Thursday, 20 July 2006

No man is an island, no man watches Love Island

Being one of those people who has worked on and off for television programmes in the past, I like to indulge in a piece of shaudenfraude every now and then at TV stations I'm no longer associated with.

The current sitting duck is ITV, and has been for the past six years. Before we fill our blunderbusses with yet more lead, let's remind ourselves that it is a barn-door-sized target, and is facing a lot of flak from the press and advertisers. It's such a huge and predictable thing to mock, that I need not bother. Why kick a man when he's down?

However, I am an evil bastard, and it's what I do. Besides, this is a myspace blog from someone sitting in his pants, and accepts that scoffing three packets of Morrisons' own brand crisps will suffice as lunch. You're not gonna get Proust here, let's face it.

So, dispensing with any pretensions towards an articulate and wittily sardonic prose that cuts into the media world, let's sum up ITV1's ratings decline with three words everyone is thinking.

ITV IS SHIT.

Yes, that's pretty much all there is to say. It really is shit. Absolute grade A fertilizer. It's wall-to-wall banality, almost as if they want to lose viewers.

With the amount of cathode-ray-tube-targetted faeces being pumped out by ITV1, I initially thought they hired Alan Partridge and Roger Melly as programme commissioners.

Obviously, this is incredibly wrong, because programme ideas such as 'Arm Wrestling With Chas And Dave' and 'Celebrity Shitbucket' would be ten times more entertaining than ITV1's current centrepiece.

In case you haven't caught it, ITV1's current televisual gem is entitled 'Well-Off People Sent To Exotic Foreign Island In Which You Can Send Money To Them Via Text Message And Premium Rate Phonelines As Aforementioned Well-Off People Moan About The Swimming Pool Being A Little Bit Cold'.

Some wags in the papers have coined the nickname 'Love Island', which is hilariously being used as though it was an official title in some quarters. Granted, it's shorter than the real title I mentioned earlier.

What's wrong with this programme then? Well, why let my foul supermarket-own-brand-crisp-tinged rantings pollute your impressionable young minds?

Here are the cold hard figures from July 19th...

4.5m [BBC1] Ten O'Clock News
2.3m [BBC2] Grumpy Old Holidays
2.2m [ITV1] Love Island
2.3m [CH4] Lost
2.4m [Five] CSI:New York

Yes, astonishingly, ITV still haven't realised that their output is so bad, that twice the amount of people would rather watch the latest results of the tit-for-tat semitic war from the middle east (Hezbollah are one up on penalties, by the way) than see the ITV1-funded antics featuring the daughter of a woman who was married to an abusive man who had his peak of fame sixteen years ago for crying on television and was last seen kicked out of a job at a struggling Conference football club.

Whilst it's all very easy to sneer at 'Love Island', we must applaud it for an excellent breakthrough in the science of languages and lexicon.

It's because of 'Love Island' that professional linguists have been teamed up with graphic designers to create a new western alphabet with 2,493 new characters, to be tacked on the end of those tawdry and 'tired-looking' 26 we currently use.

The final, and 2,519th letter is known as "kloom" (phonetic sound: "klwah"). It looks like the letter F turned 90 degrees, but with three new left serifs and the figure of Roger Moore standing behind it in a pose not unlike that energetic bit of the Macerena dance. Ah, you'll know what I mean when you order a new keyboard. (I believe it's a combination of CTRL, ALT, SHIFT and new letter "smrudge".)

Why? Well, you see, the letter 'Z' isn't up to the purpose of describing the absolute nothingness of these people's alleged 'fame' in the context of "[insert-lowly-comedy-letter-here]-list celeb". (I feel guilty for only using one set of inverted commas there - can that team come up with some new punctuation that would convey appropriate contempt at the millennia of light years away that Gazza's ex-wife's daughter's cousin's uncle's niece is away from anything approaching genuine fame?)

Many years ago, my father pointed out a man in a cafe, having recognised him as an actor who played a hotel manager in an episode of 'Some Mothers Do 'Ave Em'. He even went up to him, and asked him what he was up to these days. No irony or anything! It got worse. Shame-facedly, I was brought up to meet him too. Now, bless his socks, that man isn't actually bad or evil or anything, he was just a glorified extra in a 1970s sitcom, and he knew it. I think he looked as bewildered as I did, when he was 'spotted'.

What's my point here? Well, that man is about a thousand times more famous than any of those... people... on 'Love Island', put together.

Hell, I am more famous than them. I was in the audience for Chris-Evans-produced flop '18 Stone Of Idiot', and I had my name read out on BBC local radio last week. If anything, I should have my own ITV-branded digital channel, such is the way I am an interstellar uber-Elvis compared to the camera-hungry plankton currently playing out to no-one and his dog.

Can you believe that the channel that gave us Death On The Rock, Death Of A Princess, and the almighty Tiswas, is now paying actual cash for Kloom-list celebs to have a free holiday?

Why is this formerly mainstream broadcaster paying money for these people to have a holiday at the expense of the advertisers? Good hard-working honest companies, of the likes of Ocean Finance, do not need to see their ad budgets frittered away by someone-who-was-in-Hollyoaks-for-ten-minutes being flown to Fuji for a few weeks and then flown back to Britain. It wouldn't be so much a problem if the latter flight didn't happen.

"Ah, but Pete", you say. "You are being unduly harsh on a station now in a multi-channel environment", at which point I'll nod. "And for fuck's sake, put some trousers on, your potato sacks are all on display you slob", at which point I'll castigate you and flick the V-sign. "Okay, okay," you'll say, "getting back on the subject, what would YOU do about it?".

Well, the answer is quite simple. Given that 'Well-Off People Sent To Exotic Foreign Island In Which You Can Send Money To Them Via Text Message And Premium Rate Phonelines As Aforementioned Well-Off People Moan About The Swimming Pool Being A Little Bit Cold' is being tanked in the ratings by non-celebrity plain-vanilla common-or-garden now-in-its-seventh-year Big Brother, the answer is in us, the general public.

I certainly have some people in mind. Yes, the remaining viewers of 'Love Island', who can be found here on the interweb.

The interweb does attract some pretty strange freaks. When you realise that menwholooklikekennyrogers.com is an actual website, and that someone somewhere saw fit to create a fetish portal based on the concept of "Girls Custard-Pied While Wearing White Jeans", you know you'll find all kinds of wierdos. Like that loud-mouthed canine-hating trouserless prick on myspace with his six-year-old "look at me, I went to New York once" photo on his profile.

And so, the interweb, the one medium where man is truly without shame, we have the Official Love Island forums, where the output of the forum participants is 24-carat comedy gold.

It is, I propose, that these people - not the Kloom-listers - that should be the real stars of ITV1. Hell, let them run the channel. Why? I'll tell you why...

All of the following quotes are completely real. All of the following quotes are taken from just one thread (which shows how unintentionally funny the entire place is). All of the quotes are on the subject of 'Love Islands' ratings woes. Read on...

"Perhaps scheduling it away from the BBC news will help" says 'George Formby', who gives us the insight that the kind of person who wants to watch an ex-Hollyoaks actor sitting round a pool is being driven away by in-depth coverage of the politically-motivated Lebanon air-strikes.

"nothing to do with bb as that is rubbish this year, i personally think its the stopping for the news that is putting people off and no red button." - 'whatever', who fails to realise that Big Brother has 2-3 times the amount of viewers of 'Love Island' on any given night, thus his argument is that is own choice of viewing is at least 200 percent "rubbish".

"Why don't they move the news to ITV4?" suggests 'Rich Flair', who may already be on the ITV payroll with a comment like that.

"y don't dey get da luv islanders 2 read da news? dat way we get da best of both worldes and more viewers." - James Stoker, afflicted with Nine-Year-Old-Chav-Writing-A-Text-Message Syndrome.

Actually, why don't we go one better and have James Stoker reading the news? Lord knows we need cheering up. I can picture it now - "yo dis is da news type thing, and like, dere's been really hot weather, but I is not sayin' like that da weather is stolen, I is saying dat da weather is like really hot, ya know, and by the way dere's been some heavy shit going on in da middle east wid all dem arabs and whatever the other dudes are, sikhs or hindus or summat."

"gonna give up on this programme. everybody is making fun of it and saying people who watch it is sad with no life and with low IQ, you no not very bright. I dont want that reputation. even the sun r saying pp who watch love island r thick. its not fare. everybody is saying we r thick, they shud try wotching the show" - 'ohtheshame'. This is beyond parody.

"The Daily Sport might cover it." - 'Theeditor'. Yes, unwanted newspapers are often used to soak up piles of vomit, so this is not a radical change in purpose.

"I need a broadsheet to cover all my shitty stuff." - says 'Richflair', and I include it, only for another response from my favourite poster...

"i dont undustand wot some pp r saying on here. wot is a brodsheet" - 'ohtheshame', yes, the very one who said it was "not fare" that "who watch love island r thick".

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