Tuesday, 25 December 2012

A Messy Kwelfnuve To You All

On the one day of the year when people have something better to do than visit an unpopular blog that was quite good for a month in 2007, a rare update! It’s a complete (in several parts) Christmas episode of defunct Aussie panel show Talkin’ ‘Bout Your Generation. Because hey, if you understood the reference in the title of this blogpost, you’re all about relatively obscure comedy miscellanea.

Piggywiggywiggywiggywoo, everyone!

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Sunday, 16 December 2012

The BrokenTV End Of Year Video Extravaganza Part One: The 20 Best Songs Of 2012

Inarguably so. Having spent every single minute of the last month listening to every single song recorded in 2012 (with no sleep, often listening to six or seven songs simultaneously in order to get through them all), we've whittled them down to the twenty greatest songs pumped out into the world since 1 January 2012. And here they are, presented to you in the form of a badly-edited video that hopefully won't be removed as soon as we upload it. Enjoy. And probably grumble about how there aren't enough guitars, but shush.

View in full YouTube-o-vision here. Hover over the oblongs on the bottom-right of the video window when each song is played to leap to full versions of each song.

And yes, we do know the intro to that video goes on for too long. We’ll try harder next year.

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Tuesday, 6 November 2012

It’s BrokenTV’s US Election 2012 FREE £5000 GIVEAWAY SWEEPSTAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAKE!

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Yes! After what feels like 19 months, 713,000 hours of pointlessly televised rhetoric and 4.2 billion idiots on Twitter who don’t even live in America banging on about it as if it makes them somehow seem ‘interesting’ (hello!), the 2012 US Presidential Election Night Of Nights is here. And to mark it, the biggest ever prize giveaway that your super soaraway BrokenTV has ever seen. (Up to) FIVE THOUSAND POUNDS! And more realistically, at least one DVD boxset of the underrated US drama series The Riches (season one) starring Eddie Izzard and Minnie Driver both being way better than you’d expect them to be could be YOURS. (Terms & conditions apply.)

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That’s a BRAND NEW AND SEALED copy of the above DVD box set. And it could be yours. YOURS. “Why?” you may ask. It’s because we love you, dear reader. And because we’ve accidentally bought two of them from eBay because we’re a bit thick. Our stupidity equals BIG CASH PRIZES FOR YOU*.

(*Potentially.)

HOW TO WIN:

Simply take part in our super What Will Be The First Letter Of The First Word David Dimbleby Says During Tonight’s Live BBC One Coverage Of The US Election Results On BBC One At 11.35pm Tonight Sweepstake, exclusive to our Twitter followers.

Here’s the playgrid, containing the rules, current players and more information. All you need to do to enter is make sure you’re following @BrokenTV on Twitter, and have the ability to pick a letter from the alphabet. That’s it!

In addition to the lucky winner bagging the above prize, those picking certain letters CHOSEN ENTIRELY AT RANDOM BY THE BROKEN TV COMPUTER, HONEST could win up to £5000 in super top tax-free cash prizes. And if THAT weren’t simple enough, we’ve even told you what those letters are! It’s like we’re allergic to money!

So. Without any further ado, THE SWEEPSTAKE.

Election2012giveaway

It really is as simple as that!

(Winner posted on Twitter and here at about 11.40pm. Or, this update removed quietly when no-one wants to take part. You MONSTERS.)

UPDATE 10.52pm

All letters now GONE, as above. The winner of our competition will be revealed LIVE ON BBC ONE AT 11.35PM.

UPDATE 11:47pm

And it’s over! With David Dimbleby opening ElectoFestUSATwoKayTwelve (which is the name that the US Senate recognises for the US Presidential Election, we believe) with the words “The White House…” (followed by some other words that we couldn’t hear over the sound of our tears and rage). This means that @alanjenson is the big winner, not only of the DVD boxset (which – BREAKING – he has just declined on Twitter, which means a rollover for 2016), but of an EXCLUSIVE BrooPeter badge, which permits the holder free access to all manner of National Trust attractions and museums. (Mainly because the EXCLUSIVE BrooPeter badge is actually just a really big gun with a safety pin stuck to it.)

Anyway, there you go. Bit of fun, wasn’t it? Apart from the bit where we realised we were recording the BBC1 Wales coverage of US Election Night 2012, which skips the first half hour due to Week In Week Out being on before it. Oh, BBC One Wales.

Anyway, we’re not bothering with a live blog this time round. Y’know, as a kind of ‘protest’ against everyone on the internet not bothering with this blog any more (hey, what do you want? Updates more than once a month?). Instead, we’ll be twattering on over on Twitter. BrokenTV are we. Will we post searing satire like “hey! Fox News aren’t that ‘Fair’ and ‘Balanced’ after all!”? It’s a slam dunk!

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Tuesday, 30 October 2012

The Only Song You Need For Your Halloween Party Soundtrack

Tracy Jordan - Werewolf Bar Mitzvah (RAC Mix). Brilliance.

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Thursday, 25 October 2012

Run Wrake (1965-2012)

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As reported on BoingBoing, underappreciated animation genius and illustrator Run Wrake has sadly passed away after losing a battle with cancer at the horrendously young age of 47.

By chance, we’d only recently stumbled over his YouTube channel, which seems to have gone largely unnoticed. Help remedy this by visiting it right now. If you need any special reason for doing so, because his work is so richly and wonderfully creative, the majority of it being from the 1990s, where opportunities for such weird and wonderful work to be seem by the public were – in comparison with nowadays – tremendously rare, cropping up in the likes of BBC/MTV’s Liquid Television or late night Channel 4. This also coming from the days before the ubiquity of programs such as Flash or After Effects made animation more accessible, Wrake became an inspiration for the new breed of offkilter animators, whose work now receives the audience such majestic oddness deserves. Think of Wrake’s work as being a midpoint between Terry Gilliam and Cyriak Harris, sadly without it ever really finding the audience it deserved.

A few examples:

PING BATTER PONG: In 1998, when MTV’s M2 channel launched on the new Sky Digital platform, it opened with an hour-long compilation of Run Wrake’s work. Those were (as we’ve said several times before) the days when M2 was quite simply the best music channel ever to grace television, happily playing host to acts you’d likely never see on the more mainstream MTV channels, as well as giving as much credit to directors of music videos as they would to the artists. Factor in that there were no adverts (hey, probably hardly any viewers) and it’d happily give up an hour of primetime to French hip-hop, and as we said, best music channel ever. And here are the first three minutes. Of it.

THE SHOWBIZ SET: In 2002, Channel 4 broadcast the wonderful documentary The Showbiz Set, looking from the formative years of television to its golden age. It was so wonderful in fact, that we named it 17th Best Television Programme Of The 00s. Chopping together a plethora of famous faces from the varying eras covered in the show, Wrake’s title sequence set the scene for it well.

NME GALLERY: We first came to recognise Wrake’s work from his artwork for the NME (when it was good, which was when we read it). Often taking a photo of the artist in question and transforming it into something otherworldly and fascinating, Wrake’s illustrations always seemed to leap out of the page and draw you in to a 700 diatribe from Johnny Cigarettes on the new Blaggers ITA album (or such).

JUST A MINUTE: More recently, Wrake produced this promotional piece for the BBC, highlighting (and we have to say, enhancing) sixty uninterrupted seconds on Sudoku from Paul Merton. Taking on the dual aims of being strange and inventive, but without being offputting to the Radio 4 audience it was aimed at, Wrake put together a piece that flows as expertly as Paul Merton’s yapping mouth does at its best.

FUTURE SOUND OF LONDON - WE HAVE EXPLOSIVE: Unsurprisingly, him having worked for the NME for so long, Wrake also lent his talents to a number of music videos. Many of which (such as his work for Howie B) are sadly unavailable to view in the UK (yeah, cheers BMG), but this example from Future Sound

of London shows just how well Wrake’s trademark style combined with similarly inventive sounds conjured by noise wizards FSOL.

MEAT STREET 2: Wrake’s most recent upload to YouTube, from just a couple of weeks ago, the second part of what was (at least intended to be) an ongoing narrative. While this may indeed have been part of an earlier work (the video doesn’t have a description), the abrupt ending to it comes across as a bit of a gutpunch, given the circumstances.

 

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Run Wrake, 1965-2012
www.runwrake.com | vimeo.com/user10255055/videos | www.youtube.com/user/runwrake

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Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Bye Then, Analogue

Though luckily, BBC Northern Ireland were on hand to make sure it didn’t just fizzle out without a suitable salute. As you can see here:

They’ll have a job topping that when digital broadcasting is switched off in 2078 (to be replaced by all television being put out in edible pill form). Lovely stuff.

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Monday, 13 August 2012

So. What Did The American Media Make Of That Bit In The Olympic Closing Ceremony With Rodney and Del-Boy In It, Then?

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Wondering how the US media covered the bit of the Olympics closing ceremony where “Del Boy” and “Rodney” appeared? Here’s what the New York Times live blog said about them:

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Sadly, they don’t seem to have picked up on the BIG news that Eric Idle was (presumably) the first person to say (sing) the word ‘shit’ during an Olympic closing ceremony.

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Oh well. Can’t have it all. More of this kind of thing soon, perhaps.

Oh, one more thing. No-one retweeted the best joke we made all night on Twitter, so we’re going to post it here. Now, where out of context it makes even less sense than it did at the time.

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Well, we say joke…

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Friday, 10 August 2012

Yeah, Er, Thanks, But…

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Our Twitter feed feels slightly tainted now. This is possibly payback for us trying to display a modicum of understanding for the subjects of BBC Two’s Young, Bright and On The Right when we previewed it in last Saturday’s Guardian Guide :(

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Thursday, 9 August 2012

The Thursday Film: Oo Vuf Welcome, In Jaaaaaaaam

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In protest at Team GB spending a whole day not bothering to win any gold medals, we’re skipping today’s Olympic update. Oh, okay, we couldn’t be bothered. Instead, what might become a nice idea for a weekly update where we ‘curate’ (post a YouTube link to) a ‘fascinating movie curio’ (a film rare enough for its handlers not to have ordered its removal from YouTube).

Today: JAM FILMS (Japan 2002)

Despite our linkbait blog title, this has absolutely nothing to do with Christopher Morris’ extravaganza of ambient stupid, but rather a collection of delightfully skewed short films from Japan. Co-funded by Sega (yes, that Sega),the Jam Films anthology series took works from a number of different directors and basically gave them free rein to do whatever they liked. Which, given these are Japanese film directors we’re talking about, is pretty much a licence to print bizarre money with the yelping face of King Alan Tractors IV on it.

Here, you’ll find the following tales:

THE MESSENGER: the fate set to befall a mobster holed up in his concrete lair is laid out by a mysterious woman.

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KENDAMA: a ball and string toy gets mixed up with a bag of onions. Oddness ensues.

COLD SLEEP: A man awakes from suspended animation to find himself on a planet containing the wackiest high school in the world! (Of that particular planet.)

PANDORA: A woman with athlete’s foot consults a mysterious and slightly sinister old doctor, and ends up finding the cure in an unusual place.

HIJIKI: Translated as “edible seaweed”, a criminal takes a family hostage as a siege situation develops. But, who is actually the criminal(s) and who is truly the hostage(s)? Aaaah.

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JUSTICE: A bored schoolboy counts the snapping of tight shorts worn by girls jumping hurdles viewed from the classroom window.

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ARITA: A young woman has doodled a character called Arita throughout her life, but has no memory of ever doing so. It seems she is not alone. What IS going on?

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Jam Films was followed up by “Jam Films 2” in 2003 and “Jam Films S” in 2005, both of which were similarly interesting. Quite frankly, we’re surprised Jonathan Ross hasn’t insisted they get an outing on BBC Four, so instead we’ll be thankful that at least one of them is available to view in full on Good Old YouTube.

Fingers crossed that the others will appear at some point, but for now, sit back and enjoy the glorious oddity that is Jam Films.

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Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Olympic YouTube Gold Day 5: Oh, You Guys! ITV Live Coverage Of Seoul 1988? Like, As If!

We have to admit, the fakery skills of the YouTube faux-continuity community are becoming increasingly realistic. You can’t even tell this was made using MS Paint and Windows Video Maker AT ALL.

After all, were it not for the fanciful notion of ITV bothering with actual Olympic coverage, we might even have been fooled. Oh RIGHT – as if they were going to pick one Olympics to cover, and then make it one taking place all the way over in South Korea? Chinny reck-ON.

 

 

 

Wait, what?

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Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Olympic YouTube Gold Day 4: Olympic Grandstand 1984

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The first Olympics we can actually remember with any real kind of clarity - Daley Thompson! Zola Budd! “Of course, many of these contestants come from nations without swimming pools.” All that.

It was also the first time* the BBC went all out on presentation for their Olympic coverage, right down to their special rings-based BBC-1 ident (above, grabbed from a YouTube video itself pretty shamelessly… let’s say ‘mirrored’ from the mighty TV Ark). There isn’t even a special BBC One ident this year.

(*We are completely guessing here. We’ve never seen the titles for Olympics 72’, ‘76 or ‘80 and they don’t seem to be on YouTube or TV Ark. We’ll operate on the basis that if they were so bloody good, someone would have capped and uploaded them by now. Yes.)

But what of the title sequence for the BBC coverage?

Los Angeles 1984: Olympic Grandstand

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A fairly frugal start, with a pretty lo-fi ‘sun’ effect that instantly makes a you bit worried the scary baby face from Teletubbies is about to appear.

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Things only improve in quite a modest way, as shots of Famous Olympic Faces fade into view to the opening bars from Vengelis’ most famous offering, in a very mid-80s kind of a way. Come on, BBC! What’s going on, didn’t you get past page six of the manual for your Quantel Paintbox or something?

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That’s more like it! A pan over to what were probably termed at the time “3D Computer Graphics”, and a bevelled “BBC Television Presents”. This is more like it. The serif font tells you that this is going to be classy, too.

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Pan down with camera facing up, and we see the five iconic rings, from which…

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…five more columns emerge. This might look quite comically lame nowadays – yes, we know your microwave can produce flashier graphics than that, even when it’s not plugged in – but we dimly remember being wowed by all this. But then, we were wowed by MODE 7 on the BBC Micro and calculator watches, so y’know.

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A slow zoom toward the columns, and a silhouette of an athlete running with the Olympic flame. Quite noticeably this only seems to be animated at about 10fps, but it took a supercomputer the size of Anglesey to generate it all, so shush.

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Slow wipe into that mainstay of title sequences – sepia-tinged footage of classic Olympic moments old and new that gradually bleed into colour (“the Games coming to life before your very eyes”, a producer probably announced to his boss in an edit suite, we imagine). Carl Lewis, some steeplechasers, a swimming man, Sebastian “Jam Festival” Coe and such.

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Then, it’s our silhouette torch carrier again, this time in front of the official ‘stripey-stars’ logo for the 1984 Los Angeles games, the first point of the titles to give any clue where the while shebang is taking place.

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Another pan sideways along the Giraud-shaded Olympic venue, this time to reveal the title of the programme: Olympic Grandstand. As all BBC Olympic programmes should be called. Even now. In fact, especially now, so dads can explain to their offspring about what Grandstand was.

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Aaaaand….

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FLAME ON. See, now we’re in business.

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Cue more footage of the colourful British characters who we’ll be vicariously living through during the two-week Olympiad. Steve Cram!

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Zola Budd!

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Daley “ZXZXZXZXZXZXZXZXZXZXZX” Thompson!

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And on to the programme itself, in this instance footage of the Olympic Torch making its way to the host venue in a typically understated Californian manner.

To borrow a phrase from David Coleman, you have to say that’s remarkable.

RATING: GOLD

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Monday, 6 August 2012

Olympic YouTube Gold Day 3: BBC Good Morning Mexico,1968

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Remember the concept of British Cynicism? What were all that about? Yeah, we’re getting increasingly suckered in by it all, especially now we’re not distracted by the Team GB football team (which is probably as close as we’ll ever get to seeing Wales in the finals of a major international tournament, yet we still found it hard to genuinely make any emotional investment in it).

One major factor in the London Olympics being so well received must be the excellent BBC coverage. As all talk Stateside has been about the many, many failings of NBC’s coverage (really, not even bothering to show the 100m final live? It happened at about 4.50pm EST on a Sunday afternoon, you clods), many Americans have been proxying up the live BBC coverage. Add in viewing figures of more than 20 million for the Beeb coverage here – as well as the 24 dedicated HD channels* on Sky and Freesat – and you’ve got a fresh clutch of evidence to suggest the BBC really is the finest broadcaster on the planet.

(*Coincidentally, our favourite Tweet Of The Weekend:

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Excellent.)

 

So, how did the BBC cover the Olympics in the past? From behind a series of beige desks in London we imagine. Anyway, much more importantly, what were all the title sequences like? Were they all CGI? Were the titles for Moscow 1980 made from monochrome wireframe vector graphics? Where the Los Angeles 1984 titles a cheekily reworked version of the attract mode from Konami’s Track & Field arcade machine? And so on?

Let’s find out via the magic of Typing Quite Obvious Keywords Into YouTube’s Search Box...

Mexico 1968: You Can’t Spell Cheap And Functional Without ‘Fun’

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A slide that doesn’t even count as ‘animated’ unless you’re being hugely charitable, containing as it does the rising rings and the words plonking themselves into place one by one. And, erm, that’s it. Well, unless you’re counting that timeless Sports Report theme, but to modern ears (well, ours) that only makes it come across like a pisstake of Olympic coverage from an episode of Fantasy Football League.

We do get a split screen dual clock and Frank Bough, though (see top of page). Plus, the fun of all the action taking place while any right-minded Briton is soundly asleep makes it all seem a bit more international, if you ask us.

Okay, we’re making excuses. A poor start.

RATING: KNOCKED OUT IN AN EARLY HEAT

 

(Another trot through Olympiads past tomorrow, chums!)

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Olympic YouTube Gold*: Day Two (*Still Soon To Be Retitled “Quadrennial Sporting Occasion YouTube Shiny Brown” Under Threat Of Legal Action)

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Second-division Hanna-Barbara characters: this is, as Martine McCutcheon might say, Your Golden Moment. It’s an episode of 1977 cartoon ‘supergroup’ Laff-A-Lympics! With fondly remembered characters like, er, Dynomutt, Taffy Dare, Hokey Wolf, Blabber, Junior Creeply and Orful Octopus!

Basically, it’s Wacky Races, only without the ‘being any good’.Here’s episode one of it:

OLYMPIC-BASED TWEET OF THE DAY THAT WE THINK SHOULD HAVE GOT MORE CREDIT THAN IT DID SO WE’RE RE-POSTING IT HERE: “Just switched to the rowing on BBC Olympic 47. No arguments at all, just some blokes in a boat. Rubbish.”

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Sunday, 5 August 2012

Olympic YouTube Gold*: Day One (*Soon To Be Retitled “Quadrennial Sporting Occasion YouTube Shiny Brown” Under Threat Of Legal Action)

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Hey, it’s all going really well, isn’t it? Even all the people who’d been bleating on about how it was going to be rubbish have been pretty quiet. So, what better time to pick out some of our favourite Olympic-related TV moments from the digital wilderness? And nothing at all to do with how it’ll mean we can queue up a week of blog posts in a spare hour on Saturday afternoon, no really, honest.

TODAY! Spine Milligna’s classic “The Irish O’Lympics” sketch from (if memory serves*) A Series of Unrelated Incidents at Current Market Value.

(*After someone uploaded it to UKNova. We’re not THAT old.)

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Saturday, 4 August 2012

The LG 42LM660T: A Television Review For The Rest Of Us

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You know the score. You have your eye on a new TV set, partly because your current television had, er, someone live-pause it on a shot of Gabby Logan for an hour meaning there’s some incriminating burn-in stuck there, and partly because if you want to watch Netflix on your current set you have to do it via your Xbox 360 like some kind of caveman. After all, hey - what IS this, the first half of 2012? Get with the times!

So, you find a likely model available at the retailer of your choice. You check that the number of HDMI slots on it roughly matches up with the number of things you want to plug into it, and then seek out an online review.

“BLEH BLEH BLEH CONTRAST RATIO BLEH BLEH INKY BLACKS BLEH BLEH TRUMOTION CLEAR PLUS 600MhZ BLEH DISCREPANCY ACROSS DISPLAY BLEH DELTA E 3.4 BLUGH BLAGH BLAGHGH”

Before you can ponder whether an average discrepancy across display of 13% is a good average discrepancy across display, you’ll probably be nursing a headache.

Someone needs to write a hardware review of the rest of us.

And that someone is us.

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Friday, 27 July 2012

Twitter Just Got 8.34% Better…

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…because offkilter animation pioneer John Krickfalusi is now on it. Purportedly.

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Though, slightly strangely using the @JohnKricfalusi1 non-de-twume, as the account name @JohnKricfalusi was already in use by, er,

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A mostly inactive account, with only six tweets ever, only one tweet since 2009, and the opening tweet was ‘him’ saying a thing his most well-known character says

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Meanwhile, the new, possibly-real JohnK account contains several in-progress scribbles from his forthcoming George Liquor cartoon, and a link to the Kickstarter page which aims to fund the project. So yeah, we suspect the new Twitter account IS the real JohnK.

This means two things.

THING ONE: You should probably follow him now. If it weren’t for the popularity of Ren & Stimpy, many of the artists behind Adult Swim might never have found the inspiration to move away from safe, family friendly cartoon fare.

THING TWO: We’ve got an excuse to post a YouTube video of his twisted take on Yogi Bear, a primary colour film noir, if you will – Boo Boo Runs Wild.

Lovely stuff.

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Thursday, 26 July 2012

LIST SPECIAL: The Fifty Most-Watched (and Least-Watched) TV Channels In The UK, 2012

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Channel 4 have recently been running a series of programmes looking at mental disorders, and the stigma often unfairly attached to them. The most enjoyable of these so far was Tuesday night’s A LITTLE BIT OCD, where nowhere-near-as-popular-as-he-bloody-well-should-be comedian Jon Richardson spoke to sufferers of the disorder, and considered whether his own compulsion for having everything in order meant he was a victim of it himself.

In that slightly attention-seeking “look, we’re suffering too! Albeit at a microscopically low level!” way you know and tolerate us for, we can relate to that. The volume on our TV always has to be set at a figure ending in an even number (unless it ends in ‘5’, which is acceptable because it’s a nice clean number). When scrolling through a web page we’re reading, we have to keep our scrolling so that text at the top of the window isn’t cut off half way. Hard to explain, so here’s what we mean:

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On the left, a web page where the scrolling has been stopped in a WHOLLY UNACCEPTABLE POSITION. On the right, order has been restored to the universe and our skin can now stop itching. And really, not exaggerating there – that kind of thing really does annoy us. Even the occasional stray pixel of the tail from a ‘y’ creeping into the top of a browser window just has to be corrected before we can concentrate on reading something properly. Which is possibly why it takes us ages to get anything done.

Anyway, another thing that we often need to correct before going about our day (or putting down the iPad and getting out of bed, whatever) is thinking of an utterly pointless question that no-one in their right mind could really care about, and then having to know the answer before doing anything else.

Usually, Google, Wikipedia or Twitter can provide us with an answer. Occasionally, it’s almost certainly an answer based on guesswork, but that doesn’t really matter. We’ll have a modicum of order in what can loosely be defined as ‘our lives’, and we can move on to bigger things (or getting dressed), secure in the knowledge that we now know when postcodes were first used in Britain. 11 October 1959, if you were wondering. (Though now we’ve looked up which day of the week that was, and it was a Sunday, which makes NO SENSE AT ALL TO US. Gah. Unless it was at 11:59pm on the Sunday for technically reasons, so more or less Monday 12 October 1959. Yes, that makes a kind of sense. Phew.)

Occasionally though, the question will be one that no-one has bothered answering, generally for a very good reason. Which, of course, simply Will Not Do. So, we’ll then have to work out the answer for ourselves.

Case in point, our semi-regular looks at the most- and least-watched TV channels on the British digital gigaplex. It’s been about a year since we last looked at the nation’s favourite and least loved networks, so it’s probably time we updated things.

HOW IT WORKS: nabbing the “digital top 10s” data from the perpetually excellent barb.co.uk for several weeks, working out the average viewing figure an individual broadcast of a programme needs to make that top ten for every single channel, then plonking it all in a great big lovely list. Every channel to report their viewing figures to BARB is included (223 channels in all), and the last weeks of April, May and June 2012 have been calculated, so that no channel receives an unfair boost from popular short-term events like Euro 2012.

For those too damn lazy to click on the previous hyperlinks (tsk), last time we looked at this kind of thing, the top ten were ITV1, BBC1, BBC2, Channel 4, Channel 5, ITV2, BBC Three, E4, ITV3 and Sky1, in that order. Back then, we accounted for +1 and HD channels in the figures – this time we haven’t because it’ll be interesting to see how the timeshifted and high-def channels are performing on their own (and because we forgot to add them up before making the tables below). 

Here goes:

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So. What does that teach us? No, not that we’ve got too much time on our hands, everyone already knew that. BBC One has taken top spot from ITV1, helped in part by bagging a huge 21 million viewers for their broadcast of the Euro 2012 clash between England and Sweden. There’s a case to point out that adding in figures for ITV1 HD and ITV1+1 puts it ahead of BBC One, but sadly BARB don’t report (at least publically) any figures for BBC One HD, so we can’t make a true comparison there.

Other things of interest: positions three to five are as they were, with BBC2, C4 and C5 remaining in the same positions as last year. With three sets of top ten shows almost entirely made up of Family Guy repeats (yep, really), BBC Three sneaks ahead of ITV2, even if the numbers for both channels are slightly down year on year. Slightly lower down the list, BBC Four is now battling with Sky1 for a place in the top ten. Probably fair to say that a big factor in Sky1’s downfall is Sky’s decision to put the majority of their new entertainment programming on Sky Atlantic (which entirely coincidentally isn’t available on cable – what are the odds, eh?). Not that an impressive roster of new comedy seems to be helping Sky Atlantic much – a year ago their average ‘score’ was 266.35, while this year it’s slipped to 204.10. At the same time, BBC Four’s figure has remained pretty similar (494.35 last year, 492.33 this year).

Channel 4’s decision to make More4 rubbish doesn’t seem to have paid ratings-based dividends. In 2011, the average rating of a top ten show on More4 was 610,000 viewers. For 2012, the endless repeats of Grand Designs and Come Dine With Me are bringing an average of 379,000 viewers per top ten programme. Meanwhile, E4 has held pretty steady, showing that showing nothing but repeats of The Inbetweeners is pretty much as effective as showing nothing but repeats of Friends.

One slight surprise is the increasing unpopularity of G.O.L.D. Back in the days when Sky came through a coal-powered decoder rather than a digibox, UK Gold was about as big as non-Murdoch channels came. Nowadays, a relentless flood of the same two dozen episodes of Porridge, Vicar of Dibley and The Green bloody Green bloody Grass isn’t working so well, with the channel slipping from 195.63 to 133.20. It’s even below Disney Junior in our rundown. Disney Junior!

In other news: StarzTV – a channel comprised wholly of awful R&B music and text messages from people who can’t spell – is more popular than BBC News, Sky Atlantic, FX, Comedy Central and Challenge. On the one hand, it’s nice to see a music channel can still prove to be so popular in this day and age. On the other hand, our fingers are all wet with all the tears we’ve just wept for humanity.

Anyway, speaking of music channels, shall we pay some of them a visit in their natural habitat? More commonly known as “The Fifty Least-Watched UK TV Channels in 2012”.

Last time we looked at this, the least popular channels were (in ascending order) WTF TV, NME TV, Q, Scuzz, Community Channel, MTV Rocks, Bliss, ESPN America, Dance Nation and Men & Movies. How many of them will still be rooted to the bottom? How many of them will even still exist? And why did we title the following graphic “Top 50 Least-Watched UK TV Channels”? Ah well, too late to change to correct to something more grammatically sensible now.

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So, while last time around seven of the bottom ten were music channels, this time only three music channels are loitering around the arse-end of our rundown. Some, like NME TV, have disappeared from broadcasting, while some (like WTF TV – since rebranded as ‘Massive R&B’) have stopped reporting viewing figures. In some cases though, music channels have become slightly more popular – Bliss, Scuzz, Kerrang and even MTV Rocks have all risen up the list notably, increasing their viewing figures to match. Apart, that is, from poor old Q, still languishing second from bottom of the list. We can’t imagine how it’s still going really, unless the 17 people who watch the channel slavishly buy everything advertised on it, thereby keeping advertising rates high.

Also near the bottom, Wedding TV. Last time around, the channel was sitting in a relatively respectable 136th place, albeit thanks to each programme in their top ten being a repeat of Bridezillas. This time around, they seem to have lost the rights to their most popular show – about half the shows in the top tens for the channel are that big old ratings hitter, um, ‘Teleshopping’.

Bottom of them all though – and the only channel with shows technically rating ‘zero’ making their weekly top ten (though in fairness, it just means shows attracting fewer than 1000 viewers) – is ‘My Channel’ That’s ‘My Channel’.

Admittedly, when we saw that, we did think “oh, it must be on cable only, or at the very least tucked away in the 800s on Sky’s EPG. But no, there it is on Sky channel 203, nestled between E4 HD and Universal Channel HD. And it’s not as if it’s a new pseudo-channel packed with nothing but teleshopping and telephone astrologists, either. Our extensive research shows that it’s been going since 2006, originally called Eat Cinema and targeted at filmgoers (though given the title, we’d have thought it was a food channel and avoided it), After spending the first few years after being rebranded to My Channel showing little but repeats of old (ugh) L!VE TV programmes, it eventually got bought up by our favourite Brazilian TV company Record Media Group, and seems to show mostly original and imported programming. Though sadly no British version of wonderously demented Brazilian variety show Tudo é Possível. Which is a huge mistake, as this clip shows:

Heed our words, My Channel. You’ll be in that top fifty before you know it.

 

And there you go. Our rundown – and possibly sole remaining original idea – over for another year. Curiosity sated. Bringing order to things. Letting us sleep. Aaah. We can finally relax.

 

 

 

Wait.

 

 

 

Did we leave a teaspoon in the dessert spoon part of the cutlery drawer?

 

 

 

 

Ah, shit.

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Wednesday, 25 July 2012

The Real, REAL Mad Men

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WEIRDLY COMPELLING RETRO ARTHOUSE YOUTUBE OF THE DAY.

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Advertising has never BEEN so Madison Avenue-style weird, compelling, and dare we say it, educational as this. A 27-minute long pitch born from the brain of design legend Saul Bass, looking at a 1970 reimagining of the corporate identity for Bell Telecom.

No wait! Come back!

It’s actually – as we said – strangely compelling, even if you’re not a design spod, even going into why certain logotypes are better than others. Even, at one point, fleetingly pointing out the failings of itself. Who knew modern postmodernism is as old as 42?

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Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Nozin’ Aroun’ USA

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LITTLE KNOWN FACT: You know the infamous Nozin’ Aroun’ show-within-a-show from The Young Ones? With a young Ben Elton telling us how it’ll be looking at the issues facing YOUNG ADULTS in the modern crazy world of 1982? Well, it was actually based on a Chicago public access show called ‘Teen Talk’ where “the teens get to do the talking, and the adults get to listen”.

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Here’s a sample clip from it, with the particular episode in question being about the new craze of ‘punk rock’.

OR

It’s a promo video for the songs ‘Burrow and Bomb’ and ‘I Got News For You’ by California hardcore punk supergroup Off!, starring Dave Foley and lots of brilliant riffs on American television  from the early early 1980s.

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YOU DECIDE.

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Actually, no, you don’t get to decide. It’s the second one of those two things. Quite clearly. It is quite expertly put together, though.

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ENJOY.

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