Sunday, 23 January 2011

Politics and comedy - 10 O'Clock Live

Last night, I finally got around to watching a new programme on Channel 4, Ten O'Clock Live, which has been advertised quite a bit lately...  Channel 4's website describes it as a weekly, live comedy and current affairs show hosted by David Mitchell, Jimmy Carr, Charlie Brooker and Lauren Laverne - so I was looking forward to it...

Comedy and politics are two big interests of mine...  I love Charlie Brooker and David Mitchell, I like Jimmy Carr as well, and I'm fairly ambivalent about Lauren Laverne...  Naturally, I had high hopes for this show!

So, did it work?  Well, not as well as I'd hoped, I'm afraid to say...

Some parts were good - most particularly, Charlie Brooker's Newswipe-style break-downs of current affairs topics such as Sarah Palin...  However, I felt other parts of the programme didn't really come off...

In particular, the debate on bankers' bonuses was something of a flop, with very little content, and not enough time spent to do much more than gloss quickly over the main points of the issue...

Like other news and politics programmes, Ten O'Clock Live had brought in three interviewees to debate this issue, from contrasting perspectives - these three people were meant to bring their differing views to a round-table debate on "bonus culture" in modern banking, chaired by David Mitchell...  Although I am usually a big fan of Mitchell (as I've already mentioned) I didn't feel he did a good job chairing this debate, as the "host" of the show - I thought he was more concerned with playing to the crowd, as a comedian, than talking to the three guests as a political broadcaster...

The topic is a contentious one - and rightly so - and this means that a good, strong debate could be had...  Unfortunately, the public mood in this country at the moment is very anti-bank and anti-banker, and Mitchell decided it would be much easier to jump on that bandwagon, and cut across the guests as they tried to make their points with cheap jibes at the bankers than to let all sides of the argument be heard equally...  I felt this was a shame - it turned what could have been an interesting feature into an uninformative, populist banker-bashing farce...

Contrast this with Jimmy Carr's interview with an environmentalist academic with some unusual ideas about solving what are commonly referred to as "green" issues - Carr managed to be clever, entertaining and funny, without preventing the professor putting his points forward...

On the other hand, Carr's piece about the Tunisian unrest, in which he tried to sell Tunisia as a holiday destination, in a daytime TV-style pitch, felt strained, with many of the jokes seeming rather tired and predictable...

So, on the whole, a mixed reaction to the first broadcast of Ten O'Clock Live...  I think I probably will keep watching, over the next few weeks - but I will know, now that this a comedy and current affairs show with the emphasis very much on the comedy side, and I will know not to expect serious political commentary to take precedence over getting a few cheap laughs out of a typical studio audience...

3 comments:

Kim said...

I've been meaning to watch this but havent as of yet, but i have to say after reading this...i'm not sure i'm that bothered about it anymore

Kim said...

oh & hello by the way

Kit Marsden said...

Hello to you too! :)

Hmm, I don't know... It's probably worth giving it a chance, y'know - just, don't get your hopes up too much!

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