Clarkson, who previously had to apologise to Gordon Brown in February after calling him \”a one-eyed Scottish idiot\”, described him as a \”cunt\” in not-for-broadcast comments during the recording of this week\’s Top Gear programme on Wednesday night.

Isn\’t the BBC supposed to be a reflection of the myriad opinions and communities of Britain? Clarkson was communing there with one of the larger such groups wasn\’t he?

Age discrimination

I dunno, dunno:

It was courageous of Selina Scott to sue Five for age discrimination last year: they asked her to cover Natasha Kaplinsky\’s maternity leave and then picked a younger model. Scott won, hurrah for her, and this week she delivered an angry diatribe about the \”ageist BBC\”, which had given Arlene Phillips the boot from Strictly Come Dancing.

Do I think there is age discrimination against women in presenting on TV? Sure.

But I think it\’s a bit rich some of these women complaining about it. For most (many? some? all?) were chosen for the job at least partly on the basis of their looks. Yes, that\’s also sexist and discriminatory but it strikes me that there are those who are entirely happy to accept the benefits of a high salary for being good looking but then complain when the looks are gone and they don\’t get that salary.

I\’d have rather more sympathy for their argument if they were fighting to make sure that some bird of 30, who also looks like the back of a bus, got one of those high paid jobs rather than whining that they only had 20 years doing it themselves as a result of the shape of their cheekbones.

Stephen King\’s idea for a new TV channel

Surprisingly good actually:

Last, and possibly best, the ultimate reality channel: TONTINE TV (not to be confused with the reality show that has drifted in and out of development over the last couple of years). As originally conceived over 300 years ago, a tontine was an investment scheme, but I see it as a supercontest. Tontine TV would pick two dozen newborn babies and put $250,000 for each one into a nice safe money market fund. Over the years, the seed money would grow to a staggering sum. Generations of avid TV viewers would watch as babies become children, then teenagers, young adults, and finally senior citizens. The last survivor gets all the dough, which by then might total a billion dollars. Makes Who Wants to be a Millionaire look like a candy store, doesn\’t it? Imagine the excitement when we get down to the final three or four survivors! You could argue that the winner — who\’s maybe 104 or so at that point, and not all that spiffy in the cognition department — wouldn\’t enjoy the money much. Maybe not…but think of his or her inheritors! Sports cars all around! For me, this one can\’t come too soon.

Abolish the BBC

And make the country happier.

Academics found happy people socialise more, read more newspapers and have more sex – but watch less television.

Those who are unhappy watch up to 30 per cent more television than happy people, John Robinson and Steven Martin of the University of Maryland discovered.

There\’s the usual academic quibbling about correlation and causation, of course, but we don\’t need to worry about that too much. A simple overview of the dreck that is pumped out is enough to nail it, it\’s the TV watching that makes you unhappy.

Thus the abolition of the BBC will make people happier. QED.

If only

The research found that the new channel pulled in more than double the projected audience of 250,000, finding that 15 per cent of the Scottish population tuned into the station in the week following its launch on September 19.

One in four Highlands and Islands viewers tuned on over the first week.

The figures were seen as particularly encouraging as the channel only broadcasts between 5pm and 11pm each day and only boasts a budget of £14.

Should be able to cut the licence fee if that\’s all a TV station costs….

Butt Lifting Underwear

One of those strange PR spam attempts that arrive in email boxes every day. About some reality TV show. 

After successfully working with Janice last season, Andrew Christian goes to meet with Janice as he is looking for the perfect model, or more importantly the "best butt" to represent his recently released butt-lifting underwear Flashback in a new Fall advertising campaign.

Umm, if the butt lifting underwear really works, why would you want to find the " best butt" to model them? Wouldn\’t the lift and separate performance of the item in question mean that any old butt could be used to show them off?

Well said

…last week a cameraman arrived at the London to record a video clip of Ramsay for the Emmy Awards. “The guy said to me, ‘Can you be angry?\’” Ramsay recalled wistfully. “I said: ‘No, I can\’t, f*** off\’.”

Keep Hoping

With Carol Vorderman\’s departure from Countdown a sign that the bubble has burst, the BBC will presumably be telling its own presenters to take a 90 per cent pay cut or go searching for another job. That will mean Jonathan Ross\’s yearly earnings falling to £600,000 a year, Graham Norton\’s to £250,000 and Jeremy Paxman\’s to £100,000. By reducing its wage bill for presenters to £24.2 million, that will allow the BBC to save £218 million and so cut the cost of a TV licence by about £10.

After all, as Carol\’s departure from Countdown shows, the market rates are indeed falling.

Product Placement

Whether product placement should be allowed in TV shows or not. Hmm, difficult question.

…ministers are consulting on whether to implement part of a European directive, which would allow product placement in the UK from as early as 2010.

Under the proposals advertisers would be able to pay to have products featured in most TV genres except news, current affairs, sport and children\’s programming.

However, the prospect of Coca-Cola or McDonald\’s advertising their products during prime-time entertainment programmes or dramas has divided opinion.

What would be the objection? That viewers would be mislead in some manner? That there would be a further orgy of consumerism? That cats will lie down with dogs and there will be rains of blood?

Hmm, wonder if there is any way of actually testing this?

Popular US imports, such as The X-Files and Desperate Housewives, regularly include products that companies have paid thousands of dollars to feature.

Sex and the City, the popular American sitcom starring Sarah Jessica Parker, featured Manolo Blahnik and Jimmy Choo shoes so frequently that it was credited with turning the brands into household names.

Research shows that in the last series of American Idol, the TV talent show, there were no fewer than 4,349 examples of product placement, and 3,291 in the first three months of this year alone.

Ah, so we already have product placement on UK TV screens.

OK; anybody willing to claim that US TV shows cause the cats and dogs thing, the sanguinary soakings, while UK TV shows do not?

No? Then there doesn\’t seem to be much of an argument against such product placement then, does there?

Bring Back Shakespeare

None of this modern nonsense on the TV screens:

If the BBC was hoping its new drama about England\’s courts and prisons would ruffle a few wigs, the corporation can indulge in a leisurely moment of self-congratulation. Criminal Justice, which charts one young man\’s journey through the prison system, has provoked a terse exchange between the head of the Bar Council and the writer behind the thriller, which is drawing in almost 5 million viewers.

For the council, Timothy Dutton QC, has taken a dim view of the way barristers in the programme, particularly in the second episode, are portrayed as underhand, unprincipled and overly aggressive. The writer, Peter Moffatt, says the Bar has to face the facts. And he\’s a trained criminal barrister too.

Wimps! Shakespeare I say:

The first thing we do, let\’s kill all the lawyers.

None of this namby pamby "terse exchanges". We already know what needs to be done so get on with it!

Bravo, Bravo!

Now here\’s a truly inventive use of the Channel Islands and no, it\’s got nothing at all to do with tax.

The loophole allows ITV programmes to be registered for compliance purposes with a tiny franchise, Channel Television, based in Jersey and Guernsey.

About 40% of ITV shows – mostly made by independent production companies – are vetted in the Channel Islands to ensure that they do not breach broadcasting guidelines.

It means that Ofcom can levy fines against these programmes based on only the modest advertising revenue of Channel Television, rather than the £1.5 billion earned last year by ITV plc, which owns 11 of the 15 ITV regional franchises.

Very well done indeed to whichever lawyer thought that one up!

Bleedin\’ Communitarians

There\’s also a cultural objection to the new ways of seeing, which is the one Davies makes. The biggest defining feature that TV has had, in comparison with other art forms such as theatre, film and literature, is that millions of people watched the programmes at precisely the same moment – in the way they still do for a football match or news of a terrorist attack. And every format had its own time of day – breakfast, afternoon, evening, late night – or of the week: a Saturday-night drama being tangibly different from a Sunday-night one, for instance.

Is TV being seduced too easily by new technology into losing its most unique aspect – community consumption?

There really must be better things tto do with one\’s time than think, write, or read about how we don\’t all watch TV programs at the same time.

The atomisation of society, cultural alienation, the anomie of modernity…..all because we watch Dr. Who at different times.


Oh Lord

Please save us from idiot regulators:

Internet service providers could face a new tax to help pay for unprofitable programmes shown on ITV and Channel 4, which may in turn lead to higher broadband charges for consumers.

The levy could be imposed by the Government on the service providers and websites within the next few years, under proposals published yesterday about the future funding of "public service" programmes which make little or no money for commercial broadcasters.

So why do these programs make little money? Because no one wants to watch them. So why should there be any public subsidy to them? They are clearly producing less value than they cost to produce: this is known as making us all poorer, a destruction of value.

And why should people who deliberately use a different technology, the internet, pay for the failures of an old one, TV? Should we have taxed the car makers to support the buggy whip manufacturers?

This is as silly as taxing dustmen so that Dukes can go to the opera….oh, wait, we do that don\’t we?