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.


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