An Appeal To Make BBC Four* Better (*Or More4)

  • 10/16/2008 01:07:00 am
  • By Mark Gibbings-Jones

Rather wonderfully, television's finest satirical news programme is back on the air down under, and is currently 30% of the way through a third series. That'll mean thirty episodes in just over twelve months. On the Australian equivalent of BBC Four. Good news for the people already living in a marvellously sunny nation with affordable housing and cheap alcohol. Meanwhile, the comedy output on our equivalent of BBC Four (which would be, erm, BBC Four) is mainly restricted to repeats of That Mitchell And Webb Look and Flight Of The Conchords. All very good, but both have been broadcast before. What about something new? Even if you can't afford to make new and decent comedy, why not import something from the antipodes? Like, say, the programme we mentioned just a few sentences ago? More4 has The Daily Show. The only way to strike a comparable blow is to land the rights to Newstopia.

(Alternatively, hey More4! You know the weeks when The Daily Show isn't on? Well, you've left it too late the nab the rights to The Colbert Report, so stop sitting on your hands and get hold of Newstopia. Once you trim out the swearing, if you really must, it'd be perfect for that 8.30pm slot.)

Here, in this picture special, we'll highlight some of the reasons why Newstopia should be shown over here, where we're not founded by convicts.

In ep 3.01, there's a gag about Premier League football. While it does mess up a bit by claiming Manchester United are about to play "The Rangers", that's perfectly understandable given that Shaun Micallef admitted (in a clip of his radio show that we've heard) to knowing nothing about non-Aussie Rules football, and having attended an A-League match for the first time, earnestly referred to the break after forty-five minutes as 'the interval'.

A practical demonstration of applying make-up to a pig after a piece about Barack Obama's recent comment.

A reference to Hole In The Wall being an insult to the intelligence of everyone watching the network that airs it. A good thing for BBC Four viewers feeling the need for validation.

A report from America about opinion polls that doesn't really work as a screen grab.

A spoof story about offsetting carbon footprints that ends with Shaun Micallef dressed as an old woman dancing a jig around a bonfire.

A wonderful James Stewart impersonation in a piece about the financial quagmire we're all in.

Second unit shots of London used for a special pisstake of an advert we don't see over here.

Jokes about the current situation in Africa that only World News Today viewers are likely to understand, and therefore will feel all superior about, which they'll undoubtably love.

All those are just from the first two episodes of series three of Newstopia. We're going to put up fresh examples every week until the show is being broadcast on Tuesday nights at 10pm. The Book Quiz can easily be shoved elsewhere, no-one will miss it.

(Note to readers expecting live line-chart coverage of the third US Presidential debate: If CNN International can't be bothered with it until twenty minutes before kick-off, nothing too exciting is going to happen, even if Wolf Blitzer promises to dye his beard red or blue depending on the outcome. We will still be doing an all-night US Election Night Blog once stuff starts actually happening, though.)

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