Sunday, October 27, 2019

Must-not-see TV

We've been treated to some fantastic TV this year: the second series of Fleabag and Mortimer & Whitehouse Gone Fishing, the latest installment of the documentary series Up, Alan Partridge's return to the BBC with This Time - not to mention many others, such as Chernobyl, that I haven't seen but that have had others raving.

By contrast, the programmes mentioned in this Guardian article by Sarah Dempster, which names and shames TV's four worst genres, won't be featuring in any best-of-2019 lists. Her targets are spot on, and skewered to perfection.

The Weekend Cookery Show? "Scallops in chino runoff. Steak in Lynx Sport Blast reduction."

The Costume Romp? "Rudimentary attempts at historical accuracy drowned out by budgetary bluster, clanging anachronisms and unnerving preoccupation with heritage hardbodies that, verily, doth turn even the most grandiose venture into Hollycloaks."

The Consumer Rights Programme? "Menacing exhortations to know your rights lest the heavens split asunder and ye be cast into the eternal fire of implied warranty (Hotpoint 3:16-17)."

And then there's the Cosy Detective Series. Even as a self-confessed semi-ironic fan of Midsomer Murders, I could only nod in amused agreement at the references to "the honeyed peal of garden implement against Home Counties skull" and "no immigrants to spoil the views". It's very true that they present the Daily Mail's vision of post-Brexit Britain, a return to a mythical past that is otherwise best glimpsed by walking around your average jigsaw shop.

Let's be thankful that all this dross exists, though - after all, if it didn't, we wouldn't be able to enjoy Dempster writing about it.

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