At Last, A Worthy (if lo-budget) Successor To The Friday Night Armistice

  • 3/27/2009 05:00:00 pm
  • By Mark Gibbings-Jones

Remember when we posted up The Daily Show's Jim Cramer interview as our TV Moment Of 2009 Already? Well, we've just watched a close runner-up.

Excellent. And not only is the clip in question making a tremendously valid point, as well as providing us with a sense of having scored a vicarious victory over The Man while we're sat in front of the telly scoffing Maryland Cookies, but News Wipe addresses one of our long-standing gripes. For several years, there have been uninspired satirical news shows popping up in the TV schedules over here, all looking for a slice of UK-centric Daily Show pie. We won't list them for the umpteenth time here, but nonetheless it's nice to be indirectly accused of killing off the most recent example. One of the main problems has been a concentration on uninspired "New Labour? Poo Lie-Bore, more like!" rhetoric, utterly missing the point of what makes The Daily Show the success it is. We can't post up YouTube links to illustrate the point, because Viacom are dicks, so we'll point out in text that a great deal of Jon Stewart's finest moments are where he deftly prods the news media in the rump with his satirical pitchfork.

Not, you'll note, the news itself, but the hamfisted "and now, a quick summary of the aspects of this story you should be angry about" reporting of it by the US permanews networks. Given the way 'our' TV news has degenerated over the last howevermany years ("and now on The BBC News Channel, a report on The Apprentice, and why you should be watching it tonight at 9pm on BBC One"), this is more than overdue, but little has been done in this regard. Quite why, save for the odd sniggersome aside on Have I Got News For You (before it moved onto chuckling at YouTube clips instead), we're not quite sure. Maybe Jason Manford secretly harboured ambitions to anchor Newsnight later in his career, and didn't want to rub people up the wrong way, we're not sure. But now News Wipe is here, delivering TDS-standard reports such as the above, or the piece by Nick Davies (author of the phenomenally good "Flat Earth News") on the NatWest Three. Best of all, and this is the important bit, News Wipe isn't actively trying to 'be' a British version of The Daily Show. It's doing it's own thing, and this is to be applauded. If you're being picky, it's doing ScreenWipe's 'thing', only about news, but y'know, shut up.

With any luck, commissioning editors all over the land won't make the mistake Gavin Estler does in the YouTube box just a few paragraphs up from here, going "erm... ah... but... you see..," carrying on with things the same way they've always done, and then pitching Paddy McGuinness' News Fart to Channel Four. Fingers crossed, anyway.

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