Sunday, 19 August 2007

Nature has the X-Factor!

You can vote for anything on telly nowadays. Outside of your usual voting for your favourite wannabe from a list of wannabes to win Big Brother and your favourite warbler from a list of warblers to win X-Factor, there's been vote for your favourite Briton from a list of Britons, vote for your favourite comedy from a list of comedies, vote for your favourite x from a list of x (replace x with any Channel 4 "100 Greatest..." subject) and, bringing it nearly full circle vote from your favourite classical singer from a list of classical singers. This is for your hypocritical, up-market audience who wouldn't dare watch mainstream TV (it was on BBC Four, natch); the kind who one moment publicly moan about a show that humiliates a singer who is desperate for attention and stardom each week by voting them off till they find the best of the lot and give them a recording contract and a one-hit wonder... then immediately turn around and watch a show that humiliates a singer who is desperate for attention and stardom each week by voting them off till they find the best of the lot and give them a recording contract and a one-hit wonder... BUT, all the while screaming in their heads "IT'S CLASSICAL... AND ON BBC FOUR! THIS IS NOT JUST X-FACTOR FOR THE POMPUS ELITE".

But there's a show on for the next couple of weeks that manages to take this oft-used form of reality TV and place it with a subject so wrong, so boring and so pointless; it's almost as if the channel it's airing on has ran out of ideas of what to make, so have just starting coming out with concepts chosen out of a hat (Sunday, 8pm, ITV1... no surprise there).

Now, i'll admit I've yet to watch an episode of this show, but the title "Britain's Favourite View" did enough to send me into a fit of anger. Yes, out of the billions upon billions of views we can experience in these lovely Isles of ours, ITV is asking us to vote for the best. Unfortunately, from the episode description, my thoughts of the view of watching an already depressed and late office worker run after a bus, desperate to make the driver stop so he can make it to work on time so he doesn't get the sack from yet another job, then giving up and slowly sobbing on the pavement whilst curled up in a ball, seemed to have been disqualified already in favour of the kind of view a hiker would like as they stand on a hill and look at another hill and go "oooh, isn't that hill green Mavis?" whilst Mavis wonders why she married Bob the hiker over that punk rebel she felt a raw, animal lust for in the 60's.

In actuality, the show, hosted by Sir Trevor McDonald who still seems to be trying to find something he's good at besides reading the news (I think we can all safely assume he's crossed out Comedian from his list of maybes) flies over the countryside in a helicopter (and in this day and age, makes him ripe for criticism with the words 'carbon', 'footprint' and 'destroying the nature you're presenting' involved) as dazzling celebrities such as that one from Corrie, that Lib Dem with a drinking problem and the unfunny presenter with no neck from Whose Line Is It Anyway? (remember, you can't spell 'ITV reality show' without the word 'celebrity') presumably present their favourite views to Britain. Then I guess we have to vote which is the loveliest, at which point it'll probably win £100,000 and a recording contract... or the promise that it won't be paved over to make a super-duper shopping centre in the next year or so.

As someone who doesn't have much appreciation for the beauty of nature (you've seen one hill, you've seen them all...), I presume that just about every view will be described thusly: "look at all those trees, and the sky, this view has got sky, I know technically there's sky wherever I go in the world, but still, this sky is better. And Look! Water! The stuff that comes out of taps but in some sort of pool!". Maybe I'm a cynic, but I just can't see how that makes for enticing television.

Still, I'll be watching, I've got a tenner on Lake Windermere...


Daniel said...

I loathe voting shows. I think the "high point" of portuguese TV was when we had a "Best Portuguese" show where we had a bunch of historically-known Portuguese figures to vote on. Poets, navigators, kings, that kind of stuff.

Who won? Portugal's one and only dictator. I'm not sure if the voters were serious or mocking, but it was truly a sight to behold.

Andrew said...

Were they at least all Portugese, because if so that puts it a fair way ahead of our equivalent, which included a few Irishmen and Freddie Mercury.