Wednesday, 30 July 2008


Apols for the paucity of updates recently, but we'd accidentally watched this advert and duly had to scrub our eyeballs with industrial bleach in a desperate attempt at un-desecrating our peepers. Doing that sort of stupid thing makes it really hard to use the internet, what with all the searing pain, screaming, being rushed to casualty and all. During our temporary blindness, we'd made some preliminary notes on ideas for updates, which we'd scribbled as best we could onto various pieces of paper. The most legible of which are as follows:

  • If a bookmaker starts offering spread bets on how many times per day people stop Jenny Eclair in the street and tell her how they'd liked her in Hi-De-Hi, it would probably be wise to go for 'above 2.5'.

  • Why do all Jon Culshaw's impressions sound a lot more like Jon Culshaw than the person they're supposed to be?

  • Are there really any listeners to Radio One's Evening Session who are thinking to themselves "Oh wow, that's a brilliant record! But what it really needs is a self-satisfied New Zealander talking over it halfway through telling us what we're meant to think about it"?

  • Deconstruct title sequences from daytime television. That could work.

Given the first three of the four are more throwaway comments than actual ideas, we'll roll with the fourth one. Here are some screengrabs from a television programme. See if you can guess which programme it is before the final picture:

First picture: A woman listening to someone on a phone, posing in the sort of position absolutely no-one would use to listen to someone on a telephone. The word 'doctors' scrolls hundreds of times in minuture across the screen, and in huge letters up the screen. But what is the name of the programme?

Second picture: A different woman, seemingly in some sort of reception area perhaps. The pictures in the background have slowed to reveal they are generic action shots of a bustling city. Maybe the programme takes place in a city of some sort. The word 'doctors' continues to flood every other inch of the screen in every direction. But what is the name of the show?

Third picture: A man this time. He is wearing a suit and tie, so it's quite possible he's a professional of some kind. However, the simple backdrop of 'some blinds' makes it hard to tell what kind of profession he is in. Even glancing at the section of the background displayed by the scrolling see-through word 'doctor' isn't much help. We now know the programme is being transmitted on the BBC, so maybe there's a clue there.What could this programme be called?

Fourth picture: A stern woman. She gives the impression that she is a receptionist of some kind. Her dour, take-no-bullshit expression suggests she is used to delivering pointed comebacks to troublesome members of the public. Her need for a name badge also suggests she works with members of the public who would be unlikely to know her name. Maybe the programme is set in some sort of large building, where members of the public need to visit very occasionally. Definitely some sort of large-scale public service funded by the Government... but which service in the public sector would be a worthwhile subject for a long-running daytime television drama series? And more pertinently, what would this programme be called?

The answer. The programme is called 'Doctors'. Did you get it right?


Tuesday, 15 July 2008

That UKTV Press Release In Full (With English Subtitles)

UKTV unveils its new entertainment channel brands – Watch, GOLD and Alibi [Translation: "UKTV is renaming some channels."]

UKTV today announces the launch of three distinct channel brands [Translation: "UKTV has announced that it is renaming some channels."]: Watch (previously UKTV Gold +1), GOLD and Alibi (previously UKTV Drama). All three channels will launch on Tuesday 7 October 2008.

Carrying the cream of contemporary programming [Translation: "Showing lots of repeats"], Watch promises to deliver simply great TV [Translation: "Repeats of popular shows."]. Operating as a linear catch-up service for [Translation: "Repeats of"] modern classics including Torchwood, Mistresses and Larkrise to Candleford, the bold entertainment channel will sit next to GOLD in the pay section of the EPG. The crown in its enviable schedule will be Watch’s brand new commission, the Richard and Judy primetime show, which will air on weekdays. [Translation: "We've sunk all the budget for new programming on one programme"]

Well, as long as the big CGI ball is missing from the on-screen logo, it's not too bad. 7/10

GOLD - Go On Laugh Daily - becomes a dedicated comedy channel with a clear mission: to make people laugh. Offering uplifting and infectious comedy from Only Fools and Horses, Fawlty Towers to the Vicar of Dibley [Translation: "Showing exactly the same programmes as we did when it was UKTV Gold"], GOLD unashamedly celebrates all Britain’s fantastic comedy and guarantees its viewers a well earned giggle [Translation: "We're still only showing the same half-dozen shows, and completely ignoring the hundreds of comedy programmes from the BBC archive that are screaming for another stab at the airwaves. Don't expect to see The Innes Book Of Records, This Morning With Richard Not Judy, KYTV, Rutland Weekend Television or It's Marty any time soon"]. Launching as part of its new look will be two brand new commissions – Blackadder Exclusive: The Whole Rotten Saga and Blackadder’s Most Cunning Moments. [Translation: "We've done a couple of clip shows, because in a way, seeing Fearne Cotton doing an impersonation of Baldrick saying he has a cunning plan in amongst lots of out-of-context clippage is much better than a new comedy programme."]

UKTV Drama will be transformed into Alibi, the World’s Number 1 Detective Agency [Translation: "UKTV Drama will be mostly the same, only we've given half the shows to Watch"]. Dedicated exclusively to the best crime shows [Translation: "or the half-dozen crime shows we've bought the rights to, which didn't leave much budget for anything you might not have seen before"], Alibi promises to bring together the greatest investigative minds from Sherlock Holmes to DCI Taggart to Waking the Dead’s CID team.

 A bit dull, but distinctive enough. 6/10

Matthew Littleford, UKTV Controller explains, “The fact we’ve taken the bold decision to re-brand our entire entertainment portfolio [Translation: "We've renamed a few channels because we're incorrectly assuming the reason Dave had become such a big success was because of the stupid name we'd given it. Nothing to do with the fact it was on Freeview for the first time and contained a lot of really good programmes, it's all down to the stupid name and the smug twats swanning about in a mansion on the idents"] in one swoop demonstrates the magnitude of our ambition and our commitment to Pay TV. Watch, GOLD and Alibi are dynamic channel brands [Translation: "I have confused the word dynamic, meaning "characterised by continuous change, activity, or progress" with another word that means "a television channel that always has exactly the same type of programming on it", because I use management buzzwords without bothering to think what they actually mean"] that are clearly identifiable, full of personality and I believe will future-proof our business as we head towards 2012.” [Translation: "as I'd said, I use management buzzwords without bothering to think what they mean."]

Christian Drobnyk, Director of Entertainment, who is leading the editorial strategy adds, “With its innovative marketing and strong schedule [Translation: "thanks to putting some decent programmes on"], Dave became, almost overnight, a top ten channel in multi channel homes; a success that cannot be attributed solely to Freeview as Dave grew by 56% in Pay TV [Translation: "thanks to putting some decent programmes on, unless people really are crazy about those disagreeable spuffwipes monkeying around in a stately home"]. This success can be replicated across the network with Watch, GOLD and Alibi and enables us to exploit the potential of our real estate.” [Translation: "You're selling your house? What's that got to do with anything?"]

Tom Lucas, Director of Marketing and Communications who is leading the re-brand explains, “We’ve undertaken an incredibly ambitious brand overhaul [Translation: "No, you're not. You're renaming some TV channels with prime locations in the EPG. It's hardly going to damage your audience share"] with rigorous analysis of audience needs informing all our changes. Watch addresses the problem of media fragmentation by putting our viewers in the picture and enabling them to catch up on modern TV classics.” [Translation: "we'll be running some adverts for it"] He continues, “Meanwhile GOLD is a perfectly timed antidote to credit crunch Britain. As we face bleak news story after bleak news story, Go On Laugh Daily gives us all permission to seek escape in great comedy and enjoy a belly laugh or two.” [Translation: "If you're considering cancelling Sky so you can pay your council tax, here's a repeat of Little Britain which will make you change your mind."] 

Editor's note: At this point, we'd hoped to have some sort of box-out detailing the UKTV press release fluff for the respective rebrandings of UK Gold, UK Play and UK Arena, only to be thwarted by the lackadaisical mess that is their press archive. We went to the trouble of registering for it, only to find it doesn't show up properly in Firefox, there's no search function, no dates on any of the 'news' items, and "Julian Clary's Britcom Weekend" is misspelled as "Julian Clary's Bricom Weekend" FOUR times in a row, presumably because whoever typed it in let the spell checker correct the word 'Britcom'.

'Bricom' is an acronym for the 'Biblical Research Institute Committee', of course. Look, it's either close with that sentence or show you the woeful station ident for the relaunched 'Gold'. Really? You want to see it? On your own heads be it.

Bloody hell, our eyes. Have they let a six-year-old loose on the WordArt function on MicroSoft Word 97 or something?. 2/10


Friday, 11 July 2008

The Return Of Knock-Off Nigel

There's a new advert by enemies of logic The Industry Trust for IP Awareness (or, as they seem to be calling themselves this week, The Industry Trust), featuring that lovable Knock-Off Nigel character that failed to catch on with the British public last year. This time the action, such as it is, sees Nigel in an office, downloading a film, only for co-workers to mock him. Quite predictably, it's rubbish. None of the co-workers make the perfectly valid point that there's no need to download films illegally or even buy them at full price, just wait three months and there's a huge chance they'll be less than a fiver in HMV, Tesco or Asda. 

What they should have done is this, by Adam Buxton:

From Graham Linehan's Blog (about two and a half weeks ago, aren't we on the pulse of popular culture?)

But anyway, here's a fact (no pun intended) for everyone to enjoy. The Industry Trust recently issued a backslapping press release, proudly stating that "the number of people buying illegal DVDs has reduced by 2% from 8% to 6%" and "two thirds of consumers (67%) now regard copyright theft as "nothing to be proud of", compared to just 22% prior to the new campaign."

Woo! Mission accomplished, eh? Everyone wins, too. The Industry Trust get to bask in the smooth satisfaction of having performed their duty impeccably, raising the percentage of people who only watch their movies and TV shows through completely legal means to a massive 94%. The producers of the intellectual property involved are even more duly rewarded for their work than ever before. And for the DVD buying public, we can expect to suffer the perpetual indignity of being treated like filthy criminals no longer, being able to watch an episode of Arrested Development on shiny disc without having to suffer an unskippable lecture. Every. Single. Time.


With this in mind, what did we see when we plopped our £14 copy of Futurama: The Beast With A Billion Backs into the trusty BrokenTV DVD player? That we paid for with our own hard-earned money, instead of just downloading it from Rapidshare, which the movie is all over like a digital rash?

Oh, for frig's sake. Yes, with 94% of the British public now on their side, The Industry Trust have decided we'd relapse into our 2%-more-criminal ways if they halted their relentless nagging for just a second, and as such we still need to be treated like sticky-fingered idiots. If you're a legal purchaser of DVDs, that sighing sound coming out from under your nose right now will be the sound of you, sighing.

With this in mind, we've decided to run a new campaign of our own. Eagle-memoried readers may well recall our satirical piracy poster that spawned a minor internet meme in 2007. Well, we've re-engergised our paradigm like nobody's business, and just done exactly the same thing again, only changing some of the words. Hey, just like the new Knock Off Nigel advert! Click to see the full-size version.

Should anyone wish to contact The Industry Trust about their policy of annoying literally millions of people who have done nothing wrong, they can be contacted here. Alternatively, FACT, the industry's anti-piracy body can be contacted here. All we ask is that no-one try and make some sort of Mark Thomas-y stunt where you phone FACT (on 020 8568 6646), then read out this entire blog post to them before letting them speak. That would be awful.

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Blue Wednesday

We don't really expect anyone else is getting anything out of all these, but it keeps us happy.

image from VintagePhoto

Cibo Matto / Blue Train
Flunk / Blue Monday
Elastica / Blue (Donna's 4 Track Demo)
The White Stripes / Blue Orchid
Half Man Half Biscuit / Blue Badge Abuser
Ween / Blue Balloon
Pet Shop Boys / Blue On Blue
The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion / Blue Green Olga (Remix)
Pavement / Blue Hawaiian
Ladytron / Blue Jeans
Depeche Mode / Blue Dress
Brian Dewan / Blue-Haired Boy

Tuesday, 8 July 2008


While we're doing themed compilations, let's do all eight colours in the palette of a ZX Spectrum. We've done INK 0, we'll come back to blue later on, so now it's time for INK 2 -

Picture taken from Square America
The tracks:
Red Hot / Jurassic 5
Red Death At 6:14 (Live) / White Stripes
Red Tan / The Raveonettes
Red Eye / Ben Kweller
Red Light / The Strokes
Red Brick Dream / XTC
Red Microphones / The Comas
Red Rain / White Stripes
Red Team / Front 242
A Red, Red Rose / Camera Obscura
Red Red Red / Fiona Apple
Red White & Blue Dream / Kimya Dawson

It is at:

Tomorrow's theme: Either cyan or magenta. That'll be a tough one.

Monday, 7 July 2008

Black Is The New, Erm, Yes (Themed Muxtape Collection One)

For no reason at all (other than that we haven't the time to post anything else worthwhile right now), here is the first of what may well turn out to be the first of almost several themed Muxtape collections. It revolves around the colour black, and not in a depressing My Chemical Romance-y type way.

Hopefully, if we've got the new Blogger Beta interface right (unlikely, as we can't even work out how to sodding well justify text with it), you should be able to click to embiggen that above image. Just in case we've messed up, here us the tracklist:

Black Night / Hugo Strasser
Black Steel In The Hour Of Chaos (Feat. Chuck D) / Asian Dub Foundation
Black Out Fall Out / Polysics
Black Forest / Takako Minekawa
Black-Eyed Susan / Laura Veirs
Black Arabs / Sex Pistols
Black White Blue / Front 242
Black Bass / Shonen Knife
Black Tongue / Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Black hole sun / MakroSoft
Black Forest (Lorelei) / Mercury Rev
Blackpool Roll / Mr Scruff

Oh, and the place to find all these:

For the record, we haven't turned into goths or anything, this is the destination for a train of thought we clambered upon after seeing a repeat of Never Mind The Buzzcocks where Bad Manners played a version of Black Night very much like Hugo Strasser's. If anyone else can think of any similarly themed Muxtapes, we'd love to hear from you.

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

When They Were Funny

Here's a secret internet fact only a few people know about. Providing you've been a good little boy or girl, if you close your eyes really, really tightly and wish especially hard, anything you want will magically appear on YouTube.

This evening, we ate all of our vegetables without once pulling a face, and as a result, our wishes of YouTube playing host to a complete Wednesday night's entertainment on Paramount Comedy circa 1997 were granted.

Danny Mash and Gareth Peas (i.e. Lucas and Walliams when they still had more than three jokes between them) linking Spoofovision. Directed (least in part) by Edgar Wright, no less.

Despite having a budget of practically zero pence, and the duo only having a few minutes each week to work with (they were essentially glorified continuity announcers), there's more invention, effort and overall splendidness in those linking segments than there were in the last two series of Little Britain.

And now, because we tidied our room earlier on, without even being asked to, we're going to wish especially hard, and then type MASH PEAS PLENTY into the search box, to see if we can't rustle up the time Dominic Diamond genuinely lost it with Lucas and Walliams, live on air as part of Night O'Plenty (the utterly majestic Tuesday night linking 'shows' on Paramount at the time, which saw Diamond and Kirk Ewing faff around magnificently for so long each week, all subsequent programming generally went out up to forty minutes behind schedule).

Sing Hosanna, it worked! Extra Bonus Utterly Pointless Fact - Kirk Ewing wasn't part of this final show of the series (possibly ever, actually), because he was busy working on (we think) Earthworm Jim 3D for the N64, hence the temporary co-host Eunice Huthart, who had just been a contestant on Gladiators WHY DO WE KNOW THESE THINGS? OTHER PEOPLE KNOW THINGS ABOUT CHEMISTRY OR ACCOUNTING OR HORSES, AND WE'RE LUMBERED WITH POINTLESS TRIVIA ABOUT MID '90S SATELLITE TV CHANNELS. CURSE THESE WRETCHED HANDS.

Extra bonus YouTube thing: Several full episodes of NightStand, the best of the shows contained within Spoofovision (unless Soap was also part of Spoofovision, we can't remember).

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