Saturday, 28 June 2008

Wii Fit Owners! Know Your Limit!

You see, what that dastardly Nintendo don't tell you is this - you might get used to the daily festival of fitness-related fun. You may find yourself amazed at your ability to do headstands with something approaching impunity. You may unlock most of the unlockables. You may - gasp! - lose weight.

But what they won't be telling you is this: you might mistakenly arrive at the conclusion that maybe exercise is a good thing. Maybe sitting on your arse playing GTA Race while listening to On The Go Playlist 2 isn't all you'd thought, and maybe, just maybe with the satisfaction at having shed a few pounds on your Balance Board coursing through your veins, you'll go out and walk, WALK, the three mile round trip to pick up some bread and milk from the local supermarket.

One factor you WON'T account for is that with your recent weight loss, your jeans aren't going to fit you quite as snugly as they once did. Oh sure, they might seem perfectly fine on the twenty yard trip from front door to car, from car park to work, from car to front door. But the 1.5 mile return trip? On foot? Carrying two bags of heavy shopping? With your spare change, mobile phone and iPod weighing down the pockets? Those jeans will be weaving their merry way down your waistline before you can say "oh bloody hell, my jeans are weaving their merry way down my waistline". And all in front of an audience of various motorists making their way along the busy coastal B-road you live by.

Plus, you've just spent £70 on Wii Fit. You can't afford to replace all of your trousers with identical ones that are one size smaller.

Honestly, we had to stop off at a chip shop for the first time in three years to try and combat the 'downward trend' with chips and... erm, we mean you'd have to stop off at a chip shop for the... ah, damn.

But anyway, we're really here to say this: WHY WERE WE NOT INFORMED OF THIS MUSIC VIDEO BEFORE NOW?

(Top tip: If you're making your way back from Somerfield. and your trousers are doing their best to say hello to your ankles whilst a gaggle of gobby teens are walking near you, a good idea is to stop, check a fictional text on your mobile for the time it takes them to pass, then surreptitiously pull up your kecks and carry on your merry way.)

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Bad News, Future Career! (2)

Oh, C'MON! We've got stuff to do, we can't be done with discovering exclusive behind the scenes clips, unbroadcast sketches and extracts of rushes from Newstopia now. Bloody hell, The Internet.

They're even in hi-res YouTube mode.

Be warned if you're not already a fan of Newstopia, though. Warned partly because your life is practically worthless, as you've clearly yet to experience Newstopia. Remedy your life imbalance by watching this clip, and the others like it. Warned secondly because the clips aren't especially funny out of context. They're for obscure Australasian comedy satire geeks only.

The rest of them are here.

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Bad News, Future Career!

Is it just us, or is it a universal truth that every time you need to get something really rather important done on your computer (such as, to pluck an example at random from the ether, doing the final piece of coursework for the academic year for an important one-chance-only career-furthering qualification, two days before the absolute deadline for handing it in, and you're still not sure what the buggering flip you're doing), the internet suddenly and without warning gets 186% better? We've already got a tissue-thin attention span, and even though all that's standing in between us and an entire summer of guilt-free catching up on telly and online GTA IV is a dozen or so hours of research project tedium.

And then, just when we've been able to tear ourselves away from the hours of guilt-packed TV-watching and GTA-IV-playing, sit at our PC and fire up Word, the gods of the internet go and throw this in front of us. All the best ZX Spectrum games, playable through your browser. Much like World Of Spectrum, in fact, except! MySpeccy records your high scores and places you in a global leaderboard.

And so it is, after making the gargantuan effort to avoid watching any telly at all for three days (only to get continuously distracted by all manner of other matters of global import), the chance to become Worldwide King Of Chuckie Egg is thrown into our path. Gah.

In summary: on one shoulder, an impressive addition to a lacklustre Curriculum Vitae. On the other shoulder, the chance to become Worldwide King Of Chuckie Egg. Angel, or devil. Angel. Devil. Angel. Devil. There can only really be one choice, clearly.

Bollocks! Stupid sodding lifts on level three, we always hated them. Oh, just one more go, then.

Monday, 23 June 2008

May 12 1937 - June 22 2008

Rest in Peace.

'Nuff said.

Free Euro 2008 TV Coverage T-Shirt For All Readers Inside

It's the BrokenTV Euro 2008 coverage Wordle:

(Click for bigger)

Wordle is our new favourite internet toy ever. At least for this week. We'd be tempted to get T-shirts made with this design, if only it weren't for the fact they'd be tremendously out of date by the time they became an actual physical entity. Everyone is quite welcome to print it out and sellotape it to the front of their existing T-shirt though, which is the next best thing.

Sunday, 22 June 2008

Euro 2008: Final Score

The BBC are spending most of half-time in the Spain-Italy match running a feature where The 14 Year Old Boy Who Seems To Have Won A Blue Peter Competition To Become One Of The Anchors For Euro 2008 visits the locations in Vienna where The Third Man was filmed, marking each of the differences between the film and the original novella.

ITV are still treating us to the thoughts of Andy Townsend at half-time for each of their matches.

Yeah, it's long ceased to be any sort of contest. If this were a boxing match, BBC Sport would be idly prodding the twitching corpse of ITV Sport, which lies in a sickening pool of sweat, spit, blood, hair and teeth, as even the most ardent and bloodthirsty of boxing fans are making for the exits horrified at how long this has been allowed to continue. In the words of Alexei Sayle, that's that sketch knackered then.

Friday, 20 June 2008

Thought For The Femtosecond

Why are the people behind the advertising campaigns for WKD so keen to market it aggressively at the 25-49 year old 'bloke' demographic when it's chiefly purchased by teenage girls?

Now, we're sure we're not the first to make this observation, but the current woeful advert ("Ha ha! Man flu! Not that it was funny when Manstrokewoman did the same joke ages ago, but still! Cor, we are rubbish aren't we blokes? Eh? Right, I'm off to buy a copy of FHM") is a new low. Admittedly, it's a difficult thing to quantify, but if your average WKD advert is 60% as bad as mass genocide, this new advert easily tops the 70%-as-bad mark. It's not as if anyone actually thought the woman in the advert actually was a nurse at the beginning, unless they're so out of touch they also think hospitals genuinely allow patients the opulance of really comfy duvets and lots of fluffy pillows.

Coming soon in Great Unexplained Mysteries in Advertising (2)

Is there a full-length version of the current Halifax advert where they get boarded by The Crimson Permanent Assurance and slaughtered for nicking their gag? And if not, why not?


Wednesday, 18 June 2008

New TV Scandals Unearthed *BrokenTV Exclusive!!*

"Exclusive" mainly in the sense that these haven't actually happened yet, but when either/both does/do... hoo, boy. Who'll be sitting at the top of the Google page rankings and being invited onto News 24? We've got a shirt ironed and ready, just in case.

It's always worth keeping an eye on Paddy Power's 'novelty bets' section, as it's always good for a bit of a chuckle (such as offering 1000/1 on the next pope being Fr Dougal MacGuire). At the moment, two events have taken our fancy, the first of which being "Which Will Be The Next TV Comeback?" The odds are as follows:

The Generation Game 4 - 1
Play Your Cards Right 5 - 1
Blankety Blank 8 - 1
Wheel of Fortune 8 - 1
Catchphrase 8 - 1
The Price Is Right 10 - 1
Blind Date 10 - 1
Big Break 12 - 1
Telly Addicts 12 - 1
Strike It Lucky 12 - 1
Take Your Pick 16 - 1
The Crystal Maze 18 - 1
Noel's House Party 18 - 1
Fifteen to One 20 - 1
The Krypton Factor 25 - 1
Going for Gold 33 - 1
Pets Win Prizes 50 - 1

With Euro 2008 currently happening, if they were going to bring back Going For Gold they'd have done it by now (so we could at least get some sort of national victory from bettering Europeans at something, even if it's just answering questions in a language that we invented), so that's out. As is The Crystal Maze, with tabloid reports of a revival being deftly rubbished over at Bother's Bar, who know their onions (and more pertinently, quizzes). Blankety Blank can't be coming back again, surely, and the same applies to The Price Is Right. We always found Play Your Cards Right really boring, so we'd hope that's not coming back. Neither snooker nor Bigotry's Jim Davidson are as popular as they were, so Big Break is unlikely, and Noel's House Party is about as likely to return to the schedules as Curry And Chips.

With all that in mind, the smart money would be on The Generation Game. The BBC can't keep flinging variants of ...Maria at the Saturday night schedule board, and it'd be the perfect vehicle for Graham Norton. Although we're a bit worried a desperate ITV might resort to a risque late-night Moyles-fronted version of Catch Phrase once the last person at Gray’s Inn Road forgets the lessons they'd learned with Win, Lose or Draw... Late.

Meanwhile, and even more excitingly, they're also taking a tip from an episode of Drop The Dead Donkey, and offering odds on which will be the first cliche uttered verbatim by Davina McCall on Friday's Big Brother eviction show. "I'm coming to get you" is sitting at a comfortable 6/1, while "Ofcom Complaints" is a risky 33/1. Sadly, there's no price listed for "titting hell, will you lot just shut the fuck up for a cocking moment?". Whatever happens, if any of our readers have access to the autocues at Endemol Towers (we did see 'Channel Four Television' cropping up in our IP logs once, so fingers crossed) and don't mind submitting a sly comment, we'd welcome to chance to fill our boots before the Suspicious Betting Pattern Police get antsy.

(Note to selves: Don't worry about proposing large-scale betting fraud on a publicly available website. It'll probably all work out just fine.)


Monday, 16 June 2008

Schedule B: In Memorium

As the ticking of our clock inexorably inches us closer to the point where our Sky subscription lapses for the first time in ten years (since Sky Digital was launched, in fact*), we feel the time is right to salute some of the fallen heroes (channels) that have graced the platform in that time. In the first of what could possibly be an ongoing series, we prepare to take a journey into the dusty old EPG listings of the past, and spew forth our memories. As best we can.

(*It's taken us this long to realise "hang on, we're paying nearly fifty quid a month for this! How come everything in our Sky+ planner is from channels that are on Freeview?")

Friendly TV

Ah, Friendly TV. Quite possibly one of the most inept television channels ever to grace the Astra satellite. It started out with the aim of being "the first live play-along entertainment channel" in May 2003, hoping to compensate for the lack of advertising revenue by getting lots of viewers to call in for a bit of an old natter. At premium rates. Oh, and because it was broadcast live, only the presenter could hear the callers, meaning they would repeat everything the callers says. The end result being much like a painfully drawn out episode of The Sooty Show, only not as entertaining as that sounds.

The microbudgets being lavished on the channel led to a number of entertaining cockups. Commercial breaks would be tranmitted, only with the sound feed from the studio accidentally played out on top of the pictures. This led to the channel's most notorious moment in May 2003. The hosts Paul Lavers and Karen Witchalls spent one morning's News Hound asking the viewers to text their brains out about Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, before pausing for a commercial break. During the break, the presenters' microphones were accidentally left on, meaning the chat between Lavers and Witchalls could be heard throughout the portion of the nation tuned to Sky channel 268. When the chat turned to the sexuality of Cruise and Kidman, with Lavers excellently using the phrase "Betty Both", a skittish Friendly was forced to issue a grovelling apology, and to seriously reconsider the policy of letting anyone who fancies it having a go in the control room. Incidentally, all this proved to be endlessly amusing to Victor Lewis-Smith, who wrote about the affair in one of his Mirror columns. Quite infuriatingly, that column hasn't been picked up by the internet archive.

With calls not flooding in as frequently as had been hoped, most of the broadcast hours were devoted to Brainbox, an interactive call-in quiz running on a PC. And how could we know it was running on a PC? Because quite often, at some point during the night the PC would crash, meaning all that would be transmitted for hours on end was a frozen Brainbox screen, obscured by a Windows error message. And if no-one from the channel was watching it to notice, why on earth would anyone else?


After a fashion, most of the daytime hours were split between Brainbox and broadcast time outsourced to other channels considering a full launch on Sky, such as NASA TV and The Wrestling Channel. The live programmes that were left on Friendly weren't improving, however. One notable example being Girl Talk. A studio was filled with several female Friendly presenters along with a few bottles of wine, all hoping for a good old girly goss-fest with their fellow lady viewers. What generally happened instead is that someone like Anon from Southend would text in with "MICHELLE CAN U SHOW ME UR FEET" or something similar a dozen times a night, much to the perpetual annoyance of the presenters (and to the amusement of anyone else stumbling across the channel on their way to see what's on FX). This went on for several weeks, until the show was discreetly canned, with Charlie Brooker noting in his Screen Burn column one week that "if you needed both hands to send text messages, the channel would fold overnight."

"u tired u been runnin tru my mind alday.akira84"

In it's place was a slightly re-jigged version of Girl Talk, designed expressly for the likes of Anon from Southend. The name of this show? Why, Babecast, of course. With hardly anyone phoning in to the regular shows, save for Charlie Brooker trying to wind up the presenters for the aforementioned Screen Burn column*, Babecast slowly spread throughout the night time schedule like a virus with big tits.

(*It doesn't seem to be online, but see p287 of the first Screen Burn book, where he relates the tale of getting together with some chums, and texting into Friendly's lunchtime show with the news that the Pope had died - he hadn't, a request for the presenter's thoughts about On Golden Pond, and a suicide note.)

"Give us a flip with your flip-flop! Spence"

Eventually, Friendly was no more, with it renamed BabecastTV, and duly plonked into the onanist's haven of the adult section. The channel can perhaps best be summed up by the following section from The Guardian, dated February 2004.
Ofcom today also upheld a complaint against digital channel Friendly TV, which, due a technical failure, broadcast a still image of a topless woman from late night show Babecast for five hours the following morning.

Ah, Friendly TV. We hardly knew ye.

(There's more information - including screen grabs - about Friendly TV over at the splendid TV & Radio Bits website.)


Positioned as Friendly TV's slightly trendier brother, it was clear it wanted to avoid the problems which beset the no-budget pioneer. Things got off to a slightly shaky start, when one of Sky's regular channel reshuffles forced it to change it's moniker to Nation217 not long after launch. Boh.

The channel is perhaps best remembered for being the first home to FlipsideTV, which is worthy of a lengthy article in itself. FlipsideTV was an interesting live format devised by Richard "Cocaine" Bacon, James "Loaded" Brown and Lord "Thatcher" Bell which saw three celebrity guests channel hopping through the contents of three Sky Digital boxes, and commenting on what they've found, or indeed anything else that took their fancy. In between the channel traversing, the host would read out viewer comments and take calls for the daily competition, with top prizes such as a Nokia N-Gage ("including PlayStation quality graphics", as the host would remind viewers every ten minutes) up for grabs.

The programme went out each weeknight, with a rota of presenters on host duty. Most often Richard Bacon himself would hold sway, sometimes Iain Lee would take the controls, and occasionally guest hosts would have a go, with Trevor and Simon being a notable example (an event which saw the regular FlipsideTV theme replaced with that of Going Live). One of the regular hosts was chosen after being particularly well-received as a regular guest, and eventually went on to be in charge of affairs more often than Bacon himself. The name of this young buck, plucked from obscurity? Justin Lee Collins. Now, whatever you might think of the 2008 model Collins (our guess is it'll be more likely to involve the word "twat" than the word "hilarious"), his energy and enthusiasm helped keep the show bouncing along at a nice pace, with him being well suited to a live and unscripted format.

All this made for a surprisingly entertaining ninety (yes, ninety) minutes, with the programme even nabbing it's very own sponsorship deal, a thing relatively unheard of for Vauxhall Conference-level channels such as Nation277. It certainly didn't hurt that the show was attracting guests like Matt Lucas, Boris Johnson (fresh from his appearances on HIGNFY), Charlie Higson and Victoria Silvstedt. The show was soon promoted up the digital pecking order, with it given a one week run on late night Channel Four in August 2004, followed by a two month stint in an earlier slot on Paramount Comedy. Despite some oh-so-shocking comments about Islam made by rent-a-contentious-gobshite Keith Allen in the first Channel Four outing, it attracted a higher audience than the programme scheduled on ITV1 at the same time. It seemed, minor controversy aside, FlipsideTV would go on to be a mainstay in the schedules. Entertaining. Cost effective. Popular.

And there's the oddest thing. Since the last of the broadcasts on Paramount, the show seemed to have disappeared without a trace. It wasn't picked up for a longer run by Paramount, while Channel Four seem to have preferred the broadly similar (if less TV-centric) FAQ U for their fix of Famous People On Sofas Talking About Stuff. By this point it was too big to return to Nation217, but there weren't any other channels that would have provided a suitable home, with the possible exception of Bravo. Where it went, nobody knows. Presumably those involved got caught up in other projects, leaving poor old FlipsideTV to spend all of its time standing in a 24 hour Tesco Extra, sitting in the surround sound demo set-up, complaining about Japanese game shows on Challenge.

Still, while we no longer have FlipsideTV, we do still have Justin Lee Collins. Hmm. Kind of lose-lose, isn't it, really.

The legacy of Nation277/217 didn't end with floppy haired funster Collins, however. In learning much the same lesson that Friendly TV had, merely offering an interactive text forum for your viewers wasn't the path to prosperity that it could have been. By 2005, the channel had retooled, and became known as Game Nation 217 (along with spin off channel Quiz Nation, which mainly simulcasted the same output). The main draw was that you could phone in and win up to (i.e. a lot less than) £30,000 for just answering a simple question. And all for just a £1.50 phone call! What could possibly go... ah.


Schedule A: Euro 2008 Day, erm, Ten?

After ITV Sport phoning it in for their coverage of the fantastic Turkey vs Czech Republic match, BBC are pulling out all the stops for their coverage of Austria vs Germany. The programme begins with a well-crafted montage of the footballing history between the two nations. Is it just us, or are the BBC the only broadcaster able to put these together without it seeming like a desperate act of hyperbole? Three pundits in the studio (Alan, Alan and Martin), plus Lawro pitchside with Ray (why are they still doing this? What's the chuffing point?) and Mark Bright down in the Fanzone. To the casual observer, this could just as well be the final given the amount of effort they're making with the coverage of the match, the only indication that it isn't being that Austria are involved.

There's an argument to be made that the BBC shouldn't be spending all this money covering the tournament, normally in publications edited by Paul Dacre. Despite mentioning the same point in an earlier post, we've decided that we don't really have a problem with this. Television is a visual medium. If we're going to look at four ex-pros topping and tailing the live match with their thoughts on it, why not have a backdrop of some stunning Austrian architecture? It's certainly nicer than the inside of a studio in London. And the former won't have Andy Townsend telling us that "both teams will be looking to get a result here".

It's also worth pointing out that BBC are showing the matches in HD on all platforms offering such a picture, all Free To Air. ITV have restricted theirs to people who've bought a Freesat box. Tsk.

[BBC Sport +2 points]
[ITV Sport -1 point]

Friday, 13 June 2008

Schedule B: BBC One, Sun 15th June, 10.20pm

Jiminy Carr, more like.

Schedule A: Euro 2008 Day Seven (Semi-Live Blog)

After conspiring to miss the matches over the last couple of days, we're back in football watching mode. Our attempts to catch the repeat of Germany vs Croatia on ITV4 were hampered by the broadcaster accidentally simulcasting forty minutes of the CITV Channel instead of the first part of the match, which kind of gets ITV Sport off to a bad start for the day.

[ITV Sport -1 point]

Italy vs Romania

It's Andy Townsend again. Do ITV keep him in a box in the corner of the studio or something? Football pundits should be massively insightful and interesting, or at the very least, be known as a legendary (in the football sense, not that they're a talking dragon) footballer. Andy Townsend is, of course, neither. At least drag Ian Holloway or Steve Claridge into the studio, they've got something interesting to say.

[ITV Sport -1 point]

ITV have nabbed an interview with England manager Fabio Capello, but laudably just ask him about the Italian side, and not about England. Somewhat less laudably, they bugger up the widescreen flags whilst doing so, meaning everyone has an elongated face, like Sarah Jessica Parker. Is it bring your kids to work (and then let them do your job) day at Network Centre?

[ITV Sport -1 point]

Meanwhile, we've been trying a new P2P program to try and see what the coverage of the match on Rai Uno is like. Annoyingly, it won't connect, suggesting either too many people are trying to use it at once, or it's too busy sucking all of our bank details out of our PC to bother. Then we tried the feed of an Argentinian channel, but that just seemed to be displaying the Argentinian flag and the component letters of the word 'Argentina' moving around the screen. By this point the match had started, so we won't be getting any foreign punditry action this afternoon. So instead we tried using the 'picture in picture' function of our excellent Topfield PVR to put The Paul O'Grady Show in the bottom corner, just because we can. He was showing two small boys a photograph of an old woman, then putting an old woman wig on. We wait fifteen years to catch up with picture in picture technology, and this is how we use it.

Half Time

We've got a working stream of a German channel. ARD, if we can still remember the logo from when our parents had old-school Sky in the early 1990s. It's nice to see that German television adverts are as mental as ever: a couple in a bath at an opera, and a load of people in a shop doing a really bad German language version of 'We Will Rock You' about said shop (presumably). Oh, and Germany have the same Nike advert where a cameraman gets to play for Arsenal - we had wondered if other markets saw the action relocated to Eintracht Frankfurt or similarly localised sports team. And also, the presentation team have bothered going to the stadium. Do you see what happens when you make an effort, ITV? Granted, the match is practically down the road from the ARD studios, but still.

[ARD +1 point]

Today's hackneyed half-time observation: Is it just us, or does Roberto Donadoni look more and more like chief Flaming Lip Wayne Coyne with each match?

That's Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips, and not as George Lamb claimed on his 6Music shitfest the other day, Wayne Gretsky. Now, he could have been saying it as some sort of 'joke' with the intent of winding up right-thinking people who don't like his show, who he incorrectly categorises as all being joyless beardy musos. But it wouldn't work as a joke, because Wayne Gretsky isn't well known enough over here for it to be a worthwhile reference. None of his hangers on bothered correcting him, one of them even repeating the error, so as not to invoke the Wrath of Lamb. Bloody hell, eh?

Wondering who that French footballer in the new Betting Company/Retired Footballers Pretending To Do A Proper Job advert is? Not easy to tell for the .3 of a second they're on screen, even though it's the entire punchline to the advert. Our screen grabbing technology to the rescue.

Looks like David Ginola, although as he's largely been out of the public eye (at least over here) recently, it's not immediately noticeable who he is. That brings the number of current underwhelming television adverts featuring members of the France World Cup 1994 qualifying round team who were subsequently blamed by Gerard Houllier for their qualification-buggering draw against Bulgaria to: two.

France vs Netherlands

Putting Mark Lawrenson down for co-commentator duty? Here, at the Wankdorf stadium? Home of football club Young Boys Berne? With his love of making shit jokes? Are they mad? nb. It helps if you read that last bit out in the voice of The 13th Duke Of Wybourne. Will there be one of those moments where Comedy Lawro makes a rubbish witticism, followed by ten seconds of dead air from Motty, after which he carries on as if nothing had happened? We suspect, very much so.

Update: 21.15

Well, a refreshingly restrained performance by Comedy Lawro, and we've really been too busy enjoying the match to slag anything off. So, we'll draw a curtain over today's half-hearted live blogging (aah, so that's why we don't do it very often - we're not very good at it), and bid you all a good night as we sit back for the denouement to tonight's match.

[BBC Sport +1 point]


Monday, 9 June 2008

Schedule B: Big Brother Update

We haven't watched it since launch night, as the football and repeats of Family Guy have been enough to keep us entertained when we've not been out in the sun. And it seems we might not be alone. Taking the viewing figures from Media Guardian, Euro 2008 is currently outstripping the viewing figures for Big Brother on all but the launch shows of each.

It's worth noting that the comparative episodes of each weren't transmitted at the same times of day. The first match of Euro 2008 was broadcast on a sunny Saturday afternoon, while the BB launch show was put out on a Thursday night, explaining the better performance there. Also, we'd wager a lot of people were watching Switzerland-Czech Republic at the pub, which isn't taken into account for ratings.

Since then, while ratings are down overall on the previous outings for each, it's the football that's winning out. Will it continue, and will the ratings for the Netherlands-Italy match (the first big game of the tournament) put everything else into perspective? Time, and us failing to have anything more interesting to write about, will tell.

Schedule A: Euro 2008 Day Three

Holland vs Italy

Why is it that the BBC use 'Netherlands', while ITV are going with 'Holland'? Anyway, we're with ITV1 for the start of their tournament 'proper', and they've finally got main anchor Steve Rider in front of the camera for this. Andy Townsend is on the pundit rota again, along with Bolo Zenden, who we've been told we look like. Not sure if that's a good or bad thing for us, and we're not entirely sure he's the perfect person to epitomise the flair and total football ethos you'd expect from the Dutch, but he seems coherent enough, and it is only ITV.

We're enormously chuffed with the 'Screencap' TAP for our new Toppy 5810 PVR.

Getting our first proper look at ITV1's title sequence, it's much more impressive than we'd assumed it was going to be, based as it is around the theme of classical music. No-one seems to be playing up the Swiss participation in this tournament, it's all about the Austrians. A shame, because we really do think our Hannibal Brooks running serial idea has legs.

Interesting to see that they're not repeating the trick from Saturday night's game, where a roving reporter was sent to mingle with Portuguese fans in Geneva. Hang on, not Geneva, a bar in London. This could be because the 'interview' with a roaringly drunk Briton acting as surrogate Portugal fan went down so badly ("And here's an Englishman supporting a team at the European Championships. Why have you decided to follow Portugal?" "[drunkenly] Port-u-gaaaaal!" "Why have you decided to follow Portugal?" "[wobbling slightly] Why not! Port-u-gaaaaal!"), or more likely because there aren't any Dutch or Italian pubs within walking distance of the ITV Sport studio.

No more mobile phone cameras in front of the telly for us.

England crowbar-o-meter: Referee Howard Webb is at the finals, so we've all got someone to support after all. If his participation leads to an excellent joke along the lines of the caption 90 Minutes magazine used to accompany an aerial shot of the English referee present at the USA'94 World Cup finals, then it'll all be worthwhile ("P. Don, from a great height." We miss 90 Minutes).


If you've got a Toppy, and you want to use it yourself, visit here. As you might expect, interlacing does cause a bit of an issue, but otherwise it's splendid. It even uses the programme title as the filename for the screenshots automatically.

ITV have also got their own 'virtual replay' machine, just because the BBC have got one, and both taking their lead from Sky Sports ten years ago. That's ten years! From when the phrase "Virtual [x]" was still worthwhile. As ITV have their digital simulation narrated by Andy Townsend, they lose this particular battle of the gadgets, with the BBC having recorded the dulcet tones of James Richardson for their 'Euro Classics' series of goal analyses.

UK sets will need to press the "Exit" key on your remote to bring up the options once the Screencap tap has loaded, so you can change the 'capture' button from the 'UHF' remote button, as there's no such button on UK remotes.

Hey, what happened to Bet365 groundbreaking offering of live odds in their adverts? Bert Kwouk is all very well and good, but we quite enjoy seeing things like that. Of course, we also enjoyed seeing live odds during matches when Ladbrokes did exactly the same in their Oracle pages over twenty years ago. It was things like that during our formative years that have turned us into such hardened (and useless) gamblers in later life. Don't mess this up for us, Podolski! BrokenTV needs a new pair of everything.

While it's not technically anything to do with the TV coverage, the new Adidas footballs used for this tournament look great on screen, having the appearance during matches of the classic Adidas Telstar. It's a bit of a shame the new ball doesn't look anything like as good in a proper photograph (as below), and 'Europass' is a bit of a stupid name, but on-screen it looks just super. The Adidas Telstar is the Adidas Superstar of footballs, if you will. A reference for people into trainers, there.

Literally Police: "The Italians were literally running around all over the place, there", Andy Townsend. Hmm... we'll let that one pass Mr Townsend, but consider yourself on a warning.

All in all, nice enough coverage of an enjoyable match, with a refreshing change from the BBC's studio technique of having four blokes being annoyingly 'matey' with each other. Bring out The Chiles, BBC! Unless you already have done for France-Romania, because we missed it.

[Edit: Just checked the PVR, and it's Lineker again. He is earning his money this time around, we suppose. We're not going to sit through the 0-0 France-Romania match, though.]

[ITV Sport: +2 points]


Saturday, 7 June 2008

Schedule B: Other Listings Magazines Are Available

We don't really know why so many people buy TV listings magazines any more. You've got your EPGs, your free internet listings guides (like the Radio Times website), your Series Link to make sure you don't miss your favourite programmes and your DigiGuides. And then your iPlayer, UK Nova, or your Rapidshare if you manage to miss a programme after all that. It's not as if the listings mags are making a special effort to attract you, with 70% of them just bunging Someone Off Corrie/EastEnders/Emmerdale on the cover, and the remaining 30% doing the same but with Doctor Who. Someone really should make the effort to make their listings guide entertaining in itself.

Well, someone has.

The TV Cream chaps, if we're naming names*.

To be honest, we've emitted more genuine chuckles whilst watching the above two clips than we have watching anything on telly over the last week, save for Peep Show. What with that, plus us being made aware of the New Yorker columns by Jack Handey (one of the very few genuine comedy genuises alive today, and probably the only one who would use the word 'genuises' instead of 'genii') , it's no wonder we're feeling the sorry state of television comedy has been thrown into pretty sharp relief lately.

(*Although we'd like to make clear we do prefer the 'standard' TV Creamguide in a text format, as it's reliably entertaining, and we can actually read it at work, where YouTube is blocked, just in case anyone's taking a secret ballot or anything.)


Schedule A: Euro 2008 - **Live Blog**

And here it is. For those who don't remember our coverage of the 2006 World Cup, this is where we view the coverage from different broadcasters, and allocate (and subtract) points according to how good or bad their coverage is. Last time around, ESPN India nicked the prize at the last moment, thanks to the marvellous Duniya Goal Hai preview show (which was as funny as Soccer AM thinks it is), while the stupidly named UKTVG2 had the worst coverage. Exactly the same as what was on BBC One at the same time, only with much worse punditry, presentation and with tons of adverts, thereby making it the most pointless waste of money since Juan Sebastien Veron.

We don't think Duniya Goal Hai is still going, and UKTVG2 certainly isn't (having become the even more stupidly named, if quite entertaining to watch, Dave), meaning that both prizes are up for grabs. In addition to just the BBC and ITV, we're going to check out the coverage of any global broadcasters we can find streaming coverage of. Well, otherwise it'd be a bit pointless. Unlike what we're... oh.

And with the seeds of doubt sprouting in our subconscious, we'd better get on.


A good start for the Beeb. Martin O'Neill self-effacedly disagreeing with the other pundits. Some very nice on-screen presentation (which might well be from the host broadcaster, but we shall see). Wee Gordon Strachan is there, too. Even the video montage of previous tournaments didn't bother mentioning England, other than that is was hosting the gig in 1996. The only negative was the annoying Liverpudlian child in the vox pop about who everyone is going to support. A promising start, all in.

Nicely, the opening ceremony is being covered in full (we don't think they'd bothered with it in 2006, preferring to bang on about Rooney's injury or something), with Motty commentating on the action in his own increasingly befuddled manner. Even Mark Bright is on co-commentator duties instead of Comedy Lawro. It's a promising opening to the coverage, even if that title sequence wasn't quite as good as we'd thought it would be.

[BBC Sport +1 Point]

Meanwhile, over to Denmark's "Danish Delight" channel (according to the description on, though it looks like TV2 on the ident), and they're doing much the same, although quite obviously we can't understand a word. They will be getting a bonus point if Jan Molby is a pundit.


Motty has just said Jan Koller can "look down Frei's record quite literally". Well, he could literally look down on Alexander Frei's copy of Now That's What I Call Music 9, so technically that's correct in a way, but still.

[BBC Sport -1 Point]


TV2 Sporten (which is what it actually seems to be called) has Coke-sponsored break bumpers involving a football fan in a bar. His team scores a goal, and so he is about to hug the bloke standing next to him. As he turns around, he notices that the bloke next to him is COVERED IN BEES. After a momentary pause, he decides to hug him anyway. Cut to Coke logo. W the F?

The rest of the ad break confirms these early suspicions that Danish advertising is mental. It's a pity TVU Player won't work for screengrabs.

[TV2 Sporten +1 Point]

Wee Gordon and Ray Stubbs are standing right next to the touchline on the pitch for their analysis. Why they're doing this, we don't know. It's only the fact that Gordon has eschewed the suit expected of BBC pundits in favour of a black leather jacket, and that BBC Sport haven't made them use a stupid little plastic table (as seen on ITV Sport) that save us from deducting any points.

Meanwhile, TV2 News are still using the classic "we don't have any cameras at the scene, just a reporter, so here's a map with a bit coloured in, and a photo of the reporter who is on the phone" technique. Excellent.

[TV2 Sporten +1 Point. It would have been +3 if the photo had been of the reporter pretending to be on the phone.]

And so, as we ruminate on how glad we are we hadn't back Alex Frei for top goalscorer after his adds plummeted from 125/1 to 50/1, we rejoin the second half.


Here's something that we've always wondered about football coverage during tournaments. When the score update appears at the bottom of the screen occasionally (which is a bit pointless considering every broadcaster keeps the score and time on-screen at all times now anyway), it generally includes a company logo. In the case of Euro 2008, it's Canon. This has gone on since, what, the 1970s, and would generally involve the name of a company you'd expect to have something to do with timekeeping, such as Timex.

The implication of this is that Canon, or Timex, or whoever, are acting as official timekeepers for the host broadcaster. The tasks involved may or may not involve keeping track of the score as well. Surely UEFA would sooner try and keep track of that one themselves. If the representative from Canon is in charge of recording the score and scorers at a World Cup, maybe he'd decide that a controversially disallowed goal by Japan should stand after all. If he's lucky, his lie would become the accepted truth, like how Michael Moore claims Fox News' reporting George Walker Bush as confirmed winner of the 2000 US election just after polling day directly led to him becoming president (and nothing to do with Judge Scalia after all, then). And thereby lining up against Poland in the quarter finals or have carte blanche to start an illegal war on Iraq (yes, we're all about the contemporary satire).

But anyway, that might have had some sort of use in the 1970s. Everyone had badly designed novelty-shaped clocks on their walls (all rectangular and brown, with huge hands), so seeing a digital representation of the time had a real purpose. But now, in Space Year 2008, everyone has digital watches, iPhones, internet-powered time on their laptops, and hey, watches. Can't the logo just be something along the lines of "time by: Bob the sound guy's mobile phone"?

Oh, the Czechs have scored.

Turkey vs Portugal

"No need for hype, here", claims ITV Sport's Matt Smith, just before they go on to spend ten minutes hyping everything up as much as they can be bothered. As TV Cream pointed out, ITV's punditry team are operating from their studio in London, not bothering with the trip to Austria. On the one hand, this shows how little they care about the tournament. They haven't even got Steve Rider in to present their first match of the tournament, which is quite telling. He was busy presenting ITV1's big Switzerland-Czech Republic ratings beater, erm... the qualifying for the Canadian Grand Prix, in weekend prime time on one of Britain's biggest two channels.

On the other hand, does it really matter about the surroundings of the people who pop up for ten minutes before kick-off? Going by what we're seeing of other nation's coverage, most broadcasters don't even bother with that. We do strongly suspect it's part of the fact ITV are losing interest in this sort of thing now they've got the Premiership highlights and FA Cup packages back, and that as soon as their deal with UEFA expires, the European Championships could well be shared by BBC and Five. You read it here first.

Gary Neville and Andy Townsend on punditry duties, which isn't quite as good as Hansen, O'Neill and Strachan, but at least Sky's absence in the event means we won't have to put up with the 'opinions' of Jamie Redknapp. We're still docking them a point, because we can't stand Gary Neville.

[ITV Sport -1 point]

Oh, and if you actually are reading this live (and we really doubt anyone is), we're on a half-hour delay because Doctor Who was too exiting to miss the second half of. So now we're going to get crazy with our Topfield's 'skip forward' function.


We're all caught up now. Nice to see that ITV1's No Hype Zone doesn't exclude them mentioning Cristiano Ronaldo every twenty flipping seconds, whether he's near the ball or not.


Anyone who'd prefer to see what the Brazilian (we think) coverage of the match is like:

Here you go. Or, if you want to see it moving, visit here. It should be worth it for the adverts, at least.


It's almost half past eight, and so displaying the level of professionalism you'd expect from BrokenTV, we're going out, so we'll leave the coverage here for today. Hey, it's Saturday. One quick update for the alternate schedule, and we'll be away. Oh, and an update to the league table first.

The BrokenTV World Cup Of Euro 2008 Coverage League Table, 7.6.08

TV2 Sporten (Denmark) (2 pts)
2. BBC Sport (0)
3. ITV Sport (-1)

Friday, 6 June 2008

One Day To Go, And One Day Gone

Schedule A:

Kicking this off a day earlier than we'd anticipated. Because of this very interesting news from MeejaGrauniad. Here's the main bit of it, in case only registered users can view articles from MG:

The BBC has teamed up with Wallace & Gromit producer Aardman to create an animated title sequence for its Match of the Day Euro 2008 football coverage.

Aardman's title sequence, which will run around Match of the Day's Euro 2008 coverage, features animated versions of footballers including Cristiano Ronaldo, Michael Ballack, William Gallas and Fernando Torres.

The animation also includes former Holland player and present manager Marco van Basten and Italian former Rangers midfielder Gennaro Gattuso.

It opens in an Austrian opera house and goes on to feature the eight cities that will host matches across Switzerland and Austria from the start of the tournament on Saturday, June 7, as backdrops to the animated players.

Unkle's version of Austrian-born composer Mozart's symphony number 41 accompanies the title sequence.

Splendid stuff. Slightly disappointingly, the animation isn't of the stop-motion variety, but this is a promising start nonetheless. We're kind of expecting ITV Sport to go with the "footage of various landmarks in Switzerland and Austria, with CGI whooshing shapes in the flag colours of competing nations darting around everywhere" approach, but we'll keep an open mind until we see it. We might be lucky, and they've gone with a rolling serial that takes place throughout the tournament, with Gaby, Andy, Ally and Jim Rosenthal recreating key scenes from Hannibal Brooks.

Or, given they can't even be arsed with showing the final, it'll be a piece of card with "Uero 20008" faintly scrawled onto it with a dry felt-tip.

[BBC Sport: +1 Point.]

The BrokenTV World Cup Of Euro 2008 Coverage League Table (6th June 2008)
  • 1. BBC Sport: 1 pt
  • 2. ITV Sport: 0 pts

Schedule B: Big Brother Ratings Update

5,400,000 viewers for the launch show. Will Switzerland vs Czech Republic beat that? Time, or more likely Digital Spy's ratings roundup, will tell. We're going to get at least one graph out of this year's Big Brother.

Thursday, 5 June 2008

Max Ernst and Davina McCall. Together At Last.

Schedule A: If Max Ernst Worked For Panini

Splendidly, UEFA's own Euro 2008 minisite is rather lovely, including as it does all manner of flash gimmickry. It evens goes has far to include a set of graphs so pointless even we're taken aback. At least if you ever find yourself in a pub quiz, and a bonus question is "what percentage of the Spanish Euro 2008 squad are between the heights of 175 and 185 centimetres?", you'll know the answer.


The best bit as far as we're concerned is a collection of online football stickers, for each squad member of the previous European Championship, erm, Champions.

"That's not very interesting", you might be saying at this point, "in fact, I'm going to throw rocks at your windows, it's so not very interesting. I hate you." Steady on there, champ. Here's just how Interesting After All they are:

Mmm, yeah. You're slurping down those ill-considered words now, aren't you? We're really tempted to post our top ten favourites, along with witty captions about what the frigging heck is going on in each picture, but UEFA's lawyers are probably circling overhead as we type, so instead we'll just add another link to that section of the UEFA website, and retire to a safe distance.

Oh, just one more.

Schedule B: Big Brother Launch Night - Almost Live Blogging!


Erm, we were too busy having fun in multiplayer GTA IV at 9pm to catch it live. So, we're ten minutes behind. Here's what we gleaned from trying to catch up.

Smokers have to do so within a tiny outdoor space, or else. That'll annoy the smugger fag suckers, which on Big Brother is generally at least an eight-way tie.

"Zero tolerance". Possibly to be interpreted as "don't be racist or bigoted". We think the other bungalowmates should be given sharp sticks with which to prod them.

More of an emphasis than ever on contestants being dividing into groups of 'haves' and 'have-nots', it seems. All so that annoying WAG-wannabies can pretend to be oppressed, when they're actually just eight weeks away from two years of guesting on Chris Moyles and attending premières of low-budget British movies.

The new film called Hancock doesn't seem like it's going to have Will Smith complaining about anything being nearly an armful of anything. ("Yeah, we've already pointed that out" - Everyone else on the internet."

The contestants:

* A couple. While they don't seem too bad so far, we predict one of them will be demonised in the press, and there will be pleas from femto-celebrities on BBBM for the 'good' one to leave the 'evil' one.

* The Bastard Offspring Of Johnny Briggs And Gareth From Off Of The Office. Uh-oh. He might be this year's 'wacky' one. A lot of people in the crowd are booing already, although we're really sure a load of that noise is piped in.

* Stephanie. 19. Student. She seems to be an amalgam of Emily Parr and Danielle Lloyd. Chucked out of the house to an uneasy silence? Either that, or will become the most famous person in Britain ten weeks from now. Place your bets!

A quick check on Wikipedia reveals: 'Our' version of Big Brother is also screened on Africa's M-Net channel, and Poland's TVN Lingua. We dread to think what they make of it.

First curve-ball of the night: Secret mission. Mario and Lisa "aren't a couple any more", they're expected to pair up with the other two contestants. Of course, this is pretty much like the first round of selecting on Deal Or No Deal. No one ever chooses "Deal" at £27.50, and the first task of the series is usually pretty dull. Well, in both of the two series' of Regular Big Brother that we've watched.


And we're live! (We've caught up with the live transmission.)

Big Brother's Little Brother is co-hosted by George Lamb. Won't be watching that, then. But if it keeps him away from 6Music, all the better. For us, and society as a whole.

* Rachel. Chatty and seemingly opinionated, but seems quite pleasant. Possible winner? Has "been in commercials", it seems. Loads of those will be getting some airtime on late evening Channel Four over the next couple of months, then. Clever Channel Four.

Can we be bothered to do some graphs about Big Brother this year? Very probably not. We could do one about the comparative ratings between this and Euro 2008, we suppose. Bit of a foregone conclusion.

* Dale. Going to 'nail' 'fanny' in the house. Was 'at' Manchester United. 'All' 'About' 'The' 'Glory'. Move over, George Lamb, we've got a new mortal enemy. We give him three weeks, either until he's evicted, or until he senses the tide of opinion turning against him and he contrives a reason to storm out of the house to make some sort of spurious point.

* Sylvia. Is 'sassy'. "I'm not argumentative, but I do have a sharp tongue," she says. Translation: "I am very argumentative."

Those Wikipedia profiles of the new contestants are building up, despite the fact that no-one knows anything about any of them yet. Example:

"Stephanie. 19 years of age, thinks she is attractive."

* Dennis. This year's camp bloke. Will be hosting a companion show to an ill-judged reality format on E4 by the end of November. Mark our words.


Ad time, so here's more from Wikipedia:
"Sylvia. Dresses trendily........ or not"
Surely that's not in the Wikipedia style guide. "Kate McCann. Infant murderer..... or not."


Either someone has vandalised the Wikipedia page, or the remaining contestants really are Mr Blobby, Sir Paul MCCartney, Mr Beans, Merlin, Sir Wankalott, Rebecca and Barbeque Sue. It's the slim possibility that they're on the level that is keeping us watching. Meanwhile, the new Coldplay single is exclusive to iTunes. We're uninstalling iTunes on our PC, just in case we accidentally buy it.


According to Wikipedia, the new Big Brother logo for 2008 is a "FURIOUS RAGING ERECTION".

* Michael. He is blind, so that's our lazy-but-generally-ethically-okay comedy angle buggered, then. Tsk. Says he has been a stand-up comedian before now, so he should be good value for money. Will anyone think he's only pretending to be blind as some sort of BB task? Cripes.

Wikiupate: According to every lazy student's one-stop shop for research, Michael "looks like sloth from The Goonies". And we thought our opponents on Xbox Live just before 9pm were insensitive, annoying pricks.


* Alexandra. Seems generally intelligent, so we're not sure why some people are booing her.

* Rex. As Wikipedia has just predicted, Rex is next. He's an executive chef. Seems sensible (if a little self-satisfied), and on first impression will last for ages but won't stand a chance of winning.


Hey, is this in high definition on Channel Four HD?


No. It isn't. If it's such a flagship show, wonder why not. It'd mean that for the sake of a dozen or so HD cameras, Channel Four could claim to have transmitted 975 more hours of live HD content in 2008 than it would have otherwise.

* Mohammed. Wants to point out that he isn't a terrorist, and is the third contestant of the night to have been interviewed whilst wearing Mr Men clothing. The estate of Roger Hargreaves must be well chuffed by all this exposure.

Wikiupdate: The article is now locked for public editing. Not before time, really. We're a responsible Wikipedia user with a longstanding account (we even added a bunch of correct and verifiable figures to the Euro 2008 Austria Squad article yesterday), so we could go in and type 'penis vagina' two hundred times in the 'sponsorship' section. Shall we do that? Hmm, best not.

* Rebecca. Will be photoshopped onto the body of Vicki Pollard within ten seconds of entering the house (we'd got as far as typing 'Vicki Poll' before the interviewer made much the same point, but we're leaving that in).


One more person to go, and it's looking very much like this will be the last episode of Big Brother we watch this series. Our official stance will be largely the same as that of the Daily Mirror circa 2003, when it became the 'official' Anti-Big Brother newspaper. Although they then proceeded to devote at least three pages to the show every day, which absolutely misses the point by a sodding mile. If you're trying to appeal to people who don't like something, don't expect them to happily read 3000 words on that very thing every day, you chumps. Mind you, it was when Piers Morgan was editor,

* Darnell. He's an albino, and an American (born in, erm, Ipswich). Far be it from us to point out that putting a brash character raised in America in the house along with a couple of muslim contestants is courting controversy, but, well, y'know.

* Jennifer. Seemingly, a young mother who claims to be really devoted to her offspring. So devoted in fact, she's... ah, you know where we're going with that. Also seems to hold what we're going to refer to as 'traditional views'. Why not just chuck Roy Chubby fucking Brown in there, and have done with it?


Last up, Kathreya. Seems nicely jolly, and is sure to laugh along when Justin Lee Collins does an ha-ha-larious impression of her when she's the guest on the Sunday Friday Night Project (not a typo, we're trying to be 'funny' again) the week after she leaves Big Brother. A possible winner, unlikely to have a bad word to say about anyone. This year's The Twins From Last Year.


On Sunday's show - a fake, real, fake wedding. While Germany vs Poland is on BBC One. Yeah, the second one.

The current betting at Betfair:

Shaun - Doesn't seem to be listed
Lisa - 38
Luke - 11.5
Stephanie - 32
Rachel - 14
Dale - 15
Sylvia - 42
Dennis - 25
Michael - 6
Alexandra - 65
Rex - 16
Mohamed - 14.5
Rebecca - 32
Jennifer - 34
Darnell - 11
Kathreya - 9

We've backed Michael, although we suspect Kathreya could take it.

And that pretty much concludes our coverage of Big Brother 2008, unless something really exciting happens. At least until after the final of Euro 2008. And with contestants from previous Big Brothers buggering up a half-decent Muppet Show gag at the start of The Big Brother Launch Night Project in the background, we're going back to GTA IV.

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Schedule A, and Schedule B

Euro 2008 is just around the corner, and in tribute we're going to adapt one of the best things about every large international football tournament. A regular sighting in listings magazines around the time of the knockout stages is the wonderful alternate schedule. Seemingly designed with a primary purpose of confusing your nan, these are schemed up by the schedulers at BBC and ITV, as they won't have been able to divvy up the matches while the listings mags are going to press. With this in mind, your typical Wednesday night's viewing on Granada could be an episode of Des O'Connor Tonight, or it could be Yugoslavia versus West Germany. BBC might go with 'Winners Group A' vs 'Runners-up Group F', or you might get to see Mel Brooks' Silent Movie. And after the match, you might get to see a bonus repeat of Only Fools and Horses (Grandad vintage, natch), or there might be extra time. A penalty shoot-out, and that late showing of Steptoe and Son Ride Again may just be shunted back twenty minutes.

All very thrilling, we're sure you'll agree.

In tribute to this, we'll be offering a choice of viewing on BrokenTV. For each update, we'll be offering a bon mot or three about Euro 2008, but alongside your staple diet of telly-related miscellanea. You know, being sarcastic about adverts or going on about Big Brother. It's win-win! Well, if you consider reading half-baked opinions on football and television some sort of victory, that is.

Schedule A: BrokenTV's Euro 2008 Betting Guide

Win money, on us. A lot of people (including us) like to put a few shillings on the top goalscorer for each international tournament. Very few people (not including us) make a nice little profit out of this, and generally they'll be bookmakers. But: not this time!

With judicious use of cut and paste, we've Excelled up a list of all the players in the squads. We've then worked out their international goalscoring rate (i.e. goals divided by caps), and sorted the list accordingly. Then, we've added lookup tables for the current odds at both Betfair and William Hill, to arrive at the current odds for each player finishing as the top scorer. Here are the top forty goalscorers (according to our system) due to take part in Euro 2008.

(NL = Not listed in betting.)

So, while the top two players in the list can be safely discarded, the current favourites in the betting (Torres and Ronaldo) don't look quite so appealing. Annoyingly (for us, at least) the odds on Alexander Frei have dropped rapidly (he was listed at 100/1 a few days ago), so we'll be backing Huntelaar and Podolski. You might decide otherwise, but whatever happens, here's to a good tournament.

Schedule B: Pop Video Of The Week

Justice - DNVO

Not only is it from possibly our favourite album of 2007, but the video lovingly recreates tons of 1980s video company idents, American TV idents (most obviously, HBO) and movie title sequences. Wonderful, and much better than the "ooh, so very shocking" promo video for Stress from the same album.

(Betting update! We've now backed

£5 on Podolski at 30 (potential winnings: £145)

£3 on Johan Elmander at 410 (potential winnings: £1,227)

£2 on Marcus Allback at 670 (potential winnings: £1,338)

That's mainly because we expect all those odds to plummet, so we can lay off the potential winnings. This is about the point we discover each of those players are banned for the first five matches of the tournament.)

Things Television Commercials Have Taught Us

Y'know, we used to be your typical feminist, tofu-munching, Mark Thomas, commie-liberal types. Until one particular advert has managed to finally seep through the limestone of our consciousness and change our world-view forever.

We used to think that women, with their cute little foibles and ovaries, were human beings capable of their own individual consciousness, intellect, hopes, dreams and rights.

How silly that all seems now.

Yes, thanks to an advert for unpleasant microwaveable offal-in-a-bap, we have now come around to the way of thinking that if you meet a woman, and she doesn't agree to let you have torrid and joyless sex with her (and subsequently letting you withdraw and collapse into a drunken, selfsatisfied and cuntish stupor the very femtosecond you've spewed your man-mess into her) after two hours of imbibing half-price Stella at your local Wetherspoons, she's a pointless and worthless bitch.

Thanks, Rustlers!


(Preview of first comment: "Fucking hell, that's unusually nihilistic for a blog usually happy to cheerily bung up a pie chart about Deal Or No Deal's ratings. But, having seen the advert in question, yes, fair dues. I can't believe it's got another outing since the last time. Have they mistaken television in 2008 for Loaded magazine in 1996 or something?")

Sunday, 1 June 2008

Deah Gamesmar-star


Now, we're an incredible duffers at multiplayer Grand Theft Auto IV - in fact, we've just turned off the BrokenTV 360 in a petulant sulk after getting our collective arse handed to us in Mafiya mode for the umpteenth time. In BrokenTV's entire GTA Race online 'career', we have notched up a pathetic half a dozen kills (although we did win one race. Go us!). With this in mind, can anyone tell us how the ruddy fuck we've found ourselves getting this achievement?



We must be the lamest people to do something UBER7337 in the history of multiplayer gaming.

(Interesting local colour corner for the seven people in the UK not playing GTA4: 'a Rockstar' means one of the development team who actually made Grand Theft Auto IV. GTAIV is a game which sold six million copies in the first week of sale. It could conservatively be estimated that one in six of those people have tried the multiplayer function of the game. From those one million online players, maybe one hundred of them had a notable impact on developing the title. Then factor in the average standard of skill for a highly-paid professional behind one of the greatest games of all time, and the level of cack-handed ineptitude one could reasonably expect from us. That, right there, is some scary maths.)

Right, now where's our trilby? We're off out to slaughter some crack dealers.

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