BrokenTV versus Broken News

  • 11/12/2005 08:19:00 am
  • By Mark Gibbings-Jones

Hello and welcome to BrokenTV: A Blog Where An Embittered Crisp-Chomping Idiot Sits In Front Of A PC Railing Against Current TV Programmes In Lieu Of Anything Worthwhile. Hmm. Needs a better tagline, perhaps.

Anyway, down to business.

BBC Two, 10pm, Mondays

Fricking heck.

I'm going to cut to the chase here, folks. Despite being written by John "wrote and directed People Like Us" Morton and Tony "wrote World of Pub, writes for The Thick of It" Roche, Broken News is quite possibly the limpest half-hour of faux-comedy ever broadcast on BBC Two. And BBC Two once broadcast Double Take.

If you're not familiar with what Broken News is, it's essentially The Day Today, but with all the funny bits replaced with items where you might think "hey, I can see how that sort of might be funny. Only it isn't". Example: you know bird flu? The big story of bird (or 'avian') flu that is going on at the moment? Well, what if they replaced the word 'bird' with, say, 'tomato'. Tomato flu. And then they ran with it. For ages. Well, it's that, for half-an-hour. For six weeks. Guh.

It's as if the writers lost the scripts on the way to filming (possibly Tony Roche left them in a taxi in an excellent Hugh Abbott-y manner), and hurredly did a Google for "British websites trying to 'be' The Onion", printing out any results before the cast walked in. And we all know how poor British websites trying to 'be' The Onion are, hey kids? If there was time, they'd have scribbled a few bits they've remembered from The Day Today ("frozen slab of urine") or Barry Welsh Is Coming ("Look Out East" not being quite as funny as "Look Out Wales", though) into the margins.

Quite often you'll hear people complaining that "American TV can knock out quality shows in 26-part seasons, and British telly can barely stretch to a six-week run without relying on tedious catch-phrase comedy where the actual jokes are the same. Every. Single. Week", and nowhere is this more true than in the case of Broken News. While the BN team can barely fill a single half-hour without 78% of the audience wondering if they wouldn't be better off watching the real local news on ITV instead, America's top news parody, Fox News, is now in it's ninth year of 24-hour transmission. Man, I love that crazy Bill O'Reilly character.

What? Oh.

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