Shock, horror! Producer gave friend part in Space Cadets. That never happens!

Private Eye landed in my post box today. As well as giving Space Cadets a well-deserved slating in ‘Eye TV’, the Eye hits out again the naff reality show on page nine in “How Reality TV Works”. It points out that that reality shows are pretty much recruiting actors now, rather than regular members of the public.

Unfortunately for regular readers of this blog, Charlie Skelton gets a slight kicking, too.

“While Ranie Daw and Steve Hester have some short film and theatre credits to their names, Charlie Skelton is best known as a comedy writer, co-author of a book with Victoria Coren, and, perhaps most importantly, to Space Cadets producer Ben Caudell as ‘my friend Charlie Skelton’.

”…which of the three ‘actors’ was picked to accompany the stooges? Unsurprisingly, Charlie Skelton – despite his complete lack of any acting skills having already led to several of the contestants announcing they thought he was a plant.“

This seems a tad unfair: anyone even vaguely conversant with the TV industry (and most media industries) knows it’s always been who you know, not what you do, that gets you the job in 75% of cases. Certainly, Charlie’s popularity with those few viewers Space Cadets actually had indicates he wasn’t such a bad choice, anyway.

And if we’re throwing stones, didn’t Ian Hislop get a job at the Eye essentially by hanging around Richard Ingrams until Ingrams relented and gave him the time of day?

Still, it was at least an interesting story.


72 bands of difficulty

Have you seen that Virgin viral marketing picture? You know, the one with the 72 bands cunningly hidden in a picture. I don’t have the answers. I know you all want the answers but I don’t have them. However, my sister (you know, the one who writes a cat blog with Charlie Skelton. Incidentally, that’s not the only thing she does with her life. Honest. I don’t want you to think she’s cat/Skelton-obsessed) does.

My sister’s clever about music things. She objects to Never Mind The Buzzcocks on many grounds, but the most baffling for normal mortals is that “The questions are too easy”. I was only able to help her with one band name on that picture, and she hadn’t got it only because she couldn’t identify the aeroplane type.

So, to get the full list, you can

  1. work them out for yourself (my sister advises that an easy way to work out who they all are is that they’re all signed to Virgin. Do you see what kind of level she operates at?)
  2. carry on Google searching
  3. add a comment to this blog entry, petitioning my sister to reveal the answers.

Incidentally, it turns out the version of the picture doing the rounds has had the left side chopped off, so there are a couple more bands to work with. The full picture is still on the Virgin site.


Don’t want to do any research? Time for some weasel language

The Media Guardian has a curious article today on the effect that John Spencer’s death will have on The West Wing. I say curious because it seems to be written by someone who doesn’t know that much about how television works and can’t even be bothered to find out. Take this quote

The West Wing, which is in production on its seventh season and is thought to have got two or three episodes in the can before Spencer died…

“Is thought to have” is a great weasel phrase. You can use it in all sorts of articles. You can use it for making statements that you don’t have the facts to confirm, the confidence to assert or which may even be completely untrue (eg “The Prime Minister is thought to have refused the deal in no uncertain language”, “President Bush is thought to have taken bribes from Osama bin Laden”).

Continue reading “Don’t want to do any research? Time for some weasel language”


Is ‘Samson and Delilah’ a fake?


Salon gives good coverage to the argument around the Rubens painting’s authenticity. You can see the full painting at the National Gallery and I have to agree with detractors: I took one look at it and thought there was no way it was a Rubens. It really was a load of old tatt.

A few fun things about the article: the usual amusing Americanisms that appear whenever discussing anything foreign (eg “A London computer expert”); that the left-leaning Salon only quotes the equally left-wing The Guardian (Simon Schama’s review at that!) and the New Statesman as authoritative British journals; and the fact Euphrosyne Doxiadis seems to be a ‘divvy‘.