Thursday, 30 October 2008

Other People Who Should Resign From BBC Radio

* Whoever it was that made the decision to start playing the woefully censored version of MIA's Paper Planes, where it sounds like a sound effects CD is played on 'shuffle' in place of the gun noises, even though they'd been playing the uncensored version quite happily for about a year.
* Any Radio One presenter who uses the dread phrase "how random is that!!!?" when mentioning a thing that has happened in their lives. It's not random. It's a event that has occurred in your everyday life, and no, you're not as interesting as you like to think, yes, even though you were invited to The Q Awards.
* George Lamb.
* Disc jockeys who regularly (and correctly) sneer about Nickelback being rubbish, but then happily play their records anyway. This also applies to Kid Rock.
* Every presenter on 606 who isn't Danny Baker, so that their slots can be handed over to Danny Baker.

List ends.

The Sachs Crisis: Day Five

In a world where there are currently a total of six wars causing at least 1000 violent deaths per year, there's certainly room for a lot of outrage. How refreshing then, that it's continuing to be channelled into vicarious indignation on behalf of a man who has already graciously accepted apologies from the perpetrators. And we're sure the 5,400,000 people killed in the Second Congo War over the last ten years would agree with that, if they weren't dead.

A couple of hours ago, Alistair Darling was in the Five Live studio to discuss the government's plan on avoiding plunging the nation into a recession. But first, Shelagh Fogarty just had to know what he thought about Ross and Brand's antics. As if there was a chance he was going to say "OMG that wuz well funy LOL". During the programme it was also pointed out how one tabloid commentator trotted out that stalwart opinion "but what if Andrew Sachs was a muslim? Would the BBC have broadcast it then? Aah, do you see?" Of the 7.6 million opinions burbled out on the subject so far, could that be the stupidest of the lot?

We'd have thought it might be. But that's before we started dipping into the comments on this YouTube clip of the actual calls:

At the time of writing this, there are a total of 9,160 comments. A great deal of them are too stupid even for the BBC website's Have Your Say section. YA RLY! Here are some of the choicest moron-cuts, with the YouTube OpinionThumbsUpThumbsDown-o-Meter score, username, and choice info from each user's profile in brackets.

"haha i kno its so? funny! "HE FUCKED YA GWAND-DAUGHTER!!"" (-23, bombw87, just the one YouTube friend: Russell Brand)

"Haha the song is quality " (+6, DanotheSnitch, video favourites include "Take That - Shine Live")

"yeah ive noticed tons of dicks hate him cos he shags plenty more than they ever will. plus this made me piss my self laughing" (+1, Supaduck0, his two video favourites include "Aids face man")

"Well, he should have been there for the interview. If he was, none of this would have happened." (-6, jessicamadq, loooves Mika)

"This is why we should all boycott the Jewish owned and controlled BBC and the Licence Fee we are forced to pay by Law for our own Jewish propaganda!" (-7, SG7931, is actually American)

"love two of my favourite people in british entertainment dnt care if it sounds like bullying its just funny as fuck " (0, 911massivelol, that username probably says all you need to know about what kind of person he is)

"who gives a flying fuck about that dumb ape brand and that english snob wanker johnathen toss ross,these 2 people are trying so hard arent they to be loved lol loosers" (-3, jewishmansjew, big fan of Keith Lemon's brand of 'comedy'. He then goes on to have a laughable slanging match with about five other people, going as far to do that 'deranged message board lunatic' thing, where the same person leaves three or four abusive comments about another message board user, with no reply from anyone else in between, thereby giving the impression of someone clicking 'Add message' after one bout of vitriol, then sitting down on the sofa, letting the fury vein on their neck flare up again, and running over to the PC again to add something like "well you go live in boxes if your offended", because they just CAN'T let it lie.)

"why are u taking there right away from them toopen theremouths and say what they want?yes the uk is falling apart look around idiot" (+1, jewishmansjew again)

"i used to fuckin hate russel brand, but now i reckon he's well funny." (0, explosionofthesevent, favourites include the KEryKatonaDrunkLOL video, and a Simply Red video)

"whilst churches are being converted to mosks and muslims are taking over the uk our historyis dissapearing and some silly silly cunt comments that uk aint falling apart lol wake up ,where do u live?lol in a box??" (0, jewishmansjew again. There are loads of 'em. If Leslie Douglas looking for a replacement for Russell Brand...)

"ahahahah fucking amazing :) the two most funniest sex gods in the business! Fuck the yanks :D wheeeeeeeey I wouldn't mind being georgina ;)" (0, Leeeeebo, is 20 years old. This person can legally vote!)

"andrew sachs should shut up, grow a pair and have a fucking sense of humour. The "He fucked your grandaughter comment" was absolute comedy gold! Honestly " (-1, ErniePi, big fan of Fonejacker. Oh, and Ernie, I think not saying anything on a subject until after several days of tabloid doorstepping does pretty much qualify as 'shutting up'.)

Plus another 8000-ish comments. To be honest, we can barely see through our tears right now.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Andrew Sachs-Gate Update

According to 6Music, they've both been suspended. We can't help but think how Paul Ross must feel right now, with him temporatily being the more popular of the Ross brothers for the first time in his career. He'll probably mess it up by going on a clip show and trying to manufacture a controversial opinion about Paul Daniels or something.

BrokenTV's Contribution To Andrew Sachs-Gate

Three days! Three entire days! That's the number of days in a row that our clock radio has woken us up to the sound of people phoning in to Five Live to whinge about Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross' prank phone call. About 93% of callers were frothing at the mouth about how they should both be sacked (and therefore receive a hefty severance package just before signing new and even more lucrative deals with Channel Four or ITV). 6.5% of callers said how they were fans of the duo and therefore anything they do, such as bullying elderly actors over the phone, or boasting of sexual conquests is automatically great. 0.5% of callers were one twerp who works in The Media claiming something along the lines of "aah, but shows like that aren't really for the public".

Meanwhile, untold thousands of people are registering complaints with the BBC, even though they didn't hear, and have no intention of hearing the broadcast in question, because their newspaper told them it was bad. In summary, no-one's really coming out of this one with much credit. Well, apart from Andrew Sachs, who has kept a dignified near-silence over the whole affair.

Even we can't shut up for long enough to avoid saying that while we do really like the output of Ross and Brand, this affair has made them look like monumental tossers. They did what they did in a genuinely amusing manner, but if a schoolboy sticks a firework up a cat's arse whilst improvising a cleverly worded monologue that all his mates think is "well funny", it's still a horrendous act of cruelty that shouldn't escape punishment.

What will happen now is this. The viewing figures for this week's broadcast of Friday Night With Jonathan Ross will increase by around two million viewers, almost all of which will only be tuning in to see if he is pelted by rancid fruit by the studio audience. A similar thing will happen with Russell Brand's radio show. The BBC will point toward the inflated viewing figures and proclaim that both broadcasters are too popular to be taken off air, and that they will both apologise, and the newspapers will all get distracted by someone from The Bill accidentally saying 'cunt' during an interview on The Alan Titchmarsh Show.

What should happen now is this. Sort of "an eye for an eye", but with a different body part. Involving Russell Brand's grandmother would be morally objectionable, but every single woman who filed a complaint about Brand and Ross should now take the time to phone up Russell Brand's agent - John Noel Management, telephone number 0207 428 8400 - and leave a giggling message along the lines of "Hey! John Noel Management! I've had the sex with your client Russell Brand! He was rubbish and has the cock of a dormouse!", before hanging up.

That John Noel phone number again: 0207 428 8400. We've looked it up.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Gearing Up For Election '08: Take Us Out To The Ball Game

Trying to get ourselves in the mood for next week's Live US Election 2008 Blogstravaganza, we're trying to watch the pivotal Game Five of the 2008 World Series on Five. Can the Phillies overcome the Rays to clinch the title? Or the other way around, we don't really care enough to check.

But hey. We really like baseball videogames, ever since first playing Accolade's Hardball on the Speccy. Since then, our infrequent incursions into RBI2 Baseball (Amiga) and MLB 200(x) (Various) have provided many an interesting hour, so we should at least be able to tolerate this, and really get into the stateside mindset for the middle of next week. Here goes...

[One hour of 'baseball' commences.]

By Christ, it's dull. So dull, right now the commentator is actually trotting out a legal disclaimer about how using any "accounts of this game without the express written consent of Major League Baseball, is prohibited!" Hey, Major League Baseball! We've got your account of the game without your express written consent right here! We're bored!

[A further twenty minutes of 'baseball' happens.]

Yeah, that's it. We're going to hotlink to an image from an American newspaper, just to try and exact some petty revenge.

At least when the rest of the entire world went to the trouble of putting on a World's Cup to try and entice God's America around to our sport, we livened it up for them by having a Frenchman chest-butt an Italian near the end. If there isn't a slightly camp 21-man brawl within the next three innings America, you're so going to owe us one.

[By now, about twenty-five minutes of non-baseball occurs.]

After an age of Not Being Able To Do Any Baseball Because Of Rain, on come the rain covers. It's probably telling that every time the US broadcaster cuts to adverts, Five can only cut to their two pundits trying to find something to talk about. Because no UK advertisers are bothered enough about this event to spend money on it. In what is supposed to be a HUGE global event.

Final update: We have elected to play a game of Xbox Live FIFA'09, and then go to bed.


Saturday, 25 October 2008

Trying Out The iGoogle Blogger Widget

If this works properly, we could add all manner of ill-considered, poorly-formatted and instantly regrettable meanderings, without even any pictures of anything, and without the safety net of Firefox's inline spellcheck.

So, Family Fortunes, eh? It isn't in the news or anything, but here's a thing that has only just occurred to us. When the pre-amble to each question goes "We asked one hundred people to name something you would find in a garden shed", that must surely be a lie. Why do a hundred people, given even a relatively broad topic come up with a total of just seven different answers at most? From a statistical viewpoint, given how long the show has been running, that would be a staggering coincidence, and surely some sort of extrapolation of the most common answers must be going on.

With this in mind, we've gone out into the street and actually asked one hundred people to name something they could find in a shed. Here are the results:

"Sod off." (31)
"Sorry mate, no time." (25)
"Sorry mate, not interested." (22)
"Are you a mental or something? Why would you be even asking that?" (6)
"Ooh, I can't stop. My pay and display ticket's about to run out." (4)
"Erm, I've already given." (3)
"I don't understand." (3)
"What's this for? Broken what? Look, maybe later, eh?" (2)
"Is this for B&Q or something?" (1)
"Spiacente, non parlo inglese." (1)
"Alright Mark. What the hell are you doing now?" (1)
"I'm sorry sir. There have been complaints. You need to come with us now." (1)

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Marketing Idiocy: Back and Forth

15th July 2008, BrandRepublic: "The Marketing profile: Tom Lucas of UKTV"

"As a marketer, Lucas is confident that his team can persuade the public that what they are doing is worth watching and he plans to boost investment in marketing, which will promote the effectiveness of individual brands over networked channels."

22nd October 2008, NotBBC Comedy Forum: "Subject: G.O,LD" (sic)

"Posted by LouLou on 13:27 22/Oct/08 :"

"I've discovred something! There is a new channel (I think it used to be gold) that called G.O.L.D that has loads of old comedy stuff."

15th July 2008, BrandRepublic: "The Marketing profile: Tom Lucas of UKTV"

"'We compete in an attention economy and need to bring personality, originality and richness to our brands to earn a place on people's viewing roster,' he says."

22nd October 2008, NotBBC Comedy Forum: "Subject: G.O,LD" (sic)

"Posted by LouLou on 13:27 22/Oct/08 :"

"I had the day off stick the other day as was able to wallow in Blackadder, Only Fools and horses and Morcambe and Wise, Bliss. Go to [web address removed - BrokenTV] to find out more."

15th July 2008, BrandRepublic: "The Marketing profile: Tom Lucas of UKTV"

"'We've been galvanised by the success of Dave and realise we have a strong role to play realising an attitude and a personality.'"

22nd October 2008, NotBBC TV & Radio Forum: "Subject: Go on Laugh Daily"

"Posted by LouLou on 13:36 22/Oct/08 :"

"I've been off sick,today, and I've found a brand new comdy channel (it on what used to be gold) and it has loads brill stuff on it. Blackadder, Dinner ladies and only fools and horses. Has antbody else seen this and what do they think?"

15th July 2008, BrandRepublic: "The Marketing profile: Tom Lucas of UKTV"

"As a marketer, Lucas is confident that his team can persuade the public that what they are doing is worth watching and he plans to boost investment in marketing"

10th July to 20th October 2008, G.O.L.D. Website Messageboards: "UKTV renames channels" (It is the third most recent post on the website's message board, has been open for over three months, and has a total of ten posts.)

"[username:] witty"

"if it's not broken DON'T fix it
worst renaming,rebrandin0g ever!!"

[Summary of thread posts:
Overtly negative: 4
"But what about the non-crime drama?": 5
"Well, maybe it could be good if they showed some interesting comedy programmes": 1
Overtly positive: 0]

15th July 2008, BrandRepublic: "The Marketing profile: Tom Lucas of UKTV"

"The coming months are likely to be a whirlwind of activity for UKTV, but Lucas is confident that his brands will stand out from the crowd."

22nd October 2008, NotBBC Comedy Forum: "Subject: G.O,LD" (sic)

"Posted by moss [co-moderator of NotBBC fora] on 14:43 22/Oct/08 :

What gets me is that people always do this kind of thing using their PR email addresses..."

Ah, guerilla marketing. When it's good, it's actually a worthwhile and occasionally excellent thing. Like this:


Or this:


Or this:


But when you entrust your brand to a bunch of idiots? Well.

Not good.

Never mind the fact that it's an utterly pathetic idea ("that's right, give our agency the contract and thanks to our cleverly subversive creative team placing messages on internet forumses, YOUR TV channel could soon have an extra thirty or so viewers. Aah, but they'll be the right kind of thirty new viewers"). It's that 'LouLou' hasn't even bothered to take a cursory look at the forum in question, let alone chip in with posts in a few unrelated threads before chancing her arm. Aside from anything else, the members of NotBBC can pretty much manage to spell words like 'discovered'. I mean, that sort of post would even look out of place on DigitalSpy's forum. At least unless 'LouLou' added a sentence complaining about muslims and how the BBC loves them while hating everyone else, anyway.

Oh, what the heck. One more quote and a couple of links.

22nd October 2008, NotBBC Comedy Forum: "Subject: G.O,LD" (sic)

"Subject: Re: Go on Laugh Daily
Posted by flamingkitties on 13:59 22/Oct/08 :"

"There's a law against this.
No, really."

And Flamingkitties is quite right, too.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

An Appeal To Make BBC Four* Better (*Or More4)

Rather wonderfully, television's finest satirical news programme is back on the air down under, and is currently 30% of the way through a third series. That'll mean thirty episodes in just over twelve months. On the Australian equivalent of BBC Four. Good news for the people already living in a marvellously sunny nation with affordable housing and cheap alcohol. Meanwhile, the comedy output on our equivalent of BBC Four (which would be, erm, BBC Four) is mainly restricted to repeats of That Mitchell And Webb Look and Flight Of The Conchords. All very good, but both have been broadcast before. What about something new? Even if you can't afford to make new and decent comedy, why not import something from the antipodes? Like, say, the programme we mentioned just a few sentences ago? More4 has The Daily Show. The only way to strike a comparable blow is to land the rights to Newstopia.

(Alternatively, hey More4! You know the weeks when The Daily Show isn't on? Well, you've left it too late the nab the rights to The Colbert Report, so stop sitting on your hands and get hold of Newstopia. Once you trim out the swearing, if you really must, it'd be perfect for that 8.30pm slot.)

Here, in this picture special, we'll highlight some of the reasons why Newstopia should be shown over here, where we're not founded by convicts.

In ep 3.01, there's a gag about Premier League football. While it does mess up a bit by claiming Manchester United are about to play "The Rangers", that's perfectly understandable given that Shaun Micallef admitted (in a clip of his radio show that we've heard) to knowing nothing about non-Aussie Rules football, and having attended an A-League match for the first time, earnestly referred to the break after forty-five minutes as 'the interval'.

A practical demonstration of applying make-up to a pig after a piece about Barack Obama's recent comment.

A reference to Hole In The Wall being an insult to the intelligence of everyone watching the network that airs it. A good thing for BBC Four viewers feeling the need for validation.

A report from America about opinion polls that doesn't really work as a screen grab.

A spoof story about offsetting carbon footprints that ends with Shaun Micallef dressed as an old woman dancing a jig around a bonfire.

A wonderful James Stewart impersonation in a piece about the financial quagmire we're all in.

Second unit shots of London used for a special pisstake of an advert we don't see over here.

Jokes about the current situation in Africa that only World News Today viewers are likely to understand, and therefore will feel all superior about, which they'll undoubtably love.

All those are just from the first two episodes of series three of Newstopia. We're going to put up fresh examples every week until the show is being broadcast on Tuesday nights at 10pm. The Book Quiz can easily be shoved elsewhere, no-one will miss it.

(Note to readers expecting live line-chart coverage of the third US Presidential debate: If CNN International can't be bothered with it until twenty minutes before kick-off, nothing too exciting is going to happen, even if Wolf Blitzer promises to dye his beard red or blue depending on the outcome. We will still be doing an all-night US Election Night Blog once stuff starts actually happening, though.)

Broken TV: Late and Blue and Naked

It's double Australian television update night on BrokenTV! In a moment, we're going to start banging on about Newstopia again until everyone else agrees that we're right. And they will. You'll see. But first, female soapstar nudity.

We all remember how, instead of it being ripe for parody by lazy arsed late 1980s television comedians, Prisoner Cell Block H ("Ha ha! The sets are made of wood! But anyway, them Tories") was actually a compelling, innovative, risk-taking and downright addictive continuous drama programme. Not only did the show include inarguably the greatest ever nickname for a character in a soap opera - "Vinegar Tits" - but it also broke a number of taboos for the format, such as featuring non-stereotypical gay characters, dealing with subjects such as predatory paedophiles, euthanasia, on-screen kneecappings, drug-use, that brilliant plot where Bea Smith lost her memory and almost got released but then got it back again, and many others.

But that wasn't all. Thanks to some excellent investigative work by a reader we're going to dub with the name "Alan Donaldson" (which is nothing like his real name, but is quite a good name to use if you need to give a false identity to a policeman in a hurry, we imagine), there's also a part of the show that doesn't seem to have been mentioned at all in the what, twenty-four years since the episode in question has been aired. And best of all, it features our teenage crush Lexie Patterson. We'd best let the EXCLUSIVE YouTube vid in question do the work for us.

(EDITOR'S NOTE: The following clip is NSFW. Even though it probably loses a certain something on conversion to .flv format (or indeed in the .mp4 format we were sent the clip in), it's still something you'd probably not prefer to show the vicar if he comes around for tea.)

So, thanks to "Alan Donaldson" for that.

(Sidenote: Anyone know how to flag uploaded YouTube vids to "adults only"? We don't really want to get banned, even though the clip is hardly pornography, but we don't want to be a corrupting influence on ver kids.)

Monday, 13 October 2008

Soon To Be Available As A Spin-Off CD Single

As one might expect, all of the talk around the BrokenTV office water cooler today was about last night's Peter Kay one-off show 'Britain's Got the Pop Factor...'

"I lasted about half-an-hour. How about you?"

"I could barely last for twenty minutes. Shocking, wasn't it?"

"I somehow sat through the lot. It didn't get any better."

"What was the point of it, anyway?"

"Well, it was a three-hour advert for the single he's releasing today."

"Really? Bloody hell."

"Yes, I know."

"Remember when he was funny?"

The most annoying point of all this was that, in an event quite spookily mirroring recent events in New York, we've only gone and run out of digits for our "Our National Time Wasted Waiting For Peter Kay To Be Funny Again" clock. Oh, yes. We do have our very own "Our National Time Wasted Waiting For Peter Kay To Be Funny Again" clock. Here's what it currently looks like, after we've had to blimmin' well paint another space and chalk another digit in.

It's all grounded in fact, and here's how it works.

The last funny thing Peter Kay was involved in was arguably the fourth episode of series two of Phoenix Nights, the one with the pub quiz. Since then, we've had two rubbish 'final' episodes of Phoenix Nights which were virtually pilot episodes for Max & Paddy's Road To Nowhere, and then a full series of Max & Paddy's Road To Nowhere. After the latter finished and all of the pointless sneering at Dave Spikey was out of the way, Kay returned to his first love - coming up with a halfway decent stand-up set, then fleecing his fans into buying it three times on DVD. As DVD sales figures for 'Live at the Manchester Arena' and "Stand Up Ukay' are suspiciously unavailable, we can't calculate any data based on that, so we're going with TV viewing figures. With us so far?

We've used the following formula to calculate the numbers on the clock:

Number of viewers per broadcast x show runtime (in minutes)
total time wasted waiting for Peter Kay to get funny again

The viewing figures are openly available on BARB's website, so it's quite easy to do, and as each show includes time wasted watching adverts and trailers, a half hour show equals a full thirty minutes wasted. This brings us to the following set of figures, before October 12th 2008:

Quite a lot of British time that could just as easily be spent grouting walls or baiting badgers, we're sure you'll agree. But when you factor in the viewing figures for last night's Kayathon, things get really staggering.

That's right. The people of the UK have wasted an aggregate total of almost 1.5 billion minutes waiting for Peter Kay to start being funny again. No wonder the economy's knackered.


"But each show on the list seems to be more popular than the last. Doesn't this make you stultifyingly wrong? Almost as wrong as - pffft! - garlic bread!"

You'll also notice that each series since Phoenix Nights has seen ratings slide after each debut episode. Around a million people - 25% of the viewers from episode one - stopped bothering with Max and Paddy from ep two onwards. Even last night, when people only had to sit through another one hour programme, which was also about Peter Kay, almost 50% of viewers gave up on 'Pop Factor' between parts one and two.

"But lots of people still like him, surely? They must think he's funny, else they wouldn't watch him. References to things that happened in the 1980s are as popular now as they've ever been."

They might think they've having fun and enjoying themselves, but we can assure them they are mistaken, and they are not. We can show this, using science.

"How do these figures compare to your "Our International Time Wasted Waiting For Ricky Gervais To Be Funny Again" clock?"

It's tricky to say, as Gervais clock requires more compilcated maths. You've got to factor in the population of America, for one thing.


Sunday, 12 October 2008

You Can't Spell 'Pointless Rebranding' Without 'PR'

Editor's Note: The following press release has been slightly re-edited to reflect what everyone is actually thinking.

  • UKTV has confirmed that its People and Documentary channels will be the first in its factual lineup to be pointlessly rebranded in order to remind everyone that they exist.

    As with its channels in the 'good' EPG slots, which were renamed (after a fashion) from UK Gold and UK Arena into Watch, G.O.L.D. and Alibi, People and Documentary will become Blighty and Eden respectively in early 2009. Possibly because all the programmes about people were actually documentaries, and all the documentaries were about people, so they were really rather silly and indistinctive channel names in the first place.

    "Eden and Blighty will shake up and re-invigorate the factual section of the EPG with clearly defined channel brands that deliver very compelling promises to viewers," said UKTV controller Matthew Littleford. "Oh, we'll grant you that you'll still see 30% of each day's schedule taken up by repeats of 'Ray Mears: Bushcraft', but there'll probably be a new clip show of highlights on launch night. 'Ray Mears: The Full Craft Of The Bush", something like that. And if we're really lucky, we'll collar Michael Palin for a ten-minute interview as well. We'll soon drag that out to a two-hour 'best of Michael Palin'.

    "The re-brands will ensure UKTV becomes as well known for its factual content as it is for Dave and Watch and establish us as the factual market leaders in pay TV. And hey, if the ratings need a bit of bulking up, we can always shove a load of Top Gear repeats onto Blighty, and then issue a self-congratulatory press release about how excellent we all are. Result.

    "Speaking of which, Blighty captures the spirit of contemporary Britain and all its nuances. This is a country where our national dish is chicken tikka massala, where graffiti sells for a small fortune and where an Essex couple get 50,000 visitors to a Hindu shrine in their spare bedroom. And if that doesn't appeal to our viewers, expect loads and loads of documentaries about Spitfires and 'Booze Britain'. Hey, if nothing else it'll be a nice change from all the redubbed documentaries on Discovery."

    The name Eden was chosen because it "gives viewers the opportunity to gorge on breathtaking programmes that celebrate the sheer magnitude and wonder of our world. Oh, alright then, it's where we'll be shoving all our redubbed imported documentaries," admitted Jane Mote, UKTV's director of factual, lifestyle and new media.

    "And yes, giving UK Gold another stupid new name and then insisting continuity announcers refer to it as "Gee-oh-el-dee" all the time was a rubbish idea," giggled Matthew Littleford.

Key fact: The fact that UKTV are about to rename two channels as "Blighty" and "Eden" has been left untouched. Just as well, as it's pretty much beyond parody.


Wednesday, 8 October 2008

The Second Live Presidential Debate: Live Blogette

In bullet form!

* The CNN likey-charts are back again. They're still pretty compelling - as soon as McCain mentions something about the price of oil going down, the line for Uncommitted Ohio Men zips upward like a policeman's truncheon going from limp to horizontal when Barbara Windsor bends over to pick up something in one of the bad Carry On films. Obama seems to be performing slightly better, though the men are harder to please than the women.

* Every time John McCain starts talking about something like Medicare in his "get a load of this guy! Look. Here's how simple it really is, dummy" voice, we can't help but think of Steve Brule from Tim and Eric Awesome Show.

* The box of lights that informs the candidates when their allotted time is running out has clearly been bought from a shop for wedding DJs.

* The audience are suspiciously quiet. We're not expecting the relentless whooping of a Jerry Springer crowd, but any sort of reaction would be interesting. At the moment, the only thing we can think they are there for is to spot which ones haven't really made the effort to dress up. Come on, you've been chosen to sit in a room with the next leader of the free world. Just bunging on a checked shirt doesn't cut it. Even if you're blatantly there to represent the entire blue collar demographic, at least wear a tie!

* You can watch a feed of the debate live at What you lose in live line charts, you gain in live chat from 9/11 conspiracy nutbags, white supremacy lunatics, Islamic fundamentalists, confused jocks who want Sarah Palin to take her top off, and one person who wants to add that "McCain seems like a nice chap".

* McCain is sulking. If Obama gets follow-ups, he wants follow-ups too. It is not very dignified.

* Nicely, the debate ends with the candidates standing centre stage, only for them to block Tom Brokaw's teleprompter. Why does he even need a teleprompter anyway? He only needs to say a couple of sentences every ten minutes. Tsk.

* After the live opinion charts for every second of the actual debate, CNN's post mortem with the Ohio voter focus group begins with: a summary of the voting throughout the debate? A series of pie charts? The results of a wider opinion poll? A massive touch-screen display that serves no actual purpose? No, a reporter asking each member to put their hand up for whoever they thought was best, which she then counts out loud, as if she was just asking who wants coffee and who wants tea.

* Going by the CNN post-debate polls, Obama has increased his lead. More pertinently, going by the Betfair markets, Obama's odds have shortened, whilst McCain's have lengthened. Could America really be set to vote against the rich old white guy? Not long to go now.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

The Red Cross

The BrokenTV office has just switched broadband provider, and as you might expect, we misremembered the date of switchover. As a result, all the images hosted at ADSL24 have disappeared before we could move them. We are, as you will already be aware, rubbish.

We'll go around fixing mixed up image links as soon as possible (as soon as we can find a decent new image hosting service - you don't get free webspace with Be, as far as we can tell, which is a pity). If anyone knows of (a) a really quick way to find and replace a shedload of HTML in Blogger posts in one fell swoop, or (b) either a free or comfortably cheap webhosting service that holds about 50mb of files, we're not bothered about domain names or anything, please leave a helpful comment. Cheers!

(There may be a Presidential debate live blog at 2am, depending on circumstance. Maybe see you later, but don't stay up late on our account.)

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Well, That's Us Not Getting Any Sleep Tonight

In an update of a story we "exclusively" broke back in January (in the tabloid, not actually exclusive sense of the word), the BBC have revealed the script that was to be used in the event of a nuclear war in the 1970s. And with that, they have guaranteed we'll spend the small hours of Monday in bed, thinking about the most harrowing bits of Threads instead of getting any bloody kip.

To their credit, they've tried to jolly up the script as best they can, with none other than Harry Shearer performing it in an embedded clip, using a voice that he claims is Walter Cronkite, but which sounds pretty much like any jowelly old broadcaster impersonated in later episodes of The Simpsons. And to be honest, even if Keith Chegwin or Brian Blessed were to deliver the following passage, it wouldn't really help any.

This is the Wartime Broadcasting Service. This country has been attacked with nuclear weapons. Communications have been severely disrupted, and the number of casualties and the extent of the damage are not yet known. We shall bring you further information as soon as possible. Meanwhile, stay tuned to this wavelength, stay calm and stay in your own homes.

Full transcript here (.pdf). To be fair, if they'd used the tones of Patrick Allen in an attack any time after 1993, it might make everyone think of The Smell Of Reeves And Mortimer. Post-holocaust families could then have a wartime sing-song of the eerily apt "Trapped In My Flat", and British spirits would be collectively lifted. Come to think, that's a relatively cheery way to end this update.


Femtoupdate: Bargwatch are selling Absolutely Everything, the eight disc boxset containing every episode of the best sketch comedy of the 1990s, for a penny under thirteen GBP. It is usually £35.

If you don't buy this, and you don't already own it, you deserve to have your eyes confiscated. That is all.


Friday, 3 October 2008

The Sound Of Two Palms Slapping, and Two Legs Running

Yeah, we know. It's fair to say that there's very little as unbecoming as universally unpopular websites pathetically high-fiving themselves, and we should be above that. However, if you knew us, really properly actually knew us, you'd know that we can often be found shamelessly whoring ourselves out to anyone willing to show us a few bob, a square meal, or a few nourishing words of approval. Oh, how we slurp down those salty nods of half-hearted gratitude. But anyway. It seems that much of America is as enamoured with the majesty of CNN's Live Debate Graph as we are. The episode of The Daily Show (from Monday night) which we've just got around to watching has spent a good third of its runtime devoted to the very subject. And so has... well, we're ready to admit that our barometer of US public opinion is restricted to whatever's on between 8.30pm and 9pm on More4, so that's all we've got to go on.

Take a look at the Google search rankings for "cnn vice presidential debate graph" (without quotes):

BrokenTV is third in the Google rankings for the phrase on everyone's lips. Taking the three people on on planet earth who'd typed that exact phrase into Google as a hugely unrepresentative sample of the social group 'everyone', that is. Only Wordpress' own blog on the topic and the Huffington Post are above us. That means we're sitting above - hey! - CNN's OWN WEBSITE is the Googleranks. Other sites we are peering down on:

And, well, every other website on the web. Apart from Wordpress and Huffington. Damn their eyes. But still, we're number three. That's only two away from being number one.

(Reader's voice: "maybe that's because it's technically a chart, not a graph. There are just 64,500 results for 'cnn vice presidential debate graph', but there are 1,370,000 results for 'cnn vice presidential debate chart'. And you're absolutely nowhere in the ranking for that. Essentially, you have messed up.")

Erm. [Runs away.]

Time left for BrokenTV to learn everything about American politics before the live US '08 Election Night Special Live Blog Special 2008: 31 Days, 22 Hours.

It's The Live US Vice Presidential Debate Special!

(Keep checking for live updates, until we fall asleep.)

There's a sentence we never expected to be typing into the headline box. Will it be one of those live blogs we do that we give up on after fifteen minutes and duly delete? That has happened a few times. Given the fact we're not sure we can last until 4am, it's a distinct possibility. But then, the prospect of Sarah Palin or Joe Biden messing up live on air... mmm. For the former, pretty much anything could happen, given the way the Republican party have wrapped her in an interrogational bundle of cotton wool (ooh, an interview on Fox News? Hard hitting!). For the latter, it's going to be interesting seeing how one of the main weapons of American political debate, a weary "get a load of this chump!" patronising dismissal of whatever your opponent is saying, could actually work against Biden. The sexist bastard.

At the moment, our TV is tuned into CNN Worldwide and our PC is hooked up to the US version of Fox News. Top tip: If you've got access to TV streaming software, check out the US version of Fox News above the international variant running on Sky. With the US version you get to see all the campaign ads. But not so many campaign ads attacking John McCain. Hmm.

The pre-show sees CNN cramming as many commentators as possible around one desk, while Fox News have Bill O'Reilly talking down to a couple of women. It's as if he's pretending to be torn between his hatred of women and his hatred of lapel-flag-hating commie pinko Demmycrats. Not fooling anyone, Bill.


CNN are going to be treating this like a boxing match, with the live Like-o-meter that we've mentioned before now, along with LIVE PIE CHART ACTION, it seems. They're just pandering to us specifically now. This is quite alarming.


Can we go two hours without using the words "Dan Quayle With Tits"? Can Brit Hume last without berating the CBS-run debate as a liberal media showcase for Biden? How many pictures of the LIVE GRAPH on CNN will we include?


Time taken for Sarah Palin to mention the words 'parents' and 'fear': eleven seconds. Time taken for Joe Biden to make us question the wisdom of staying up this late: eleven seconds. By Jiminy, this is going to be close!


Sarah Palin's "darn right" count: One. This time about the nasty people who sold you a mortgage.

While the CNN EXCLUSIVE LIVE GRAPH was split between Democrats, Republicans and Independents last time, this time it's split between Men and Women voters, in Ohio, who have yet to commit to one candidate. But really, it's all about Men versus Women. Slightly surprisingly, a lot more women prefer whatever Joe Biden says than the men. When Sarah Palin is speaking, both genders are in agreement. This possibly means something.

Also, Fox aren't doing any live graphs at all. Their coverage is quite sober. There isn't even an American flag on screen. Come on Fox News, pander to our preconceived opinions about you, dammit!


Check this:

Sarah Palin speaks: The sexes align, pretty much in harmonious indifference.

Joe Biden speaks: The ladies go wild. And this is when he's talking about taxes.

This is possibly surprising a few people right now. Could it possibly be that the undecided women of Ohio are actually thinking for themselves instead of making a Pavlovian decision to go with the only sistah in the room? ZOMGWTF!!!


We've just zapped up a stream of the debate, and it has turned out to be from the US version of CNN. They don't get any graphs at all. They have messed up.



Here are the results of a quick flick through the news channels on Sky, to see who else is bothering with this debate.

Sky News: Yes (no graphs)
Bloomberg: Yes (no graphs, but a stock ticker as you might expect)
BBC News: Yes (no graphs, and a signed repeat of Country File is on BBC One)
CNBC: Yes (no idea on graphs, it's a pay channel)
Fox News: Yes (also a pay channel, which is largely the reason we're watching it on TVU Player)
CNN: Yes (with lovely graphs. The men seem to be enjoying Sarah Palin more than the women now)
S4C2: No.

We'll complete this in a bit. They're talking about gay couples now. What will this do to the graphs? (©D. Gorman)


Palin's voice is trembling a little as she hits her first difficult question, and is stating how tolerant she is about the gay issue. The graphblokes are getting excited, we can only assume because they're all picturing Sarah Palin kissing another woman right now. Tsk. Oh, and both VP candidates are against gay marriage. Well, at least they're saying they are, because they don't want to anger biblethumping voters.


The graphpeople get excited all of a sudden. It must mean they're talking about Iraq. And now Biden is speaking about war funding, the graphladies are right at the top of the positive end of the graph. Cripes.

Now Palin is talking about the war, and the women are distinctly unimpressed. The men are a little more in favour, but barely crossing the half-way line.


The realisation dawns that we're typing a live commentary, on the internet, about a sodding line graph. While we re-evaluate our entire outlook on life, we're going to take a look at the remainder of Sky news channels.

Euronews: Yes (with a very bland on-screen layout. Their new ident is a white circle. A white circle. Which team of creatives got paid to come up with that?)
CCTV-9: No. "Nature and Science" is on instead. Which is probably the Chinese version of Country File.
Russia Today: No. "Russia Today Documentaries" instead. We'd understand if it were a documentary on Tatu, but no. It seems to be a one hour programme on silt. We shit you not.
France24: Yes. (No graphs, but we've got our first CGI star spangled banner of the night! Well done, the French.)
Al Jazeera English: Yes. (Despite the EPG claiming "Listening Post" is on. No graphs, and not surprisingly, no star spangled banner here.)
QVC: No. (Their "Veronese Jewellery Collection" marathon continues unabated. What do you mean that was a stupidly obvious joke to add at the end?)

WHOA! Did Sarah Palin just say the word "noocular" instead of "nuclear"? She did! Her graph plummets!


It's quite uncanny. Every time Senator Biden takes the mic, the Ohio-undecided-female approval rating rises steadily, whilst the men don't seem to be fussed. As soon as the camera flits away from his Delaware-honed visage, the chart plummets to it's midpoint, like a spirit level being smashed into by a car, recorded on tape, then played back in 1x reverse. If he unfastened his tie a little, put on a pair of glasses, then peered over the top of them coquetteishly... the CNN opinion recording equipment might well exlode. Then, Sarah Palin would feel the need to redress the balance by taking off her glasses, freeing her rolling locks of raven hair so they cascade playfully over her Alaskan shoulders, then... is it too late to turn this blog into a Biden/Palin Slash Fiction hub?


John McCain "knows what evil is," we are informed by Mrs Palin. Mr Biden keeps saying he'll be happy to do whatever Barack Obama tells him to do. Both enjoy saying how much they'll be killing Osama bin Laden when they sweep into power. Our eyelids become too droopy to cope with this much longer, and are going to bed.

Note to selves: When we do our Live US Election Night Blog, get some sugar-free Red Bull in. 'Night all.

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