(this was written back from when The schedules involved Robin Hood, Britain’s Got Talent and Tonight’s The Night)
Saturday night TV used to be a big thing in the later 90’s when I was a young child, families would gather round their 5 channel TV and sit and watch gems, such as Noel’s House Party, which gave us such gems as hidden cameras, Mr Blobby and lots of gunge, it was always a great way to spend your evening.
then there was always the Generation game, of course by this point, Bruce Forsyth had left and the host was now offensive racist Jim Davidson (ah, ITV…) It was still pretty damn good fun, no matter how stupid some of the guests were…
Unfortunately, effectively the second Noel’s House Party ended, Saturday Night TV ended, we weren’t getting family programmes, we were getting Lottery shows with Dale Winton and shit sitcoms. Of course that all changed in 2005 when Doctor Who returned to both critical and commercial success. Adults were watching to see if it was as good as they remembered (it was…), they also plonked their kids, now fans of modern disappointing sci-fi like the Star Wars Prequels, in front of it to watch. People flocked in and suddenly you weren’t considered a loser by your friends at school if you stayed in to watch a show involving time travel and Nazi-esque aliens instead of getting drunk at a mates house. (well I still was, but that’s not the point).
Naturally, because of successful shows like Doctor Who and Strictly Come Dancing, Saturday has an audience again, so let’s see how they try to maintain that.
First off, Robin Hood. A re-imaging of the classic tale for Saturday tea time whilst the TARDIS is being re-fulled. It’s a tricky slot, the dinner time drama, because you can’t make it too adult for kids and you can’t dumb it down for the adults. On the while it does do it justice, the writing, although not up to Doctor Who standards works well, the episodes flow from one week to the next and are all centered round a loose theme. The sets are good, but they’re such a mish-mash of medieval and modern ideals, that you have no idea when it’s supposed to be set. The cast as of series 3 aren’t bad, it’s just a shame Jonas Armstrong thinks he’s playing a 12th century James Bond and Keith Allen’s Sheriff of Nottingham has a multi-personality dis-order and thinks he’s Keith Allen. Once you’re past these little problems, it’s quite fun and very enjoyable, although it’s so camp that you expect “pow” and thwack” to appear at every fight sequence.
Speaking of camp value after Robin Hood’s over, before you can blink, John Barrowman runs onto your screen singing the hits of Queen on Tonight’s The Night, a kind of hybrid of Jim’ll Fix It meets The Generation Game. The thing about it is, although John Barrowman is a very fun, enjoyable and likeable host, the show lacks that magic of the aforementioned shows, which is shame, because with the amount of ideas borrowed, there was almost no way they could have cocked this up. Except they have and it just feels…well…really pointless. However, that said, It does have those X Factor style moments, where they take a member of the public, who for whatever reason, has the talent, but could never be a singer and make that dream come true for one night only.
And speaking of 15 minutes of fame, flick over to ITV, you know the TV equivalent of that friend you dis-like, but have to keep because he owes you something and you’ll find the worlds greatest freak show, Britain’s Got Talent. Now the title is terribly mis-leading, as it seems to care more about terrible acts and an ugly Scottish woman who looks like a guy from my year 10-11 german class. The judges aren’t much better, Simon Cowell is still the grumpiest man alive and rejects everything, Piers Morgan is the complete opposite but still manages to be a complete cock and Amanda Holden is lovely, but lacks any real personality. All she does is laugh and cry. Thanks to some clever editing (which after 4 or whatever series of the X Factor, ITV are amazing at) When a good act is found, it’s treated like the second coming, which makes you wonder, if Susan Boyle is the saviour re-incarnated, we’re screwed, aren’t we? And that’s the main problem with these shows, they’re both ruled by the next days press, and by the time you find a good act, you’ve laughed too much at a man in drag to care. What is interesting is the addition of an audience to the auditions, they make it more interesting as they obviously have mixed feelings of their own. So , when an act is terrible, they boo them off so much that you expect them to be fed to lions when they exit the stage. Now that would be entertainment.
(ITV are jerks and I can only put links to their videos)