Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Aaaargh! Aaaargh! Aaaargh! Aaaargh!

Now, this is quite markedly the Wrong Type Of Nostalgia, what with it being about a children's television programme from the 1970s, but bear with us. We've stumbled across something on YouTube (if seeing it in this week's B3TA newsletter counts as 'stumbling over something'), and would like to pass comment on it. However, in order to keep our professional integrity intact (cough), we've outsourced the next few paragraphs to the hottest property to hit the nation's digital audio bandwidth, Radio Fresh's Danny Mutton. Take it away Danny..

"Hammer Time!"

[A loud sample of MC Hammer's battle cry is played, echoing the words Danny Mutton has just said, in order to make the pseudo-ironic reference quite clear to listeners.]

"Cor, alright gang! We've got a maaaad show lined up for you today. We're taking your text requests for me big MC Hammer shout outs in a few minutes - ha ha, you lot are mad! And then later on we've got a great live session with the hottest new band of 2008, called [rustles sheets of paper] Supergrass. Crazy guys, we'll be hearing tracks from their new debut album later on. And then [snicker] we'll be looking at more of your brilliant All Your Base Are Belong To Us pictures... I don't where you guys come up with this stuff, I really don't! Then finally, we'll be talking to linguist, philosopher, political activist, author and lecturer Noam Chomsky, and I'll be asking him if he's ever shagged a ginger bird. Wotcha!"

"But first, we'll be taking a look at this clip of Rainbow. Cor, who loves a bit of Rainbow, eh lads?"

[Murmurs of vague agreement from sidekicks.]

"Cor, yeah. I used to laaaav a bit of Rainbow as a nipper, me! Anyway, 'ere we've got a clip from the pilot episode, dating from 1972 off of this great new website we've found called You Tube. Look out for that website, we reckon it's going to be massive!"

[Presses a button that plays a 'woo-yeah' sample from a DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince track.]

"Yeah! Anyway, what you might notice about this clip, yeah, is the way Zippy just looks all wrong, and Bungle's quite sinister looking, yeah, but he's sure got some ffffrrresh moves to make up for it, right!"

"Blimey, eh? Kinda scary too, non? Fresh!"

[Presses a button that plays a 'Frrresh!' sample from a 1987 Bomb The Bass album.]

"Cor, eh? Come on, who wants to see the full clip?"

[Murmurs of pretend enthusiasm from researcher and producer in background.]

"Yeah, that's what we want to hear! Here it is!"

[The clip ends abruptly, meaning that the listeners are cut to an out-of-character Danny Mutton, who hadn't been paying attention. His cockney mannerisms are now somehow less pronounced.]

"...anyway, as I'd said to Jocasta at the Groucho, look, I simply need to consider switching from John Noel... I fear I'm being typecast. My father insists I should be looking at more television work, and I'm not sure how much longer I can keep on flinging out this C2DE prattle... what? Oh, gosh. I mean... cor! What about that then, eh? I, erm... here's a record by The Klaxons."

Friday, 21 March 2008

Attention, Television Likers!

BBC Two are repeating the whole of Arrested Development series two, with two episodes a night, from this week. If you haven't seen it, and you've got a PVR (or are up stupidly late, like us), you can remedy that (almost) immediately (although you might need to download the earlier episodes to get the best out of it). But still. Presumably, this is the same sort of "ooh cripes, we'd better get one last repeat out of it as our broadcast rights are about to expire"deal that saw the first series of 24 shown in multiple batches every Saturday night just after Match Of The Day.

This is A Good Thing. We would like to see more of it. If only they'd done this with Curb Your Enthusiasm when they still had it (instead of burying it at Stupid O'Clock on BBC Four).

Monday, 17 March 2008

It's A New Find!

That title just above being a reference to the song by the excellently kitsch, provocative, alluringly gorgeous and downright odd Japanese pop-punk band Shonen Knife. And speaking of kitsch, provocative, and lovely yet askew things hailing from the East Asian geographical region, we've just discovered the incomprehensible majesty of CrunchyRoll.

Think the BBC's streaming iPlayer is the best thing since BitTorrent? Well, imagine a (probably not quite legal) equivalent for Chinese television, featuring all kinds of weird and wonderful programming. Essentially, YouTube, but with fewer concerns over copyright infringement. It's a potential goldmine. In fact, we're almost tempted to jump around the room clicking our heels in mid-air like a nineteenth century American prospector. We're not going to, though.

One such gem is a healthy collection of a demented variety show called The Super Trio Continues. Going by our comprehensive research (ahem), the show sees "Each episode feature several popular Hong Kong celebrities as guest stars. Sometimes Miss Hong Kong pageants and other international pageants are invited. They participate in different party games devised by the producers, usually all of these are ridiculous or sexually provocative. At the end of each round, attractive (or sometimes bizarre) prizes would be awarded to the winners."

Games include:
* Eating huge amounts of wasabi
* Licking contest
* Mini question & answer game shows
* Bad singing recognition contests
* Burping contest
* Piggy back riding
* Seaweed kissing contest
* Charades

Better yet, individual seasons had titles which were translated as things like "The Universally Invincible Prize Master" and "The Continually Invincible Prize Master".

Why couldn't Noel's House Party be like that, eh? Anyway, here's the link to just one of the episodes, and to whet your collective appetite, a few sample screengrabs of just what goes on. This really could replace Tudo é Possível as our favourite sprawling yet incomprehensible foreign language game show.

"Attract sequence" seemingly taken from a Neo-Geo game? Oh yes.

Trio (natch) of presenters who wear differing (but matching) garb for each episode? Yup.

Demented games like this one? Where the contestants have to run barefoot over an assault course of what seems to be Lego (but which surely isn't, as that would hurt, probably)...

...then neck a bottle of soft drink in one go, and burp into a sound measuring device...

...and whoever belches the loudest is the winner? Of course!

Hug racing?

Some sort of weird game where a man seems to breathe on a prone woman until someone off-screen whaps them on the back of the head?

Surely not what you're thinking, here.


Lambwatch: free flexidisc

Just a quick update here, as we don't really want to turn into merely some sort of anti-Lamb blog. Mainly because slagging off George Lamb feels kind of like kicking in an extraordinarily untalented blind cripple.

Nonetheless, a lot of the comments floating around the internet about the general unsuitability of George Lamb for a radio station based solely on the premise of playing proper, decent music mention an infamous interview with a couple of the Super Furry Animals. In this interview it's quite clear that he doesn't know anything about the band, how to conduct an interview with someone he hasn't been the manager of (for those not in the know, he was manager of the Audio Bullys (sic) and Lily Allen before deciding to expand his 'media' 'profile'), or pretty much how to hold a conversation with anyone who isn't a braying demi-wit.

Someone on the internet had put up an mp3 recording of this interview (which is well worth listening to anyway, as it contains a great lo-fi reworking of Golden Retriever) for the benefit of those who'd missed it first time around. Sadly, they'd uploaded it to Megashare, which is horrible. So, with the entirely imaginary consent of the person who'd created the file, we're mirroring the file here. Or more specifically, here. For the time between now and the moment it soaks up the last of our ADSL24 bandwidth allowance for the month (or until the BBC have us killed for hosting it), listen and enjoy/brim with furious rage.

Thursday, 13 March 2008

"If There's One Thing People Don't Want, It's The Absence Of A Lack Of Non-clarity"

For the benefit of those listeners yet to follow our advice and get into Newstopia, Shaun Micellef’s fantastic take on the satirical news show genre, we’re pleased to offer up a few clips of what you’re missing. Alternatively, for the benefit of our listeners handsome and/or pretty enough to have heeded the words we typed on the 28th of February, here are some clips from the first series of Newstopia. Which we erroneously said wasn’t as good as we’d hoped. We’d only seen the pilot episode by that point, and luckily the remainder of the series (which we’ve just acquired) is well up to muster. As this clip will inarguably prove to you.

Good, and something only a wrist-flapping simpleton would describe as Like The Day Today Only Not As Funny, no? Well, as more people really should be made aware of this show, and because it'll make for an easy update to the blog, here's a full episode from series one of Newstopia. Spiffington.

(Part one. Direct link)

(Part two. Direct link)

(Part three. Direct link)

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

6Music: Part Two

Yesterday we noted how BBC 6Music's decision to consciously promote the boorish meanderings of George Lamb is unlikely to win the increase in female listeners they so desperately crave. Now, it's all too easy to criticise, not so easy to come up with your own ideas. With that in mind, we've been pondering just how 6Music could attract the attention of more women. After almost four seconds thought, we've arrived at the staggeringly obvious conclusion that playing more records performed and/or written by women would help. Hardly rocket science, really.

But, is the current playlist of 6Music really that male-dominated? BROKENTV MUST INVESTIGATE. To the spreadsheet application!

Thanks to 6Music's excellent Last.fm page, we're easily able to pull up information on every artist they've played over the last three months, ranked by the number of times each have been played. By taking track information for the forty most-played acts (deft use of Excel, Internet Explorer (Firefox doesn't tabulate the fields properly, for some reason), Notepad, copy and paste helps here), and noting the gender of vocalists for each act, we're able to arrive at a lovely big table full of delicious numbers. And yes, we really did do this. Look:

Yes, the points get split when vocal duties are shared, as with Sons and Daughters. So, what was the outcome of the twenty minutes of our one and only life that we spent on this?

As this incontrovertible proof shows, the controllers of 6Music still have a way to go before striking that blow for gender equality. But what of the other BBC music radio stations? Have we
spent so long obtaining comparable figures for them that we're so wearied we don't really have the time to write that much about them?

As we can see, Radio One is a misogynistic paradise, whereas Radio Two izzzzzz... nope, even we're bored of this now.

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Reject Week, Day Two: Move Over Richard Bacon

What with it being roughly the first anniversary of the single week in 2007 when BrokenTV was any good, we're celebrating by completing some of the very many rejected ideas for updates we've thought of doing, then didn't.

We know we could come up with a more fitting tribute by showing some of the quality penmanship that saw us getting a largely positive two-word review on the BBC website's culture section, but frankly, we're spent. We're barely capable of one good idea per month at the moment, and this month's quota has gone on altering the tagline of Booked (Dissent) to "The Football Website That's Less Popular Than Robbie Savage John Toshack Slash Fiction."

Instead, we're going to complete the thing we'd thought of doing about the biggest waste of Digital Radio bandwidth since the 166 hours per week Five Live Sport Extra doesn't do anything. Only we didn't bother because lots of other people have made the following points already (more entertainingly, too). Move over Richard Bacon, we've got a new addition to The BrokenTV List Of Enemies.

Note: While we do spend a lot of our time being needlessly sarcastic about those that probably don't deserve it (which we do because it's easy, and we're lazy), the following is from the heart, maaan.


Mainstay of the office radio 6Music recently announced their plans to increase the proportion of women listening to their radio station. Their research has shown (somehow) that one thing that really annoys women who listen to the radio, is when they play that modern pop music. They'd much rather hear inane deejay banter. Look, the research consultants probably have a pie chart proving this. And pie charts were invented by Florence Nightingale, who was basically the best woman ever, which possibly counts for something.

So, how best to arrest this lady-ear deficiency? Well, there are several ways, but probably the worst possible approach would be to shove Gideon Coe (amenable presenter who knew that the tunes should always take priority of inane banter) onto a graveyard show, and give his slot to a self satisfied alpha-male who thinks playing annoying samples of children's TV programmes from the 1980s every three minutes is preferable to being any good, and who comes with a braying 'posse' of hangers on, including the token woman who everyone else talks down to when she gets something about football wrong. So, step forward George Lamb.

Three solid hours of reading out texts from sycophantic listeners requesting they be played one of the show's three annoying soundbites (the battle cry of early 1990s homosceptic Shabba Ranks, an Irish stereotype shouting, and something from Thundercats), sneering at those horrid working classes (generally by snorting "haw haw! That is straight estate!" at mention of a tattooed woman shopping for lager at Netto), year-old internet memes (Chuck Norris facts, anyone? No?), and if there's time, a song or two. But quite often the songs are interrupted by sampled soundbites from The sodding Goonies or Wayne's World.

Quite excrutiating.

All the more so when you consider that 6Music is meant to be a radio station predominantly based around - as you might expect - music. Not tedious alpha-male posturing.

For once, it's not just us piddling into a maelstrom of indifference. An online petition has been started, with a website to match. At the time of typing this, Get Lamb Out is nudging 2000 votes, just ahead of a similar petition to keep him in (sitting on around 1900 vote). All the more notable considering the latter petition receives a number of rallying calls on a nationwide radio station, while the former have thrived solely on electronic word of mouth.

Holy Moly referred to him as
[a] gibbering, self obsessed, coke addled, sniggering twat of the highest order has single handedly fucked BBC6 up the arse and reduced what was a great morning show under Gideon Coe down to the equivalent of a Timmy Mallett name dropping wank session in which he says 'ladies and gentlemen' over and over again

A poster on feminism website The F-Word opined:
Try listening to Lamb and try not to be offended. He persistently objectifies women, especially "boss-eyed birds". He treats talented female musicians with contempt, eg Cat Power, who he persistently asked had she been "tonguing" an actor. He spent his whole interview with Duffy amusingly confusing her with Buffy the Vampire Slayer. See what he did there?

The Lipster's Rebecca Nicholson had her tongue in what we're almost tempted to claim is her pretty little cheek (luckily we're above that sort of thing) when she said:
It’s all for you, ladyfolk! He’s a dreamboat! Maybe, if he talks even slower and drops in a few references to Heat magazine, Loose Women and chocolate, we might start to understand this “music” lark properly.
There's a Facebook group dedicated to having the Lamb put down, and even The New Statesman are getting in on the act, with Lynsey Hanley writing:

In appointing Lamb, Douglas has alienated not only many female listeners, but also an awful lot of men who can't stand his boorish arrogance and transparent lack of interest in the station's remit.
All of this led to BBC Radio's Lesley Douglas defending Lamb in an interview with The Guardian, basically claiming that we're all wrong, and everyone does like him especially women. Given that a lot of the dissenting voices (including the three we've just quoted above) are coming from women, we suspect she's wrong. If nothing else, it's caused BrokenTV's Mark X to stop listening to 6Music at work between 10am and 1pm, meaning their female audience has gone down by at least the two women he works with. Look, he paid for the radio, so he gets veto, and there's nothing sexist about that.

LADIES! Want to make the point that George Lamb actually isn't the dreamboat likely to make you tune in breathlessly every morning at ten? Print out the image below, cut it out, iron it onto a T-Shirt (not that we're associating women with ironing, heck no), and wear it outside Western House.

But if there's one thing BrokenTV is about (it clearly isn't writing about television programmes), it's about bringing in the love. So, here's something positive about George Lamb: he really does put all the other daytime jocks into perspective. Let's take a look at some examples.

Shaun Keaveny


Another in the long line of infuriating Boltonian DJs, proving that it takes more than the right regional accent to be the new Mark Radcliffe. Forever spurting insipid whimsy when the listening dozens would rather be listening to another White Stripes record. If only Phill Jupitus had never left.


Affable northerner who politely eschews the tired zoo-radio format to offer up quickfire uncontroversial observations on the matters of the day. Plays lots of good records, and while his delivery often fails to bring the best out of his material, it's certainly preferable to the following few hours of aural anguish.

Chris Moyles


Boorish, loud-mouthed, self-satisfied, annoying, keeps talking about how great his is with his paid hangers on instead of playing records. And keeps going on about things from the 1980s, even though that's pretty much a reference point the target demographic for the station won't give a toss about.


A driven, confident personality, who constantly displays a genuine affection for the world of radio. Not as bad as everyone says he is, and at least the 1980s references are likely to be of the more interesting variety, such as Wizbit or The Paul Squire Show.

Jo Whiley


The mainstream-friendly face of alternative music, who'll try her utmost to appear credible despite being able to promote the latest release from Westlife with whatever the audio equivalent of a straight face is. And then say it was 'fantastic' straight afterwards, without even the merest hint of irony.


Still preferable to George Lamb.



Perennial Radio One up-with-the-Partridge slot jockey cum emergency fill-in DJ, promoted out of her depth into a 'proper' daytime show.


Actually, she's really rather good. She doesn't spend to long yapping away about What Celebrities Have Been Up To, keeps interaction with the listening public to a pleasant minimum, and plays an enjoyable and eclectic selection of records (such as Miss Kitten, Minnie Ripperton, The Fall, or Mgmt), which is after all what the station is about. Pretty much what we're looking for in a daytime radio DJ, really. When is she on air? Just after George Lamb. Boh.

Hey, maybe Lesley Douglas should spend more of her time trying to attract an increased female audience to 6Music by bigging up Nemone's contribution to the station, eh?

Monday, 10 March 2008

Rejected Idea Week: Part One

After a period of inactivity, we reckon it's probably time we made a bit of an effort, and updated the blog at least once per day for a week. Possibly more. Sadly, we can't really think of anything to write about, so what better time to dig out all of the half-completed and half-baked ideas lurking in our Brokendrafts.txt file? Yes, it's time to send the quality control department of Broken Industries on their annual trip to the funfair in Rhyl ("But it's been demolished!" - The Broken Industries Quality Control Department), and finish off all those posts we'd started to write and then dismissed because they we no longer topical, as good an idea as we'd hoped they'd be, or rubbish. First up:


Aye, a bit of a throwback to our Lost: The Videogame gag from about a year ago, which we'd knocked up in five minutes, anticipating our regulars would get the reference to an obscure game from 1988, only for it to be included on Kotaku, leading to about ten thousand people thinking we'd passed off the Denton's finest work as our own. Bah.

Anyway, we'd started to knock these up in a similarly hamfisted fashion (who'd have thunk it'd be so difficult to replicate attribute clash via Photoshop, eh?) before giving it up and a bad lot, not least because the series takes place a good year before the Spectrum hit the shops, preventing the screenshots from standing up to any scrutiny. But, as our standards are going out of the window this week (we'll probably be reduced to a tenth-rate rip-off of TV Go Home by Friday, mark our words), he are the pictures anyway. We might upload them again when the third series of Ashes rolls around, because they'll be artistically valid around 2010.

It might have worked better if we'd made it look more BASIC, instead of machine code

We are fond of the rubbish attempt to 'digitise' the main characters, though

Special Competition Time

A special prize (i.e. a mention in the next update) is on offer to the first listener to identify the two Speccy titles we've nabbed graphics from for the above two shots.

Special Extra Bit

While looking for games to 'borrow' a cup of pixels from, we found this slice of semi-excellence. It's Flying Train, an overly difficult (and to be fair, not exactly entertaining) early Spectrum title, from 1983. It's the follow-up to excellent (no, really) Rock and/or Roll simulator The Biz, coded by none other than Chris Sievey, more commonly known as Channel M's Frank Sidebottom. Aces.

Okay, it's actually a bit rubbish to actually play, but it is very pretty to look at. And hey, Frank Sidebottom!

(Addendum: It is just our new PC, or has the font on the blog somehow defaulted to Times New Roman? That isn't very good)


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