|Broken box. Bleak.|
"We used to make programmes that had a beginning, a middle and an end," wept one television producer, as he lamented the death of his craft. "We educated, informed, entertained. We made, if I may venture, bloody good telly."
The admission from channels such as the BBC and Channel 4 that their programming has altered to meet audience demand to be "literally ecstatic" for every minute their eyes point goggle-box-wards comes amid protestations from ITV that "they're copying us, we invented 'dumbed-down', for heavens sake. What next? If they start making the kind of programmes we cobble together after our heavy sessions in the pub, we'll either have to up our game or... Oh, no, hang on, we can just put Ant and Dec and that Cowell bell-end on more often. Sorted. Mine's a Jägerbomb."
Whereas older-style television programmes expected you to watch from the beginning to the end, paying attention right the way through the middle and remembering what had happened earlier on in the programme until the final credits rolled, the new format goes something like this:
- Coming up! <Cue montage of bits yet to come from the programme>
- But first... <Bit of programme that you may never see again - pay attention>
- Here's what we've just told you! <Were you paying attention? Didn't matter, here it is again>
- Coming up next/After the break (depending on corporate status of telly channel - even BBC programmes get adverts on them on UKTV) <Here's what you're about to see. No need to pay attention, you'll see it again in a minute>
- Just now/Before the break (ditto status of telly channel) <Here's what we told you already.>
- Coming up! <Here's what you're about to see. No need to pay attention. You'll see it again in a minute.>
- Here's the bit of the programme you may only see once or twice more. Oh, go and make a cup of tea or cut your toenails, or write a novel, or anything else.
Well? Why don't we? We get what we deserve, televisually, after all...and what have we done to deserve TOWIE or Made In Chelsea, please?