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22.09.18

Cheap Cheap Cheap: Escape from the Cuntery

Posted 22nd September 2018

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Cheap Cheap Cheap - Barry and Noel

It isn’t a game show crossed with a sitcom, of course.

Oh, Hat Trick might have tried to sell it like that. It was the line used in all the pre-publicity. But the word “sitcom” simply oversells the narrative element of Cheap Cheap Cheap. If people really tuned into the programme expecting a sitcom, no wonder they were disappointed with what they saw.

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30.10.16

Name Something Documentary Makers Should Avoid

Posted 30th October 2016

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MAX BYGRAVES: Name something people take with them to the beach.
BOB JOHNSON: Turkey.
MAX BYGRAVES: The first thing you buy in a supermarket.
BOB JOHNSON: Turkey.
MAX BYGRAVES: A food often stuffed.
BOB JOHNSON: Turkey! [laughs]

Family Fortunes, Series 5 Episode 3. TX: 28th October 19831

You’ve all heard of the Family Fortunes turkey incident, right? The Johnson Family get to the final round, Bob Johnson takes the stand, and proceeds to answer “Turkey” for the first three questions, and runs out of time for the last two. Cue a shot of one member of his family looking particularly murderous.

Hey, describing it removes all the fun. Take a look at the entire round below:

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  1. I specifically wanted to give a TX date for this episode, as it’s rarely mentioned whenever this incident is discussed, but nailing it down has been slightly tricky. The episode number and TX date I’ve stated are taken from IMDB, but it’s worth noting that IMDB can be inaccurate when it comes to things like this. A comprehensive list on Digital Spy claims the Johnson v. Dalby show is actually Episode 3, broadcast on the 28th October 1983. This seems to be some kind of confusion between two different Johnson families – next time I’m near a TV Times archive I’ll clear this up once and for all.

    UPDATE: This piece originally gave the TX date as 18th November 1983, along with the ass-covering above. Many thanks to Steve Williams, who has confirmed that it was actually 28th October 1983.  

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19.07.15

The Crystal Maze and “Modern Audiences”

Posted 19th July 2015

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So, that’s it – the Indiegogo for the “live immersive experience” of The Crystal Maze has closed, with an absolutely whopping £927,252 raised – a full 185% 85% over target.

If you haven’t heard of the project, this from the Indiegogo page sums it up:

“In the 90’s, The Crystal Maze, was one of the UK’s favourite television shows. Now we’re planning for it to return as a live immersive experience right in the heart of London!

You’ll get to play the maze just as contestants did on the original show – placing you at the centre of the action. What we really want, is for people to live the magic of the hit television programme for themselves.

We will be lovingly recreating the famous set just as it was on the original show. All four famous zones will be present; Aztec, Medieval, Industrial and Futuristic, not forgetting of course, The Crystal Dome!”

But the part I want to concentrate on is the following:

“Modern audiences want to do, not watch. In recent years, there has been a cultural shift towards entertainment that audiences can engage with in a more active way. More and more we are finding new audiences who want to experience, interact, and play as opposed to watch.”

Horseshit.

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15.04.14

The Topic I Never Thought I Would Write About On Dirty Feed

Posted 15th April 2014

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So, the BBC has an interview with Ricky Gervais.

(Sorry.)

It’s about the second series of his “sitcom” Derek – and if you think I’m being mean with the scare quotes, Gervais himself invites them in the interview. Those who know me may be absolutely astounded to know that I have an awful lot of issues with what he says. But let’s skip past all the disability stuff, and just focus on the bit where he insults 50% of the population instead:

“The comic is keen to get under the skin of those “real” people – and one of his favourite themes is ‘men acting childishly’, which he describes as ‘my weakness’.

‘They just should know better, men don’t grow up – that’s always the theme I’ve had, women as adults and men as boys. Women don’t act like that! Proper stupidity is fascinating.'”

Really? Women don’t act like that? Bollocks. Utter horseshit. Some of the most fun times in my life have been spent with women behaving absolutely ridiculously.1. I can’t think of a more boring way to write female characters than “women as adults”. Not allowing women to be silly is not only a fairly fundamental flaw when it comes to writing comedy, but it makes you wonder exactly how Gervais sees the world.

It all reminds me of the very weakest parts of Men Behaving Badly. Gary and Tony get to do all the stupid fun stuff, and then we cut back to Dorothy and Deborah being sensible and tedious. The best moments were when Nye realised the women could be ridiculous too, and that just didn’t happen often enough.

If you want a sitcom that’s an antidote to all this crap, may I recommend Mom? Two lead female characters, doing things that are as stupid and as idiotic and as hilarious as can be. Real characters, not “sensible women” ciphers.

It’s not just how I like my comedy. It’s how people are.


  1. Shut it. 

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10.11.12

Weird Edits Part #8274232

Posted 10th November 2012

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Beware: this post is at the extreme end of television geekery. If you object to that, pop off to Digital Spy, now.

Back? Good. Here then, is something I guarantee you haven’t noticed before about Father Ted, brought to my attention by the not-literally eagle-eyed Danny Stephenson. The episode in question is Are You Right There, Father Ted? – take a look at the beginning of the bedroom scene between Ted and Dougal. (Ignore the ad break that’s been cut out there for the DVD release – that’s a whole separate issue…)

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26.02.12

Dirty Feed Podcast #1: TV Offal

Posted 26th February 2012

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TV Offal title sequence

Because there clearly aren’t enough of them in the world, here’s the first in a new venture on Dirty Feed – a podcast. This episode, I use Victor Lewis-Smith’s 90s series TV Offal as an excuse to play a one minute long jingle from a radio station in Denver:

Download Podcast #1: TV Offal (22MB MP3, 12:00)
(Subscribe using RSS / iTunes)

These will be published WHENEVER I CAN BE BOTHERED, and are deliberately starting off pretty short. Feedback more than welcome – I’ve been involved in G&T’s Dwarfcasts for over five years now, but this is the first time I’ve done one myself.

Give it a listen! Or: don’t.

With thanks to David Barras, Bigdave, Robin Blamires, jlehmann, jonno, Sean Martin, and mjb1124 on JingleMad for help and audio.

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