. Correct. And Penny’s legs duly arrived, bringing with them the rest of Penny.

Sharon could do a lot worse than get Russell Brand, the gauche presenter of Big Brother spin-off shows, to write her bits to camera. Who knows’ she might even get more action that way.

We learned that Russell had bedded crusty rocker Courtney Love. “He was delicious,” said Courtney of the night she and Russell spent together in London’s Claridge’s hotel. Courtney said she gave Russell a cravat as a “love token. “He certainly earned it with his performance,” she added.

This was no slur. For many of us, having our lover hand us a cravat after making love would be an insult, a snide inference that we are blessed with all the sexual know how of a member of the Morris Minor owners’ club, Bromsgrove chapter.

But to Russell this was praise. The man who dresses like a demented fop is probably delighted with his rag.

And he may have earned more neckerchiefs after romping with three girls after his Edinburgh Fringe show. One 18-year-old groupie, who said she did not sleep with 31-year-old Russell (she’s called Nadine and her mum might be reading), said the telly star seduced his fans with the line: “We have maters to discuss.”

Sharon Osbourne should try it. It might just stop her dying on camera.

But it’s too late for President George Bush. He is already dead.

“FURY AS DUBYA ‘ASSASSINATED’ BY C4,” announced the front page of the Mirror.

And there surely was much upset. Not since Noel Edmonds was offed by the BBC had a British broadcaster cancelled a world figure.

But the pictures did not lie. “BUSH WHACKED,” said the bigger headline. “President Bush staggers after being ‘gunned’ down by an assassin,” ran the caption beneath a shot of a suited President staggering.

“I am appalled and shocked,” said Mitchell Reiss, the UN special envoy to Northern Ireland in the Mirror. “It sounds obscene. What on earth is the justification for television like this?”

That’s right. The murder of President Bush was part of a Channel 4 drama. It was a film about how Bush will be murdered in 2007 after flying to Chicago. Bush will be killed, and his Syrian murderer put on trial.

Pete Dale, head of More4, the Channel 4 cable station which will screen the 90-minute movie, said it was a “thought-provoking critique” of contemporary US society. Lest we think it was cheap sensationalism, Dale told us it was a “sophisticated piece of work”.

Indeed. It was not real. It was art. “It’s a film. Just ignore it,” said the Mirror’s TV critic Jim Shelley. “The publicity is exactly what the film-makers want… Nothing will change. No one will die.”

Won’t they? The Mirror’s front page said, “There are even fears it could lead to a real-life assassination. John Beye of TV watchdog MediaWatch said the film “may well put ideas into people’s heads”.

“If something happens as a consequence of this film, the blood will be on their hands,” he continued, referring to the TV executives who have backed the show.

This was, of course, utter bunkum. A deluded American with dreams of fame needs little encouragement to fire a gun at their president. And a Syrian killer might well just get Hezbollah do the job for them and then blame the thing on an Israeli conspiracy. Or on Tony Blair. The film has him on trial for war crimes.

The revolution will be televised…

Posted: 1st, September 2006 | In: Broadsheets Comment | TrackBack | Permalink