Sunday, 31 December 2006

BrokenTV's Tribute To A Forgotten Comic Genius

Yes, we've finally got around to updating BrokenTV TV. And what have we added? Some of the best old comedy we've found, dating from the late 1940s. Viewers of Victor Lewis-Smith's output may well have noticed clips of old Public Information Films with a rubbery-faced old man being bollocked by an off-screen announcer who throws pepper in his face, but the full version of this, and other films from the era seem to have been missing from YouTube. UNTIL NOW.

"Don't drink it, man!"

Watching them all now, we can't help but hail the star of these short films, one Richard Massingham, as a comic talent to rival Hancock, before Anthony Aloysius Hancock had got anywhere near a TV screen. Born in 1898, Massingham worked in medicine, at one point being appointed Senior Medical Officer at the London Fever Hospital, but also made occasional short films. Noting that there was nobody making specialist informational films for the public, he set up Public Relationship Films Ltd in 1938, and set about making a troubled Britain a slightly safer place. Especially once the Nazis stopped dropping bombs on it, of course.

The clips we've got here date from 1945 to 1948, and are just a few of the ninety or so short films he turned out over his short career. Massingham went on to co-direct (with Jacques Brunius) an award-winning short film for children, To The Rescue, and had begun work on The Blakes Slept Here, excitingly quoted at Screenonline as "a lavish and curious Technicolor amalgam of gas advertisement and historical cavalcade", when he sadly passed away in 1953.

Just imagine how great he could have been given the Bill Kerr role in the TV version of Hancock's Half Hour.

Here are a few shorts of Massingham magic, in full.

Coughs and Sneezes (1945)

Or, the one that was on TV Offal (or was it Ads Infinitum? Or neither?). All great fun, but quite how people who go about kicking other people into rivers can be classified as 'pretty harmless', we're not sure.

Don't Spread Germs (Jet Propelled Germs) (1948)

Semi-sequel to the above snot-aversion campaign, includes a wonderful bit of announcer intervention.

Pedestrian Crossing (1948)

Pay heed, citizenry. How to cross the road in post-war Britain. "It's no good thinking you can have a sleep!"

A Warning to Travellers (Five Pounds in Notes) (1949)

Richard Massingham being told ONLY TO TAKE FIVE POUNDS IN NOTES WHEN HE GOES ABROAD, otherwise the balance of payments will get all messed up. Less excellent than his other PIFs (his character speaks for one thing, instead of just pulling faces), but any Richard Massingham is fine by us.

There is one Massingham clip already up at YouTube, Watch Your Meters, which is nice, because the version we've got has messed up sound, and you can get hold of the super What A Life! (a tongue in cheek look at postwar austerity) from (we'd put that on YouTube, but we're not directors so can't put twelve-minute epics up there).

ScreenOnline has more details on the great man, including more clips of his short films (but only if you're a school, college or uni, which we're not. Bah). It even includes a transcript of an article written by Massingham for Sight And Sound in 1939, Richard Massingham on Continuity.

Now, if you'll excuse us, we're off to spend the new year fretting about the balance of payments and drinking. Look out for the BrokenTV Awards 2006 tomorrow, if we're sober enough. Until then, here's a bonus bit of VLS-approved retro clippage, this time from 1950, telling foreigners how to use our buses.

Sunday, 24 December 2006

They Never Seemed To Select The Moneybags Icon

Here's something we were thinking of doing for a while. Remember The Chart Show? The pop video showcase that used to be on Channel Four in the 1980s (and then on ITV, where it wasn't anywhere near as good)? Repeats of old episodes are now running on Sky Digital channel The Vault on Saturday mornings and Thursday afternoons. It'd be handy to capture one of those, and bung it up onto YouTube so everyone can see it, we reckon.

Well, what with us being as endemically lazy as ever, it's quite fortunate that someone else has done just that. Except, even more excellently, they've uploaded an original Channel Four broadcast of it. So, with thanks to the enigmatic (well, we presume so) JamesTV2001, here it is in full colour. Now we can all sit back, watch that cutting edge Amiga 500 graphicry, and hope that the specialist chart rewinds to one of the songs in it that we want to see,
even although it hardly ever bloody did:

Part one. "Everything Good is Bad" by Westworld, "Burn It Up" by The Beatmasters with PP Arnold and "Why Are You Being So Reasonable Now" by Wedding Present.

Part two. "The Garden Of Eden" by The Garden of Eden and "Copperhead Road" by Steve Earle.

Part three. "Please Help the Cause against Lonliness" by Sandie Shaw, "Valerie", "Don't You Know What The Night Can Do", & "Roll With It" by Steve Winwood. Before somebody stuck a drum machine behind the latter and then claimed it was their own song.

Part four. "Harvest For The World" by The Christians, "Don't Cry" by Boy George and bloody "Orinoco Flow" by bloody Enya.

Part five. "Ordinary Angel" by Hue & Cry, "True Love" by Glenn Frey and "Riding on a Train" by The Pasadenas.

The final bit, with "Desire" by eighties band U2.

There's a heap more Chart Show goodness from the same Tuber here. It includes the last ever episode from 1998 (which includes a superb montage of all the Chart Show graphics over the years) and a special from 1986 (which is great, because Fuzzbox are on it). Both of which we probably would have been better off posting here, but what can you do, eh?

Tuesday, 12 December 2006

Music To Eat Griddles By

We're currently sitting at home waiting for Johnny Parcelforce to deliver the Nintendo Wii we should be getting today. We'd be really excited, if it weren't for two things:

(a) The parcel tracking page for the delivery in Amazon claims that it was actually delivered yesterday morning. No it bloody wasn't. Nobody was in, and no stupid little card was left. And you'd said Tuesday on your confirmation email. If J. Parcelforce has nicked it, then we'll have to go on some sort of MASSIVE DAMAGE spree at their depot.

(b) SWEET MOTHER OF MERCY DAYTIME TELEVISION IS BAD. Why do the BBC assume people who have nothing better to do than watch TV at 10am are the kind of audience thinking "how I can buy lots of houses, have them renovated, and sell them on for profit?" It's more likely they're thinking "how long have I had that bread in? Wonder if there are any green bits on it yet?" Or, in our case, thinking of ways to cause MASSIVE DAMAGE to the local Parcelforce depot.

A far better thing to broadcast at this time of the morning is a static screen of a scary clown, and some jaunty music. They did it all the time in the 1970s and early 1980s, when there were lots more people with nothing better to do than watch TV at 10am, and we're betting with that cheery little lift to their collective spirit, the peoples of Britain set about inventing the ZX Spectrum and DNA fingerprinting and stuff.

By way of testing this theory, we've put the YouTube video below on a loop for the last half hour, and we've already come up with a number of new exciting ideas. Mainly ideas for inflicting MASSIVE DAMAGE on the local Parcelforce depot if our Wii doesn't arrive in the next few hours, but it's a start.

[Midnight update]Luckily, our Wii arrived not long after we'd noticed that someone we've never heard of had signed for it via ParcelForce's online tracking. They lived down the road, and delivered earlier this evening. Which was lucky for us, because Johnny Parcelforce couldn't be bothered putting a card through our letterbox telling us who he'd given it to, so they could just as well have kept it, and we would never know.

Here's our in-depth review of the Wii so far: It is excellent. Wii Sports is wonderful, but Wii Play is slightly disappointing so far (apart from the 9-ball pool game, which is tops). In fact, Wii Sports is so ace, we haven't even got around to trying Zelda or Call Of Duty 3 yet. Our Mii code is 6585 9853 0847 1206, in case anyone wants to kick our online arses at, well, whatever online games might appear.


Sunday, 3 December 2006

American Television: Special Report

My Name Is Earl. American Dad. Curb Your Enthusiasm. The Daily Show. Arrested Development. Studio 60 On Sunset Strip. Lost. 24. The Colbert Report. American television is in a very healthy state at the moment, possibly the healthiest it's ever been. OR IS IT?

Thanks to modern technology, namely the newest version of TVUPlayer, we can finally see what it's really like without it stopping for rebuffering every five seconds. And guess what? Well, predictibly, it's mostly rubbish, which much of the day outside primetime being taken up with teleshopping or tedious local micro-news. Of course, what with the channels being taken from the west-coast feeds, they're all about seven hours behind us, meaning you need to be up at around 4am to see anything in primetime, but even then it's mostly repeats or dull reality TV that even Bravo 2 will turn their nose up at over here.

The screenshots we've tried to take don't work, so have an out of date one.

The listing of available channels is constantly updated in the new beta version (which works much better for us than the last 'stable' release), meaning a few appear and disappear at random (BBC World popped up on the list for us the other day, only it wouldn't work. If a working version of BBC Prime pops up, we'll be really pleased). It does contain Comedy Central, so night owls will be able to see live editions of The Daily Show and Colbert, but be warned - the same channel seems to show endless episodes of MadTV, surely the worst sketch comedy ever broadcast. Although we haven' t seen Blunder yet.

Oh, and you can use it for seeing live 3pm Saturday Premiership football, which was the real reason we'd used it in the first place. Yesterday we watched the Wigan-Liverpool match, which was quite odd, as it featured no commentators at all, just the crowd noise and occasional caption.

Special bonus selection of YouTube clips sorted of linked to the two above things: Classic clips from the NASL! You've gots to love that Being There-ish TV coverage.

George Best's greatest ever goal, for the San Jose Earthquakes.

Ronaldinho's overhead volley? Pah! Giorgio Canaglia of the NY Cosmos did it first!

Do the hustle. With the Seattle Sounders, circa 1975.

1977 Soccer Bowl: New York Cosmos take on the Seattle Sounders.

1978 Soccer Bowl: New York Cosmos vs The Tampa Bay Rowdies.

1980 Soccer Bowl: New York Cosmos vs Ft. Lauderdale Strikers.

1981 Soccer Bowl: New York Cosmos vs Chicago Sting. It's a shootout!

Friday, 24 November 2006

Tiswas: It's Coming Back

MediaGuardian says:
"ITV is set to air a 90-minute special version of 1970s children's show Tiswas. Presenter Chris Tarrant and other members of the original cast are due to be reunited for the one-off, according to The Sun. The return of the cult show will feature clips of the original, plus new sketches. However, co-producer Tarrant is said to be searching his own collection of tapes for Tiswas footage after it emerged that 350 master tapes were thrown away."
Good news, of course, as Tiswas was wonderful and much better than boring old Swap Shop. And it's nice to see ITV paying tribute to one of it's classic programmes that isn't Spitting Image (which they inevitably go and mess up by letting John Fucking Culshaw anywhere near it).

Things that are going to happen in ITV's forthcoming Tiswas revival:

1) They won't mention any of the dodgy racist bits that were it, such as Chris Tarrant in a pretend 'Lenny Henry: This Is Your Life' segment saying that Len has been "seen everywhere, apart from in coal mines". Yes, really. It's on the VHS 'Best of' that we've got.

2) There will be an interview with the man who used to be the tiny child who used to dress up as a rabbit and sing Bright Eyes, which won't be very interesting because, really, how can it be, unless he has since turned into one of those odd 'FurryLover' people who populate 60% of Second Life and can only get an erection while dressed as a woodland creature, or something?

3) There'll be about twenty seconds about OTT, and that only saying how terrible it was, even though it actually quite enjoyable in a knockabout way. And clearly a billion times better than Bo! in the USA.

4) They'll pass on the opportunity to show an entire episode (taken from Chris Tarrant's shed) on one of their digital offshoot channels, because then there'd be slightly less room for people who've been on Big Brother trying to con people on low incomes into wasting £1.50 a call that doesn't even 'get through' on a fixed 'quiz'. Well, after spending ninety minutes showing us all the best bits and saying how ace it all was, why would viewers possibly want the chance to see an episode for themselves, eh?

5) Three million slightly pathetic men in their thirties will make a mental note of whether they still 'would' when the Sally James of 2006 appears on screen.

Saturday, 11 November 2006

It's a new find

New, from the makers of BrokenTV: BrokenFM. Like BrokenTV, but about music, and home to at least two good ideas. Only one of which was stolen from elsewhere

Issue one comes with a super free gift for all boys and girls - a 99 track compilation that can magically fit onto a single CD (until the link gets removed).

Friday, 10 November 2006

Accidental Rudeness News


You know, for ages now, we've been looking over the blog and wondering why no-one ever leaves comments any more. Over twenty people have been looking at the site every single week, and nary a "dude, where are the pictures of Beverly D'Angelo in the shower I'd Googled?". With typical stiff-upper-lipedness we'd continued to post, but always in the back of our minds were the sounds of children taunting us with cries of "you're a rubbish blog that no-one comments on" to the sound of Ring A Ring Of Roses (it didn't scan very well, but that's what they'd chant).

Just now, we've flipped over to the new Blogger software, and upon logging in to prepare for Secret Super Excellent New Project, we've just noticed a tab labelled "52 Unmoderated Comments". One click later, and in amongst all of the "Grate site! Please be visit my site full of teh scamware!" comments from scammers, were several proper comments from loyal readers. Oh, you guys! Here, have some lollipops!

They're yoghurt flavoured ones and everything.

Commenting should now be working properly, so you can all feel free to tell us what you think again. And with luck, the voices of the children in our head will soon go back to only taunting us about that tramp we killed when we were eleven.
(Coincidentally, all of the comments should now be in place, if anyone wants to read them.)

Tuesday, 7 November 2006

BrokenTV's Nitpicky Review of The State Within, in Easy To Digest Chunks

The deleted final scene from the Everybody
Hurts video finally unearthed.

We're glad they stopped the shaky-close-up-on-faces-o-cam after the first few minutes. It looked awful.

Was is just us, or did quite a look of it seem overdubbed? The dialogue didn't quite fit the action in a few of the office scenes, and sounded as if it were recorded in a sound booth, not the set of an office. Quite distracting, really.

The Virginia Governor going all Sun reader "lock the lot of 'em up" crazy after one terror attack seemed a bit unrealistic, even for an American politico. If it had been referred to as the second or third similar attack in a few years, that would have made more sense. They could have just mentioned it, they wouldn't have needed to prepare another expensive CGI shot or anything.

Why do dramas like this and Death of a President always have such laughably fake looking pretend American news channels? Can't they get the people behind The Day Today's 10NN to knock something up? The fake news network didn't even have the Stars 'n' Stripes, or horrid over-CGI'd WAR ON AMERICA FROM THE SKIES logo on screen or anything. We could be grateful they didn't just rope in some News 24 presenters like they normally do, or do what Doctor Who did, and have a pretend American news network operating in what is clearly the Wales Today studio ("Look, there's where Bob Humphrys usually sits!").

The young muslim couple INADEQUATE SPOILER SPACE in the car who got killed should have been introducing into the story near the start, getting concerned about the attack, started to get annoyed by the press treatment, and just when you think they're going to become main characters, the accident happens. If you're going to be a conspiracy drama with lots of twists, this is the sort of thing you should be doing, not faux-controversial OMG THAT EVIL EMBASSY BLOKE IS A GAY111! stuff.

So, who will the baddies be? The fictional country that the writers have made up a name for especially for the show? Could be!

Wednesday, 25 October 2006

Unexpected Blackburn Rovers Left-back Sightings

Is our telly on the blink, or is that really Graham Le Saux hosting Working Lunch?

No, it is him. Blimey. How long's he been doing that then? We've heard of Garth Crooks fronting Despatch Box once, but again: blimey.

As for 'how well did he do?', the odd bit of verbal muddlement, but on the whole quite well. Better than Tony Livesey on North-West Tonight, not as good as The Chiles on, well, anything he's been asked to do. 6.5/10.

Next week: Newsnight, with your newsreader Stig Inge Bjørnebye.

Saturday, 14 October 2006

Out and about with BrokenTV

As you may not be aware, one of the things that BrokenTV tries to do in order to keep it different from all the other meanderings in the ‘blogniverse (yes, ‘blog with an inverted comma because it’s an abbreviation of weblog, and niverse because ‘blogosphere would be a twatty thing to say) is get all sniffy about the correct use of English on the Inter-Net (yeah, shut up). Another is trying to keep posts restricted to the topic of television (films that are on television and music videos also count, of course), in order to avoid going the way of 99.8% of ‘blogs and twittering away endlessly about the mind-numbing minutiae of our everyday lives as if anyone bloody cares. But, gentle reader, we hope you’ll allow the mask to slip just a little for this one occasion, before we get back to our usual business of going on about how Studio 60 On Sunset Strip is utterly fantastic and how the new series of Extras is tremendously shit. And tenuously enough, it’s the very matter of what the new series of Extras tremendously is that we’re going to break cover for.

BrokenTV found itself driving home after a visit to the city of Chester (a place we don’t often visit, especially as they’d gone to all the trouble of erecting a massive wall 2000 years earlier expressly to keep the Welsh likes of us out of there, so popping in and out of the place might seem a bit rude. Also, the car parks are really expensive) after discovering an excellent little bookshop selling a whole range of books by the excellent publishers Teschen at super prices. On his return to BrokenTV Towers, we were stuck behind a truck with a wonderfully apt number plate. Viz:

Now you see why we mentioned the fact we’d been to a bookshop. It’s to deflect the chance that you’ll think a lot less of us now you know we’re the sort of people who’ll fumble around in their pocket to get their mobile phone out to take a grainy jpeg photograph of a number plate that has the word ‘poo’ in it. But look closer, and you’ll see just why it was an event worthy of capture. What type of vehicle is it? It a truck especially designed for the purpose of unclogging drains. And what does that number plate say in full? What are the odds of a truck explicitly intended to, and we’re going to be blunt here, unclog excreta from drains having those three letters assigned to it’s registration number by the perpetually humourless DVLA? Exactly.

But it doesn’t end there, gentle (and possibly repulsed) viewer. Take a look at the first two letters of the vehicle registration: X4. Using the first letter in it’s arithmetic context, that’s ‘times four’. ‘Times four poo’. And what’s the sort of thing that’s very likely to clog a drain in such a comprehensive manner that it would necessitate an entire large truck to extract such a blockage? That’s right. A poo that is no less than FOUR TIMES the norm. Now, factor that into our earlier question about a vehicle designated the decongestion of drainage systems being attributed such an apt registration number, and if you’ve any sense you’ll be hastily re-evaluating your opinion on chaos theory.

You know, we can’t help but wonder about how the driver of the poomobile feels about this. And we’re sure he must have noticed the massive yellow coincidence hanging off his wheel-arch. “Aw, frigging heck, is it my turn to take out the X4 again? Can’t I take out the one with the F1 ACE number plate? That looks much cooler, and I haven’t got to take it anywhere for ages.” We noticed him glancing into his wing mirror as we were lining up the shot, and while he was probably just checking if anyone was about to overtake him, maybe he was thinking to himself “oh cocking great. Another idiot taking a mobile phone picture of my number plate. I wonder if I can get them to veer off the road into a ditch”. It’s okay though, we tried to make it look like we were sending a text.

Of course, it’s perfectly possible that the number plate was also used as an identifier as the where the truck fits into their fleet of Special Vehicles. X2 POO would just be a little van that could blast a medium-sized blockage clear, while the X8 prefix would be attached to a vehicle the size of three fire engines. And X16 (That’s quite enough about poo. –Ed).

This article was originally published in The Guardian.

(Oh alright, no it wasn’t.)


Wednesday, 27 September 2006

Waterlogged Pitch

So, as is tradition every five years or so, the BBC have announced some new idents for BBC One. As part of the tradition, several message board posters and the Daily Heil are ready to whine loudly about the fact the BBC has spent some money on something that isn't Radio 4, and (if the new idents feature any non-white faces) it's overwhelmingly politically correct, or (if the new idents don't feature any non-white faces) the BBC is inherently racialist. Well, BrokenTV understands the concerns of Middle England all too well (we once lived in a constituency where Boris Johnson was running as an MP, you know), and flush from the success of our little BrokenTV ident in the bottom corner of this very screen, we submitted our own design proposals to the BBC. Now they've gone and picked Red Bee instead of us, we can now make our offerings available to you, the Peoples Of The United Kingdom Of Great Britain And Northern Ireland. The following is a transcript of our meeting with the BBC, made just a few weeks ago.


Hello, the BBC. Why did you devote a ninety-minute show to The Goodies and then fail to show any of the classic episodes afterwards, eh? Anyway, we're here to make our proposal for the new idents, which, if you'll excuse the pun, are 'express'ly designed to offset the flak you usually receive from the right-leaning members of Her Majesty's press. Eh? Eh? If you'll just allow us to get our laptop out of our bag, and fire up Powerpoint...

[BrokenTV fumbles around rucksack. After a fashion, a Powerpoint presentation flashes up. The first page is a BBC logo atop a massive flowchart filled with words like 'synergy', 'identity', 'the need to meet needs' and 'the opportunity for opportunity' in a bad choice of font.]

Here we are. Now, this [gestures vaguely at screen] is what you're clearly looking for. This sort of... thing. And we're sure you'll get lots of pitches that only address these needs. But...

[Click. The screen switches to a new slide, with the title 'Criticism'. Click. A selection of Daily Heil and Daily Express headlines fade in. "I'm white, middle-class, straight and I love my wife. Why does the BBC hate me?", "Are the BBC training terrorists how to explode Britain by screening Time Trumpet?", "Were the BBC responsible for Diana's death?", you know the drill, printing questions as headlines so they don't have to tell the truth. It seems BrokenTV have used the 'Wheel Clockwise, 8 spokes' transition for every page, the chumps.]

...what about the selection of drubbings the BBC regularly receives from the seething faces of right-wing columnists and people who post on the internet? What about their needs? It's their BBC too! The Beeb is funded by everyone for everyone, so why shouldn't the majority of it's output cater for the tastes of a few million people in the Home Counties who think What's My Line should be brought back and shown on Saturday nights and they should bring back hanging? We assume your silence means you agree with us, which is why we've come up with the following ideas for BBC One station idents.

Proposal one. Here we address the inevitable complaints that the new brand identity will cost some money.

[Click. New slide, a mocked up headline reading "the BBC spend £1.2million on thing that isn't even a programme - should the board of governors all be shot?"]

In order to offset the inevitable criticism about you spending lots of money THAT COULD BE GIVEN TO NURSES on branding, how about this...?

[Click. A black screen. Slowly, a monochrome lo-res globe and BBC One logo is etched onto the centre of the display.]

We're pretty sure we'd worked out how to stop
the cursor blinking and everything.

That's right; this is a BBC One ident that will comfortably avoid any criticism. And appropriately enough, it's running on an second hand BBC Micro we'd picked up on eBay for just ten Great British Pounds. It takes a while to load, so you might want to start the tape going a few minutes before the end of the previous programme, but it is very cost effective...


You don't seem too impressed. Look, it's in mode 7 and everything!

[More silence.]

Okay, well how about section two.

[Click. A newspaper headline "'Is having lots of foreigners dancing about between programmes the reason I fought in World War II?' says war hero", above a montage containing some sepia soldiers, a BBC logo, a union flag with a cross through it, and a swastika with a question mark next to it.]

A lot of people are concerned that the current brand identity doesn't reflect the identity of Britain. Granted, these are the sort of people who are likely to complain loudly to strangers about how they expect the BBC will soon drop the word 'British' and replace it 'Blair's'. Or, of course, 'Brown's'. As long as the next leader of the Labour Party has a name beginning with 'B', they'll make that point. So, with that in mind, we've prepared some proposals for BBC One idents that reflect the identity of our sainted isle and a bit of another isle.


Here's one you'll love... a Chelsea pensioner doing the Ricky Gervais dance in a fish and chip shop.

We came up with that logo as well. We think Red Bee
have hacked our PC, you know.


A mob of Sun readers burning down the house of a suspected nonce. You can use this one before the news, if you like.


Four teenagers furiously texting in a McDonalds. You can use this before youth programmes, and they'll instantly identify with the BBC brand. Instantly.


A man with a shaved head in a pub saying that 'if they don't like British culture, they should go back where they came from'. Pan out to reveal he is sitting in a British 'fun' pub in the Costa del Sol. One of the racist bits from Little Britain is playing on a TV set in the background, and a bunch of patrons in England football shirts are laughing a little bit too much at it.


A bulldog chewing a wasp.


A woman selling CD-R copies of a David Gray's White Ladder album at a car boot sale. She tells a potential customer that she'll throw in The Best Of Texas as well for three pounds. Truly heart warming, it'll put people in a good mood, and judge programmes like The One Show a bit less harshly.


Another scene showing Britons at their best - a man stopping next to a Pay & Display ticket machine, proclaiming "'Ere, love! There's still an hour on this one if you want it!" to a woman parking her car.


A postman cheerily walking up the path of a lovely thatched cottage. He is delivering a region one boxset of a classic BBC series that isn't actually available over here. It's a bit 'ironic' this one, it'd go down a storm with the ABC1s.


You like? So, when do we get our money? Oh, you'll let us know. Great.

[BrokenTV departs, already mentally spending it's large fee.]

Friday, 15 September 2006

Rubbish Films That Are Great: Number 2

Only about a year after the first part of RFTAG (we're still getting hits from searches for "Beverly D'Angelo shower" y'know), here comes part two. And it's a cracker.

Night Of The Comet (1984)

Just look at this plot summary: "Two sisters, high school seniors in the early 1980s, awaken one morning to blood red skies and the realization that the human race has been wiped out. It becomes apparant that anyone who was not surrounded by steel when the Earth recently passed through the tail of Haley's comet has been reduced to a pile of red ash".

It gets better. Not only is it one of the very few films along the lines of "Oh no! Everyone in the world is dead apart from us... and possibly some others!", but it's possibly the most 1980siest film of the entire 1980s. The scene taking place in a radio station alone will qualify that statement. That's a very good thing, by the way. But that's not all! It also ticks the following boxes:

People turned to nothing but dust, which is therefore collected in their shoes, which obviously survive the blast? Box ticked.

Middle-class Valley Girls toting semi-automatic weaponry in an out-of-character manner? Box ticked.

A cheerleader with big hair and a fuck you attitude? Box ticked.

A 1980s radio station building consisting of many dark rooms and pink/blue neon? Box ticked.

Latex zombies? Box ticked.

A gang of stockroom boys who decide to all go mental apeshit gun crazy after being left on their own for about twelve hours? Box ticked.

Evil scientists, including a sexy not-that-evil-after-all one in a jumpsuit and leg warmer combo? Box ticked.

Better than both 28 Days Later and late 80's ITV sitcom Not With A Bang that did at least have Josie Lawrence in it, we suppose? Box very much ticked.

Criminally, it's not available on DVD, although excellently that's because they've managed to lose the original print of the film (we're not sure who 'they' are, presumably the Atlantic Releasing Corporation). And we'd thought only the BBC in the 1950s and 1960s ever did that sort of thing. Luckily for society, Sci-Fi are showing it on Friday 22nd September at 10pm. Set that Sky+ box now.

Thursday, 14 September 2006

Excellent Adult Swim News

Tom Goes To The Mayor is currently showing as part of Bravo's Adult Swim strand. This is excellent news, as we mentioned in the headline just up there.

"This is the sound of my voice."

It's a wonderful barely animated show (with occasional live action bits) about a well-meaning man (Tom) and an eccentric mayor (Mayor). To put the humour into perspective, it's produced by Bob "Mr Show with Him and David" Odenkirk, and includes cameo appearances by both of Tenacious D, Jeffs Goldblum and Garlin, David "Mr Show with Bob and Him" Cross and Official BrokenTV Pin-up Sarah Silverman.

There don't seem to be any full episodes knocking around on YouTube (we say blame for the lackadaisical standards of internet piracy lately should be directed at Tony Blair), so you'll have to take our word for it by dipping into Bravo's Adult Swim coverage and hoping you come out with a handful of Tom Goes To The Mayor as opposed to, say, Robot bloody Chicken. Because it's not as if you can use the EPG to tell what's going to be on when, the clots. Bah. And where's Harvey Birdman?

Mind you, they've got repeats of Arrested Development and Life On Mars, so they're not all bad. This is a bit of a rubbish update, isn't it? Sorry everyone.

Friday, 1 September 2006

BrokenTV's Belated Tribute To Patrick Allen


For the benefit of those who didn't know (quite likely, as most newspapers didn't really mention it), Patrick Allen recently passed away. In case you're not sure who he is (you might be one of the people who still stumble across this site looking for information on Miff Daniels*, for instance), he owned the most iconic voiceover voice of the last thirty years.

(*While we're still Googleranked highly for the gormless berk, we may as well make a running gag out of it.)

After going from various jobbing actor roles (including Dial M for Murder, Hitchophiles), he was picked to narrate the UK Governments infamous (not to mention shit-scary) Protect and Survive films, and as such could very well have been the last voice ever heard on British television. Luckily for his burgeoning career as a voice-over artist (oh, and the entirety of the world's population), it wasn't (mark you, it's not a bad way to go out), and he soon ended up re-recording some of his shit-scary lines for the best record Frankie Goes To Hollywood ever did. From there, he turned up as the announcer for the first, underrated series of Blackadder, making a very welcome appearance as an actual actor in the final episode.

After several years of advert voiceover work, most famously occasionally in-vision for Barratt Homes (man, we need to get a YouTube clip up for that), he turned up as announcer for seminal comedy shows Vic Reeves' Big Night Out, and The Smell Of Reeves and Mortimer (in vision for a pre-episode-one promo for the former, and a great episode of the latter, minutae fans!). From that point on, his iconic delivery was used for all manner of (we wish we could think of a better phrase than this...) hip and groovy voiceover work, probably including TFI Friday, we shouldn't wonder.

Latterly, he became known as 'The Voice of E4', even making an excellent on-screen appearance in a promo for E4 Music's output, and Christian O'Connell's XFM Breakfast Show (and his Virgin Radio Show, but that was a bit rubbish, and reduced Patrick to promoting their many EVIL CORPORATE SPONSORS).

Something that seems to have been missed in the (despressingly few) tributes paid to Sir Patrick Allen (as he should have been known) is his most recent contribution to the World Of Excellent Pop Music, this time for Danish noise merchants Lazyboy**. Their 2004 opus Lazyboy TV (which BrokenTV liked before you, we're going to inappropriately add at this point) featured spoken word vocals from a number of well-known UK and US voice talent, most notably including Mr Patrick Allen, who popped up on several tracks on the album which you really all should go out and buy, right this instant.

(**Known as Lazy B for the 2006 re-release of their single, as it seems the sofa manufacturer of a similar name to their proper title insisted they make the change. Perhaps lots of people purchased their album (which we liked before you, remember), mistaking it for a reclining armchair. For flip's sake.)

As part of BrokenTV's ongoing public service remit (and not just because we've finally found it on an old hard-drive chucked into our IcyBox), we've uncovered the pop video for Lazyboy's ace single 'Inhale Positivity', which features the last time Sir Patrick Allen ever lends his voice to an excellent pop single, and thrown it at the now-blocked-from-BrokenTV's-workplace's-servers YouTube.

We implore you watch it now, and heed the words of Sir Patrick. RIP.


Sunday, 27 August 2006

Lazy Idiot Journalist Thinks Of Fifty Television Programmes He Doesn't Like, Then Writes Them Down

As our ever vigilant readers may be aware, the Radio Times has paid John Naughton some money to hand in a list of the fifty worst programmes ever shown on British television. Presumably, he'd then forgot about it until an hour before his deadline, and ended up cobbling together a list from all the other Worst TV Show Ever lists, throwing in a few random shows from the schedules to stir up a bit controversy. We're assuming that's what happened, as the list is gnashingly bad and wrong. Lets take a look at some of his choices, and look at why they shouldn't be there (and, going against tradition with Worst TV Ever lists, we've actually seen the shows we're talking about), and offer some alternative suggestions while we're at it.

Remember, the ones we're suggesting aren't neccessarily the worst TV shows ever made (apart from Balls of Steel, obv), as we wouldn't have tuned in for shows that are obviously going to be terrible, because we're not stupid.

8 Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends (1984-1991)
Massively popular with it's target audience (BrokenTV's Mark X remembers a ten-child clamour to see the first episode on his ninth birthday), internationally successful (even Mr C Montgomery Burns has been known to list it amongst his favourite shows), and led to a (admittedly useless) semi-live-action movie. Hardly the eighth worst programme ever.

Replace it with...
Balls Of Steel (2005-)
Or, Trigger Happy-Slapping TV, as it's known in our house. Television for cunts, by cunts. The worst thing ever transmitted on Channel Four, and given the competition for that accolade over the years, that's some achievement.

11 Heil Honey I'm Home! (1990)
We've seen the first episode of this, and do you know what? It's not that bad. Basically, it's a Viz comic strip, but on telly. It certainly could never have lasted longer than half a dozen episodes, but given it was a micro-budget sitcom on BSB, much better than could be expected. And we still really want to see any episode of Up Yer News! with Lee and Herring in.

Replace it with...
The Girl In The Cafe (2005)
You know, we'd never have realised that massive global poverty was a bad thing, until Richard Curtis put on his special directing hat and patronised BBC One viewers into a coma. Thanks, Rich.

15 Breakfast Time (1983-1989)
Aah, you would have expected him to say TV-am, wouldn't you? Aah.

Replace it with...
RI:SE (2002)
RI:SABLE, more like. It was pretty rubbish to begin with, but when they tried to revamp it to stop the rot, they drafted in Iain Lee and Someone Off Big Brother as hosts. Why they couldn't simply show repeats of The Channel Four Daily, we're not sure.

17 OTT (1982)
BrokenTV has finally had the opportunity to watch this recently (very probably unlike pretty much everyone to nominate it as one of the worst TV shows ever), and you know what? It's perfectly watchable, in the sense that it was truly something that had never been done before that point of TV history. Some of it doesn't work at all now, such as jokes where the punchline is Lenny Henry being black, but the majority of it is knowingly corny knockabout fun. In a nutshell, what Soccer AM would be like if they could swear, wasn't about football, and was transported magically back to 1982. And as a special bonus, it'd be a version of Soccer AM that didn't feature bloody Kasabian every other week.

Replace it with...
Hardwicke House (1986)
Another notorious show that BrokenTV has recently viewed for the first time since original transmission. Pulled due to viewer outrage after just two episodes, surely this would be one of the most dangerous and thrilling programmes ever broadcast on ITV since, ooh, OTT? Crikey, no. It stank the room out. The writers had fallen into the trap of being 'shocking' (i.e. not very shocking at all, really) as opposed to being 'any good'. You know, like the second series of Nighty Night.

18 George and Mildred (1976-1979)

"Ooh, blimey."

[Whaps John Naughton across the snout with a rolled-up newspaper] No. Idiot journalist. This is clearly amongst the best of ITV's sitcom output (which contains more gold than anyone ever gives them credit for), as the repeats on Paramount 2 will confirm. Just the thought of George Roper muttering "oh, crikey" to himself is enough to reduce BrokenTV to a fit of giggles. Not only was there an American version of the series (which, of course, was a spin-off from Man About The House - see, they can work), but we'd say it could just as easily have been the inspiration for the mighty Married... With Children. Only without the children, obv. Even the 1980 movie version was utterly great, with George inadvertently getting mixed up with gangsters (which would be a bit of a rubbish idea, only it involved George "Crikey!" Roper, which automatically made it into an excellent premise). Also, BrokenTV used to have a massive crush on Sheila "Ann Fourmile" Fearn. Still does, actually. Still, if it was on ITV, and it was on in the 1970s, and wasn't Rising Damp, it *must* be rubbish. Eh, John?

Replace it with...
Green, Green Grass (2005)
How not to do a spin-off. It doesn't help when the main character had previously been restricted to saying something sarcastic to Delboy in the Nag's Head, allowing Del to make a snappy comeback quip to roars of approval from Denzil, Mickey et al. Still, we suppose it did provide a little bit of TV history, as surely the least popular prime-time sitcom ever to be shown on Christmas Day BBC One.
25 Eurovision Song Contest (1956-)
28 The Edinburgh Military Tattoo (1952-)
They've been running for over fifty years, and are still popular enough to make it onto our screens. Possibly, the Radio Times are a bit annoyed that other countries are obviously also treating Eurovision like a bit of a laugh ("We are the winners" etc), so they can't feel quite as high and mighty as they were by sneering at it.

Replace them with...
Anything With Patrick Kielty In It, Ever
It's a little known fact that Patrick "Tesco Value Chris Evans" Kielty hasn't actually been on British television for over 47 years, it just feels like it.

31 Family Fortunes (1980-2002)
Gngh. Massively popular, much of it has passed over into popular culture (for better or worse), everyone was wowed by the impressive Babbage back when it began (much better than the Supermatch Game-esque rotating boards of Family Feud), and the original host was Sir Boob Monklouse. What's not to like? "Fortunes is security, Les."

Replace it with...
The People Versus (2000)
Where the viewers can send in their questions to ask the contestants. If your question can't be answered correctly, you get to come on the show as a contestant. Basically, a product of ITV's 'throw enough gameshow formats at the wall, and see if any of them stick', with the word 'stick' representing the phrase 'flog to American networks'. It wasn't very good, and should never be confused with the excellent The People Versus Jerry Sadowitz.

34 French and Saunders (1987-2004)
Sigh. Never mind it being massively popular, or French and Saun-ders (pop-a-dilly-oh*) being one of the best double acts of the last twenty years. Because the last series was a bit rubbish, John has decided that dispels the previous five series of general greatness. Granted, there was the occasional sketch where French and/or Saunders were made to look like a famous celebrity (a comically fat version of such, in many cases), and that's supposedly enough of a joke to last for the next five minutes, but most of their output was of a very high standard, such as the running sketch where they broke into the BBC to try and blag a pay rise and nick Victoria Wood's BAFTA. Even the 2003 Christmas Special was one of the best shows of that festive period, all the more surprising considering the title referenced Love Actually.

(*F.A.O. Paramount, UK Gold or the BBC: Finally repeat the first series of this, so anyone who isn't me might be able to get that reference.)

Replace it with...
Double Take (2001)

England footballers, doing their hair. This
would have used up three minutes of your life.

You know, the one where people who look a bit like famous people do things that the famous people themselves might not do in grainy monochrome. The idea worked in it's original incarnation (i.e. photographs), as it only took a split second to 'get' what was going on, and if you were amused by the sight of a Svenalike in Union Flag pants, that was a bonus. Dragged out for half an hour of screen time, each idea was expected to stand up on it's own over several minutes, which got tremendously boring rather quickly. Add the fact that agency lookey-likeys can't actually act very well, and that lots of them were pretty poor lookey-likeys in the first place (especially the Bush and Blair models), necessitating lots of blurry, out-of-focus camerawork, and you're left with a programme that was a major let down. Of course, that didn't stop the Radio Times endlessly gushing over it. But they do the same over Green Wing, which pretty much devalues that currency.

36 Eldorado (1992-1993)
Except, for the final year of the show, it was actually really good, was picking up lots of viewers, and was only cancelled once Alan Yentob decided that appeasing the tabloids was more important than listening to viewers.

Replace it with...
Night and Day (2001-2003)
As pointed out in the excellent Off The Telly, ITV ordered 240 episodes of this soap opera, with the USP of being on at 5.05pm three days a week, with an 'adult' episode on weekly at 10.20pm. Ooh, edgy. Except, of course, it wasn't. Nobody bothered watching it, and before long it was restricted to a single omnibus outing once per week, in an increasingly embarressing timeslot, sometimes as late as 1am. Ah, the folly of trying to 'do' middle-class soap operas.

41 Origami (1968)
We're willing to bet actual cash money that John Naughton has never actually seen any more of this programme than the clip shown in Channel Four's 100 Moments From TV Hell. It was daytime television, in the Britain of 1968. It was hardly going to be Man Alive, was it? And it'd probably be preferable to the endless Make Your House Worth Slightly More Than It Is Now programmes of space year 2006.

Replace it with...
Julie Birchall on Chavs (2005)
"Hi, I'm Julie Birchall. You know chavs? Well, I like them, and I'm going to pretend I am one. YOU DIDN'T EXPECT ME TO HAVE THAT OPINION, DID YOU?"
That's all we can bear to pick apart for now, but the rest of the list is equally shoddy - The Good Old Days (1953-1983)? It had Kenneth Williams in it! And it only lasted for THIRTY YEARS. How can it possibly be worse than, say, The Book Group?
Of course, we could buy a copy of Radio Times to try to understand his reasoning behind each choice. We could do that. But, as we'd previously stated, we're not stupid.

Saturday, 26 August 2006

BrokenTV's Top Nine Titles Of Foreign Versions Of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?

Yes, nine.

9. Be A Millionaire! (Hungary)
This reminds us of Tommy Vance's "stop being poor!" soundbite from The Chris Morris 1FM Show.

8. Do You Want To Be A Billionaire? (Romania)
Wow! Oh, it's in Romanian lei, and therefore a measly €28,000. Aw.

7. It's Good To Be A Millionaire (Slovenia)
Just in case you thought it might be rubbish, or something.

6. Who Wants 500 Billions? (Turkey)
Wow! Oh, in Turkish lira. How much? €230,000? Aw.

5. Who Will Become the Owner of 10 Million? (India)
More quiz programmes should use this sort of title. "Who Is Good Enough At Darts Or Answering Questions To Win A Half-Share Of A Speed Boat?" We've actually seen a bit of this while flicking around the back-end of Sky's EPG. They gave the presenter a big cake, for some reason.

4. Who Deserves To Be A Millonaire? (Chile)
How wonderfully polite. We're not sure if each contestant has to prove their moral fibre before getting anywhere near the fastest finger first round, but we think they should.

3. The Postal Code-Millionaire (Sweden)
Sounds like it might be a 1988 Channel Four documentary about the bloke who invented postcodes, and who gets 0.00001p every time you write one on an envelope. It isn't though, it's combined with Sweden's postal code lottery. Whatever that is.

2. Quiz $ Millionaire (Japan)
Only the fact that it isn't called 'Super Happy Millionaire Win Get!!!' stops this from claiming the top spot.

1. Super Rich Person (Taiwan)

Look, we know mentioning ...Millionaire is hardly topical, but we were researching a proper update, and stumbled across the list of titles. Okay?


Friday, 18 August 2006

Before They Were On Telly

So, another series of Charlie Brooker's Screen Wipe is over, but not before an entertaining look at American television. It would have been better if he'd showed that focus group some of 'our' good programmes, like Life On Mars or Peep Show, but that wouldn't have served the purpose of getting to see a load of bemused Americans in a room, we suppose.

But never mind all of that, we've found the letter he had published in Your Sinclair in 1986. And here it is, mirrored from the excellent World Of Spectrum.

Yup, it is the very same Charlie Brooker, the artwork is in the same style as his strips for Oink! comic. So, not only is he carving out a living being a much better TV version of BrokenTV before we were even a twinkle in the Blogger New Account Registration Form's eye, but he also had to go and get a letter printed in YS about five years before BrokenTV did (and a much better letter, obviously). We dread to think what he'll pre-emptively beat us to next.

Thursday, 17 August 2006

Test Yourself: Are You Excellent?

Find out with BrokenTV's super quiz!

1) Been watching [adult swim] on Bravo?

a) "No. What's that, then?"

b) "Yes, now and then. Man, that Robot Chicken is something!"

c) "Yes, but I wish they hadn't had that technical fault throughout what seemed like one of the best, most gloriously silly episodes of animated comedy ever produced. Man, I wish I could see it in full without waiting an unspecified amount of time for a repeat, especially as Bravo's EPG only uses an all-encompassing programming listing of '[adult swim]' for the entire strand, so I might end up having to watch Stripperella by mistake".

How Did You Do?

Mostly a's
It's a mostly excellent two-hour nightly strand of the best bits from (US) Cartoon Network's strand of the same name. It is on from midnight to 2am on Bravo, on Sky Digital. In case you're not sure how much you're supposed to like each programme contained therein, keep a peeper on alert for BrokenTV's Premier League of Adult Swim shows, which we've just thought of doing.
0 Points.

Mostly b's
Good for you, although we're not too keen on the self-satisfied smugness and reliance on jokes appealing to the sort of people that go on internet message boards to say things like "LMFAO! That is totally RANDOM!" in a non-ironic fashion. Season two seems slightly better, mind.
1 Point.

Mostly c's
Yeah, we noticed that as well. Still, thanks to the MAJESTIC DISREGARD FOR INTERNATIONAL COPYRIGHT LAW that is YouTube, we can post a link that makes it all better. All of you 'a' and 'b' lot should check this out as well.

100 Points.


Over 99 points.
You are excellent, well done.

Under 2 points.
Watch the YouTube clip, watch [adult swim] for at least a week, then re-take the test.

Sunday, 6 August 2006

Hey, sometimes you have to dip into commerical radio, because someone's spilled Russell Brand all over 6Music

At the moment, every ten bloody minutes on commercial radio there's a terrible, terrible advert that goes along the lines of:

Teen one: Do you want one of these drugs I've got here?

Teen two: No. N. O. Not now. Not tonight Josephine. Our survey said: BAHBAH! Nyet! [continues like this for about six years]

I've always dashed over to the radio to switch channels, out of the room, or jumped out of a moving vehicle every time I've heard it so far, so I'm not sure what the advert is for. The only logical explanation I can think of is that it's part of some kind of pro-drugs campaign, and that anyone who says 'no' when offered a cocaine is an annoying shit.

Thursday, 3 August 2006

Beavers, Faggots and Lesbians

There's a title to get the hit counter spinning. Time for some YouTubey goodness from the 1980s.


Kenneth Kendall announces his fondness for Beavers. That is to say, an estate agent by the name of Beavers. Why, what did you think we'd meant?

Please note: BrokenTV claims no responsibility for what might happen if you dial 100 and ask for 'Beavers' in space year 2006.


An advertising campaign from the 1980s for a meat product that shares a name with an American slang term for gay men. If Richard Littlejohn is reading this, why not try rewatching the clip lots of times, trying to pin down any hidden secret homosexualist recruitment agenda?


If it's OUTRAGIOUS ATTACKS ON TRADITIONAL FAMILY VALUES you're after, you can't say fairer than a fledgling Channel Four. You can almost hear the distant gnashing of Mail-readers teeth from here, not to mention a nation of adolescent males making a mental note of the time and channel. A screening of A Question Of Love, a drama about "one woman's love for another woman" while raising a family, advertised on ITV before a screening the Cook/Moore Hound of the Baskervilles. The clip also features a snatch (steady) of the in-vision TVS continuity announcer.

More japes next time!

Friday, 21 July 2006


BrokenTV was any good, had more than a cursory amount of effort put into it, was on television, and was allowed to use all of it's favourite music in the background (Vitalic: check, a track from the new Grandaddy album: check, the wonderful Summer Overture from Clint Mansell's Requiem For A Dream soundtrack album: check), it'd still be only 17% as good as Charlie Brooker's Screen Wipe. Although it would have the exact same music used in the background.

Ooh, hark at mister grumpy.

As possibly the most heavily trailed new entertainment offering from BBC Four since The Thick Of It, the new series of Screen Wipe seems to have a lot to live up to. Luckily, now there's no threat of his jokes having been stolen by Harry Hill five days earlier, Charlie is in fine form for the new (or, if you will, first proper) series of Screen Burn.

Railing against shit adverts via spaz noises or sniping at inappropriately gruesome daytime television, even though we'd imagine most of the BBC Four audience (and BrokenTV, for that matter) are busy working (or, are crammed into an office trying to surreptitiously read the previous evenings' The Fiver while no-one is looking, if you're us*) might not seem like Quality Entertainment, but as we were still trying to recover from the shock that Time Trumpet might not be as great as we're really hoping it is (in fact - whisper it - only the Adam Buxton and Stewart Lee bits even made us smile. Oh dear), it had us grinning like, erm, The Laughing Cavalier (as you can tell, the repeat of QI in between the two softened the blow).

By the time the ace featurette about the rigmarole involved in filming the ex-BBC Knowledge presenter falling off a log had finished, we were even prepared to forgive the BBC for Annually Retentive. WE LIKED IT THAT MUCH. Tack on wonderfully sarcastic and mad-captioned biographies of minor television personalities like Jeremy Kyle, critiques of Doctor Who from the perspective of someone who dearly loves the show, and a lengthily misanthropic rant about bee-yoo-ti-ful people on rubbish television to the strains of Clint Mansell, and we're in TV heaven. It's like seeing someone from the same year in school as yourself doing tremendously well for themselves in the exact same career field that you've already secretly longed to be a part of but ended up packing chicken carcasses into plastic boxes for a living instead, only without the wanting to stab them in the neck.

There are things that might not appeal to everyone. Brooker's presenter patter often seems oddly stilted when he's talking on-screen, but never when on voice-only duty. And we'd imagine his permasneering face will rile people who'd prefer to see Marcus Brigstocke reading an autocue in front of a tiny studio audience in yet another lacklustre stab at 'be'ing The Daily Show, but y'know, fuck 'em. Screen Wipe is ace. If he can rein in the ironical 'c-list TV berk yelling at minion' routines a bit more this time, this will be in our top five television programmes of the year.

By the way: we liked him first. We thought his strips for Oink! were ace, his PC Zone scribblings were second only to the mighty Sir Duncan MacDonald, we were big fans of Super "Not Suitable For Minors. Or Cunts" Kaylo back when the internet was steam powered and you had to actually pay money for half-decent web browsers, we reckon Nathan Barley was criminally underrated (yes, genuinely), his G2 column distracts us from completing the quick crossword every Friday, and heck, we're even prepared to pretend he never really contributed to The 11 O'Clock Show and that it was all an excuse to pick fights with people on the SOTCAA Forum. We even remember when one of his cartoons won the Star Letter in a copy of Your Sinclair. And even the TV version of TVGoHome wasn't all bad. Late Developers was still rubbish, mind. So take that, all you only-liked-him-since-TVGoHome-website twerps.

Of course, the fact he was out there doing all that while we were merely to-varying-degrees admiring his output is probably why he's the one on BBC Four ironically pretending to be a bitter loner railing against current TV offerings while dressed as a tramp, while BrokenTV... oh.

Monday, 17 July 2006

Three Bits Of Text Plucked From Media Guardian That Restore Our Faith In Television

"Hmm... fifty dull minutes of EU tax fraud, eh. What
else is on? Bah. Tax fraud it is, then."

Sentence one:

"On ITV1, PokerFace attracted its best ratings yet, when nearly 6 million viewers tuned in to see Sarah Lang win the £1m prize in the final."

Good. It was a pretty good programme, she was genuinely deserving of the prize and seemed like a really nice person. And it was great to see Annoying Smug Bloke lose £75,000 and walk away with nothing, mainly due to him being so annoying and smug. One flaw we can see in the format is that (if it gets another outing, as it surely will) there's a large chance that lots of annoying smug idiots are likely to WIN BIG, which will put us right off the show.

Bit two:

"And ITV1's Love Island pulled in only half the audience of BBC1's Panorama, which focused on tax fraud in the European single market."

Ha! If there's one sentence that sums up ITV's current state, it's that. And we bet they'd expected dropping the word 'Celebrity' would see the viewers flocking in.

Bit three:

"Kylie - the Interview had 615,000 viewers between 9pm and 10pm on Sky One, according to unofficial overnights. However, only 87,000 viewers stayed tuned to Sky One for the launch of Christian O'Connell's Sunday Service between 10pm and 11pm."

That'll learn him for going from "being quite good on the XFM Breakfast Show" to "World Cuppa" within eighteen months. At least Tim Lovejoy And The All-Stars had Martin Freeman berating the host for not knowing the titles of any Ramones albums, even though he was wearing a Ramones T-shirt.


Wednesday, 12 July 2006

The World Cup Of World Cup Coverage: Final Standings

Best Player: Big Dennis Lawrence (Trinidad and Tobago).

Not just because he plays for Wrexham, but because he did really, really well against both Sweden and England (er, we didn't watch T&T against Paraguay), but mainly the Wrexham thing*. Well, it'd be a bit boring to go for Cannavaro like everyone else has. And Zidane is clearly out of the question. Big Den it is, then.

(*Just in case he reads this, and buys us a drink next time we see him in Liquid.)

Worst Player: Ronaldin-who?

Do you see what we've done there, readers? He didn't do a lot, did he? Maybe this is because Nike had a fairly useless ad campaign for this world cup, and that had some effect on his morale, we're not sure. Dishonourable mention: W Rooney. We still maintain that he only stamped on Carvalho's Portuguese plums because he was getting increasingly frustrated by being fairly rubbish in a tournament his agent and the press told him he was going to be the next Pele at. And yes, we do think he did stamp on him on purpose, though not necessarily on that particular bit of him. Oh, plus: Lampard - the supposed second-best player in the world? It doesn't mean much having "more shots on goal than any other player" if approximately fuck all of them hit the target.

Best Goal: Maxi Rodríguez (Argentina) vs Mexico

Argentina's 72-man goal left us a bit cold, to be honest. It was a great goal and all, but it always strikes us as a bit hollow when the Goal Of The Tournament award is given to a player 'merely' capping off a wonderful team move that he may have had very little to do with. And it looked laughably poor when UKG2 placed it in the top three of their DJ Spoony's Super Top Ten Goals Of Ver World Cup, then only showed the last three seconds of it. So we'll go for Rodríguez's (yes, we ctrl+v'ed his name to get the accent on the 'i' right) wonderstrike against Mexico, glorious chesting-down and all. And surely the BBC could have come up with a better prize than a tour of the Match Of The Day studios. Really.

Best match: Australia 2 - 2 Croatia

Possibly because we managed to miss all but the last ten minutes of the now legendary Germany-Italy semi-final AND all of Argentina's masterclass against Serbia-Montenegro (curse you, gainful employment! Curse you, Match Of The Day's 'only ten minutes of highlights' policy! Curse you workplace IT spods for blocking the Beeb's live net video feed!), but this stands out as the most enthralling match that we saw live. Even without the dodgy refereeing from Tring's non-finest, it would have been great, but the whole 'idiot ref' factor added an extra special something. Maybe there should be a spurious 'super bonus yellow' added at random to more matches - come on FIFA. The best thing that has been on BBC Three, ever.

Most Shameless Display of Hypocrisy: BrokenTV.

Normally, The TV Blog That Tells It Like It Is would delight in England's inevitable collapse to the first half-decent team they faced. We think it's a genetic thing distilled into the DNA of all Celts. Despite that, the Portugal-England game saw us actually willing England to win, partly due to a steadfast refusal to support a team full of cheats, and partly because we ended up watching it with a really attractive female England-supporting colleague. We didn't even laugh when Rooney was sent off. Man, we're shallow. DO NOT JUDGE US.

The Bobby Chariott Award For Rubbish Comedy: Mark Lawrenson

Just pipping Gary Line-acre and BrokenTV to the award, Comedy Lawro didn't just make his ha-ha-larious Sven impression ("Weelllll...") which was greeted with five seconds of dead air from Motty*, we're told he did another impression, this time of a stereotypically thick Gumbyesque footballer ("durrrr... my brain hurts") that was greeted with an even longer period of Mottysilence before the sheepskinned one (even in that heat, we'd wager) carried on as if nothing had happened. As we've previously said, we're sure even John Motson can't stand him by now. Promote Mark Bright immediately.

(*Yes, five whole seconds without him cramming in some oblique statistic. It was that bad an impression.)

Thoughts On England's Performance: Will this prove to be England's 1978? Where they decide not to get so cocky and assume they've a divine right to win every World Cup that they qualify for?


Best Pundit: Martin O'Neill.

Well, duh.

Worst Pundit: Alan Shearer.

At least Ian Wright displays a bit of emotion. Seeing Alan 'Elbows' Shearer decry other players for unsportsmanlike behaviour in a bit like seeing Genghis Khan claim Zidane went 'a bit far' with the headbutt. It was great when The Chiles mentioned Shearer's elbow antics in front of him, wasn't it?

Best Person Involved in Any Aspect of World Cup TV Coverage: The Chiles / Sean Lock

The Chiles was at his best throughout the tournament, so it was a bit of a shame he was considered even below Ray Stubbs in the hosting pecking order. The sooner Line-acre devotes himself full-time to crisp whoring and The Chiles is placed as main host for Match of the Day, the better. As for Sean Lock, is was his presence in the episode of World Cuppa we accidentally saw that stopped us taking our lives in despair. His display of shouting down weak items, refusing to laugh at clearly rubbish gags, and crossing the line into subjects far too leftfield for ITV (i.e. Guantanamo Bay isn't necessarily great) restored out faith in humanity. And we're not sure that was him in the England-Portugal match, but we missed Friday's episode of 8 Out Of 10 Cats.

Pedantic Gripe Of The Tournament: The Amount Of Close-Ups of the Ball.

Yes, we know it has the names of the countries involved in this match written on it by now. You don't need to show us every time. If Jason McAteer has scrawled his name on it: yes. Otherwise: no.

Best World Cup Break Bumper: Dammit, the Budweiser one on ITV.

Despite our decrying them, we've heard that the Budweiser ITV break bumpers used a similar 'semi-on' gag to ourselves, so a limited amount of kudos to them. Fair dues.

Best Use Of A Track By The Pet Shop Boys That Isn't Even A Single Yet, Despite It Clearly Being The Best Track Off Their New Album: BBC Sport.

If we were moved enough by not getting a hug off Sexy English Colleague Girl, because England refused to score in normal time, the Beeb's montage to the tune of 'Numb' made things even more emotional. Sadly, we're not sure if Sexy English Colleague Girl needed a hug by that point, because we'd gone home. AGAIN, DO NOT JUDGE US.

Special Award For Services To BrokenTV's Hits Counter: Clydebank FC.

We've no idea why (as we can't sign up, for some reason), but a Clydebank FC message board is accounting for a lot of BrokenTV's hit right about now. Presumably, this is World Cup related, and we'd like to know precisely why. Also, the term 'Miff Daniels' seems to have led several people to this blog lately. Hopefully, they think he's as much of a cock-end as we do.

Best Pointless Internet World Cup Thing: The ASCII Coverage of Live Matches.

It wouldn't work in longer than five-second bursts for us, but a great idea all the same.

Best Coverage:

Well, this is where the whole points structure comes into play. Ah crap, that means we've got to add it all up, doesn't it? Well, before we do, let's take a look at, say, one episode of ESPN India's pre-match show, Duniya Goal Hai. That we happen to have downloaded about three weeks ago, and have only now got around to writing about, despite promising to do so ages ago.

Well, despite the UK quite improperly assuming we're the World Champions of Irony, this is a pretty splendid show. Think 'Soccer AM, but without fawning over Kasabian and The Ordinary Boys', about 90% of Duniya Goal Hai is presented in an English tongue (lucky, as our grasp of Hindu is a bit ropey). Let's look at a few illustrative screenies...

A background crammed with comedy Germanic stereotypes, but - crucially - in a gentle light-hearted manner, not just banging on about the sodding war, or having fat idiot cockneys coming in to state how much they hate Germany.
+3 points

TV monitor in background is a crappy 70's TV set.
+2 points

Said monitor features pictures of kittens and puppies alongside generic pictures of Germany for no reason whatsoever.
+5 points

Presenters wearing T-shirts proclaiming their predictions for the forthcoming live match.
+4 points

A daily compilation of the previous days' most appalling dives, for which the presenters don diving gear.
+ 3 points

Scrolling ticker at the bottom of the screen throughout the programme listing translations in English, German, Italian, French and Hindu for phrases such as "I love David Beckham" and "Crouching Peter, Hidden Dragon".
+ 5 points.

Section of the show where the presenters drag up in an edit lounge as screeching fishwives to comment on highlights of matches from the previous day.
+ 2 points

Fake news section (presumably a parody of a famous Indian news service, we don't know) called 'B News', hosted by excellently named newsreaders called things like Jogging Gently or Walking Briskly. This is so they can say things like "that's all the news for now. I'm Walking Briskly." We like this.
+3 points

Fake news section is "brought to you by cheese, in association with monkeys". Ace!
+5 points

A course in Bavarian dancing, mainly as an excuse for rarely-seen Presenter C to hit Presenter B in the face, thereby leading Presenter A to pile in and jump on Presenter C.
+ 3 points

A section on dodgy hairstyles in the World Cup, entitled 'Classic Cuts'. Cue large wig donned by Presenter A, and a 'money shot' where Presenter A poses as a famous player with bad hair.
+1 point

An interview with 'Ronaldinho', who answers increasingly Garth Crooks-esque questions with the answer 'foot-ball?'. Until, of course, he answers a final, easy, question with the words 'cricket, yah?'. Well, we liked it.
+1 point

A section called Rat Race. A further attempt to predict the outcome of the forthcoming match by seeing which goal a small rodent scurries into, after encountering a series of Kryton Factor-ish obstacles. Although, due to circumstances, it's a hamster, not a rat. And due to said obstacles, it generally predicts a draw. But hurrah for ideas!
+ 3 points

A caption competition. Being won by a pseudo-rude nonsensical slogan. Fair enough.
+1 point.

Hurrah for Duniya Goal Hai! It very much rocks, and entertains us in a matter that doesn't pretend to be all 'edgy' and 'late night' like World Bloody Cuppa does. In fact, Dunita Goal Hai, have +26 bonus points for being so very smashing!

Right, combining that with a quick dozen bonus points for Baddiel and Skinner for being great in their last few podcasts, that brings the scores up to...

ESPN India: 68 points
BBC: 67 points
Skinner and Baddiel Podcasts: 14 points
BrokenTV: 3 points
ITV: -19 points
Five Live: -19 points
UKG2: -30 points
ITV4: -35 points
Sky Sports News: -46 points

Well, who'd have thunk it? A last minute addition to the list storming to victory on the back of one half-hour of tomfoolery that might very well have proved annoying after seeing another ten or so episodes featuring the exact same jokes, eh? Probably lucky we only ever saw three episodes of it, then. Right, back to needlessly YouTubed uploads of old adverts we go. And, we presume, goodbye to at least 60% of the visitors we've received in the last month. Sigh.

Tuesday, 11 July 2006

This Just In: All News Parody Rendered Utterly Redundant

Thanks to the wonder of Science's The Internet, BrokenTV has been enjoying Granada's wonderful 1985 documentary series on television called, er, Television. Not only is it an enthralling programme in it's own right, and proof positive that there was a time when ITV wasn't shit, but it also contains a snippet of the USA's first television news service, the excellently titled Camel News Caravan. One most notable thing about this news programme is what they do when they run out of filmed footage of major events. Still photographs? No. What they do is... well, here's a freshly YouTubed up clip of it. This made us almost as agog as Zidane's headbutt made us.


Monday, 10 July 2006

It's The End Of The World Cup As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)

Much to the relief of BrokenTV's non-football-liking readers, the World Cup is now over for another four years. Well done for sticking it out, there's a treat at the end of this post for you. But first, the points from the final. Oh, and Zidane: shitting heck.


Firstly, last night's Doctor Who finale was a fantastic piece of television, almost making up for most of the preceding series being a bit rubbish (especially the bit at the 2012 Olympics with Huw Edwards), so the Beeb are getting some goodwill points for that. We don't even mind the appearance of Catherine Tate, as she's a good actress, even if her show is utterly woeful. Hurrah!
+3 points

Pundit watch: Alongside Alan, Martin O'Neill is there (+2 points), but so is Alan Shearer (-2 points). Ian Wright isn't there, though (+2 points).

A live interview with Noel Gallagher, personally invited to the final as a lucky mascot by Alessandro del Piero. Noel mentions how he'd told Piero he might stay at home because there's a double bill of EastEnders on that day. This is what we want.
+1 point

A piece with The Chiles 'be'ing the Olympic Stadium. Yay.
+2 points

Motson stating that Makelele's style of play is like ironing a shirt. Cue Lawrenson chuckling that he is certainly 'never pressed'. Boh. We're sure even John Motson is getting pissed off with him now.
-3 points

A typically overblown montage of the tournament as a whole, much as you'd expect from the BBC. Not as good as their PSB-soundtracked summary of England's fortunes, but nice enough, and they didn't bung the credits over it like they might have done. A retrospective look at the fans was used for that. Any excuse to show lots of pretty girls, eh. Which is, of course, fine by us.
+2 points


We can't be bothered flipping to ITV (especially as we're recording the BBC broadcast to shiny disc), we're guessing they've got about eleven pundits crammed into a tiny corporate box. Of course, one of the main traditions of the World Cup Final is practically no-one bothering with the ITV coverage. When we saw a bit of the '98 final on ITV, there was an immensely annoying interview with Ryan Giggs outside the stadium ("So, Ryan, how do you feel knowing that you'll never get to play in a World Cup Finals? I bet you wish you'd played for England, don't you?" "Er, no. Actually"). Wonder if they'll get beaten in the ratings by UKG2 (which we're not going to watch any of, either. Heck, we can't even be bothered calling it by it's proper name).

Bet they rushed into some adverts two nanoseconds after the final penalty of the shoot-out, too.
ITV -2 points
UKG2 -2 points

Come back tomorrow for the grand totals! Or just add them up yourself. Or, just try to carry on with your lives without caring about it at all.

Super Special Bonus For Non Football Likers

As your reward for sticking out all of the footy talk, here's something that has NEVER been on the internet UNTIL NOW.

Yes, that's right. It's a picture of Brian Walden lighting a cigarette for Neil Kinnock on the set of Weekend World. Shut up, it's interesting.

Tuesday, 4 July 2006

World Cup Things Galore: Part Two

Crikey, update frenzy.

More YouTubed clips, this time of three World Cup themed adverts shown (as far as we know) in these full-length versions just the once.

First, here's the full version of the Carlsberg Old English Internationals Wander About On A Pitch For Cash advert. Especially notable, as we think it's the only non-shite advert we've seen from the long-running "Carlsberg don't do [whatever], but if they did, we'd be dead good at it and that". Maybe you should, because your lager is horrible. "Oooh! Fute-ball legends!" Piss off.

Nextly, here's the full-length kareoke version of Honda's gorgeous The Impossible Dream advert, which doesn't really have much to do with football at all, save for a gratuitous flag shot at the end. Wonder if they did the same for any other countries.

Last, here's that Lynx advert, Billions. We're not sure why we capped it, as Lynx adverts generally annoy us (look, it's bad enough having to put up with thousands of girls in their underwear throwing themselves at us as we go about our everyday lives, we don't need to see it mirrored in TV ads all the time). We're sure they work very well on their dim Nuts-reading demographic. Here it is anyway. Even though it's got nothing to do with football.


World Cup Things Galore: Part One

Welp, to celebrate the forthcoming Italy vs France (ahem) World Cup Final, here's a quick scan of a page from the TVTimes, circa 1978, and their meeting in the first group stage of the '78 World Cup. Why? Well, mainly because we've bought two issues of TVTimes dating from the 1978 World Cup from eBay. And hey, why not?

Now, we don't know about you, but we'd walk around Moss Side in a Portugal shirt to see that edition of Soccer Celebrity Squares. Bob Monkhouse, Bill Shankly and Kenny Everett - together at last!

Any other requests for scans from these issues, leave a comment. We're not doing it if no-one wants them - stupid Independent Television Publications Ltd, you'd think they'd have known I was only going to have an A4 scanner 28 years into the future and didn't want to Photochop lots of scanned bits into a readable page.

Get Your Semi On (1)

In order to check every leak in the UK's World Cup broadcast pipe, BrokenTV (note to selves, think up a better metaphor for the previous statement), we've been listening to FiveLive's commentary of the Germany-Italy semi-final. Oh, alright. Due to accidentally agreeing to spend the duration of the Germany-Italy semi-final stuck in an office deep in the heart of a soulless building in a characterless business park, we're listening to the radio, grasping our cherished "Germany to win the World Cup: 11/1" betting slip. And panicking when the commentator starts shouting about a chance on goal for either team, because our concentation has lapsed and we're not sure which team he's on about until he calms down a bit because they'd spooned it over anyway.

- Mike Ingham referring to "the commentary team from the most densely populated country in the world, China, has the most densely populated commentary box. They're sitting on each others' laps!" This is the sort of thing Motty and Comedy Mark should be referring to.+2 points

- Chris Waddle has just called Torsten Frings "a big, big miss". Bet he wouldn't say that to his face. That reminds us, we're going to deduct points every time he says 'pelanty'.-2 points (suspended)

- That said, hopefully, we'll finally be at home by the time it goes to 'pelanties'. Blimey, Alan Green is rubbish (not an observation we've just arrived at, but this is our first opportunity to air it). Alan, if being at these football matches seems to piss you off so much, can we go in your place? You can just stay at home and complain about foreign footballers.-2 points

- Chris Waddle has just compared someone-or-other to Anne Robinson (possibly German Chancellor Angela Merkel, although we don't see it ourselves. If pressed on the matter, we'd say she looks like what we'd imagine Madge off of Neighbours' sister maybe looks like. Going off her photo on Wikipedia, anyway). Wish our DAB radio had a rewind function on it.BrokenTV: -1 point.

Gah. A latter day Schumacher-Battiston decapitation attempt from Lehmann, by the sounds of it. Wish we were sat in front of a television set right now. Even if it was tuned to ITV.ITV's decision not to stream their World Cup coverage over their website, the rubbish gits: -3 points

The fact this is about to go to extra time, which means we might be able to get home for the end of it, although we'll need to listen to the utterly rubbish medium-wave FiveLive signal on the car radio. Bloody medium wave. On FM: room for dozens of shitty local radio stations all playing the exact same constant diet of Bon Jovi, Texas and inane items stolen from the Radio One of six years ago, no room for the one station everyone in the country really wants to listen to at the moment. Gits.Radio Licence Authority: -15 points

Right, just time to quickly post this, before we dash off like a fool in time to catch the second period...

[22:30 Update]

Oh well, there goes that potential £60. From what we actually saw (all 17 minutes of it), it looks like a cracking match, so we're not quite sure why Alan Green sounded so grumpy about it. No, wait... because he's Alan Green? That'd be it. Nice of ITV to kick us all into an ad break about twenty seconds into the post-match celebration. Now, come on France (hey, we're not so daft as to not put a covering bet on another team once the odds plummet on the one we've backed. It's like taking the Deal from The Banker with four boxes left).

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