Posts Tagged ‘news’

One of the mainstays of US comedy for the past couple of decades has been The Daily Show. Originally helmed by Craig Kilborn, it only really took off under his successor Jon Stewart. When Stewart retired from the show after 16 years, his successor Trevor Noah- after a fairly ropey start – managed to make the show his own.

It took me a good two years to ‘get’ Noah’s version of the show, though it wasn’t like I watched every episode. I wasn’t waiting for the show to work for me or anything. But I watched every so often, and after about two years, it hit me that the show was clever enough, professional enough, and funny enough for me to think ‘ok, now I want to see what the show does about this and what it says about that.’

Every so often, there’s an attempt to answer the calls and try to make a UK equivalent of The Daily Show.

And it has even been tried a couple of times; arguably. the most successfully (or least unsuccessfully with Trevor McDonald and Marcus Brigstocke. Others might point at 10 O’Clock Live with Charlie Brooker, David Mitchell, Lauren Laverne and Jimmy Carr.

Or, being cruel, maybe that should have been “Others might point at 10 O’Clock Live with Charlie Brooker, David Mitchell, Lauren Laverne… but Jimmy Carr.”

UK versions fail for a variety of reasons, but they always fail.

There are lots of reasons why, each specific to the individual show, but there’s one ever-present reason why all of them fail: UK comedy shows aren’t allowed to use clips from parliament for the purposes of satire, comedy or mockery.

Yeah, I know. Last Week Tonight with John Oliver even makes a thing of it; whenever they show something from Parliament, the UK broadcast has to replace the clips of parliament with something else; Oliver chooses to make it something entirely irrelevant and silly, like Gilbert Gotfried reading TripAdvisor reviews.

But comedy shows aren’t the only time permission or rights refusals have stopped an adaptation of a foreign show working in the UK.

A few years ago, there was a tv panel show called The Bubble; it was a success overseas but never really rose above mediocre when tried in the UK.

And mainly, thought not solely, that was because the main news media refused permission for the programme to mock up news items purporting to be real.

Why would that be needed? Well, the simple but superbly clever concept was this:

The Bubble asks three celebrity contestants to separate true news stories from fakes after spending four days locked away in a country house with no phone, TV or internet access.


The host will present them with a mix of news reports, headlines and images from TV, newspapers and celebrity gossip magazines.

And “all” the contestants have to do is say which stories are true and which have been made up.

The obvious thought is: “ok, some stories are obviously going to be true and some are obviously going to be false, it’s going to be the one that could be true that will be the tough ones…”

But I always think in response “No, it won’t. It’ll be the utterly ludicrous ones…”

Suppose instead of four days, the contestants had been locked away since 31st December 2020.. I’ll exclude celebrity deaths because every year has people die unexpectedly. And I’ll similarly exclude anything to do with the existence of Covid, since we’d had almost a year of it already by the end of last year.

But suppose when exiting, after six months, the contestants are given the following: 

  • An insurrection at the US Capitol with a genuine, armed, attempt to prevent Joe Biden becoming President
  • Elected representatives actively helping said insurrection, and letting rioters in to state legislatures
  • Elected representatives who downplayed the seriousness of the insurrection being proposed to sit on the committee investigating it
  • England reaching the final of Euros 2020… in 2021
  • A Canadian MP was first caught naked in a zoom call with colleagues, then was caught urinating on camera — and he’s NOT related to Doug Ford.
  • The Olympics, a year delayed, going ahead in a country with increasing covid infections, with only 1 in 5 fully vaccinated
  • All Nippon Airways, selling tickets for airline dinners on the runway, never leaving the ground
  • Matt Hancock has to resign after being caught on his own department’s CCTV in an amorous hug with an aide
  • John Bishop crashed his car to avoid “a big chicken”
  • Bibi Netanyahu no longer Israeli PM
  • Someone pays $2.9m so they could say they own a 15 year old tweet
  • Tussaud’s has to put Trump’s waxwork into storage because people kept punching it
  • Scientists officially investigate whether sightings of the Loch Ness Monster could be whale penises.
  • 1500 bottles of vodka made from radioactive apples grown near Chernobyl is prevented at the last minute from being exported to the UK
  • Australian researchers claim short sighted people have worse sleep than those with normal vision
  • In New York, a Catholic priest claims demons have been contacting people by text.

I think more than a few contestants would be repeat-pushing the “Made Up Story” button, don’t you?

See you tomorrow, with… something else.

 

 

Fifty-seven days. Fifty-seven posts. One fifty-seventh birthday.


I’m trying something new with this run. I’ve signed up to ko-fi.com, so if you fancy throwing me a couple of dollars every so often, to keep me in a caffeine-fuelled typing mood, feel free. I’m on https://ko-fi.com/budgiehypoth

This post is part of a series of blog entries, counting down to my fifty-seventh birthday on 17th August 2021. You can see the other posts in the run by clicking here.

One of the things that never ceases to amaze, please and distress me all at the same time is the always-on connection to the news.

I’ve ben a news junkie for as long as I can recall. I mean, there are stories of me as a kid transfixed by whatever was on television at the time, whether it was Play School, Thunderbirds or The News.

My dad apparently made some sort of comment about ‘time for bed’ when I was a young child, watching the news, having no idea who these people were, or what the story was… and me being insistent that I had to watch until the end of the tv programme, or it didn’t count.

(Yes, it has occurred to me more than once that this was just a way for a very young me to avoid ‘bedtime’, and there’s probably something to that.)

But yes, once upon a time, we found out the news at scheduled times, and the idea that I could access ‘news’ at any point, about anything… well, I’m not saying at that tender age it would have been that important, but certainly by the time I was a teenager, it would have seemed perfect to me.

Well, now I can, and it’s not perfect at all, by any means.

And no, I don’t mean the biases in certain ‘news’ broadcasts, and on certain ‘news’ websites, although that’s obviously a problem, a given, so to speak.

No, I speak – or at least write – of the feeling I get when I’m away from the news even briefly.

I had a haircut this morning. Thanks, yeah, it did go well.

But while I was sat in the chair, or having my hair washed, or chatting with the hairdresser, a lovely lady who regularly manages the almost impossible task of making me look good, I was… offline. Oh, my phone was connected, but I wasn’t looking at it. And even had something of vital importance been occurring, I’d not have picked up the phone to see.

But, as soon as it was done, as soon as I left the salon, having booked the next appointment, out came the phone, and in short order, BBC News website was opened and read, then Twitter was opened and checked.

There wasn’t even a conscious thought; I just did it automatically.

Now, I’m a huge advocate of ‘it’s a sad day when you don’t learn someting’, but did I learn anything?

Anything important?

Not really. Some more developments in stories i knew about because I’d read about them before I went to get my hair cut. Some new commentary on the same stories. Some

I’d never insult those fighting serious addictions to attach the word lightly to my own desire for news on an ongoing basis, and my feeling of missing out when I’m prevented – even for a brief moment – from being able to instantly see and hear what’s happening.

But yeah, it”s probably not the healthiest frame of mind in which to love.

huh. I meant to type live there, not love. But you know what, it also applies.

Something else tomorrow…

2017 minus 51: The Bubble

Posted: 11 November 2016 in 2017 minus, media, politics, world
Tags: ,

A few years ago, there was a tv ‘panel show’ called The Bubble; it was a success overseas but never really rose above mediocre when put on in the uk. Partly it was because the main news media refused permission for the programme to mock up news items purporting to be real. Why would that be needed? Well, the simple but very good concept was this:

The Bubble asks three celebrity contestants to separate true news stories from fakes after spending four days locked away in a country house with no phone, TV or internet access.


The host will present them with a mix of news reports, headlines and images from TV, newspapers and celebrity gossip magazines.

And “all” the contestants have to do is say which stories are true and which have been made up.

The obvious thought is: “ok, some stories are obviously going to be true and some are obviously going to be false, it’s going to be the one that could be true that will be the tough ones…”

But I always think in response “No, it won’t. It’ll be the utterly ludicrous ones…”

Suppose instead of four days, the contestants had been locked away for the best part of a year. I’ll exclude deaths because every year has people die unexpectedly. And I’ll similarly exclude health scares like Zika and terrorist attacks – sadly, they happen every year. But suppose when exiting, the contestants are given the following: 

  • Leaks of tax avoidance and evasion name top politicans around the world
  • Russia boasts about interfering in the US Presidential election
  • In a movie about Captain America fighting Iron Man, the universally acknowledged star was Spider-Man
  • Britain votes for Brexit
  • The FBI interferes in, but most definitely doesn’t boast about doing so, the US Presidential election
  • Boris Johnson is Foreign Secretary
  • The final videocassette recorder is manufactured
  • David Cameron leaves The House of Commons
  • The KKK formally endorse a major party nominee in the US Presidential election
  • Liam Fox is back in the Cabinet
  • Michael Gove isn’t
  • Shami Chakribarti is in the Shadow Cabinet, as was – briefly – Paul Flynn
  • London elects its first Muslim mayor
  • China ratifies a global climate agreement
  • A British MP is murdered
  • Americans know who Nigel Farage is
  • British people know who Tim Farron is
  • Great Britian does better in the 2016 Summer Olympics than they did in 2012
  • Sepp Blatter quits as FIFA President under a cloud of corruption allegations
  • David Davis is back in the Cabinet
  • The British Leader of the Opposition loses a confidence vote of his MPs 4:1, then stays on, faces a leadership challenge, wins and is stronger than ever, even though most of his MPs still think he’s crap
  • Samsung phones blow up, as do their washing machines
  • Donald Trump wins the US Presidential Election.

I think a few people would be repeat-pushing the “Made Up Story” button, don’t you?

Hold the Front Page!

Posted: 28 September 2014 in media
Tags: , ,

Came across an old blog entry from my previous blog by a series of coincidences that are far too long and complicated to go into here. But it was interesting enough for me to repost below. Enjoy.


Well, that was interesting…

Spent yesterday evening at the British Library at an event put on by the Library, the media society and Newsnight, looking at the Front Page, an exhibitopn covering the best front pages from British Newspapers since 1906 (the earliest example on show was from The Daily Mirror from 1909.)

A fascinating debate with newspaper editors discussing what makes a ‘good’ front page, and the mistakes that can be made, as well as stories behind some of the great headlines of our time.

(And yes, although the debate and exhibition were solely about national British newspapers, they couldn’t let the classic New York Daily Post headline of “Headless Man Found in Topless Bar” go by unremarked.)

Eleven front pages were chosen (in my opinion, only a couple of them should have qualified for the ‘best ever front page’, and they missed out some absolute scorchers), and the winner was:

The others that were in contention:


The militant campaign by the suffragettes to get women the vote represents a major 20th century movement as women progressively sought equal rights. (22nd May 1914)


The seemingly miraculous escape of 300,000 British troops from Hitler’s advancing armies in an armada of “little ships” was greeted at home as proof that Britain could survive to fight the Nazis. (3rd June 1940)


Sport moves from the back page to the front (october 1968)


US astronaut Neil Armstrong’s famous “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” as the Apollo XI commander became the first man on the moon, was a defining moment. Note though how the picture is admitted to be a reconstruction… (21st July 1969)


News of the sinking of the Argentine cruiser General Belgrano, by a British nuclear submarine during the Falklands war, was greeted enthusiastically by The Sun. (4th May 1982). Interestingly, during the debate, Roy Greenslade revealed that – contrary to the legend that has grown up about this headline – Kelvin Mackenzie was never happy with it and as soon as reports came through that 1200 Argentinians had died, pulled the headline, replacing it with “Did 1200 have to die?” “Gotcha” was only ever seen on the Northern editions.


Don’t ask. I mean, really, don’t ask. (13th March 1986)


Britain’s relationship with the rest of Europe has often been a fractious one, with tensions within and towards the European Union diving the main political parties. This Sun headline marked a new turn in an old argument. (1st November 1990)


The murder of Stephen Lawrence, a black student, in south London, was elevated to symbolic status when the Daily Mail accused a group of men of a racially-inspired killing. No convictions resulted, but the case was one of several that highlighted the stresses of race relations in a changing Britain. (14th February 1997)


The disgrace of former Tory minister Jonathan Aitken, who would be jailed for perjury, arguably represents the power of the press at its best, challenging those in authority. (21st June 1997)


Britain’s troubled relations with Ireland in the 20th century saw the Easter Rising, the birth of the Irish Free State – today the Irish Republic – and the Troubles. The Independent’s story reflects a potential turning point. (29th July 2005)