Friday, 24 December 2010

The Top Ten Lookie-Likeys That Probably Don’t Get Much Work

“Don’t wanna be ignored at the door. We all look the same, we’re all lookalikes.”

So sang criminally underrated German electropop band Tok Tok Vs Soffy O in their 2002 non-hit “The Lookalikes”. And do you know, they were right, pretty much everyone looks a bit like someone else. Often, that someone else is someone a bit famous. We’ve variously been told over the years that we look a lot like Jarvis Cocker, Rik Mayall and Sunderland bench-warmer Boudewijn Zenden, even though we don’t look anything like any of them, and not that there’s much work out there for a Boudewijn Zenden lookalike. OR IS THERE?

One thing that always amuses us for up to several minutes at a time is looking through the websites of professional lookalike agencies, mean-spiritedly scoffing at the ‘acts’ who don’t look anything like their famous supposed doppelgangers. Anyway, instead of that, we’re going to take a look at some of the lookie-likeys who’ll probably need to keep plugging away at their day job for quite a while yet. But first (and this’ll only really make sense if you’re reading this intro text from the front page of the blog, and not the article itself), see if you can work out who this is supposed to be. Answer after the ‘jump’.



Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Graph of the Day


In summary: On roads – “Eep”. On an empty work car park – “Wheeeeee!”


Tuesday, 21 December 2010

The BrokenTV Awards 2010: Sneak Preview


Yeah, no brainer really. If you’re going to be shocking, at least remember to be funny. A bit like this show from New Zealand, about a decade ago:


Monday, 20 December 2010

“The 1986 World Cup on the Moon?” It Must Be The Christmas 1973 TV Times!

We’ve chipped the icicles off the office computer to bring you the last of our glances at TVTimes gone by, and what could be better than a double Christmas issue with a cover that sums up the era perfectly?


Hyuk-yuk-yuk. Or however one is supposed to spell Sid James’ guttural guffaw. It’s 1973!


Friday, 17 December 2010

Meanwhile, In An Alternate Universe… (rpt)

So, the Christmas listings guide begin tomorrow, meaning the festive season is officially GO. And, to be fair, the schedule is quite a good one, with repeats of Rowan Atkinson Live and The Goodies scheduled over the next fortnight. In tribute to those, here’s a repeat of our own, the fake Christmas Day schedule we put together when we were being sarcastic about Mark Thommo Thompson’s budget cuts.


Yes, we don’t normally ‘do’ repeats on here, but this is our favourite update of the year (yes, it’s a TVGoHome ripoff, but we think it’s a good one), and deserves a wider audience. Also, we’re going out in an office Christmas ‘do’ in about twenty minutes, so this is all we’ve got time for today.


Thursday, 16 December 2010

Mobile Mediocrity

Just a quick update, this. BrokenTV has now been tweaked to look 47% less horrible on your mobile phone or iThing.


Admittedly, it’s a quick fix, so it still looks a bit rubbish.


But, as it’s only nabbing the RSS feed for now, that’s to be expected. Still, at least this kind of approach to design is in keeping with the remainder of content in this blog, eh?


Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Ar-Gosh (The Inflationally Adjusted 1985 and 1986 Argos Catalogues)

We could think of a pun for the title this time. Not a good one, though.

So, slightly surprisingly for us, yesterday’s update on the 1976 Argos catalogue seems to have been really quite popular. We know this because there are several hits on our Feedjit page linked to something on Facebook, though thanks to the way Facebook handles outgoing links, we don’t know which particular bit of Facebook everyone is coming in from. Anyway, that means we’d probably better make good on our promise to look at some items from the 1980s, and what they’d cost in nowmoney.


In case you haven’t seen yesterday’s update yet, we’d said this:

“Thanks to the utterly magnificent work of someone calling themselves Trippyglitters, Flickr now plays host to not one, not two, not four, but THREE complete Argos catalogues from the past. One from 1976, one from 1985 and one from 1986. This, as any reasonably rational person will understand, is absolutely fantastic news.”

Indeed, this is still fantastic news, especially as we can actually remember items in the catalogues we’ll look at today, which are from 1985 and 1986.


Tuesday, 14 December 2010

It’s The Argos Catalogue From 1976 And What The Things In It Cost Now After Accounting For Inflation!

We couldn’t think of a good pun for the title.

Thanks to the utterly magnificent work of someone calling themselves Trippyglitters, Flickr now plays host to not one, not two, not four, but THREE complete Argos catalogues from the past. One from 1976, one from 1985 and one from 1986. This, as any reasonably rational person will understand, is absolutely fantastic news.


So, what are the items therein which seem comically aged from a modern-day point of view? And how much did they actually cost, both at the time, and when accounting for inflation? WE SHALL INVESTIGATE. And hopefully squeeze some mileage out of the zany concept that things from the past are different to things from now. Don’t think anyone has ever thought about exploiting that potential comedic goldmine, have they? They have? Well, we’re going to do it anyway.


Saturday, 11 December 2010

Exciting Free Gift For All Readers Inside

Way back in 2008, we ran a little contest over on the BeEx forum called Song Wars (no relation to the Adam & Joe thing of the same name). The rules were too complicated to run through in detail here, but it was basically a World Cup Of Liking Music – with group stages and a knockout phase and a prize and everything. Basically, each ‘player’ picked one song per week, often based on a theme, sometimes not. The songs from each group were listed, with no clue as to which player had picked which song, and everyone else got to vote for their favourites, with identities revealed and points allocated at the end of each week. It was fun, and we should have really carried on with it.

Anyway, the first song-card we decided to play was the We Are Terrorists remix of Revolte’s ‘Ironical Sexism’. Problem was, we couldn’t find a streaming version of it anywhere, so we uploaded it to YouTube after designing a quick ‘cover’, and used that. It did well, too, narrowing missing first place thanks to someone else picking the even better MacArthur Park by Richard Harris.

And here it is. It’s still thunderingly brilliant, by the way.

A few years later, after we’d long forgotten it, we received a YouTube private message from French electropopsters WAT themselves (their name since shortened, possibly just so they could get their stuff through airports without having to hear the sound of a customs guy snapping on a body cavity search glove). Was it a polite bollocking about us trampling all over their copyright by uploading it without their permission? Well, nope. It was them thanking us for promoting their work – the YouTube upload was nudging 10,000 hits at the time of the message – and offering us a free copy of their debut album. What with us not being as stupid as we look, we gratefully accepted their offer, and got a free copy of something we were almost certainly going to buy anyway. Hurrah, eh?

And, as luck would have it, the debut album from WAT is something we’d classify as Really Rather Bloody Brilliant Actually. If you’re a fan of the genre the band themselves call ‘positivelectrorocknewwavediscotecawithahiphoptwist’, you’ll love this album. If you’re not a fan of positiveelectrorocketc, you should prepare to have your expectations elbowed sharply in the ribs, because you’ll probably find you love it anyway. That’s how good it is.


But don’t take our inelegantly phrased words for it. We’ve asked nicely, and we’ve got a medley of songs from the album, specially mixed into excellence by DaTraxer, to share with you all. Yes, it’s a promo track that we could probably have just made available without even asking permission anyway, but shush. We’re polite like that.  It works as a pretty damn good song in it’s own right if you’re asking us, and gives you a pretty good idea of the joyous jumpiness contained within the album proper. Download, listen, enjoy.

WAT - Wonder (Teddy-Beer's Millenium Flocon Teaser By DaTraxer)

Because it’s Christmas (well, early mid-December), here’s another freebie of a WAT song not on the album. It’s a remix of the theme to Knight Rider, which is a television programme, which means this whole blog update is still on topic. Yay!

We Are Terrorists - Kangou 2000 (Remix Of Knight Rider Theme)

You can buy Wonder from iTunes, buy the CD direct from Boxon Records, or digitally from 7Digital. Oh, and here’s Soundcloud link to their next single, which is splendid.


COMPANIES! Would YOU like to offer us a free copy of things we would probably have gone out and bought anyway in return for us being nice about it here? Feel free to contact us on Twitter. (We’ll be extra nice about whatever if you throw in some cash, too.)

Friday, 10 December 2010

To Russia With… Elton? It Must Be The Christmas 1980 Issue Of TV Times!

Okay, who had “December 8th” in the “Which Day Will BrokenTV Miss A Daily Update Sweepstake”? That tiny plastic bag of pound coins is all yours. We’re back now, and it’s time for another flip through a TV Times of yuletides past. To make things ever more exciting, inspired by tonight’s episode of Coronation Street, we’re typing all this out LIVE. Let’s hope nothing bad happens as we delve into the double Christmas issue from WEEK COMMENCING 19th DECEMBER 1980:



Tuesday, 7 December 2010

If You Were Thinking Peter Kay, Twiggy and Jason Donovan Were Bad Enough…

…celebrity-fronted corporate chain store Christmas commercials didn’t used to be any better.


Monday, 6 December 2010

“If It’s Tyne-Tees, Tell ‘Em I’m Not Working” (BBC North-East Xmas Tape 1986)

It just wouldn’t be December without us including some videos of BBC Christmas Tapes, would it? Here’s an interesting find – the BBC North-East Christmas tape from 1986. Warning: contains Bon Jovi.

As Sean Lock might say, it’s something that isn’t that funny, but it’s not boring either. Actually, it is pretty boring. Oh, for the golden age of Xmas Tapes.

If that’s a bit much for you, how about this clip (purportedly from a Christmas tape from a US network, though we suspect it’s just generic non-festive VT engineer tomfoolery) from the 1950s?

Not sure the BBC VT department of the late 1970s would have got much out of that, really.

TOMORROW: A better update than this one. Possibly.


Sunday, 5 December 2010

Max Bygraves’ Inland Revenue Bill and Bonnie Langford: It Must Be The Christmas 1977 Issue Of TV Times!

One of the generally accepted universal truths is that ITV Can’t Do Christmas Telly. This reasoning was probably more true than ever a few years ago, when the only noteworthy addition to ITV1’s Christmas Day line-up was a South Bank Show special on… Little Britain, a BBC show that itself wasn’t considered big enough to be included in BBC One’s Christmas Day schedule.

But: was this always the case? To celebrate the bumper double Christmas issue of the Radio and TV Times hitting the shops  (aah, remember the days when you had to buy both?), it’s time for the first of an occasional series where we look at what aired on The Light Channel over festive breaks past. First up: Christmas 1977, with cover stars Harry Secombe, Yootha Joyce, Brian Murphy and Bonnie Langford.



Saturday, 4 December 2010

“…and Rex Hamilton as Abraham Lincoln”


After the sad passing of Leslie Nielsen, we’ve spent quite a few enjoyable hours this week watching our DVD of Police Squad!, and it’s every bit as great as we remember it. Best of all, though, the DVD itself contains a bunch of wonderful special features, and here are a few of them that work as framegrabs.


Friday, 3 December 2010

Doctor Who vs Bing Hitler

You know how we’ve often gone on about how brilliant The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson is? This is precisely why.

[UPDATE: Just posted this in the comments, but might as well put it here too, where people will actually see it.]

Weird thing is, despite all the hard work that clearly went into making that routine, it never actually aired. The rights to use Orbital's remix of the Who theme hadn't been acquired, so that episode actually opened with a clearly pissed off Ferguson saying that they'd just done a brilliant dance routine that now couldn't be shown.

Here’s how the show originally aired. In full, because the people who make The Late Late Show are SO marvellous they don’t mind putting the whole thing online for the world to see, for free. It’s a Doctor Who special!


Thursday, 2 December 2010

Yule (B)log: Stand-Up Round-Up (2)

From FIFA’s website:


The 2018 World Cup is to be held in a country where spectators regularly boo black footballers, and the 2022 World Cup is to be held in a country where homosexuality is outlawed. Hmm. Maybe FIFA are going by George W Bush’s definition of ‘mission accomplished’?

Anyway, comedy!

Rhod Gilbert and The Cat That Looked Like Nicholas Lyndhurst

Channel 4 DVD
Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 63


This year’s offering from Rhod Gilbert, and if you’re keen to hear someone from Wales unconvincingly pretending to be really angry about minor things for 83 minutes, but you don’t know our phone number, this is the DVD for you. Personally, we’ve always felt that Rhod Gilbert is about 78.6% of the way there to being a really entertaining stand-up, and can’t help but be a little surprised at how he manages to bag sold-out tours and his own BBC One series without filling in the gaps in his act. To our minds, the show would be much more enjoyable if the material written by Gilbert remained the same, but was somehow performed by Windsor Davies circa 1981.

A lot of the material, of the “have you noticed [x]? What’s all THAT about, eh?” variety, really could be stronger (even we don’t get confused by washing machines, and we’re idiots), and even when the stronger material kicks in, it’s as if the show had been written using Microsoft Comedy Routine Live 2011. Maybe we’re being needlessly cynical, but we can really imagine that towards writing the end of his set, there are several parts where a cartoon paper clip popped up to proclaim “It looks like you’re trying to squeeze in a callback! How about… making a reference to your earlier routine on vacuum cleaners?”

So, a bit of a let down, but slightly better than his previous live DVD ‘The Award Winning Mince Pie’. At this rate, we’re expecting his live DVD in 2017, called ‘The Toaster That Won Eurovision’ or something, will be pretty good, though.


Sean Lock – Lockipedia

Universal Pictures UK
Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 86


The most naturally funny comedian in the UK? We’d say so. In a performance that performers like Rhod Gilbert should take a lot of inspiration from, Lock manages to take similar everyday topics – bags for life, RyanAir, laser eye surgery – but riffs on them with seemingly effortless majesty. Where Rhod Gilbert slides uneasily into his character of “Angry Welsh Guy”, Sean Lock prowls the stage in the guise of a misanthrope who’s long seen recognised the pointlessness of being furious about stuff, and who now delights in warm and cheery malevolence. And it works brilliantly. Most stand-ups can’t help but deliver their lines in a kind of showy “Hey, everyone! I’m on stage! Look at meeeee!” kind of way, while Lock prefers a much more natural style of delivery, which really draws you into his set, letting the funny bits hit the targets of their own accord.

The set does falter a little once it reaches the USP of the tour, namely the Lockipedia segment which sees Lock improvise a routine based on a word from a random audience member. Coming from the man who always puts in a brilliant shift on 8 Out Of 10 Cats no matter how many JackWhitehallalikes are on it that week, the material isn’t poor by any stretch of the imagination, but it doesn’t come close to matching the deftly written and repeatedly finessed gags that make up the remainder of Lock’s show. Happily, he seems to recognise this, and the last part of the show returns to prepared material.

In short: our favourite stand-up comedy DVD of the year so far.



Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Yule (B)log 2010: Comedy DVD Round-Up (1)


Yes, yes, we’re aware that updates have been sporadic recently. We even missed the 5th anniversary of the site going live. Rest assured, when BrokenTV’s tenth birthday rolls around, we’ll probably Photoshop a party hat onto the logo or something. But anyway, it’s December, and that means we pledge to do a blog update EVERY! SINGLE! DAY! until the 25th. Could 2010 be the year we make it beyond the 12th before breaking that promise? We’ve got a positive feeling about it, put it that way.


It seems that each year, there’s one type of DVD-based gift that dominates the last-minute-stocking-filler market. A few years ago, it was the football blooper compilation fronted by an annoying  celebrity craze. More recently, we had the Interactive DVD Quiz Game fad, which seemingly lasted until the manufacturers realised they could just shove their half-arsed licenced quizzes onto the Wii instead, and sell them at double the price.

This year, it seems to be stand-up comedy DVDs receiving their very own shelf in your local Tesco Ultrastore, which is, in theory, a marked improvement over, ooh, “Danny Dyer’s Funniest Football Foul-Ups” or something. Ha! Can you imagine if someone was still bringing out rubbish like tha… oh. Oh dear. (“Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,147 in DVD”)

Where were we? Ah yes. Stand-up comedy has always been around in a variety of recorded formats, both audio and visual, ever since the wax cylinder of Thomas Edison’s “Quadruplex Teleg-laughs!!!” first hit Manhattan stores in 1884, but this year has seen a non-literal explosion of them, with more stand-up comedy DVDs released in the run up to Christmas 2010 than at any previous point in recorded history. Citation needed.

In our first Yule (B)log of 2010, we take a look at a few of them, and tell you which ones you should consider. JOIN US.


Frankie Boyle Live: If I Could Reach Out Through Your TV and Strangle You I Would

Channel 4 DVD
Amazon Sales Rank (DVD): 21



We used to like Frankie Boyle. There aren’t many reasons to go anywhere near BBC Two when Mock The Week is being broadcast on it, but Boyle made it worth occasionally sitting through the lobe-molesting delivery of Andy Parsons’ topical observations. Yes, a lot of his jokes were expressly written with the intent of shocking the kind of people who write letters to mid-market tabloids, but they were interspersed with standard panel show fare like “anyone who’s been to Middlesbrough will know that living to 53 is maybe a bit long. Sort of like Blade Runner without the special effects.”

Sadly, at some point, Boyle realised that he could make just as much money by making the majority of his jokes about rape, paedophilia, Susan Boyle and Josef Fritzl, pausing only to charmlessly insult audience members. By the time of his “I Would Happily Punch Every One Of You In The Face” tour, a performance from which makes up this DVD, he does little else.

The end result, well, you know the two scenes with the little girl in the red coat from Schindler’s List? Imagine that, only repeated over and over and over as if it were a Holocaust-themed version of Wario Ware, the soundtrack being nought but increasingly heavy use of a swannee whistle, and you’ve pretty much got Frankie Boyle’s new DVD summed up right there. When something shocking proves to be unexpected, even in an already brazenly impolite context, it needs to sneak up on you for it to have any real impact. When you’re left with what is effectively a Scotsman shouting the word ‘cunt’ at a photo of a kitten for eighty minutes, no matter how good a few of the jokes are, it’s hard to summon up the energy to keep caring.

Oh, and if you’re watching his new Channel Four series and are hoping to get this DVD for Christmas – there’s a good chance you’ll have heard all the material on it used in the series by that point. Though we suspect not many people will bother reaching the end of Tramadol Nights, what with it being utterly woeful.


Ricky Gervais Live IV – Science

Universal Pictures UK
Amazon Bestsellers Rank (DVD): 39


As we all saw in “Ricky Gervais Meets Garry Shandling”, Gervais can’t take a joke when it’s made at his own expense, but can he still make them?

After the two most recent live DVDs from the 11 O’Clock Show star proved to be a little on the disappointing side – especially after ‘Animals’ showed how good a stand-up he can be – we weren’t expecting too much from this. Pleasingly, ‘Science’ is a bit of a return to form for the star of BBC Two reality show ‘Celebrity Boxing’. It isn’t quite up to the level of ‘Animals’, and the parts where he refers to how rich and successful he is (in that “aah, I’m being ironic though, even though I’m not” manner of his) still grate as much as ever, but this performance will generate more laughs than “Politics” and “Fame” combined.



Tim Vine - Punslinger Live

Spirit Entertainment Limited
Amazon Bestsellers Rank (DVD): 340


“I don’t like Lion Bars. They’re such unwelcoming places.”

In a year where at least 95% of stand-up comedy DVDs seem bound by law to make the same jokes about Michael Jackson’s death (most common joke: that everyone has been making jokes about it since it happened), we possibly need Tim Vine more than ever. Now that Harry Hill seems to have given up live performances in favour of phoning it in on TV Burp (hasn’t the latest series been rubbish?), there’s only one real choice for a comedy DVD that the whole family really can enjoy while waiting for this year’s Christmas pudding to cool. Provided you’re suitably persuasive in arguing that Tim Vine really is much, much funnier than Michael McIntyre, of course. Because Tim Vine isn’t as popular as he really deserves to be.

Sure, in isolation, many of his one-liners might not seem to be that great (“The Archbishop of Canterbury came up to me, he said ‘you’re excommunicated!’ I thought an old girlfriend had sent me an email”), but thrown at you like relentless handfuls of comedy gravel, you can’t help but find a daft grin form beneath your nose. Very often, you’ll find that grin developing into a chuckle, if only with incredulity at the occasions where he’ll try to pull off an especially clattery pun while on stage in front of people who’ve paid to be there. Even throughout the weaker gags, you’ll still find yourself smiling, mainly because as performers go, Tim Vine is pretty much impossible to hate. He even has the good grace to seem genuinely surprised when the crowd call for an encore at the end.

The only downside to the disc is that the main performance is a bit on the short side, at a tadge over an hour. Of course, with it being Tim Vine set, this does mean you’ve got a few hundred jokes crammed tightly into that hour, but we’d really like him to pad things out by including some of his older gems. Going by the reaction of the crowd in this performance, you can’t help but feel they’d feel the same. After all, if it’s good enough for Ken Dodd...

Petty griping aside, Punslinger is a hugely enjoyable way to spend an hour of your festive break. The rapidfire delivery of unrelated gags mean that even if you’ve been momentarily distracted by a hunt for that elusive After Eight envelope still containing a wafer-thin treat, you can rejoin the fun without having to ask whoever’s nearest the remote to hit the rewind button. Splendid.



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