Thursday, 31 May 2007

Big Brother 2007 (With Graphs): Part One

Now, we don't usually watch this, but in the interests of our viewer, we're going to try and stick with it for as long as possible. Our comprehensive review of the first instalment of the UK's most drawn out audition for fronting your own short-lived E4 series runs thusly.

Broadcasting equivalent of standing in front of the class and admitting what you just did aside, the show kicked off with a rundown of the rumours about the new series that aren't true (and which, presumably, had been leaked to the press by the production team in advance of the new series to maximise the viewing audience). Then we saw inside the house and... some other stuff happened and we kind of lost interest a bit.

What we need is to somehow distil each component (or housemate) into a series of numbers. It's the only way our fractured minds will be able to make sense of the screeching masses in need of a dignity transplant. That's why we've adapted our ranking system from the Celeb Big Brother to take in a whole new set of rankings, with bonus multipliers and everything.

Here's how it works:

As with our earlier system, the basis is the amount of words written in Wikipedia about each contestant. But! As a tribute to the way they keep on adding spurious trinkets to the house each time that everyone generally ignores because they're sunbathing instead, the following bonus multipliers are due to be applied to each word count:

+10% for each [citation needed] displayed in the contestant's Wikipedia rating – unverified facts are always fun

+20% for the current Betfair favourite to win

+10% for the second favourite

+5% for the third favourite

+10% for whoever we like the bestest of them all at any given moment

-15% for whoever's really getting on our tits

(You'll just have to imagine us reading the above bit out loud in a kind of faux-really-excited voice, just like Davina does on her tour of the house.)

We're really tempted to dock everyone an extra 10% for there being a new Trident Gum advert in the first ad break of the new series, but that would just be unfair. If you want to play along at home, our Excel formula for working out all of this is =SUM(B4+((B4*$C$2)*C4))+((B4*$D$2)*D4)+((B4*$E$2)*E4)+((B4*$F$2)*F4)+((B4*$G$2)*G4)+((B4*$H$2)*H4). Write that down. Of course, we reserve the right to add extra accumulators as the game progresses, especially if we can get an easy joke out of it.

So, what does that mean for the tenants of the Big Brother Bungalow?

Sam and Amanda Merchant

An annoying noise with four legs, the twins automatically won our vote as Most Annoying Person so far, docking them 15% of their word count of 47. Score: 44.65

Lesley Brain

Depending on whether the others see her as some sort of mother figure, or just some old woman with illusions of grandeur, will last a week, or ages. She still won't win, though. Score: 41.80

Charley Uchea

Despite getting booed, she seems relatively nice. Our current favourite, gives her points a boost all the way up to: 53.90

Tracey Barnard

Oh shit, it's Donny Tourette with a vagina. The bookies seem to like her, but we can't see her winning. We're betting she'll storm out of the house to make some sort of laboured 'point' within the first month, and claim it was something to do with a more pressing need to 'have it' elsewhere. Three [citations needed] give her score a boost, though. Score: 52.65

Chanelle Hayes

Who looks about as much like Victoria Beckham as we would if we just did our hair like hers. The second lowest score: 26.00

Shabnam Paryani

Quite extroverted, but in a way that isn’t too annoying. Yet. We suspect she could fall into the BrokenTV favourite column with the wind behind her. A bit of a shame that she’s currently last in the rankings, really. Score: 24.00

Emily Parr

Seems quite nice, although we’re not quite buying into the ‘indie’ personality until she mentions someone a bit more leftfield than Pete sodding Docherty. We’re tempted to offer her a bonus 25% if she can name more than one Pixies album, then we’ll see. The current leader, helped along by three [citations needed]. Score: 100.10

Laura Williams

Flying the flag for Wales. Seems okay, could turn out to be a ‘character’, which isn’t necessarily a good thing. Time will tell. Score: 66.30

Nicky Maxwell

Another relatively normal person who could well sneak into our favoured housemate category. It looks like they’re going for a controversy-lite series this year. Well, unless they chuck Freddie Starr in there at some point or something. Score: 82.80

Carole Vincent

Ah, there we go. It’s Millie Tant. Harsh, but fair, we feel. Score: 37.20

In summary then:

Expect regular updates when we get around to watching our Sky+ recordings of the highlight shows, or not if we get really ticked off with the whole idea of this. Hey, we’re not getting paid for this, you know. And if anyone’s expecting us to sit through Moyles, they can bally well piss off.

Wednesday, 30 May 2007

Least Collectable Collectable Ever

When the postman makes his way up the sixteen flights of stairs to the BrokenTV office with our usual selection of junk mail, we're always happy to see one of our magazine subscriptions lying on our doormat. Such is the situation we found ourselves in this morning, as our bleary, bloodshot eyes noticed the unmistakable clear plastic wrapping of something that wasn't an offer to join a slightly different car insurance firm. Will it be When Saturday Comes? Retro Gamer? Viz? Biscuits Weekly?

Oh. It's just the bloody Sky magazine, packed with the usual selection of advertising leaflets that fall out onto the floor, and about 95% of the magazine proper taken up with adverts for things we wouldn't possibly want. But wait! What's this?

Oh, silly cynical old us! This is no ordinary free magazine we throw straight in the recycle bin! It's a SPECIAL COLLECTORS EDITION with a picture of one of the Simpsons on the front. Right we're not going to unwrap it, we're going to leave it sealed, and who knows, maybe, just maybe, in a few dozen years from now, it'll be worth... as much as one new British penny.

Really, what the point of pretending something is collectable when 8,175,999 other people are receiving the same thing through the post as well as you? Gah.

Sunday, 27 May 2007

An Update A Day: Day Six

Here's a YouTube clip we'd uploaded a while ago, but don't seem to have mentioned here. Which is a pity, as it's blimmin' great.

It's from an episode of LWT's 'An Audience With Jasper Carrott' (no relation to the later LWT celebgasms of the same name), where, in a departure from his usual shaggy dog stories, Jasp goes off on one about Monty Python. All done in an affectionate way, of course, and interesting to see because we haven't really seen him do something like this in anything else. The main point of the routine revolves entirely around one of the Python sketch most people don't even remember - that's proper reference comedy for you.

Of course, it'd be nice to see more repeats of his topical output. The clips from '...Lib' and '...Confidential' that have cropped up on Paramount's repeat showings of The Jasper Carrott Trial have all been excellent, so why not show them again? The fact that they were related to various news items from the early-to-mid 1980s didn't stop UK Gold repeating Carrott's Lib in the mid 1990', and very welcome they were too. Even if the routine sniggering at the contents of the Protect And Survive leaflet would have seriously freaked out our terrified-by-seeing-Threads little minds if we'd seen it go out at the time of it's original transmission. Come on, ITV3, Paramount Comedy, hell, even Men and Motors, pull your commissioning fingers out and get it shown (or, more realistically, UKNova).

Of course, the very moment we get appointed to the BBC Trust (WHICH WILL HAPPEN), we're going to make damn well sure there's a TV equivalent of BBC7. All Comrade Dad, Cool It, A Kick Up The 80's, Morning Sarge, Q, Comic Asides and I Lovett, all of the time.

Saturday, 26 May 2007

An Update A Day: Day Five

Yes, it's very late, and yes, it's nearly 5am on Saturday morning (hey, we've been out drinking copious amounts of alcohol and driving 65mph go-karts all day, and thankfully not in that order), so you'll have to excuse a slightly half-hearted Update A Day update for today.

Luckily, you won't have to excuse anything at all. Despite everything, we've pulled out the stops to give you a SOLID GOLD YOUTUBE SPECIAL UPDATE for the weekend. Oh yes. It's magical. It's fantastical. It's the greatest thing we've found on YouTube after the Richard Massingham public information films that we'd put on there ourselves. What can it be? It's more majestic than we could ever have imagined. It's...

That's right, the first ever episode of Prisoner Cell Block H, in full, in four parts. Yes, while it might well be some way away from the Lexie Patterson* Golden Age, it still had Vinegar Tits (indisputably the greatest ever name for a character in a recurring drama), Lizzie Birdsworth, the mighty Bea Smith, and of course officer Meg Jackson.

(*We're not ashamed in saying Lexie Patterson is the character in a soap opera we have fancied the most out of all the soap opera characters we've ever fancied ever. Yes, even including Charlene Mitchell and Beth Willis. She'd be around 47 years old now. We probably still 'would'.)

The Freaktastic last episode is up there in full as well, as are several other seminal episodes. If nothing else, at least it gives us something to use our internet for now the football season has ended so we don't need PPStream any more.

Six hundred BrokenTV bonus points are on offer for anyone who can point us in the direction of a YouTubed copy of the episode of PCBH where Lexie gets off with a 'garbo' so she can claim she's up the duff so she doesn't get knifed for being a 'lag'. You don't get this sort of plotline in Emmerdale, you know.

Thursday, 24 May 2007

An Update A Day: Day Four and a Bit

To: PepsiCo, Inc.
700 Anderson Hill Road
Purchase, NY 10577

Dear Pepsi,

I feel I must complain to you in the strongest possible terms about what has happened to me upon consuming some of your popular Pepsi Max soft drink. I shall start my story from the beginning, and with pictures.

En route to a local bar with a few of my multi-ethnic model agency colleagues, I noticed a can of your 'Pepsi Max' soft drink affixed to a blue bar, somehow suspended in mid-air just in front of me. Although I can't be fully sure, from my position by this blue bar, each end of the bar seemed to be labelled - one end as 'xam', the other with 'orez', not quite sure why. In order to be fully sure what I saw in front of me was not some kind of urban mirage, I elected to pick up this can, at which point the world around me began to spin at an alarming rate.

Desperate to steady myself, I grabbed on to the only thing I could still see clearly - the magic hovering can affixed to the blue bar. This did little to help my feeling of extreme motion sickness.

Unsure what else could be done at this point, I decided to take a drink from the can, in the hope that the carbonated liquid inside would somehow calm my nerves.

This is where things took a turn for the worse. I found myself propelled to an alternate world, where suddenly I was completely unable to move my arms, legs or body. My eyes darted nervously around, hoping somebody would be able to help me. Unable to utter a plea for help, I could do nought but bobble my head around furiously, in the desperate hope that someone, anyone would understand my predicament.

In a mixture of relief and abject panic, I noticed that I was situated in front of two young women who appeared to be giants. I had no way of knowing if they were somehow responsible for my being in this desparate situation, if they would be able to save me, or if this was just the beginning of something much worse. I continued to flail my head around, unable even to mouth the word 'help', hoping against hope that they were benevolent girl-giants. O! Sweet relief! They appeared to have noticed me, and the look upon their face seemed to be one of understanding. Surely they would be able to help me.

My relief was all too short lived. Their expressions seemed to turn to one of mocking joy at my entrapment. They did little more than taunt my helpless form by laughing in my helpless face, even going as far as kissing me, in some sort of depraved display of jolly glee. As my confused form tried to signal outside of the vehicle I was trapped in, just in case there was anyone else who could possibly help me, the evil girl-giants drove away, far away, far from any possible hope of rescue.

It is now three weeks since that original experience, and I remain trapped, affixed to the dashboard of the car belonging to the two giantesses. I cannot bring myself to relate the experiences I have had to endure since my initial capture, but suffice to say that I feel this entire experience hardly qualifies as 'maxing' my 'life'. As such, I must insist that you change the slogan for your current promotional campaign to something along the lines of "Pepsi Max: Run The Risk Of Inhabiting A Nightmarish World Where Your Entire Body Is Somehow Substituted With A Plastic Figurine And You Suffer A Series Of Torments Where You Long For Nothing More Than The Sweet Release Of Death", which I feel would be more accurate.

Ian Bloke.

PS. Oh, and "help", obviously.

Wednesday, 23 May 2007

An Update A Day: Day, erm, Four

Yes, yes. So much for 'an update a day', but BrokenTV's computer decided not to work at all yesterday, which messed things up a bit*. Today, it seems to be working, but the CPU fan has gone a bit haywire, doing nothing for a while, then running constantly while the CPU temperature climbs up bit by bit. While this is pretty annoying, by running Speedfan, we can keep tabs on our computer's 'core temperate', so we can switch it off just before it explodes. It's at a nicely safe 59°C right now, so let's see if we can get a couple of updates out before it explodes, potentially killing us all in the process.

(*And then we realised that us saving an early draft of this update just after the original means that the "published by" date is messed up, which makes the above slightly nonsensical. It's actually now the 24th of May.)


Of course, you'd think what with all that time we spent standing outside John Lennon Airport over the last few days, selling the printouts of this Wikipedia image to fat men in replica shirts, we could afford a new PC. You'd be wrong, because it turned out everyone had cleverly paid us with printouts of this Wikipedia image. Those loveable scallies. But anyway, it's time for:

BrokenTV's Five Favourite And Five Least Favourite Covers For European Champions Cup Finals Match Programmes Between The Years Of 1956 And 1985: Part Two (The Worst Covers For European Champions Cup Finals Match Programmes Between The Years Of 1956 And 1985)

CPU temperature still at a non-explody 59°C, but we'd better press on all the same.

1976 (Glasgow) Bayern Munich 1 St. Etienne 0

A horrid shade of brown (although they were probably aiming for 'gold'), the Pac-Man typeface (which doesn't work an anything other than a Pac-Man cabinet), and two large flags stuck into, as far as we can tell, Cornwall and southern Denmark. And the main illustration? The UEFA logo. It's this sort of lackadaisical approach that M Platini is working so hard to revamp. Speaking of which, what price monkey referees for the 2009 Final? 57%

1972 (Rotterdam) Inter 0 Ajax 2

It's a great big anthropomorphic European Cup. In a way, we kind of respect the quickly fashioned scrawl presumably done by the 1970s Dutch equivalent of rubbish Daily Mirror cartoonist Tom Johnson, but in another more accurate way, couldn't they have come up with something a bit better? It's a European showpiece, for flip's sake. 52%

1961 (Berne) Benfica 3 Barcelona 2

"Meu deus! I have kicked my penalty so wide it has not just gone over the bar, but out of the entire continent! A not very accurate representation of it, to boot!" etc. 44%

1969 (Madrid) Milan 4 Ajax 1

Tsk. If this was from the early 1950s, we might have let it slide, but coming up with something this tacky in 1969? It looks like it could just as easily be the cover of a pamphlet on farming subsidies issued at an EEC seminar. 26%

1973 (Belgrade) Ajax 1 Juventus 0

Aieeeee! Our eyes! Now, we can't be sure, partly because we're too young and not sex perverts, but this is probably taken from a generic design of all manner of early 1970s pornography. Especially so when you notice that the figure at the top of the cup silhouette looks like a kind of "18+" disclaimer sticker. At that font used for the team name - so horrible it even makes Comic Sans look quite good (and not the typographic equivalent of a 'comedy' tie worn by an annoying middle-manager who reckons he's a bit 'wacky' it really is). Despite what Life On Mars told us, life in 1973 wasn't all Morecambe and Wise Keep Britain Tidy posters and crimes that weren't committed by the person you'd thought they were going to be by, but rather by the other person introduced to the storyline at about the same point as the original suspect, some of it was quite horrid. 12%


And so, with our feature on old football programmes which we'd thought was going to turn out better than it did (no, it wasn't the comedy goldmine we'd originally anticipated), and our CPU code temperature explode-o-meter now sitting at 64°C, we're going to sigh resignedly, click on 'publish post' and hope for the best. Maybe our catch-up feature a bit later on (we said an update per day, and we mean it) will prove to be better.

An Update A Day: Volume Two

It's BrokenTV's 100th post, so what better way to celebrate than post an update that has nothing at all to do with television. But, at least it's topical. Here, indeed, we go.

Of course, we say Live from Athens, but in actual fact we'd merely popped into the Liverpool FC club shop, and whilst there we picked up a copy of the match programme for the Champions League Final. Hey, it's as close to Athens as our budget would allow.

Thumbing through the programme, there's a nice little section towards the end where they've included information on match programmes from all the previous finals, including from the days when (a) football was better, because we didn't have Alan Shearer punditeering on it, and (b) the covers of foreign football programmes were quite often wonderfully mental affairs, often resembling the product of a hyperactive five-year-old left alone with some coloured felt and some scissors, or a propaganda poster from Mussolini-controlled Italy. Here we take a look at

BrokenTV's Five Favourite And Five Least Favourite Covers For European Champions Cup Finals Match Programmes Between The Years Of 1956 And 1985: Part One

We've scanned in all of our favourite and least favourite ones, irrevocably creasing the spine of our pristine new match programme in the process. Which means we probably can't get as much for it on eBay. Damn.

The Five Best

1964 (Vienna) Inter 3 Real Madrid 1

We were in a wonderfully fusty old bookshop today, and this splendid cover really does remind us of a cracking old Penguin Classics paperback, possibly about Smasher Jenkins and the Cup Final Mystery. Hurrah. 82%

1982 (Rotterdam) Aston Villa 1 Bayern Munchen 0

Classic early-1980s. Why, it's could almost be the cover of an old not-quite-official Atari VCS game which merely featured a few faintly coloured blobs moving around a square blob while other slightly-differently colour blobs moved around slowly. That, and a just a dash of the old TSW logo. 85%

1980 (Madrid) Nottingham Forest 1 Hamburg 0

Mmm, nice use of left-justified helvetica on a plain background. Ages before BBC One thought of doing it, and it looks a lot nicer too. 91%

1960 (Glasgow) Real Madrid 7 Eintracht Frankfurt 3
Widely regarded as the greatest final of all time, and what a cover. Evocative of a 1930s edition of Boys Own*, but also incorporating a Superman-type title at the top. We'd love to see them do something like this nowadays. 94%
(*Well, we think so, even though we weren't born until the 1970s)

1959 (Stuttgart) Real Madrid 2 Stade de Reims 0

See above, but this is much more classy. Would be more at home as the cover illustration for a copy of Tiger Comic where 'Golden' Gordon Jordan has just twenty minutes to win Rothermere Wanderers the European Cup... and to stop the Red Menace kidnapping first-team manager 'Gentleman' Sid Charmonderly-Smith, but what can you do. 95%

Tomorrow - Part Two: The Five Worst Covers For European Champions Cup Finals Match Programmes Between The Years Of 1956 And 1985. Also, possibly something someone would actually want to read about what we're supposed to be writing about.

Tuesday, 22 May 2007

An Update A Day: Volume One

Yes, we know we've been deathly quiet recently. This isn't because we're too lazy to bother doing any updates (even though we are), because we been distracted because we'd become committed to gradually building up a large bankroll from an initial investment of £10 in online poker, over hours and hours and hours of play, before stupidly spunking the lot up the wall by misguidedly chucking most of it against top pair top kicker in a no-limit game before realising that ThaNutz364 had pocket queens all along because we're not very good at online poker (even though we recently did that) or because we're drunk on £2.99 Home Bargains wine (hic). No, a mixture of having a 48 hours per week day job and trying to cram in a dull degree that might just allow us to eventually stop doing a 48 hours per week day job for something less boring instead means that something has got to give. Quite clearly, it's not a degree in English, so we still don't know how to formulate a sentence properly.

Anyway, we've just found ourselves with a bit of time on our hands, so now we make a pledge to you, Johnny Viewer. For this week, we PROMISE to deliver AT LEAST one update, EVERY SINGLE DAY, for about a WEEK. We've got a Sky+ box 91% full of stuff we haven't got around to watching yet, so there must be something in there worth writing about, yeah? So, what better way to kick off this whole catch-up exercise with a subject matter that hasn't even happened yet, but which everyone else had been bored of talking about two weeks ago...

Day One: Credit Ra(n)ting

That Tony Blairs, eh? For a few years now, his stock reply to being asked about the whole WMD/Iraq/him being a great big massive war criminal directly responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocent civilians question was along the lines of "oh, so you'd rather Saddam was back in power, would you? Eh? Eh?" In much the same vein, we'll generally make a point of addressing any criticism of the BBC by pointedly stating "oh, so you'd rather it was just as rubbish as ITV1, do you? Eh?" With that in mind, it's interesting to see that Auntie Beeb are becoming increasingly like their long-standing commercial rivals, by enforcing bland uniformity to all of BBC One's end credits, starting from the 4th of June.

But, as BrokenTV can now exclusively reveal, it doesn't end there. In a move to yet further prevent viewers from switching over at the end of the programme, a late addition to the presentation style guide has been made, in order to ensure that viewers know precisely which type of fare due to be sling in their faces after the next batch of trailers.

That's right. In further move to free us from the Orwellian tyranny of Not Being Able To Tell Exactly What A Programme Is About From The Title Alone, our glorious leaders at Television Centre have come up with the wonderful idea of forcing the programme makers to change not just the title sequence of each programme, but the title itself. Hurrah for the glorious BBC Commissioning Department!

It is proposed that the title sequence for each programme MUST include the title of the programme in the pre-approved Glorious Democratic Helvetica Neue 55 Roman typeface. 'Regular' only, and it has to be right-justified. The example above uses italicised text, which is why the person responsible is now lying face-down in a ditch with seagulls feasting on the diseased brain responsible for such an oversight. ALL HAIL THE GLORY OF THE FARSIGHTED BBC COMMISSIONING DEPARTMENT IN THIS CHALLENGING MULTI-CHANNEL AGE.

This is more like it.

Each show will end like this, until the END OF TIME.

In a further move to retain their digitial audience share, all BBC Three announcers have been instructed to use a "comedy mong" voice to dissuade viewers from flipping over to Footballers Wives' Haircuts Revealed: Extra Time on ITV2, as this exclusive leaked extract of next Tuesday night's announcer script reveals:

"Coming up next on Three, Two Pints Of Lager. Of course, you want to watch that. If you don't, you're just a big spastic. Hnnnnnnnngh!!!"

Friday, 11 May 2007

We Are Still Alive

It's just that we've been too busy with lots of other stuff lately to (a) write about any television, and (b) watch much television worth writing about. And while we're tempted to go off on a 1500 word rant about how Hitler: The Comedy Years perpetuated the myth that Heil Honey, I'm Home was a terrible piece of television (when in actual fact, it was a rather jolly hi-concept romp, as these YouTube links to the show in its entirety - PART ONE | PART TWO - prove), we're going to have to restrict ourselves to the following bite-sized outburst:

An Open Letter to Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse, in All Caps.


Not really worth the wait, was it? Meanwhile, here's a scan of a photocopy of a storyboard for the title sequence for one of the series' of The Morecambe and Wise Show.

We promise to try and be less rubbish next time we post an update, honestly.

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