Tuesday, 25 September 2007

An Apology: After I Typed This Post, I Went Back and Changed Bits. Please Forgive Me.

This recent trend for complaining about "faked" things on TV is, I think, getting out of hand. (Luckily it seems to be on its way out, but it's hard to tell with that end of the media these days — I thought the whole "Princess Diana" thing was going to die off as well.) When it was phone-in competitions that you couldn't win or members of the public who were actually production staff, then fair enough, complain. And when you're making it look like the Queen threw a hissy fit then yeah, that's probably not on. But as ever, the more-than-slightly insane media have tried to string it out with a seemingly unending parade of increasingly flimsy 'scandals'. Gordon Ramsay pretending to catch a fish was about the end of the sensible ones. But... noddies? I think it's safe to assume interviewers do nod. Okay, so you're not seeing the specific nod that happened at that time, but it's close enough for jazz, surely?

I've seen TV shows being filmed. All of two of them. That's what they do: if something didn't go right then they reshoot it afterwards. I've seen Jeremy Paxman asking a question on University Challenge after the final scores were announced, and I've seen seven contestants politely wait and let the other one answer because that's what happened the first time round. And it wasn't quite the same, and they showed it anyway. And nobody cared because back then people had better things to do with their lives. Once, I gestured while talking to a camera, and after I was done they had me redo the gesture for a close-up. Then I had to do it again but more slowly. And it was all cut together like some magic two-camera setup. And again, nobody cared. They also showed events out of order to add tension, and I don't think anyone cared about that much either. I mean, technically you're misleading the public, but it's not deception. It's just TV. Nobody ever said it was a 100.00% faithful representation of events. Didn't they teach you anything about primary sources of evidence in history class?

The point, though, is that... what, you thought that was all real? Do you have any idea how difficult it would be to make an entire programme without making any mistakes? How many cameras and microphones you'd have to run to make sure you didn't miss anything or get any unusable shots? How bad a programme would look if you just showed the first take of everything, the raw, unedited, not-'faked' footage?

Well, I don't. And I like it that way. So quit complaining about it in case they stop doing it.

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