21 ways I’d make British telly better

Rob has some things to say about the state of British TV right now. And he's got some suggestions to fix it, too...

It’s coming up to Christmas, with the notion of peace to all men and that kind of stuff. The nights are getting longer, and supposedly the idea is for people around the country to curl up on the sofa and watch a good film or television show, against a background of dark, stormy nights. We get snuggled up indoors all comfy, look at the box in the corner of the room and just say “give us your best shot”. But what’s this? Yep! It’s winter, and the telly is rubbish.

No matter that the weather is terrible and the audience at this time of year is theoretically more attentive than usual. The amount of dross on the telly grows as the weather worsens. You’d think that the people in charge of television would help us through the misery of a British winter by putting something good on the TV for us to watch.

So, without further ado, I will try and solve the television world’s ills by suggesting 21 things that the people in charge of telly (I guess that would be Ant and Dec and Simon Cowell?) could do to improve matters.

1. Don’t stop the flow of a film with the news.

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This is something that has infuriated me for years. Why does ITV need to show the news at 10 in the middle of a movie? Not only does it stop the flow but also usually makes the film finish too late for a ‘school night’. A 45 minute break before they put on the last hour of the movie is beyond irritating, especially so now that we have dedicated news channels rolling the news every 15 minutes. Start the movie earlier or just have a bulletin, as there are an entire generation of film watchers who have never seen the second half of Die Hard, Commando, Con-Air and such like, as they just went off to bed or lost interest or couldn’t be bothered to wait for the ‘finale of our nightly movie’.

2. Stop putting celebs in jungles…

…unless you are going to leave them there

3. We don’t need an ‘X-tra’ show about a show that’s just been on.

Having to watch it once was nightmare enough. I don’t care what the coffee boys opinion of this year’s talent is…sod off.

4. Put Harry Hill on more shows

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Witty, funny and with a hairstyle like mine. He could go far.

5. Stop Graham Norton getting work

He was great on his naughty Channel 4 show but a watered down neutered version is stupid. You employed him to be rude, crude and edgy, but slapping a PG rating on the guy and not allowing him to do his own thing is like Robocop without all the gory bits.

6. Stop commissioning Merlin

This is for two reasons. One, I can have my Saturday evening back and not have to watch it to review? And secondly, it’s just plain bad. In its place maybe try a return of Blake’s 7 in that timeslot instead?

7. Watch some American telly

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Broadcasters: why not join up with American production companies? America has been producing some superb shows (Galactica, Lost, 24) which are essentially 20 hour movies. Why can’t we have a little money invested in stuff here too?

8. Tone down the interaction

Stop reading out texts on shows giving the general public’s opinion on stuff that they know nothing about and have little concept of as its not in Heat or explained to them by The One Show (which I will come to later). The regular watcher of Jeremy Kyle has little to no knowledge of world politics, economics or socio-economic issues surrounding the Middle East, so having messages like “Trace from Notts texts us ‘Get R Boyz home from fitn bddys in desrt, Luv U Lots xxx LOL, LTR'” doesn’t really add to the debate.

This type of pandering to idiots just encourages them that their vacant statements will actually do something. Whereas, in fact, they’ll just lose them money which they could be spending on scratch-cards.

9. Quiz show phone-ins

Stop making quizzes on telly aimed for people with brains like infants, for which life is just shapes and colours. Taunting the mentally inept is just cruel. Just because people can’t do the probability on their chances of winning a rigged quiz (allegedly) doesn’t give television channels a right to use them as walking cash converters. I will make it easy: PHONE INS ARE A MASSIVE CON (just like fruit machines). It’s like them giving me a pound every day for the rest of their life and then maybe in some distant future I will get a fifty pound note back to them (maybe).

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Building up their hopes to then dash them is like telling a primary school kid that Santa isn’t coming. Surely the clue to how deficient the phone-in quizzes are can be exposed by the quality of the questioning.

Stuff like….

The Sky is what colour?

A – Blue

B – It’s A

C – Its Still A

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Send us money now, with no chance of winning. Go on, do it, do it now, or we will take your benefits away.

I might be vitriolic and evil saying that, but those who control the quizzes are a lot, lot worse.

10. The Beeb’s over reliance on the costume department

You’ve tapped Dickens and Bronte enough; try some contemporary authors instead (Neil Gaiman, Bernard Cornwell etc…) to make an adaptation of. It will cost you a lot less in frilly knickers and ruffles.

11. Stop relying on past glories

Del Boy can only fall though the bar so many times (unless you’re watching Dave, when it appears to be a weekly occurrence).

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12. Let Steven Moffat write everything

It might not be practical, but it would be great.

13. Call Joss

Give Joss Whedon a ring, a lot of money and get ‘Ripper’ on the telly.

14. Stop the singing

Get rid of karaoke shows on Saturday nights judged by leprechauns, shop dummies, mime artists and the man who gave us Robson and Jerome.

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15 . Let creative people have a go

Long gone are the days when Lew Grade took risks with The Muppets and Thunderbirds. Can we get someone of his ilk back please?

16. Please, please, please…

… stop allowing Tango-coloured women with space-hoppers on their chests to tell the world the state of their gutter press relationships on prime time TV.

17. Murder Mysteries.

Really, do that many people die in little villages? Well according to ITV they do and John Nettles is always there to sort it out.

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18. Take off ITV2/3/4 etc….

….or as they should be called ‘channels that have shows and presenters on them that aren’t good enough for real telly’. You can keep E4 while it’s making shows like Misfits, though…

19. Make Stephen Fry a knight…

….with the title ‘the King of telly’.

20. The One Show

Having to endure Adrian Chiles while I am having my tea is just wrong. Adrian, stick to the footy, mate. At least with that you look as though you know what you are talking about and seem to be having a bit of fun doing it (even though we all know the Baggies are hardly ever on).

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21. The One Show (again)

Who allowed Gyles Brandreth back on television? Can someone sort that out?

Add your own suggestions below…