Pick of the Week: Monday 30th June

June 30, 2008 by  
Filed under Reviews

 Mon. 30th June – Sun. 6th July

 KIDS, KNIVES AND BROKEN LIVES
Channel 4 Monday 30th June 9pm  Alert Me!

As part of the Disarming Britain season, a major new season examining the effect of gun and knife crime on Britain’s streets, Kids, Knives and Broken Lives investigates why so many young people regularly take to the streets of Britain armed with guns and knives. In a climate where politicians struggle to stem the tide of violence in Britain’s inner cities, this film offers an insight into why street weapons have become so widespread by hearing directly from the young people themselves. Director Jezza Neumann and producer Brian Woods (the multi-Bafta-winning team behind Dispatches: China’s Stolen Children and Dispatches: Undercover in Tibet ) go to London, Birmingham, Manchester and Bradford to explore the day-to-day reality of life for those who carry weapons.

THIS IS ENGLAND  
FilmFour Tuesday 1st July 9pm  Alert Me!

This breathtaking film by Shawn Meadows is a must watch . Based on the childhood of writer director 13-year-old Shaun (Thomas Turgoose) has to endure bullying at school both for his dress sense and, more spitefully, the loss of his father in the Falklands War. Then he chances upon a gang of skinheads, led by the affable Woody (Joe Gilgun) who, although they all appear menacing, accept him into the group, offering him an identity.

BRITAIN’S MISSING TOP MODEL
BBC 3 Wednesday 2nd July 9pm   Alert Me!

Part of the BBC’s Beauty Season the name of this show turns the head alone. A play off Britain’s Next Top Model, this follows exactly the same wannabe model structure with one key difference. Each of the wannabes has a disability. It could be cringeworthy. It could be a non conformist, courageous look at beauty. Either way, this is definitely one to watch.

FALLOUT
Channel 4 Thursday 3rd July 10pm  Alert Me!

The centrepiece of the Disarming Britain season, Fallout is a gripping one-off drama, adapted by award-winning playwright Roy Williams from his acclaimed stage play, and directed by leading theatre director Ian Rickson. Lennie James is Joe, a policeman returning to the estate where he grew up to investigate the murder of a black teenager. When 16-year-old Kwame is stabbed to death by a local gang, the lives, feelings and fears of the young perpetrators and the police officers investigating the crime are exposed in full. The young cast includes Gugu Mbatha-Raw ( Spooks , Doctor Who ) and 13-year-old Jerome Holder.

HEROES
BBC 2 Thursday 3rd July 9.00pm  Alert Me! 

Nathan (Adrian Pasdar) clashes with his brother as the series reaches an explosive, bloody conclusion. It’s hero versus hero as the epic American drama, chronicling the lives of ordinary people who discover they possess extraordinary powers, comes to an explosive, bloody finish.

Rant: Make up your mind Channel 4! Should women love what they’ve got or get surgery?

June 30, 2008 by  
Filed under Reviews

rant_tv_web4.gifChannel 4 need to get their act together on the message they’re sending out to women of the UK. Do they want them to retain a stiff (unbotoxed) upper lip, accept the shape they are and start being more positive about their bodies? Or, do they want women to deem themselves lesser beings for their flaws and therefore jump under the surgeon’s knife to slice them into their ideal?

It seems as if the broadcasting team, as of a tea time, enjoy whipping their female viewers into a self-image frenzy. One evening they’ll show How to Look Good Naked with Gok Wan nonchalantly grabbing women’s flabby bits and telling them how fabulous they look and the next they’ll whack on 10 Years Younger with that Icky Hambleton Jones witch, who basically rips apart women’s confidence by telling them how disturbingly old they look for their age before suggesting that cutting half their face off will improve their life.

Just what are they trying to achieve – a nation of bewildered schizophrenic females unsure whether to twirl around in front of the mirror or break down and sob at the sight? It just ain’t fair. How to Look Good Naked is based on the principle that women do not need to change the way they look, they need to change the way they feel about the way they look. Whereas, 10 Years Younger, although ostensibly also about making women feel good about themselves, actually advocates self-mutilation in frank acknowledgement that what women have got is not good enough. There’s no question that the women don’t have surgery (this part of the programme takes up a good ten minutes).

And what’s more, if the TV schedule wasn’t enough to mess with their heads, the official programme websites even have links to each other as if they are singing from the same hymn sheet. A lady having a good day, pretty sure she’s looking hot can be browsing the HTLGN website, reading about all ‘Gok’s triumphs from the last series’ and finds ‘the perfect fashion’ for her body shape. But then, she spots the link to 10YY and before she knows it has clicked it and is suddenly heading for dangerous water. There’s the “Guess my Age? feature in which she is asked to upload a photo of herself to be judged by the masses. Now, excuse me for my cynicism but there is not going to be much feel good action as a result of that. What person, in their right mind puts their picture up to be scrutinised by the world and trusts that people will be kind?! People will not be kind. They will be just like they are on the programme where women are deemed older than they are (this is what the whole premise of 10YY relies on). Moreover, after the knock-back judgement, not only is Nicky there staring with her unfeeling shark eyes standing among a dentist and plastic surgeon, but the little box at the bottom also begins to look more appealing: ‘Get advice on cosmetic surgery here’.

So, in short, Channel 4, stop sending out mixed messages! Maybe Gok and Nicky both need their voice but recognize that where one is a chirpy Jiminy Cricket the other is Othello’s merciless Iago. Sort out the websites so they don’t look like they’re best buds and give them a Les Dennis/Bob Mortimer boxing match to underscore their differences. That should sort it out.

By Susan Allen

Interview with Pete Postlethwaite

June 26, 2008 by  
Filed under Features

Pete PostlethwaiteThe wonderful Pete Postlethwaite is back on our tellies in his latest role as hardened career criminal Hooch in the BBC’s brand new five-part crime thriller, Criminal Justice written by the highly acclaimed Peter Moffat.  The series centres on Ben Coulter, who is prosecuted for murder when he wakes up in bed after a drink/drug-fuelled night next to a woman who has been stabbed to death.  Finding himself at the hands of the criminal justice system, we see Ben (played by Ben Whishaw – Perfume, I’m not There) struggle with prison life, befriended only by Hooch.

Here’s what Pete has to say about it…

“It’s all about Ben getting involved in the criminal justice system, and how you actually defend somebody in this situation. There are complications between the different barristers and the lawyers, how they manipulate each other, how they play the game,” he says of his first TV drama since 2000′s The Sins.

“It’s been a while – it’s funny seeing myself on telly again,” admits Pete, whose career on the silver screen since The Sins has included roles in The Constant Gardener (2005), Valley Of The Heart’s Delight (2006) and the 2006 remake of The Omen. He says this move away from TV has not been deliberate, though: “Not at all. Either I’ve been doing other things or I haven’t read anything – or been asked, perhaps – for TV. Whenever I get a good script I don’t care whether it’s telly or theatre or big screen – I’m not bothered.”
And Moffat’s script certainly fitted his criteria and immediately caught Pete’s eye, and he didn’t hesitate in accepting the role.
“It fulfils everything. I only read the first two scripts to start with and the writing was so compelling that I thought, well, if Moffat can keep this up, this is going to be something extraordinary.”

Hooch becomes Ben’s only ally in the prison and tries to protect him from the bad influences inside, including Freddy Graham, who, it soon becomes clear, practically runs the prison wing and even has the guards turning a blind eye when he most needs it. Ben is lost and confused and trying to come to terms with his new life and, without the help, care and companionship of his cellmate, who tells him to “play the game”, he would surely not have coped.

But, says Pete, while on the surface Hooch may seem to be a good guy, there is more to him than meets the eye: “Hooch is as complex as all the other characters, I think. That’s what’s great about the script – no character is linear. They’re all complex human beings in their own right. The interesting thing with Hooch is that he, too, is incredibly compromised. He’s in a terribly compromised position and he hates it but he feels that’s the only way he can continue.  

“I’ve got a back story for him. I think he was horrendous, absolutely the pits. He was very dark and I think he is carrying that with him. That’s why he’s a listener, that’s why he listens to other people. He says at one point, ‘Being in here and being a listener is like being a priest. People talk to me like they’ve never talked to anybody before in their lives,’ and he feels that is a very positive thing to do.

“I think he finds redemption at the end though, and peace and atonement,” he adds, although he admits that “Ben feels incredibly let down by him, eventually”.

Pete Postlethwaite is full of admiration for Ben Whishaw, who plays Ben: “He’s quite an actor, quite a chameleon,” he says. “He’s very, very good and it’s a stunning piece of casting. And he really goes through it. I know towards the end of the shoot he was like a wrung-out dishcloth, poor lad. He was physically and emotionally drained.”

While Pete admits it was also a tough shoot for him, because it was filmed over a short period of time, he believes that this just adds to the drama: “In a way, it forces you to think very clearly and very quickly. There’s a kind of energy that’s created and I thrive in those situations.” ■

Don’t miss him in the high energy Criminal Justice in its five-day consecutive run as it debuts on BBC 1 on Monday 30th June at 9pm.

Home Office’s Know Your Limits

June 25, 2008 by  
Filed under Reviews

“You wouldn’t start a night like this, so why end it that way??

Right then, if we’re really expected to answer this question, the main reason for this is that at the start of the night one holds an insipid kind of mindset, more or less believing that looking decent when out is what really matters as she/he labours over lippie or hair gel, whereas by the end of the night, the “more or less? in this feeling has grown to a “hardly? and resulted in the feeling that gross hedonism is the clearly way forward.  Who gives a monkeys what they look like?  As long as someone’s there, holding back their hair then sod the rip in their jeans.  Life’s for living. 

Obviously, this isn’t a productive dialogue to have.  Why?  Because it’s not really a straightforward start vs. end affair and it certainly does not revolve around one’s appearance at those points.  I can’t help thinking that this advert just gets it all wrong by using irrelevant reasoning.  Number one, drinking alcohol is about a process (namely involving kicking back, finding the world a funnier place and gradually disregarding social constraints that cause unnecessary pressure), it’s not simply a sober = refined Jekyll, drunk = hideous Hyde situation.  Of course, it’s helpful if this unwinding is within reason, but let’s think about it a minute – murdering small children when you lose your inhibitions is one thing, even starting a fight is not cool, but spilling something on your top or smudging your make-up?!  It’s hardly an all-time sin. 

Ok, I understand that people need to be aware of the dangers of binge drinking (and vomit in hair is not a good look for anyone) but talk about the actual dangers then please.  Don’t use front-page tabloid Winehouse/Doherty aesthetics and twisted logic about appearance in an attempt to shame people into thinking that’s why they shouldn’t drink.  People shouldn’t drink because it’s bad for their health and they act like idiots harming themselves or others.  Not because they don’t look so pretty after a few.  Amen.

To watch a better advert that the Home Office came up with a while ago, which effectively deals with the danger of drinking too much, go to www.youtube.com/watch?v=NU9hD50Qr4I

The Lowdown on: Sarah Jessica Parker

June 24, 2008 by  
Filed under Reviews

SJPWith the Sex and the City movie grossing big-time in cinemas across the world, we’ve decided to take a look at the life and career of the show’s biggest star and style icon, Sarah Jessica Parker.

The adventures of New York sex columnist Carrie Bradshaw catapulted Sarah Jessica Parker into the limelight and earned her four Golden Globe Awards, two Screen Actors Guild Awards and two Emmy Awards. However, the actress had a long career before she donned her Manolos in the adaptation of Candace Bushnell’s novel.

She was born in Nelsonville, Ohio, in 1965 to a nursery school teacher and a Jewish journalist. Of her background Sarah says “I always just considered myself a Jew? and now classes herself as culturally Jewish along with her husband Matthew Broderick who also has one Jewish parent.

Sarah’s parents divorced when she was very young and her mother remarried, resulting in a family of seven siblings. Sarah’s love of performing was evident at an early age. The youngster took singing and ballet lessons and was being cast in the Broadway production of The Innocents. As her career developed, the family moved to Cincinnati then to Dobbs Ferry in New York State. In 1977 they moved to Manhattan proper, but travelled between New Jersey, New York and Los Angeles to support Sarah’s burgeoning talent.

It seemed that Sarah’s future lay in musical theatre. She and four of her siblings appeared in a revival of The Sound of Music, and Sarah joined the cast of Annie on Broadway in 1977 playing a small role. In 1979 she was promoted to the lead role which she held for a year.

But television work beckoned. Sarah was cast as the co-lead in sitcom Square Pegs in 1982. The show was cancelled after just one season but Sarah’s talent had been noticed. This led to her being cast in Footloose in 1984 and Girls Just Wanna Have Fun in 1985, followed by Disney’s science fiction Flight of the Navigator in 1986.

The 1990s saw Sarah’s star rise further. Her 1991 appearance in rom-com L.A. Story was critically acclaimed, leading to what was probably her breakthrough role in Honeymoon in Vegas alongside Nicolas Cage. Her 1993 role in the film Hocus Pocus was a higher grosser at the box office but received negative reviews. The following year, she appeared opposite Johnny Depp in the critically acclaimed movie Ed Wood.

The rest of the early 90s brought a raft of romantic comedy roles to Sarah’s portfolio, and it looked as if she would follow the path of many actresses who never quite hit the big-time – safe, middle of the road roles. All this changed when Sarah received a script for an HBO drama comedy series called Sex and the City. Initially unwilling to commit to a long-term series, Sarah was eventually won over by the character of Carrie – a glamorous New York journalist with a penchant for designer shoes – and took the role.

This was probably the most important decision in Sarah’s career. The show was an instant success and ran for six seasons, the final three of which Sarah co-produced. Fans were devastated when the series ended in 2004 but rumours of a film started to spring up almost immediately. It took four years for the initial idea to evolve into a feature, despite murmurs from the four lead actresses that it would never happen. The film was on May 30th 2008 and a sequel is planned for 2009.

Her role in Sex and the City made SJP into a style icon and won her contracts with high profile companies like Gap and Garnier. In 2005 she released her perfume, ‘Lovely’, followed by ‘Covet’ two years later, and launched her fashion line Bitten in 2007.

Sarah dated Robert Downey Jr. from 1984 until 1991 after meeting on the set of Firstborn. The relationship floundered because of Downey’s drug problem, and Sarah was linked to John Kennedy Jr. and singer-songwriter Joshua Kadison in the early 1990s. She married actor Matthew Broderick on May 19th 1997 and their son James was born in 2002. The Parker-Brodericks lives in New York City.

Pick of the Week: Monday 23rd June

June 24, 2008 by  
Filed under Reviews

Mon. 23rd June – Sun. 29th June

CATHOUSE
Five Thursday 26th June 11:00pm Alert Me!

This series provides an intimate portrait of life inside one of America’s best-known legal brothels, Moonlite Bunny Ranch in Nevada. In this first programme, a woman gives her new spouse an unusual wedding present, and a group of clients enjoy a hands-on crash course in sex

THE FIFTH ELEMENT
Film Four Sunday 29th June 10:50pm Alert me!

Luc Besson’s stunning, audacious science-fiction thriller stars Bruce Willis as Korben Dalls, an ex-government agent, now reduced to driving a taxi in 23rd-century New York. Into his lap falls the mysterious Leeloo (Milla Jovovich), a woman created from an alien cell who may be the only hope the world has of salvation from an ever-approaching evil. A visually stunning film that became a deserved cult classic.
STRICTLY BABY FIGHT CLUB
More 4 Sunday 29 June 10pm Alert Me!

This powerful, one-off observational documentary offers a rare insight into child Thai boxing, one of the fastest growing martial arts in the UK. Channel 4′s Cutting Edge strand enters the competitive and sometimes obsessive worlds of four families who are investing everything into training their kids to be the best young fighters in Britain. If you missed it the first time round, now is your chance to catch up on this controversial documentary.

GLASTONBURY 2008
BBC TWO, THREE Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 June Coverage starts 7pm Friday Alert Me!

Amy Winehouse, Duffy, Elbow and Jay-Z are just a few of the headline acts featuring in BBC Television’s continuing coverage of the UK’s biggest summer festival. Despite the Jay-Z controversy this is bound to be a fantastic weekend of music.

Snog Marry Avoid?

June 24, 2008 by  
Filed under Reviews

160×120_jenny_frost.jpgMondays 8:30pm BBC 3

I realised something interesting yesterday. It is possible to watch an entire evening of makeover TV. It fills you with self loathing, and the desire to shop yourself into debt in search of celebrity glamour, but it is possible.

For instance, last night I watched The Style Channel’s Style Her Famous. A funky girl with a throwback Punky Brewster wardrobe was made over into a bland Hillary Duff-a-like for reasons I could not fathom. She looked interesting before, and fun: After she looked like a sausage squeezed into too tight casing and hung with a chunky necklace. A weird look.

Then of course there is Extreme Makeover. Probably the weirdest makeover show I’ve ever seen. It comes from that Jerry Springer mode of unbelievable television that you can’t quite grasp the existence of.

BBC love to throw in their lot with some reality TV trend, giving it the old predictable BBC subversion. Snog, Marry, Avoid is the latest in this vein and rather than ‘make over’ someone, they make them ‘under’.

Taking some trash wannabes who nominate the hideous Jodie Marsh as their style icon (really? REALLY?? A poor man’s Jordan should be NO woman’s fashion icon), POD (the Personal Overhaul Device), a snarky computer programme voiced by a gleeful crew member I think, tells the girls some harsh truths about their looks. Cue shocked spider lashes and extensions akimbo as the public give some rather brutal feedback to the question Snog, Marry, Avoid? 100% Avoid all round.

Each girl is given an instant make under, stripping them of makeup and revealing outfits and dressing them instead in a demure, sophisticated fashion.

The concept is interesting, although the show lacks something of the ‘story’ of other make over shows. Mostly, these shows rely on the narrative of someone ‘bettering’ themselves, and this story draws us in. Snog Marry Avoid works almost more like a magazine article with a before and after picture. Also, it’s hosted by slightly annoying and not that natural looking Jenny Frost of ex-Atomic Kitten fame.

It doesn’t help that they seemed to have ripped off some poor Big Brother camera graphic to represent the bitchy ‘POD’.

With all this in mind, its nice to see a makeover show that is about revealing natural beauty rather than loading up on false glamour. Worth a look in for any fan of the genre.

The Lowdown on: Jason Bateman

June 23, 2008 by  
Filed under Reviews

Jason BatemanJason Bateman

Golden Globe-winning actor, Jason Bateman, has been in the news recently for his new deal with Twentieth Century Fox TV. Having just graced us with his pilot directing debut, “Do not Disturb?, he is now gearing up to start a year long contract with the studio to develop a series of projects through his company, F+A Productions, in the role of producer/director. But where the exactly did the actor turned director start out? What path has led him to where he is today?

Born in 1969, the son of

Hollywood producer, Kent Bateman, Jason began acting at 10 years old after starring in an educational film. Apparently he went along with his friend and was asked to read for the lead and miraculously got a job. Nevertheless, as with all these glowing, hazy success stories I’m sure he can’t have been too strongly sheltered from a potential acting career up to that point what with growing up in a family absorbed in the movie industry. His first significant role on our screens came in 1981 in “Little House on the Prairie? (NBC, 1974-1983), that wholesome show where the children joyfully trotted down the hill at the end (and you silently hoped that one would properly trip and go plummeting down taking the infuriating decency of it all with them). Go on, watch it and tell me that’s not what you want..
Do you remember that little scamp, the orphaned boy, who was adopted by Michael Landon, James Cooper? Well that was none other than Bateman in his younger, cuter days. “No way!? I hear you cry. Indeed, that fresh-faced, little boy getting a right talking to from Pa is baby Bateman.
Five years later, after a couple of reasonably mediocre sitcoms, he appeared in “Can you Feel Me Dancing?? (1986) co-starring with his sister, Justine – yep, another product of the Bateman acting machine – playing, wait for it, her brother (I can tell you’re surprised), while his father looked upon proudly in his role as Supervising Producer. Perhaps better remembered is Bateman’s role as the lupine college boy in the 1987 sequel “Teen Wolf Too? (ahum..also produced by his father). A classic eighties teen flick, “Teen Wolf Too? had the über pumping/nauseatingly earnest music, the changing-one’s-life-for-the-better montages and the romance that wasn’t really all that central to the plot (which essentially entails the protagonist overcoming a personal challenge), all indicative of the era’s genre.
After this, Bateman played the eldest son, David Hogan, in the family sitcom, “Valerie/Valerie’s Family/The Hogan Family? (they couldn’t make up their minds) for the extensive period of 1986-1991. He also began his directing interest here, directing two episodes at just eighteen years old. Throughout the nineties, he appeared in further fairly ropey sitcoms, including “Simon? (1995), “George and Leo? and “Chicago Sons? (1997) and by 2000 he starred in a pilot for a spin-off series based on the movie “Kiss me, Guido? which was picked up by CBS in the spring of 2001 under the name “Some of My Best Friends”. In 2002 he appeared in the movie “Sweetest Thing? with Cameron Diaz et al. But let’s get onto the good stuff, the crème de la crème of Bateman’s career to date, possibly the best comedy show ever made – yes, you guessed it, I’m talking about “Arrested Development? (2003-6). Cast as Michael Bluth, the eldest son of a well-to-do family shamed by their jailed father, his character takes on the responsibility of trying to keep them all on the straight and narrow. Nominated for Best Actor and awarded a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy Series in 2005, just recognition was granted to Bateman as he shone in the off-the-wall, breathtaking example of a comedy show, admirably moving effortlessly between the straighter moments and the ridiculous. Obviously, there are a bucket load of funny clips but below is just a taster of the delights the show offers.
Since then, Bateman has appeared in the movies “Dodge Ball: A True Underdog Story?, “Starsky and Hutch? (2004), “Arthur and the Invisibles?, “The Break-Up? (2006), “Smokin’ Aces?, “Ex?, “Kingdom?, “Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium? and “Juno? (2007). He has made guest appearances on other shows like “King of the Hill? and “The Simpsons?. Recently, he was recruited by “Arrested Development? creator Michael Hurwitz to lend his voice, along with some others from the cast, to “Sit Down, Shut Up? a new animated Fox comedy about teachers at a high school who are preoccupied with their own agendas. In his latest movie, due to be released July 2nd, he stars alongside Will Smith and Charlize Theron as PR Executive Ray Embrey in “Hancock?. The film centres on an alcoholic superhero (Smith) who has fallen foul of public opinion and enters into a dubious relationship with the wife of Embrey (Theron), the guy trying to salvage Hancock’s image. I have to say, it looks set to be a highlight of this summer’s movies. To see a trailer, go to www.sonypictures.co.uk/movies/hancock/ So it looks like Jason Bateman ain’t done half bad. After bursting onto the movie scene in the eighties with more hair than most mullet-owners at the time, he has managed to sustain a career in fairly routine sitcoms until reinventing himself at the brink of forty by way of a genius comedy programme. An unlikely Hollywood hero perhaps, but a witty addition to any film and a pretty damn good director to boot (who wants to be the predictable monkeyboy dreamboat anyway?!), it would be exciting to see Bateman fronting something a little straighter some time soon, maybe a low glam, high emotion indie gig, I’m thinking along the lines of the emotionally wrenching and darkly humorous “The Savages?. He’s shown he can do standard funny, has the absurd nailed and he’s built up momentum in the directing world but he definitely has more to give in front of the camera. So come on Jason, show us some more of those orphan boy tears. We want you to move us. By Susan Allen

Rant: TV-born ‘Talent’ Not To Be Sniffed At

June 20, 2008 by  
Filed under Reviews

RantThere’s something rotten in the world of television these days. Dividing the nation, sending us to the phones in droves… Talent shows. But wait, this isn’t a rant about how reality TV is bringing the music industry to its knees, or how talentless dross is clogging the charts.

No. I want to present another side to the story. A slightly controversial viewpoint, if you will. I’m suggesting – wait for it – that some talent show alumni actually do have some talent. So many people love to leap onto their soapboxes to decry the tattered state of society since talent shows began to dominate the prime time (the same sort who come over all outraged when faced with more than just coffee or tea to choose from at Caffè Nero. “Mocha-chocca-locha? Double frappe-latte? Long wet venti?? they cry. “In my day the only choice you had was sugar or no sugar!? To these latter-day Luddites I long to shout ‘Get with the picture, you unimaginative chumps’. Most people are sophisticated enough to read the menu and differentiate between your run-of-the-mill filter coffee and your fancier alternative. The Dark Ages of boring beverages are over! But I digress.)

Don’t get me wrong – I don’t necessarily love TV talent shows or the artists they spawn. You won’t find Steve Brookstein on my iPod, that’s for sure. I’m just saying that we shouldn’t tar everyone with the same brush. If you doubt my wisdom, try watching one of Leona Lewis’s X Factor performances on YouTube. If that’s not talent, I don’t know what is. Not everyone loves a warbler, but you have to admit that the girl can sing.

But for every Leona Lewis who charms the nation and storms the charts there are three Leon Jacksons (“Who?? you might ask. Precisely.). For every Girls Aloud at Number 1 there’s a Hear’Say lurking in the bargain bin. So I’m not suggesting that reality TV should replace drama school, and I’m not saying that every winner is a glittering star in a pantheon all of their own. Far from it. I recently saw the musical ‘Grease’ whose lead duo was picked on the show ‘Grease is the Word’. They were passable. Not even nearly bad. But they weren’t great. They were miles behind the professionals in every way. Their singing was slightly off, their dancing was awry and their acting was lacklustre. But then again, I saw public-chosen Connie Fisher as Maria in ‘The Sound of Music’ last year (I like musicals, ok?) and she was fantastic. So there are no hard and fast rules. That’s why it’s best not to jump to negative conclusions about these people just because they come from a reality show.

However, I understand where a lot of the anti-talent show malaise comes from. Every time you flick the telly on these days there seems to be some sort of vote-a-thon where young dreams are broken nightly by high-trousered know-alls and their weepy sidekicks. It’s staple television. And it’s symbiotic too – these shows feed into the music industry, so everyone’s a winner. Aside, it seems, from swathes of the population who’ve had it up to here with the production line. But there’s only a supply because there’s a demand, so don’t be too quick to judge. Just a thought.

by Susie Gordon

Doritos Broadcast Project

June 17, 2008 by  
Filed under Reviews

This is the winner of the competition from Doritos for which the British public was encouraged to come up with a thirty second advert.  Following the contest first run in the

US, Doritos went one step further this time than simply showing off the winner on TV.  Last Thursday (June 12th) they made the winning advert the world’s first ever commercial to be broadcast in space.  Yes, that’s space, as in little green men, intelligent life forms etc etc.  Forget live adverts.  That’s so last month.  What advertising is about now is addressing the intergalactic market. 

Peter Charles, Head of the Doritos Broadcast Project said: “We are constantly looking to push the boundaries of advertising and this will go further than any brand has gone before… We also shouldn’t be too surprised if the first aliens start arriving on planet Earth immediately demanding a bag of Doritos.”  Ermmm… right…  Hang on a minute, this either says to me that advertising has gone a little more lala than usual or that we should seriously be thinking about the kind of message we’re sending to our far-flung neighbours.  An ad showing a tribe of Doritos sacrificing one of their members to a foreign being may not exactly be the kind of communication we want to initiate.  Considering that from a distance we don’t look too dissimilar to a bunch of edible little snacks ourselves perhaps, we should be aiming to lay a tad more emphasis on the rich complexity and value of our lives and move away from the ruthless tortilla chips (it kind of suggests that we’re hard-hearted sods who are potentially delicious).   

And, who says that the unearthly life forms will feel compelled to buy Doritos?  Ever seen Futurama’s “When Aliens Attack? (season 1, episode 12 where the Omicronians get hooked on the earth soap ‘Single Female Lawyer’ and when they say they want the character McNeil they actually just want more episodes of the soap)?  Maybe they’ll simply demand more adverts – that would certainly raise the bar. 

To check out the competition and the five runner-ups, go to www.youtube.com/user/DoritosYouMakeIt

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