Thursday, 8 May 2008


So I was sitting talking to a mate, someone who runs his own small business (ie just him) making corporate videos and the like. He's successful and fairly happy, and gets to employ people he likes (mainly ex-Doctor Who and Blake's 7 actors) in his videos. They're mainly for councils, the police, ambulance staff - that kind of thing. Always enlightened by Servalan from B7 or Ace from Who turning up.

Anyhow, he asks me what the worst show I ever worked on was.

You'd think I'd have a ready answer. Hey, I write this stuff up, I should. And, yes, it's an area I've touched on before. But THE FUTURE is stream-of-consciousness blogs and so I won't go into THE PAST by re-reading my previous typesplurges and actually doing some research.


3 Try Your Luck!
A live weekly game show, part of that Sky series about video games I bleat on about more often than I should. This was the worst night, presented by Mick Thingie, off of Capital Radio, in a set designed to look like a shoot-the-duckies stall at a particularly rancid fairground. Mick Thingie used to do the afternoon drivetime show, when not appearing with Pat "Mullett" Sharp in dreadful pop videos, and opening branches of Costcutter in Swindon.

The show consisted of kids shouting "left!" and "shoot!" at very badly designed 'specially written' games on the telly, ultimately to win a console and/or some video games for it. I writ the 'specially written' games, hence their pooritude.

And, in a shocking state of affairs that'd be all over the papers Mr Murdoch doesn't own now, Mick Thingie used to prerecord the last hour of his Tuesday afternoon show on Capital so he could do our live show. Tsk tsk. Anyhow, the show was dull, cheap-looking (and -costing) and as it was presented by a "housewives' favourite" totally unsuitable for the teen audience it was aimed at.

As mentioned a million times previously, but it really wasn't a good tv show at all.

I did some development on this and it was going to be a big show for BBC1 or ITV but it ended up being shown for 2 weeks every night on Sky One. Good idea for a show but bad because (a) all the good ads were too expensive to use; (b) the presenter was inexperienced; (c) the guests were cheap; (d) the set was cheaper; and, most importantly; (e) the contestants weren't allowed to use brand-names more than once.

I only found this out when, returning from filming a different show for three weeks, I was drafted in as a contestant on the run-through, to test the format. It all dragged on, and we were fed wine in the green room. Note that only happened because that "Papa!"/"Nicole!" lady was on, off of the Renault ads, and she insisted. She couldn't speak English, which didn't exactly make her a hit on this show. In English.

So I was a bit drunk, surrounded by mates, and was told by my boss (in a whisper so the producer - another mate - wouldn't hear) to "try and break the show". She was always doing that kind of thing, bless her, and it needs to be done occasionally; pushing things to their limits to make sure the format, presenter and team are sound.

I've apologised to said producer many times, but I was a disgrace. The answer to one question was Pot Noodle - but we couldn't say it. We had to say "noodle-based snack product". It's catchy, isn't it? (Actually it is, I still use it to this day)

So we collapsed with laughter at this and then I answered every question in the next round with either "noodle-based snack product" or "Not Poodle" or "Pot-shaped Noodle-snack-product". Then the Shake'n'Vac ad was shown and me and the other team captain spent ages riffing on what on earth the generic name for that could be.

ME (buzzing in on the "It's all yoooooo have to do!")
Oh, I know this one! But I can't use the brand name?

PRESENTER (smiling to camera)
I think he's learning the rules viewers...

OTHER MATE (buzzing in)
Lemon-scented about-to-be-Hoovered-up-stuff?

ME (buzzing)
You can't say that brand name for vacuum cleaner. He doesn't know the rules, viewers.

PRESENTER (anxiously)
Any idea then?

Hoovell-based suck-product?

Suckupable freshening scatterash?

PRESENTER (producer yelling in earpiece "GET ON WITH IT!")
No.. er...


Shake 'nnnnnnnnnn' leave on the floor for no reason?

PRESENTER (with boss now yelling "CONTROL IT!" in earpiece)
Let's see the full ad.


And then they brought that woman on, the one who's obviously high on the fresh scent of Shake'n'Vac. Sad. She was old way back then, and her only claim to fame was that ad. She talked dead posh like though.

As I said, terrible television. Luckily, thanks to rights' issues with the ads, it was never repeated.

This flaw in the format couldn't be fixed.

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