Friday, 30 December 2011

VIDEO PODCAST: The BrokenTV Awards 2011, Part One - The Top 20 TV Shows of the Year

In 720p high-definition and everything! This took an unbelievably long time, so here’s hoping the 17 people who’ll sit through it all enjoy it.

Apologies if you have to keep pausing it to read all the text. This was originally a 32 minute epic, before (after uploading the 900MB source video) YouTube kindly informed us that while people who upload entire copyrighted movies without permission can post videos longer than 15 minutes, so bally well can’t. Boo, eh?

Anyway, unlikely there’ll be an update tomorrow, so see you in early 2012 for part two of the awards. Happy new etc!


Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Why We Are Stupid


Merry December 27th, everyone! We hope your Christmasses were all lovely. Ours were fine, apart from the bit where our car broke down four metres away from our front door on the way back from visiting family on Christmas Day, and the weird bit where an old woman we’ve never met before knocked on our front door at 12.37am on Boxing Day morning to ask if we had any alcohol she could come in and drink*.

(*We lied and said ‘no’, but then felt a bit bad about lying afterwards because it was still sort of Christmas. And that’s not just some rubbish whimsy that we made up for comic effect just there, that actually happened. She might even have been Jesus in disguise or something, like in that Fist Of Fun sketch)

Anyway, on to Why We Are Stupid. On a day when the twitching corpse of the art of being funny was dealt the duel hammer blows of THE ROYAL BODYGUARD (really, is it David Jason’s tribute to Ronnie Barker’s similarly disappointing CLARENCE or something? It was woeful) and MRS BROWN’S BOYS CHRISTMAS SPECIAL (there are no words), we finally got around to watching our DVD of THE FOUND FOOTAGE FESTIVAL PRESENTS ZANY ZINGERS AND BONKED-OUT BLUNDERS.

You might be familiar with from the WINNEBAGO MAN episode of BBC Four’s documentary strand STORYVILLE, which aired earlier this year. If not, the film took a look at the antics of a certain Jack Rebney, who spent much of the 1980s as an RV salesman (and if you are familiar with it, it still did. You can’t change the past). More specifically, it looked at the outtakes from a promotional video which aimed to flog said Winnebagos, featuring numerous cuss-crammed outbursts from Rebney, which ultimately made him a cult hero at the aforesaid Fests of Found Footage. If you get the chance, watch it. It is both excellent, and emotionally warming.

ANYWAY. Happily, all of the brilliant clips on the DVD helped us rediscover the ability to laugh, and all was well with the world once more.

Apart from the bit where we remembered how stupid we are.

See, while the majority of the DVD features marvellous clippage from irony-free 1980s instructional videos (how to train your cat to use a toilet, tie-in rap videos for pet rocks, the art of silent screaming etc), there’s a special section of ‘short films’ listed as a menu option. The first of these purports to be an unedited employee training video for a gas station chain going by the name of ‘Gas ‘N’ Fuel. And – we feel compelled to add here - once you’ve become adjusted to the mindset made clear by the previous two hours of otherworldly VHS miscellanea, even the cheesiest moments of it somehow make the utmost sense. No, really.

Yes, there are moments that are clearly there to ‘be’ a funny uplifting respite from the need to keep everything suitably shiny and safe, and lots of moments that are (seemingly) unintentionally ha-ha-bloody-larious (“a toddler could freeze to death in there in just 20 or 30 minutes!”). As the video goes on, the weirdness very gradually gets cranked up and up, but for those as innocently dim-yet-cynical as we, it all seems juuust on the right side of plausible. “Ha ha, those 1980s idiots! I’m laughing at the joke they just did, but not for the reason they intended! I am best with my late-2011 mindset and clothes from 2008 and haircut from 2004!”, you may well be smugly sneering inwardly (if you’re us).

Until… you reach the point that you (we) finally cotton on that – disappointingly, considering much much you’re been silently mocking them with your disparaging thoughts up until then – it’s all an expertly crafted spoof. “Bah, yet… bravo!”, you hiss inwardly. Then enjoy the remainder of the video in the manner of which all the non-stupids had been enjoying it from pretty much the beginning.

And here it is. Sadly, not in full – the DVD version of the film is about twice as long, the extra bits being sufficiently dull to trick you into thinking it’s a real corporate training video – but hopefully enough to entertain you through a little part of the that post-advent period where you really regret polishing off the tub of Celebrations before Boxing Day Match Of The Day had even started.

See how long you can last before realising it’s a spoof! Oh, hang on.

SLIGHTLY SHAMEFUL BROKENTV FACT: BrokenTV’s Mark X has actually appeared in a corporate training film. He played the part of “Office Worker In Cold Storage Depot” when he was 22 years old, and luckily has never ever had to watch the recording of. He also got photographed weighing Quorn for a pamphlet or something on the same day. He didn’t want to do it, but he was ordered to by everyone else in the office because he was the youngest. Hopefully, all the negatives of everything from that day were destroyed in a big fire.


Saturday, 24 December 2011

Happy Festivus, Everyone!*

(*Okay, Festivus is technically on the 23rd. Still, shush.)


Have a Merry Multi-Denominational Midwinter Festival, everyone! Back on Boxing Day, or possibly the 27th, hangovers permitting.


Friday, 23 December 2011

YouTubeXLUSA: More Televisual Wonder Than You Could Shake The Washington Monument At

Extending our run through of complete programmes that can be found on YouTube for an extra day, we’re going to take a quick dash through American programmes available on the streaming service. To mark the occasion, here’s a photo of Tiffany.


Just in case you weren’t getting depressed how old you are today, we’d just like to point out that Tiffany is now 40 years old. No need to thank us, gramps.


Thursday, 22 December 2011

The Charts Show: A Tale Of Two Sitcoms (BBC Two Comedy Zone Week 7)


Yep, it’s taken us until now to realise that adding an ‘s’ to the title of this ratings-based strand makes it work much more effectively. See, now it works as both a pun on the title of the 1980s pop rundown show AND as a description of the content of each blog post, as in “the charts show that [whatever we’ve decided is our version of the facts]”*. Some may argue that “The Chart Shows” would be a better title, considering that each update only contains a singular chart, but until they work out our password for Windows Live Writer, there’s nothing they can do about it. NOTHING. (It’s a really clever password, too.) (That’s also a clever pun, our Windows Live Writer password is ‘password2’.) (Oh bugger.)

ANYWAY. It’s no wonder that Warwick Davis’ character was always so defensive, given the way every single stranger he encountered during the run of LIFE’S TOO SHORT decided to be so needlessly unpleasant to him, is it? Conversely, the Christmas episode of REV followed on from the preceding six episodes of the series by being absolutely bloody lovely and excellent. It did irk us a little when the writers went for the clichéd device of “having children do a swear in front of a well-meaning adult”, but that aside it was a genuinely heartwarming episode. Yay.



It’s probably fair to account that the final episodes of each series aired on a different day to the remainder of the series for each show, and both performed about as well as could be expected after recent weeks. The relatively underpromoted Rev finishes 28.3% ahead of Life’s Too Short ratings-wise. (R. Gervais’s voice: “Aaah, but the BBC have just told me that 7.2 million viewers watched the show in the window of Dixons, so I’m still popular and brilliant.”)

It’ll be interesting to see if LTS performs well enough on HBO** to warrant a second series. The series airs in the USA from the 19th of February. It’s possibly telling that LTS featured (for the most part) British celebrities that the US audience will be familiar with – such as Sting, Cat Deeley, or Right Said Fred. (UNRELATED FACT:  Gervais and Merchant commendably kept in most UK-centric references for the US edits of Extras. While the Extras finale had scenes clumsily edited to mention  ‘DirectTV’ (sic) adverts and Katie Couric, it kept in jokes that the audience wouldn’t understand unless they knew who Robbie From Eastenders is or who Hale & Pace are.) If it doesn’t impress stateside viewers, it’s possible that even the shared cost of production between HBO and the BBC might not be enough to save the show. Maybe they’ll merge the show with Little Britain USA to cut costs. That would be funny. Ha ha.

(*Of course, we’ve only just realised that the title of the film ‘The King’s Speech’ has a double meaning. That’s ‘speech’ as in ‘a prepared written statement to be read to an audience’ AND in the sense of ‘the act of speaking’. Doh, eh? It’s Hill Street Blues all over again.)

(**Coincidentally, HBO have just cancelled the marvellous Bored To Death, the rat bastards. They are now officially on our enemies list.)


Wednesday, 21 December 2011

YouTubeXL: More Packed With Entertainment Than Seventeen Double Issues Of The Radio Times (Part Three)

Blah blah TV shows on YouTube blah blah after the ‘jump’ blah blah photo of Tatu.


©Credit Ulf Magnusson _Idols
Restrictions : This image is subject to Idols standard terms and conditions of reproduction and delivery.

Please note this image is supplied in  Adobe RGB (1998) Colourspace. A CMYK conversion calibrated to the printing process will be required for accurate reproduction.
No Sweeden
Digital Files only

Is it January yet? Can we stop doing this now?


Tuesday, 20 December 2011

YouTubeXL: More Packed With Entertainment Than Seventeen Double Issues Of The Radio Times (Part Two)

Our trawl through the bits of the British television archives that trundled out of Windmill Road and straight onto YouTube continues. Just after, as we hope will soon become traditional, another photo of Tatu.



Monday, 19 December 2011

YouTubeXL: More Packed With Entertainment Than Seventeen Double Issues Of The Radio Times (Part One)

So, as promised we’ve been on the prowl for more excellent full shows that are available on YouTube. We’ve actually found such a bumper crop, we’re going to have to split them over two updates, and even then use the old ‘read more’ button to try and keep everything relatively neat and tidy.

So, if you’re reading this from the main page of the blog, click the ‘read more’ button just beneath this photo of Tatu. If you’re already reading the full article, hey, here’s a photo of Tatu!


Why Tatu? Because it’s nearly Christmas. It’s our present to ourselves. We haven’t mentioned them for ages. BROKENTV FACT! We’ve gone off The One With The Dark Hair Out Of Tatu, now. Our favourite one out of Tatu is now The Ginger One Out Of Tatu.


Saturday, 17 December 2011

2016! 2016! 2016! (etc)

Too busy to do a proper update today, so here – as seen on 77.2% of all blogs on the internet this weekend – is a thing.

It’s not a one-off either. Here, from the same Ghanaian movie studio, are trailers for Devil May Cry and The Killer.

All this is making us feel the forthcoming BrokenTV Awards 2011 Video Podcasts have relatively high production values after all.


The Chart Show: BBC Two Comedy Zone Episodes Six

We love Thursday night Comedy Zone on BBC Two. Basically because, as you’ll have grasped by now us chucking the overnight viewing figures into Excel gives us a really easy update each Saturday*. So, instead of us wittering on or providing any kind of insight, on with the numbers. Figures from the Digital Spy forum ratings thread

(*Well, each Friday evening. We love Blogger’s ‘queue post’ function even more than we love the Thursday night Comedy Zone on BBC Two.)


A surge in figures for all three shows this week, due to… circumstances we’re too lazy to research. A huge boost for REV this week (and with good reason, another hugely enjoyable episode), seeing the ratings rise back up to episode two levels. THIS IS TWENTY-EIGHT MINUTES TOO LONG made a recovery too, with an additional 260,000 viewers able to have their intelligence insulted by the scene with the washing machines. Meanwhile, Lord FRANK SKINNER of Sealand’S OPINIONATED increased in popularity for the fourth consecutive week, the final episode of the series saw numbers rise up to 1.4 million.

Series closers for REV and LIFE’S TOO SHORT switch to Tuesday night, so it’ll be interesting to see how each fares. Will the lack of a primetime same-week repeat for SHORT see the first airing of the finale gain even more viewers? Time – more specifically next Wednesday’s MediaGuardian and/or Digital Spy Ratings Thread – will tell.


Friday, 16 December 2011

YouTube XL: Classic British TV Documentaries In Full

Following on yesterday’s look at films available on YouTube, here’s a delve into the digital factbucket of documentaries made available on there. If you want to queue them all up on your Xbox, PC or whatnot, here’s several of the finest all in one playlist. Or, if you’d like to see them individually, read on.

As with our last collection, all of these are now viewable on Xbox Live’s YouTube app. Go on, even the dullest of these is 758 times more interesting than Call Of Sodding Duty 3.

BBC Synth Britannia (1h28m)


Splendid BBC Four documentary on the rise of electronic music.


Thursday, 15 December 2011

YouTube on Xbox Live: Full Movies You Can Watch. On It.


So, the new Xbox Live dashboard is now available. If you’re like us, you probably nabbed it as soon as possible, then thought “Oh. Right. Is that it?”

Luckily however, ‘it’ is no longer all that ‘that’ ‘is’. By which we mean the proper video apps are now trickling through, most notable of which is YouTube. And that, our fine friends, is A Very Good Thing Indeed. Here’s why: YouTube seem to have really relaxed their tight-ass controls on what people can put online. No longer is everyone limited to ten minutes or less per video. Sprawling epics can now be shared on there. And, what with The Internet being The Internet, it’s not all videos of pets doing amusing things. Yes, it’s mostly videos of pets doing amusing things, but it’s not ALL videos of pets doing amusing things. There are also full films on there, at least until The Man does something about it.

So, until then, here are a few great ones. Open the links in a new window, add them to playlists on your YouTube account as needed, log into your YouTube account on your Xbox, and watch these films in full, for free, on your proper big tellies. (We’ve just tested the first film on our Xbox, and they DO currently work.)


Wednesday, 14 December 2011

The Seventh Most Misjudged Attempt At A Christmas Number One of the Early 1990s (That We Meant To Include But Forgot But Then Governmentyard Reminded Us. Of It.)

But anyway, onto the glaring omission from yesterday’s music rundown. We feel even more ashamed, because us remembering this song was the reason we’d written that blog update in the first place. Boh.
(We’d also forgot to namecheck SOTCAA in the Fist DVD review, too. Without their work on it, we strongly suspect it would have been a noticeably weaker purchase, and their comprehensive sleevenotes that come with the DVD set are thumpingly compelling. Belated thanks, chaps.)

Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine - The Impossible Dream

Year: 1992 Peak chart position: 21
Except… well, we were kind of right not to include it.
We recall the NME trumpeting the fact Jim Bob and Fruitbat had tentatively planned to release their excellent cover of a song originally written for 1965 musical Man of La Mancha just in time to make 1992’s Christmas number one. That was just after lead single from chart-topping LP ‘1992: The Love Album’, The Only Living Boy In New Cross, moshed its way into the top ten, giving the duo their biggest hit to date. From there however, the self-styled “awesomely loud cross between the Pet Shop Boys and Mega City Four” dipped in popularity a little, with follow-up single Do Re Me (So Far So Good) falling outside the top twenty. That after an animated promo video directed by Richard “Roger Rabbit” Williams, to boot*. (*We think. We’re pretty sure we remember the pop-up from The Chart Show at the time correctly. Unless it was directed by someone less senior, it was certainly someone involved in Roger Rabbit though**.) (**Oh, and that video featuring photos of animal testing probably didn’t help it get much daytime rotation on MTV Europe.)
Getting slightly cold feet, record company Chrysalis ended up putting The Impossible Dream out in late November 1992, where it reached a fairly respectable number 21, but had fallen outside the top 75 by the time of the advent rundown. At the time of the release, anyone only vaguely interested in Carter probably already owned the album, though the extra tracks on the EP made it a worthy purchase for their fanboys, especially barnstorming stomper ‘When Thesauruses Ruled The Earth’.
So, not really a missed shot across the bows of The Good Ship Christmas Number One after all, but worthy of inclusion here because it’s such a bloody good version of the song. The truncated version of it in the video up there (on Top Of The Pops) doesn’t quite do it justice, but our search for the proper video on YouTube led us to this video, where the song has been used to soundtrack a photo montage of Barack Obama’s victory in the 2008 US Presidential Election. If you’re asking us (and we’re going to assume you are, because we’re hugely misguided about our popularity), it captures the majesty of the song pretty damn well. It’s so good, we don’t even want to kneecap the uploader who disabled the option of embedding the song elsewhere. It’s THAT good.
With thanks to Government Yard. Go visit his blog. Or badger him on Twitter. Or hide in his dustbin and wait for several days, biding your time until he goes out there to take the kitchen rubbish out, then spring out while yelling “I AM THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PRESENT! FEAR MY FESTIVE WRAITH!” into his bewildered face.
No, hang on, just the first two.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

The Six Most Misjudged Attempts At A Christmas Number One Of The Early 1990s And A Photograph Of Little Mix to Try And Get Some Google Traffic Trickling In


Above: Jade Thirlwell, Perrie Edwards, Jesy Nelson, Leigh-Anne Pinnock, and the dawning realisation that we’re going to be so far down the Google rankings for those search terms we really, really shouldn’t have bothered

Almost time to find out what this year’s Christmas Number One is*! Except everyone already knows it’s going to be Little Mix off of X Factor. That’s X Factor’s Little Mix and their cover version of Damien Rice’s Cannonball. Sung by Jade Thirlwell, Perrie Edwards, Jesy Nelson and Leigh-Anne Pinnock. Little Mix, X Factor, Little Mix, X Factor, Little Mix, X Factor, X Factor, Little Mix. This is how search engine optimisation works, isn’t it?


Monday, 12 December 2011

The League Of Funnymen 10: Lee & Herring’s Fist of Fun Series One DVD

TODAY: “It makes me maaaad with power!”



£25 (Go Faster Stripe)

It’s remit-tweaking time here at BrokenTV towers, as our list of stand-up DVDs from 2011 makes room for a sketch comedy from the mid-1990s. Ah, d’you remember the mid-90s, viewers? Trance Europe Express compilations in Our Price, Roy Evans’ swashbuckling Liverpool side never quite winning anything apart from the League Cup, the 3DO being resolutely ignored on the shop shelves of electronic goods retailers, and BBC Two playing host to all manner of excitingly offkilter comedy. Shows like the The Glam Metal Detectives, Is It Bill Bailey?, The Ghostbusters of East Finchley, The High Life, Pulp Video, Fantasy Football League, The All-New Alexei Sayle Show, The Fast Show, In The Red, Does China Exist?, The Saturday/Friday Night Armistice, London Shouting… some good, some bad, some even strangled at the pilot stage, but you have to feel that they’re all precisely the kinds of comedy that wouldn’t be allowed to happen on the BBC in 2011.

Arguably the most popular of all cultish mid-1990s comedy shows – at least if you polled a certain type of comedy fan who has spent way too much time on the internet since about 1997 – featured a tall-but-not-that-tall man called Stewart and a shorter-and-fatter-but-not-really-that-much-shorter-or-fatter man called Richard.

And it’s now out on DVD.


And it is good.


Sunday, 11 December 2011



Volume in drive C is BrokenTV-O-Tron2000
Volume Serial Number is 01-811-8055


03\07\2011  19:57   <DIR>     .
03\07\2011  19:57   <DIR>     ..
07\08\2010  20:53   <DIR>     TATU_VIDEOS_1
07\08\2010  20:53   <DIR>     TATU_VIDEOS_2
07\08\2010  20:53   <DIR>     TATU_VIDEOS_3
07\06\2010  16:23   <DIR>     STUFF_NOT_EVEN_ABOUT_TELLY
23\11\2011  16:23   <DIR>     GRAPHS_THAT_WE_HOPE_PROVE_US_RIGHT
17\06\2007  23:58   <DIR>     BRAND_NEW_EXCITING_BLOG_IDEAS
27\10\2011  00:01   <DIR>     SCANS_FROM_1970S_TV_TIMES
10\12\2011  21:27   <DIR>     STUFF_FOUND_ON_YOUTUBE






Don’t forget to join us again at the same time tomorrow, when we’ll have a much bigger update, almost definitely the next instalment of The World Cup Of TV Comedy, yes, definitely, we wiSYNTAX ERROR UNRECOGNISED STATEMENT


Saturday, 10 December 2011

The Chart Show: BBC Two Comedy Zone (again)

The new Thursday night overnight rating figures are in! And you know what that means? That’s right - an incredibly easy update for us. Phew.


So, Life’s Too Short continues to struggle, though the rate at which it’s losing viewers is slowing. Maybe that million viewers realised it’d be the strongest episode of the series so far, with it managing to last an entire 28 minutes without Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant popping up on screen, and without there even being any famous Americans on screen. When we say ‘strongest’ it’s all relative, obvs – it still had woeful LOLRAPISTS and LOLPEADO jokes in there, but it wasn’t quite as bad as the previous episodes of the series. And hey, no dwarves in toilets this week, so that was a thing.

Meanwhile, Rev is getting more and more enjoyable – the latest episode was a delight, with Mick being treated to a homecooked meal by Rev Adam and Alex being a wonderful little scene (“Thank you… do I eat a potato next? Thank you… do I eat a vegetable next?”). Not only that, but Richard E Grant turning up, effectively playing Banker Withnail. That’s how you ‘do’ celebrity cameos. It certainly looks like the televiewers of Britain are in agreement with us on Rev, with it holding steady on 1.24 million viewers.

Slightly surprisingly, Frank Skinner’s Opinionated is now the most popular of the three shows, not least because we don’t think the BBC have promoted the series at all. It’s still a perfectly amiable programme, though hardly Skinner at his best. Even so, it’s interesting to see the series improve its viewership for the second week running, and even more interesting to note that dip in the ratings between the three shows – about a fifth of the audience for Rev switch over at 9.30pm, then switch back at 10pm to watch Frank Skinner. (Well, it could be an entirely different 240,000 people, admittedly. We haven’t conducted a poll.)

PREDICTION: The controller of BBC Two moves Life’s Too Short to 10pm at the last minute, to try and get a return on the big expensive programme it ended up paying half of. After all, the only reason it’s not popular is because it must be in the wrong timeslot.


Friday, 9 December 2011

The League of Funnymen Part 8: Angelos Epithemiou

Him off Shooting Stars.


£12.97 (Amazon)

The first thing we wondered when seeing the cover of this was whether the “& Friends” part of the title suggested Renton Skinner would be spending much of the runtime showing off other, less interesting comic creations of his. Luckily for those who have enjoyed his turns alongside Vic and Bob, it’s Angelos all the way on this disc. The ‘friends’ in question tend to be the acquaintances of Epithemiou’s from his supposed everyday life, pictures of whom occasionally flash up on the screen at the back of the stage as we’re told about their antics.

It has been said that Angelos is another example of a comedian lazily mocking disability (cf. The Morgana Show, Gervais circa monggate), but we wouldn’t really go with that. If anything, he plays a slightly naive eccentric who lives in his own version of the world, and the version of the world he’s created for himself is one where he’s the winner at everything. Much like Frank Sidebottom only without the songs or head, and a tad more world-weariness.


Aside from all that, you might be wondering just how a full gig compares to the short bursts of Angelos Epithemiou in Shooting Stars. Pretty well, in fact. If you’re looking to us for a half-baked comparison, it’s not a million miles away from the live shows of Vic Reeves’ Big Night Out. Angelos’ DJ rig is decorated in much the same curious manner as the desk in Big Night Out (there’s even a horsebrass on it), and there’s even a great bit of That’s Justice-ish audience member participation in his ‘game show’ Epithemiou or Bust. While it doesn’t quite hit the heights of that slice of early 90s gold, it’s as close as you’re likely to get to such demented whimsy nowadays, and it’ll be interesting to see how this DVD performs against other more traditional stand-ups.

It’s commendable how Renton Skinner manages to keep in character throughout, even during parts of the audience Q&A where people ask funny questions that get a huge response from the rest of the crowd. He even remains in character at that most annoying occurrence at a DVD-record gig, a couple of selfish oafs in the front row walking out with about three minutes of the gig left.

Overall impressions, then – if you enjoyed his performance in Shooting Stars (or on Never Mind The Buzzcocks the other night), you’ll almost definitely find this DVD an enjoyable way to spend 85 minutes of your winter (or summer if you’re reading this while wondering if you should be buying it from a sale seven months from now). If you’re unconvinced about him, try to give it a watch anyway – being drawn into the world of Angelos properly will let you make up your mind about him properly. Only a few of his gags (such as they are) appeared in Shooting Stars, and they’re pretty much the weaker ones. And he doesn’t do any of the rubbish stuff about Ulrika, because, well, she’s not there. CAVEAT: If you hate comedy where there aren’t any proper jokes or anything, you’ll hate this. If anyone you know has bought you this for Christmas, it’s probably their way of telling you they hate you. You misery.

Us? We really enjoyed it. We certainly found ourselves laughing out loud more often than with most of the DVDs we’ve looked at so far, which puts it pretty high up in our SPECIAL REVAMPED LEAGUE TABLE WHICH ACCOUNTS FOR OVERALL QUALITY RATHER THAN JUST SIMPLE ORDERING.

SAMPLE GAG: “If you find yourself in France, don’t panic. Just lie down on the floor, curl up in a ball, and wait for rescue.”



Thursday, 8 December 2011

The Six Most Unsettling Moments In That BBC One “Consider Yourself” Promo



What’s he planning? And why has he got that disturbing grin on his face? Oh, we can’t see it at this resolution, but we can tell. We can just tell. Brr.



Is this Christmas, or a very, very late Halloween promo? Right now, we aren’t sure.



What other possible reason could there be for him falling over after Ms Cotton steps aside at the last moment, eh? He’s a big bloke, too.



Isn’t Frank Skinner only on BBC Two, anyway? Also: it is too much to hope that despite the above image, there actually isn’t a Christmas special lined up for Mrs Brown’s Boys? Or, as Michael Legge excellently summed up the show, “FUCK FUCK FUCK POTATO FUCK FUCK”.



Well, it snapped Norton out of that demonic possession, anyway.



This is just outright creepy. We know Del Boy is Britain’s favourite sitcom character and everything, and this Christmas marks David Jason’s return to sitcom, but… well, basically, WAH. We actually had to make an animated version of this, just to prove how disturbing it is.

As if the wink isn’t bad enough, the way he looks both ways with a mischievous grin on his face beforehand… why is he checking the coast is clear? What doesn’t he want anyone but us to see? The more we think about it, the more scared we are. In summary: WE WANT TO GO HOME THIS ISN’T FUN ANY MORE.


Wednesday, 7 December 2011

The League of Funnymen: Jason Manford Live




£12.93 (Amazon)

A quick addition to our scoreboard of stand-up today, and it’s Salford scamp Jason Manford. With his schtick being “cosy observation”, you can pretty much guess what’ll be coming up here, and there aren’t any surprises on offer. Topics touch on being a parent, obsolete names (“you never see a baby called Geoff any more, do you?”), how the penis adds context to the testicles, lady shampoo, and his dad.

Time for one of our theories about stand-up: while it’s expected that every American comic has to have a routine on airports because they spend so much time flitting between east and west coasts (if they don’t perform such a routine once per gig they probably get kicked out of American stand-up equivalent of The Magic Circle or something), with British comedians it’s ‘driving’. Is this why the British public seem more likely to take stand-up comedians to their collective hearts? Our more compact landmass affording our millionaire mirthmeisters that extra shared experience of motorway service stations while touring the country, while their stateside cousins have to try and remember what it was like the last time they flew coach in 1987 if they want to connect with their audience like that?

Yeah, probably not, it’s only a theory we’ve held for about seventeen minutes. It does mean that when Manford does his bit about driving, including the difficulty of putting petrol in your car to the nearest tenner when filling up, we couldn’t help but lament he’d missed the much better punchline that we thought of. Which is this: “and then, after finally managing to somehow squeeze that final pennyworth of petrol into your car, you go in and pay for it… by card”. See, shared experiences between comedian and audience.

Luckily for Jason Manford, that’s the only bit where we thought of a much better punchline than him (no, it IS a much better punchline, shut up). It certainly helps that he maintains a steady air of The Funniest Bloke At Work, the kind of bloke who you’d be a bit disappointed if you go out on a work ‘do’ and he’s not turned up. (Look, our version of that petrol joke works better because, you know, the guy doing the till isn’t even going to be giving you any change! You might as well just have got £22.43 of petrol! That’s why it’s funny! IT IS!) Unless, of course, you always get annoyed by people like that, in which case this DVD isn’t really going to realign your liking-Jason-Manford-or-not-sensors. But, if you’re a fan of faintly undemanding comedy about things like supermarket self-scan tills, you’re in luck. (Yes, we know there’s pay-at-pump, but then the joke doesn’t work. Look, it’s a valid joke. Leave us alone.)

File under: safe bet Christmas present for brother-in-law.

SAMPLE GAG: “The most commonly searched for term on Google is ‘sex’. That’s too broad a term, surely? It’s like going into Tesco and asking ‘where’d you keep your food?’”




Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Monday, 5 December 2011

The League of Funnymen: Part Three (Chris Addison Live)

Our ranking of ribaldry rumbles on.


£11.88 (Amazon)

“Star of BAFTA Winning Comedy THE THICK OF IT” screams the cover. Not quite sure why it didn’t mention the Oscar-nommed spinoff In The Loop as well, in which Addison plays a more central role, but there you go. Mind you, if we’d been in charge of designing that cover we’d have gone with “Star of That Sunday Morning Music Programme On UK Play When It Started In 1998, You Know, That One With Lauren Laverne On It As Well, At Least We Think It Was Chris Addison. Oh, And He Did Dotcomedy As Well, But No-One Ever Mentions That Nowadays”. All in the Papyrus font. Mainly because we just hate humanity.

ANYWAY. After several days of diminishing returns on our list (five stand-up DVDs rated so far, each has been ranked lower than the last. More through accident than design, though we do admit we were keener to see the Tim Vine and Milton Jones DVDs than Jimmy Carr’s. From hereon in, we’re looking at DVDs we have no real preconceptions, so these could be placed anywhere in the list. ANYWHERE.

So, Chris Addison, then. Best known for The Thick Of It, in which he didn’t have a hand writing. When he did share penmanship duties on a sitcom, it was the roundly derided Labrats (which we’d personally put down as a gallant effort that just needed a couple more drafts at scripting stage, but we seem to be in the minority there). He has been a bit disappointing when cropping up on Have I Got News For You, but one of the best guests on the current series of QI. (Shush, that’s how comedians are judged nowadays.) He made Channel 4’s list of 100 Greatest Stand-Up, but trying to put on a show that can be put on DVD and sold in supermarkets can do terrible things to a stand-up’s act. WILL IT BE GOOD OR WHAT, THEN?

Topics include the boringness of British roads, the Pope not being able to stand up in the Popemobile any more because of The Taylor Report, the BNP, golf clubs. the cultural identity of the modern Briton, ITV’s current affairs output, and what it’s like being married (as is the law for all stand-up comedians who’ve been performing for more than ten years). All delivered by a 40 year old man seemingly trapped in the body of a sweaty, giggly 27-year-old from the year 1999. And happily, well, it’s enjoyable and many of the things that he says while talking are funny. (“Dear BrokenTV, thank you for applying for the position of chief comedy critic of Newsnight Review. Sadly, that vacancy is no longer available, and you work sadly didn’t quite reach the critical standard required for the position, and seriously, “it’s enjoyable”? God, you’re rubbish. Yours, J Hadlow, Controller, BBC Two.”)


In amongst all the cavorting, picking on nicely unthreatening subjects, material about having to cope with being a slightly ineffectual excuse for a male by any traditional standards (“I’m so non-sexist, I even married a woman. And in many regards, so did she”), there are a few moments of slightly annoying punching down (“imagine if you did crash on an Easyjet flight, eh? On a snowy mountain… would you want to eat those people?” being an especially grating line), but he pretty much makes up for those moments with the remainder of his act revolving around gentle middle-class self-loathing (a huge chunk of this act is even delivered in a self-scarhingly twee Guardian-reader whine).

Harder to take are the routines based on topics pretty much every British stand-up of the last decade has done endless times before (ooh, we’re no good when there’s a bit of snow, are we? Aah, don’t we buy rubbish when drunkenly in charge of the internet? The Daily Mail – bit right wing, innit?), but we just assume those are all based on rants he thought up on the spot while on Mock The Week (#SARCASM. Oh, wait, we’re not on Twitter now). Either way, Addison’s breathless energy, charm, use of the ‘hard a’ when saying the word ‘bastard’ (always wins us over, that), is more likely to mean you’ve got a smile on your face for much of it.

SAMPLE GAG [When talking about universities with vague names like “University of Central England” being substandard compared to other universities]: “U.C.E… so called because those are the grades it takes to get in!”

So, where does this fall on our Top Gear-style table? (If any Chris Addison fans are reading this, Top Gear is that programme about cars. You’re probably watching a box set of The Wire when it’s on.)


Man, we’re going to get annoyed with having to renumber all the entries after we’ve done about twelve of these, aren’t we?



Sunday, 4 December 2011

The Chart Show: BBC Two’s Comedy Zone


"People are straight away thinking it's going to be a cruel comedy – why? Why do they assume that? It's their prejudice.” – Ricky Gervais promoting Life’s Too Short, The Guardian, 4th November 2011.

Yeah, no huge surprise that we’re not a fan of LIFE’S TOO SHORT, though we really didn’t think the first episode was markedly worse than the debut episode of EXTRAS, and the first series of Extras turned out to be ‘quite good’. Sadly though, Life’s Too Short only got worse and worse from the opener onwards. Meanwhile REV, the lead-in for Gervais latest vehicle is remaining hugely enjoyable, while FRANK SKINNER’S OPINIONATED continues to be a fun if undemanding half-hour.

“But, how are they all doing in the ratings?”, you’ll be asking. Welp, us being us, we’ve looked up the overnight figures for every episode of each, and bunged them into a lovely chart.

And here it is:


So, all three shows have declined from a strong set of opening figures, but while viewing figures for Rev seem to be levelling out, and those for Opinionated are pretty solid, Life’s Too Short is in freefall. If you want a comparison, when BBC Two showed the first series of STEWART LEE’S COMEDY VEHICLE, it attracted a fairly solid million or so viewers, despite being a cult comedian telling long routines about books and stuff, and didn’t even have any Hollywood A-list stars or dwarves vomiting onto their own genitalia or anything.

Still, this does give a reason to keep looking out for Life’s Too Short. Why not have your own office How Low Will The Ratings Get For Life’s Too Short By Episode Seven Sweepstake? We’ve done one, and have plucked out the ticket containing ‘700,000 to 720,000 viewers’. Fingers crossed!


Saturday, 3 December 2011


Did you see what we did there?

Stepping aside from our League Of Funnymen for a day, how about one of our December mainstays? Namely, a ramble through some ephemera of Chrimbles past. (READER’S VOICE: “Oh, good. A YouTube roundup. You’re really pushing the boat out this year, aren’t you?”)


First up, thanks to YouTube (seemingly) relaxing their maximum video length, we have the entirety of groundbreaking BBCvt Christmas Tape WHITE POWDER CHRISTMAS. All in one go, all 35 minutes of it. Lovely.

“And now, let’s change the mood with a few musical numbers.” “Er, excuse me Mr Bendall…” All that. Assuming if the video hasn’t since been removed because of it containing so much of Kentucky Fried Movie, anyway. We’re actually writing all this three days ago.

Hey, remember last Christmas? More markedly, the highlight of the entire Christmas schedule – repeats of The Goodies on late night BBC Two? Brilliant, wasn’t it? And pleasingly, several of the episodes attracted viewing figures more or less on a par with recent episodes of Life’s Twenty-Seven Minutes Too Long Too Short. Lovely. To mark that event, here’s the opening titles to SATURDAY BANANA CHRISTMAS SPECIAL 1978. No dwarves were put in toilets during the making of this introduction.

Last up, friend of the blog Applemask (hey, anyone who doesn’t scream at us down the phone about us owing them money is a friend of ours. We’ve as many as seven friends, you know), and his fifteen-minute gawp at how ITV did Christmas in the past. SPOILER: They didn’t just bung a load of films on and take the rest of the day off, like they do nowadays. Well, except when they did do just that.

Back tomorrow with another thing we probably wrote several days ago!


Friday, 2 December 2011

The League Of Funnymen: Part Two

Our festive fumble through the firesale of funny continues, with another addition to our leaderboard of laughmongers. Today:



£11.99 (Amazon)

In a way, you have to hand it to Jimmy Carr. Despite dealing primarily in one-liners, and having to juggle his stand-up with hosting 8 OUT OF 10 CATS and 10 O’CLOCK LIVE, he has now managed to release seven completely different stand-up sets on DVD in the last eight years. He doesn’t skimp either. The main feature on this DVD manages to last for an entire hundred minutes. That’s 100 minutes of brand new material, put together, toned, previewed, toured and recorded, all within twelve months. Fair dues.

In another, more correct way: Jimmy Carr can jolly well get fucked. This is largely the same set of jokes as on all his other DVDs, the only difference being that the set-ups to each joke have changed slightly. There are still the same four punchlines: LOLRAPE, LOLGAYS, LOLPAEDOS and LOLMISOGYNY, all put on shuffle. But hey, this is a godless universe in which Sickipedia is more popular than Gun Show Comic, so go figure.

Okay, we’re being a little harsh here. In keeping with our long held suspicion that when Bob Monkhouse died his spirit possessed a marketing executive but then got really lazy with his material, Carr does come up with some quality gags during Being Funny, but the shame is that it’s all buried in amongst some exceptionally poor shock-factor stuff that would put a fourteen-year-old boy to shame. And when the amount of good material on an entire DVD could easily fit into a YouTube-friendly highlights package, it’s not really worth £12 of your hard-earned money.

SAMPLE GAG (GOOD): “If things carry on the way they are now, it’s predicted that in forty years time the average toddler will be… forty-three.”

SAMPLE GAG (BAD): “Childhood is now effectively over by eleven. ‘Cos that’s when the pubs close and Uncle Terry gets home. Oh, Uncle Terry!”

Oh Jimmy, you lazy hack.


So, what does that do to our table?


Tune in for another update tomorrow!


Thursday, 1 December 2011

The League Of Funnymen. And Women. And Andy Parsons. (Part One)

It’s that time of year again! Where we try to update the blog at least once per day right up to Christmas, like a crazy kind of disappointment-themed advent calendar. First up: part one of a new thing that we’ll definitely see through to the end, no really, we will, honest.


Once upon a time, the last-minute Christmas gift from an auntie who was trying to get as many presents bought in HMV as she could before her Pay & Display ticket expired was the out-take video. It being the VHS age, it really didn’t really matter that the likes of “Red Dwarf Smeg-Ups” or “Bottom: Fluff” comprised mostly of someone saying something a bit wrong, then maybe yelling ‘FUCK!’ before murmuring “okay, okay, let’s go again”, because hey! It was ‘hidden’ telly, and being allowed to hear Lister say the f-word felt really dangerous because we were twelve.

Later came the DVD age, and with it a deluge of Own Goals & Gaffes compilations, where anyone with any kind of public profile would pop up in between shoddily filmed clips of Uruguayan Segunda Division left-backs slicing backpasses over goalkeepers’ heads to mumble through sub-Rory McGrath gags about David Beckham. Pretty much anyone was allowed to front this production line tat, usually wearing a forced grin on the cover, and often an England shirt if they weren’t really very popular in the first place. Everyone brought one of these out, Piers Morgan, David Seaman, Gordon Ramsay, Tyrone off Corrie, everyone. You probably don’t remember the tabloid furore in late 2003, when a contracting mix-up at Vivendi led to the poorly-received ‘Dr Harold Shipman’s Injury Time”. Though that would be because we’ve just made that up.

Then: someone deep within a DVD publishing company – possibly the same person who’d originally decided “interactive menus” counted as a special feature worth listing on the back of a DVD sleeve – came up with “Interactive DVD Quiz Games”. They’re like really disappointing tie-in videogames you don’t need a videogames console for! They led to a semi-revival of Telly Addicts! They were uniformly terrible! The nadir was probably the Newsnight Interactive DVD Quiz Game, mainly because it was actually just Jeremy Paxman calling you an idiot for two hours no matter which answers you selected.

Latterly things have sort-of improved, with the type of release most likely to be piled up into a fancy display in the entrance of Morrisons these days being stand-up comedy. And hey, that must be good, right? Comedy is a good thing, and it can’t be any worse than the kind of football DVDs that were shovelled into shops half a decade ago, right?




Ah, right.

This year must surely be the busiest winter ever for the stand-up genre, with at least twenty new offerings jostling for position amongst the Family Guy and Mrs fucking Brown’s fucking Boys Series fucking One boxsets in the TV DVD section of your local gigastore. But… how will we know which ones are best? And more importantly, which ones deserve to be sealed in concrete and dumped in the North Sea?

Well, that’s where we come in. We’re going to compile snappy little reviews of each stand-up DVD we encounter, and then place them onto a Top Gear Star In A Reasonably-Priced Car style leaderboard, only without implicitly proclaiming undying support for the Conservative Party. It’ll be a non-literal riot!

First up:



£11.99 (Amazon)

Ah, a wonderful start. There are two kinds of people in the world as far as we’re concerned – people who think Tim Vine is brilliant, and people who are wrong about Tim Vine. A quart of quickfire quips that are pretty amusing in their own right, but delivered in Vine’s breathless matter they have an effect not unlike having your skull fractured via relentlessly repeated raps with a teaspoon. In a good way.

Possibly the most likeable stand-up on the circuit right now, and it’s not just due to the quality of his act. Alongside it all, he seems disarmingly modest – his previous DVD (Punslinger) ended with the crowd calling for an encore, leading to Vine stepping back on stage to sheepishly admit he hadn’t anticipated such an event before bantering good naturedly with the crowd for a while. This time around, he’s a little more prepared for it, and we can confirm that there’s a pseudo-sequel to his infamous Pen Behind The Ear routine. Tim even gives a generous amount of screen time to support act John Archer, which is nice to see.

Admittedly, the runtime of the gig is just over an hour, but we promise that as long as you have a soul, you’ll spend at least 34 minutes and 27 second of that hour frantically suppressing giggles in order to hear the next joke properly. And hey, next time an elderly relative at a family gathering complains about how all the comedians, you’ve seen them all, on their Saturday Night Live At The Apollo, all the comedians, need to use bad language, you can show them this.

SAMPLE GAG: “I’ve got a job helping out a one-armed typist whenever she wants to do capital letters. It’s shift work.”



£12.99 (Amazon)

There are two kinds of people in the world as far as we’re concerned – people who think Milton Jones is brilliant, and people who are wrong about Milton Jones. A hundredweight of hypersonic howlers… ah, you know the score. Another hugely funny comedian delivering a series of puns and one-liners. This time a little more surreal and in front of a slightly larger crowd and slightly more expensive-looking backdrop (we only really mention this in case Waddingtons ever bring out a “Quickfire Comedian Top Trumps” set and people are looking for strategic advice. Though whoever gets the Stephen Wright card will probably win anyway).

As might be expected from such an accomplished stand-up, it’s all of a very high quality, though it does lose pace a tad around the mid-point where Jones reappears as his own grandfather. Oh, and any time you remember that Milton Jones occasionally appears on Mock The Week. Still a very worthwhile purchase, mind.

FUN INTERACTIVE DVD GAME! Try and work out why Vine’s DVD is a PG, while Jones’ is a U.

SAMPLE GAG: “I’ve got a friend who’s into self-defence. He’s got a black belt… well, he’s got five black belts… okay, he’s a wasp.”



£11.99 (Amazon)

An Audience With John Cleese, more like. As anyone who may have read reviews of his tour will know (er, or anyone who’d seen it), this isn’t so much John Cleese going out on stage and doing a load of jokes, but rather a fairly endearing wander through memory lane as he tells us all about his rise to stardom and too many wives. Seasoned Python fans really won’t be learning anything new here, and the whole affair has the air of an abridged audiobook on once comically-cranelike legs.

As the title suggests, Cleese makes no bones about why he’s on stage instead of sat at home watching BBC Four, and at the beginning we did begin to worry it might be largely about slagging off the ex-Mrs Cleese who necessitated the tour. Luckily, it all settles into a puffed-up Powerpoint presentation on The Life Of Cleese, and the audience’s fond regard for the man helps it all become a perfectly jolly way to spend eighty minutes of an evening. Much of the show is made from watching clips of 1948 Show, Python and Fawlty, but it’s nice to hear Cleese put his own honest take on all the events, and pointing out which of the especially disgusting bits of the undertaker sketch were Chapman’s doing.

As we say, the whole show is much more like an episode of ITV’s An Audience With…, only with John Cleese fans in the audience instead of Olly Murs and Interchangeable Only Way Is Essex Drone #34. It’s lovely to hear Cleese’s encyclopaedic knowledge of his work, even down to knowing how many years Wanda director Charlie Crichton had previously spent as a film editor (SPOILER: fourteen years). (FURTHER SPOILER: He mentions Wanda as his film writing debut, but that would be neglecting his co-writer gig on The Rise and Rise Of Michael Rimmer). Moments like this do help make up for hearing about Terry Gilliam eating steak in a manner that so annoyed the hotelier who inspired Fawlty Towers for the eleventeenth time, though this is maybe a DVD best left until it hits the sales.

Still, better than Monty Python: Almost The Truth.

SAMPLE GAG: Sorry guv, lengthy warm anecdotes are the order of the day here.



£11.99 (Amazon)

In an age where twatty PR blurb tells us “[X] Is The [Y]-iest Comedian On The Planet”, often attributed to bloody Chortle, kind of nice to see Kay’s strapline here being “one of Bolton’s funniest comedians”. That’s pretty much where the modesty ends, though – the emphasis is very much on LOOK HOW MASSIVELY POPULAR PETER KAY IS, with much of the intro being about it all being at the O2 for “fifteen bloody niiights”.

The gig itself seems to be set in a strange kind of comedic stasis, with Kay seemingly having fallen into an endlessly repeating time loop since just after his last actual live DVD was released. The routine on Sky+ isn’t especially poor or anything, but really – taking until 2011 to come up with a routine about Sky+? Or his dad remarking on the ‘novelty’ of plasma televisions? Or texting? Was his twelve-minute routine on the iPod Mini reluctantly dropped after the preview gigs or something?

Still, at least multimillionaire Kay strives to keep his material relatable, and that’s to be welcomed. Even if this does lead to the director cutting to endless shots of audience members pointing at each other and mouthing “yes! See? You totally do that like ALL the time!”. Instantly preferable to someone like R**** G****** banging on about the neverending angst of being massively famous on both sides of the Atlantic, and something that at least makes this a DVD worth watching, if not quite shelling out the full £12 for. Just wait until after Christmas Day and then visit any one of your seven relatives who will have inevitably been bought this as a present. (“You’re really not helping us clock up Amazon referral cash, you know.”  -Ed.)

Oh, and press ‘stop’ on the DVD before you get to the musical encore, unless you really want to undo all the goodwill Kay had just spent seventy minutes regaining from you.

SAMPLE GAG: “Mate of mine’s just been sacked from the dodgems. He’s suing them for funfair dismissal!” And lots of other gags that people had nicked and tried to claim as their own on Sickpedia since


Ah, that’ll do for now. Here’s the ranking thus far:


We’ll update the table as the month goes on, in much the same way as that thing on Top Gear. Only without us calling for genocide on The One Show to try and promote a cash-in spin-off DVD of it, obvs.


Saturday, 5 November 2011

Belated Musical Justice Corner #1: World of Science


In news that’ll surely turn out to be terrible for our bank account, we’ve discovered the majesty of’s radio station Poptron. It’s a donation-funded internet radio station that plays nothing but “electropop and indie dance rock with sparkle and pop”. Speaking as the kind of infuriating hipster twots who can’t get enough of bands like Cut Copy, Datarock, MGMT, Hot Chip, Metric, Chromeo, Passion Pit, LCD Soundsystem, Royksopp, Yacht, Crystal Castles, Fischerspooner, New Young Pony Club, Au Revoir Simone and lots of other similar bands we could mention here in order to try and incrementally nudge up our Google search rankings for such terms, it’s proved to be a bit of an aural honey pot for our collective ears.

So, upon hearing it play a wonderful song by a band going by the excellent moniker of World of Science earlier this evening, we nimbly scampered over to the office PC to see if the song could be purchased without having to give any money to bloody sodding Apple. Luckily, it turns out that we could, but the story doesn’t end there (otherwise it’d be a really rubbish story) (Actually, it probably still will be.) (Remember when we used to be any good? Ages ago, wasn’t it?).

We discovered that by going to World of Science’s own website, anyone can currently buy an MP3 download of their debut (and sadly since the website hasn’t been updated since 2008, presumably only) album Makeout Songs for just FOUR DOLLARS AMERICAN. That’s just £2.49 of your actual Queen’s British Pounds. Go click on the ‘merch’ link of their website if you’d like to do so.

It’s so cheap you probably won’t even mind that the person making the songs available couldn’t be frigging well bothered ID3 tagging them remotely properly, or embedding album artwork in them so you’ll chuffing well have to re-tag them all yourself and then manually add the album artwork to them all from the image we helpfully paste just below! (Feel free to use that as a review quote if you’re reading this, guys.)


Reader’s Voice; "But BrokenTV, much as we’re sure you’re correct in ordering us to do so, what with you being best at liking music and everything, is there any real reason we should be doing so?

As well you may ask, gentle viewer. Well, first up: our research suggests that World of Science are a hugely excellent band who quite staggeringly only have a meagre total of 760 listeners on right now. This in a universe where Justin bloodycocking Bieber has around eleventy squillion followers on Twitter. Clearly, there is no God, but there is almost definitely a Satan.

Secondly, well… here’s a YouTube video of the marvellous album opener “You’re So Handsome”. Even though we had to just flippin’ well upload it ourselves to YouTube, as it wasn’t there already.



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