Monday, 23 July 2007

Watching TV eat itself. On TV

It's all getting even trickier at the coalface of tellingvision, what with all us tv types being tarred with the 'more dishonest than a Foxton's estate agent at bonus time' brush.

But, hell, we deserve it.

Reading the press over the weekend depressed me. There was some anonymous daytime BBC producer saying they didn't know what to do now as they couldn't cut together two separate auctions on two separate days as if they happened simultaneously. My question would be why are they doing that to begin with. OK, it might make Bargain Boot Challenge or Car Booty Hunt slightly more dramatic in their eyes, but - still - it's somewhat odd to complain you can't slap two things together and tell some porkies in voiceover and pretend something else happened.

One wildlife producer was also quoted saying he'd glued a dead beatle to a leaf to "tell a lie to get at a greater truth". Hmmm. Really?

The one thing I personally detest are noddies. No, not the rather marvellous children's cartoon, but the practice in news, factual and docs of having just one camera, filming an interview, then refilming it from a different angle with the presenter asking the questions again, and nodding/reacting to what was said. Often an interview is filmed, in effect, three times - the first close in on the interviewee, being asked and answering questions; the second over the interviewer's shoulder, just with a few general lines, the interviewer talking and the questions they asked previously dubbed on; then finally the noddies from the other side. The interviewee has often departed at this point.

The first time I saw this being done I was aghast. You can change the questions on pass #3 and present the answers as True Fact! And I did just that on a comedy/factual show a bit later. It was funny though, Brian May With The Hair Out Of Queen talking about some music for some video game or something, and we recut the interview to be entirely about his hair. But still... apologies to Mr May.

They should either send two cameras or not make interviewers and interviewees have to pretend, to act, to lie, when we're supposed to trust everything they say. It's The News for God's sake, not some infomercial for a video game. That probably excuses my behaviour but certainly doesn't excuse theirs.

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