The 10’clock Bore

Have you ever had an idea, that on paper looked and sounded so good but in reality turned out to be just terrible? It happens a lot in life and it has happened just now on Channel Four with their satirical current affairs show, 10 O’Clock Live.

Now I may not have the right to judge this show as I didn’t watch much of the first series and only really watched the election night special. As mentioned this show, on paper sounds incredible. Really it does. 10 O’Clock live is supposed to be a satirical look at current affairs by a talented team of some of the cleverest, funny people on TV… and one woman who used to be in a some sort of punk version of B*Witched and now presents cool music festivals even though she’s pushing 40. So on this panel we have said, anarchic MILF Lauren Laverne, everybody’s favorite geek David Mitchell, possible child grooming mole Jimmy Carr and TV addict Charlie Brooker who is strangely getting younger with every television appearance he makes. So yeah, just what the country needs in these times of woe, a comedic way of looking at the news and with a dream team panel. It sounds like a great set up for a show- certainly for the Channel Four producers who allegedly dropped the USA’s Daily show for this program. However, I sat down to watch this weeks 1st episode of series 2, to find the whole thing fall flat on it’s arse live in front of the nation.

Now I know it might be harsh to judge the show on the first episode… but I’m going to. The whole thing was a mess from start to finish. First off, I think the main problem is that I don’t think the show knows who it’s target audience is. Is it young people? Students? “Lefties”? I have no idea. My main guess would have to be geeks who are bullied at school, because that’s who David Mitchell seems to be arguing a case for all the time. His rants come across like some crazy child’s final madcap youtube message, uploaded just before he shoots up his classmates at school. Mr. Mitchell is without a doubt the worst part of the show. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of Mitchell but throughout the show he came across like the annoying kid at school who always started unnecessary debates with the teachers, which always resulted in the class going on for longer due to the child continually heckling the teacher and failing to outwit and outsmart them. Similar to a school child he also does that thing that kids do when they get real bollocking by the teacher, his eyes water up. Whenever somebody argue’s his opinion to the point he can’t retaliate (I’ve noticed this on other panel shows too) he seems to just stutter for a bit with misty eyes and resorts to repeating his original point using marginally different vocabulary. I also found it so incredibly stupid to have him doing a section with Alastair Campbell (who was as infuriatingly annoying as ever) and Clarke Carlisle on football, something that Mitchell is clearly not interested in. It’s obvious his preferred subject is politics so why let him of all people cover this section? Clarke Carlisle seemed to come on the show with some brilliant things to say however all the excellent points he raised were met with a snobbish grin from Mitchell that would prompt Campbell to annoyingly jump in half way through with a pathetic bit of “playful banter”. Carlisle and indeed Mitchell raised some interesting points about footballers being seen as role models however the discussion was completely lost with the childish, petty bickering between Mitchell and Campbell on weather football is a good sport or not. If you’re one of those people who can’t kick a ball and so instead take comfort in pretending anyone who can is an idiot, you would probably have enjoyed this section. The normal people out there however, whether sports fans or not, found the whole thing pathetic and most cringe-worthy. 

Throughout the show Mitchell acted like something had crawled up his arse and died, with a chip on his shoulder he took all the discussions too seriously for a satirical comedy show. After a long and boring rant it took equally grumpy Charlie Brooker to break the tension by almost ‘breaking character’ for one moment to make a child like joke about bankers doing forfeits, just to remind everybody we’re actually watching a comedy show. I felt kind of bad for good old Charlton. His section of the show was essentially a live version of the rants he does in Newswipe and Screenwipe, however this did not work at all. Although the jokes were funny, Brooker was quite obviously nervous on live TV, you could see he was visibly shaking. I’m not criticizing him for this, I would be petrified, so I just wonder whether instead- his section could have been a seperate video package. Surely not all of it has to be live? His nerves caused him to rush and fumble his lines at times and his comedy timing suffered because of it (See the joke about the Queen and the Vajazzle) Either way his material was solid. I was also kind of confused to see at the end of the show when the presenters return to the table for one last debate, Brooker sit in silence and not say a word. Is he always like this in these parts of the show? If so I’m not sure live telly is for him, although I’m sure this was just a one off. And if live TV isn’t for him- who cares? The guy is satirical genius and doesn’t need this show. 

So just when the show can’t get any worse it does… We’re told by Laverne that we are in fact going live to Russia and we get Jimmy Carr doing some sort of shit impression of what looks like a Nazi, Max Headroom and then he wrestles a bear and… well the less said about this bit the better. The skit was dreadful and looked like a scene from a student union’s bad comedy improv night. Jimmy Carr looked embarrassed, as did the audience, it was just embarrassing. Although funny at times, the usually witty Carr seemed to spend most the night like a child who’d had too much Haribo. He would come in with one liners that sounded like they had been stolen from Noel Fielding on Nevermind the Buzzcocks. Having said that though, these childish little jokes were funny and in most cases interrupted a boring Hitler-like rant from Mitchell, so I’m fine with that. 

The only person who looked comfortable throughout the who show was Laverne. She held what was left of the show together and asked some interesting and balanced questions. Although I assume this is what she is primarily there for, she did her job well. She had her own section where she gave a balanced views over the fat cat bankers of England receiving their bonuses. This was the only part of the show where I actually heard something news related worth listening to and Laverne made a good argument. Having said that however I do question on how much of this research was done by Laverne herself, I would imagine very little. If i’m wrong about that however, I’m an idiot and I apologize. 

I’m not going to give up on the show straight away, I’ll be watching next week. To sum-up, from what I have seen so far from this so called “current affairs” show, it did contained bits and bobs from the news this week, however 80% of it was not worth talking about. The format was terrible and they need to axe the naff sketches straight away. Mitchell needs a dog collar that electrocutes him every time he rambles on about something nobody cares about for too long. He could also try making a decent joke once in a while and not just wait for a guest to come on and offend them. Brooker needs his section completely re-worked. Jimmy Carr just needs to be the intelligent and witty man that he is because at the moment he comes across as the Neil from the Inbetweeners of the foursome. And Laverne, errm… well she can just wear some tighter clothes or something… show a bit more leg? I don’t know!

Seriously though it was a shame to see such a talented group of performers and a great idea fall flat on it’s arse. As I said the show is such a great format and I think that’s why I was so disappointing with the episode. Anyway as I said I’ll be watching next week either way and hopefully I’ll be glad I tuned in.

by Sam C. 

P.S. A quick update! Here is an article I found in The Guardian after writing this review. The article is an interesting review of the previous series that recommends way’s to make the show better. Worth a read: 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/tv-and-radio/tvandradioblog/2012/feb/08/10-oclock-live-improve-the-show

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