TV PARTY

Categorised as GENERAL.

Stand back, ladies and gentlemen, for a controversial statement. It’s going to shock you, so brace yourselves. Here goes, deep breath… I LOVE David Attenborough. I know, I know, I know but someone had to say it eventually. I think he’s good. His documentaries, you know the ones, about all the animals and stuff – they’re just really, really great. I just don’t know why he doesn’t get more recognition and respect.

But I’m not mental. He’s not perfect; there is one thing that annoys me. Most likely it’s not something that you’ve even considered, but ever since I thought about it, it has ruined (well not exactly ruined, but maybe made-slightly-less-than-totally-amazing) all natural history documentaries for me. The sounds aren’t real. They add them on afterwards. That polar bear crunching through the snow – that’s just some foley artist smooshing a ball of tin foil with half a brick. The penguin skidding away from the sea lion sounds an awful lot like a courgette being rubbed with a damp flannel doesn’t it?

It’s all lies. It’s obvious when you think about it. On Frozen Planet most of the footage is shot from hundreds of yards away or from a plane – they can’t mic up the minky whales, and there’s an arctic wind blowing a literal gale. How could they pick up those tiny sounds? It would all be wrecked by the roar of a snowstorm.

They do it well though; otherwise I probably would’ve noticed it before now. But the standards have to be high. They wouldn’t spend months living in the snow filming this amazing footage of miserable polar bears only to employ Michael Winslow from Police Academy to shout machine gun FX all over it.

If I was a polar bear I would love a machine gun. I would go postal on every neighbourhood of seals I lumbered across. I think it would be fair enough. All polar bears must be insane, or at least hugely depressed. I would be made up if I found out that the ice caps are melting. Seriously, life for those guys seems so rubbish I would welcome the sweet release of global warming.

I’ve seen enough of these programmes to know that all animals do is kill each other, eat each other and fuck each other. In that order (probably). But the life of a polar bear seems particularly insufferable. So thanks Sir Dave for opening your new show with footage of a polar bear trudging about on an ice cap trying to get laid. After finally finding a willing ladybear to have it off with the poor chap has to break off from banging her every few minutes to duff up some other lads who wants a piece of his missus. He ends up bloodied, knackered and wandering off alone into the snowy wilderness without a kebab shop in sight.

The Arctic Circle is the world’s worst bachelor pad. I would definitely throw myself onto the nearest abandoned walrus tusk than put up with that.

Misfits made its return this week for a third series and it’s all change. That cheeky Irish chap has gone to conquer Hollywood in films like That One About U2 and a version of Romeo & Juliet set in a college or something equally imaginative. He’s replaced by that cheeky Northern chap from This Is England. Misfits didn’t need life breathed into it, but Joe Gilgun has done it anyway. As new character introductions go it was a bold start: the whole episode revolved around him as Rudy with all the old faces as supporting roles, so it’s a good job they made him as watchable as possible.

Rudy is in the same mould as Nathan (the Irish chap) – cocky, funny, arrogant, irritating. But the writers have decided to make him more than just a comedy character. In only one episode he is already more rounded, more interesting, funnier and significantly more foul-mouthed. “I’m washing shit off me cock” being a particular high point.

They’ve all got new powers as well which would make for an exciting change were it not for the fact that they are all exactly rubbish. Curtis (who used to be able to go back in time) can now turn into a girl; Kelly (who used to be able to hear people’s thoughts) is now a rocket scientist (NOT a superpower); Alisha and Simon haven’t revealed their new powers yet, but at a guess they can eat frozen chicken without puking, and guess the time to within 10 minutes. I expect the drama and humour will derive from how they come to terms with having such lame abilities. The one character that had a proper decent superpower (freezing time) got killed. Oh yeah, they’re still killing people and burying them in the woods.

Someone who has REAL LIFE super powers is Derren Brown. I know he pretends it’s all psychological trickery but he would say that wouldn’t he? Like Misfits he seems to have traded in his amazing talent for not shooting himself in the brain for something far inferior. His new series of Experiments is the equivalent of swapping laser vision for some googly eyes on springs. This week Derren’s ‘experiment’ was to demonstrate collective responsibility and mob mentality via the scientific medium of a Vernon Kay gameshow.

I love Derren Brown, maybe more that I love David Attenborough. I know that this was a Friday night entertainment show on Channel 4, so maybe I expected too much, because aside from a spurious experiment demonstrating and proving nothing, this was just a boring hour of TV. I would rather watch Dave spout hippie bullshit about unique snowflakes while he defrosts chicken the natural way: with heat rays flying out of his ancient fingers.

Words:

Ian Heydon

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