Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Video games on telly

[RE-EDIT as posted a bit incomplete]

So as you know I've made about a gabillion shows about video games, all for 10p an episode...

[ACTUAL FACTUAL MOMENT: researcher: 67 eps over 2 games series; producer 58 eps, 3 series - total 125 eps... not including developing an entire channel full of shows about games, some of which even existed]

... and I met up with a guy I used to work with back in 1994, on one of these series...

[ACT FACT: he was a researcher and played a newsreader in the show, and got genuine lessons in reading the news off of Crimewatch's Sue Cook. Didn't help him any as I made him not wear trousers for the series, the "hilarious" moment always being when he stood up from a desk and we saw his hairy knees]

... and he said why isn't there a good TV show about video games on now. It's something I've talked about before on here but not for a bit. And I've pondered it a little and here are my thoughts.

TV Bigwigs say that video games are best played not talked about, that it's not a subject for telly, more for the interweb... that the TV audience in general isn't interested in 'em.

Twunty bollocks.

If Top Gear can work about an even more obscure subject, why can't we have a telly show about video games on at, say, 8pm on a weeknight on BBC Three/Two/C4?

[ACTUAL FACTUAL: I have pitched and sold several shows about games for this kind of slot, and know of many more that were piloted and never hit air - like mine]

The answer is suprisingly simple. Top Gear has Clarkson and his producer Willman, and their alliance and passion made the show what it is now. A great TV show - if not quite as unmissable as it once was, in my humble view.

Video games has never had someone like Clarkson. [PAUSE WHILST THERE'S A KERFUFFLE AMONGST SOME READERS] No, I mean it. Dominik Diamond was great on Gamesmaster, but blatantly not a games head in the way Clarkson is a petrol head. Dave Perry or Alex Verrey off of Games World, Aleks (now Dr) Krotoski off of Bits (and her nice if not particularly informative series on the interweb just started this week), Violet Berlin... none of them were really quite the unique talent that Clarkson is. And love him or hate him, he is great on camera.

[ACTUAL FACTUAL: There are many top producers who worked in video games TV back then like Andy Willman off of Top Gear, most of which have left telly now. I wouldn't dare put myself forward as being as good as him, oh no, but ... er ... well ... yes]

Now there is someone. Charlie Brooker. His Gameswipe show was fantastic, and he's superb on camera. And he bloody well knows about games. Imagine a Top Gear-style show presented by him and a couple of others, it'd be champion.

[ACTUAL FACTUAL - is this annoying yet? - series 1 of Top Gear had that used car bloke on it, not James May. Watch repeats of early series and it was even more Clarkson's vehicle - hoho - and the other two weren't that good or important. They've grown, just as any half-decent presenters would on a great well-produced format]

Maybe we revive the idea of a Gamesmaster-type figure - how about gadget guru and all-round techno fan Lord Stephen of Fry as a cartoon 3D head? Maybe not...

It could be popular - Star in a Reasonably-Priced Car becomes Star Playing A Really Old Game (or something)... group tests of similar games... classics... news... I've even got some proper original ideas to cover games differently and make it look as vibrant and exciting as Top Gear but still not just be a 'Top Games'-style spinoff.

Sadly, it probably ain't gonna happen. TV still thinks games = nerds / sad / interactive not sit-and-watch / ratings death. Mr Brooker has his own special bit of Endemol and (I think) is exclusive to them so they'd have to make the show, not me. Hence not posting the Brilliant Ideas here.

[ACTUAL FACTUAL - bollocks, will write it up anyway. Wish me luck]


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