Celebrity Big Brother hits the bottom of the barrel

Pete Burns

I have to confess that despite my previous snootiness, I have been watching bits of Celebrity Big Brother. It always work out like that. I say I won’t watch it; Sarah starts watching it; I start watching it over my shoulder.

Last night, I severely began to regret doing this. Did you catch Pete Burns’ abuse of Traci Bingham (the C4 web site totally glosses over Burns’ worst excesses)? Wow. it really makes me proud to be English to know that someone like that shares my nationality. We invite someone over from the US and rather than treat her as a guest in our country, Burns subjects her to a torrent of racist abuse, purely to wind her up.

Fan-bloody-tastic.

If you didn’t catch Dennis’ tape on the first night, he said that the English could be pains and rude. That’s the stereotype: well done Pete for living down to it. You know that if CBB gets any airtime in the US, that is the clip they’re going to be showing.

I feel so proud. If there are any Americans visiting this blog, can I apologise to you all on behalf of my country for inflicting people like Pete Burns on you? Sorry.

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ITV needs a little more focus

Remember when ITV used to make good programmes? That’s right, it was roughly before the franchise sell-off at the beginning of the 90s. There have been a few good programmes since then, including Cracker and, erm, suggestions anyone? But it’s mostly been rubbish, ever since Thames got sent down the river.

Perhaps it’s the lack of decent ‘creatives’. Perhaps it’s a lack of cash. That’s certainly something to do with it. To be honest, though, I think the problem is simply the quest for ratings: try to be all things to all people and you end up pleasing no one. You’d have thought now they have four channels and they’re not bothering to put on regional programming, really, they might be able to do something about that. But despite a silly rebranding, all they have are two versions of ITV1 and two nostalgia channels, interspersed with good stuff they’ve bought from other people.

But despite plummeting ratings, what are they doing about it? First, buying Friends Reunited at a stupendously stupid price. Now, they’re looking to take a majority stake in TV3, Ireland’s only commercial channel.

You know, if I were them, strapped for cash and my ratings were sliding, I’d be thinking about making better programmes. This hasn’t quite registered at ITV though. Of course, if TV3 is making oodles of cash, taking a majority stake in them would certainly help with the cashflow. But faffing around with Friends Reunited and TV3 is really just a distraction from the important thing, which is making decent programmes.

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My XFM long-weekend of horror

My wife was away this weekend. If you recall from my earlier quest for a decent breakfast show, we normally wake up to the sound of Chris Moyles abusing the population, interspersed by clips from John Craven’s Newsround… sorry, Radio 1 news (“Tony Blair is a very important man. He’s the Prime Minister of the country you live in.” Dumbing down? Not a bit of it). But this weekend was going to be different. It was time for weekend XFM.

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