Start the lift, I want to get out
No such redemption for Out of Order (C4), though there were several moments when I wished it would turn into free-fall television as well. The programme's conceit (and never has the word been more appropriate) is that two guests have been trapped in a malfunctioning studio lift and are thus able to engage in an unmediated argument about some controversial subject. Presumably the virtues of the thing, and I'm really grasping at straws here, have something to do with compression and the absence of any outside intervention. Unfortunately the producers can't even keep faith with the minimal purity of their idea. The cameras keep popping out for a breath of fresh air, staring at the creaking cables. This tantalising image at least offers some relief from the bickering inside, if only by allowing you to fantasise about bolt-cutters.
The vacuous "freshness" of the idea, its gimmicky attempt to inject some adrenalin into an otherwise utterly routine piece of talk television, is a good example of the medium's current addiction to "innovative formats" ("Innovative" is the blurb-writer'sfavourite adjective). Like Panorama's shoddy courtroom drama on Monday, in which the case of Private Lee Clegg was reduced to sixth-form balloon debate, nobody seems to care very much whether the innovation is actually useful or not. In the case of Panorama (BBC 1) with its meaningless studio vote and abbreviated cross-examinations, only one thing was demonstrated with any clarity - that trials are better conducted in courtrooms, where they can generally proceed without the judge saying, "That's it, time's up" every five minutes.
In Out of Order you learn even less. The notional freedom of the arrangements is illusory - most participants will be familiar with the appetites of television producers and will know how to conduct themselves in a television studio, even if it's pretending to be a lift. Besides, it's hard to see that any genuine departure from the etiquette of the standard studio discussion would be very instructive anyway. It might be mildly interesting to see Norman Tebbit, say, losing his temper and punching out Lord Howe, but it wouldn't exactly throw new light on a complex issues.
The participants last night were Matthew Parris and Peter Tatchell and the notional subject was the decent conduct of gay men - should they out bishops and get rugby tackled by policeman or should they wear tweed jackets and write columns for The Times. "Normal service is about to be resumed," said a voice just before the end. "We regret any inconvenience caused." Well, not that much inconvenience -only 15 minutes down the drain - but I won't be around for the apology next week.
Crime Story (ITV) was even more depressing - an unedifying and shapeless reconstruction of the Leicester Hot Dog Wars, between rival gangs of burger vendors. It's best summarised as the story of how one fat bully killed another one,and it was the dramatic equivalent of a fat-soaked frankfurter - a thugwurst, perhaps. The performances were inept but the script didn't deserve any better. The one good touch was the bouquet at Fat Gary's funeral, a floral rendering of a hot dog, complete with rosebud ketchup. But I suspect real life should get the credit for that.
GlastonburyWI to make debut appearance at Somerset festival
TV reviewIt has taken seven episodes for Game of Thrones season five to hit its stride
FilmPalme d'Or goes to radical and astonishing film that turns conventional thinking about immigrants on its head
Potter's attempt to create an Essex Taj Mahal was a lovely treattv
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Saudi Arabia mosque bombing: Two volunteer security guards hailed as heroes for stopping Isis suicide bomber reaching worshippers
- 2 Maisie Williams has an excellent message for one confused fan
- 3 Puerto Rico, island of lost dreams: People are leaving the debt-hit territory in droves as near neighbour Cuba's star rises
- 4 Tampon tax scrapped in Canada after petition convinces conservative government
- 5 Kate Moss on the naked Calvin Klein shoot and the obsession that ended her relationship
Jay Z's Tidal could be about to lose Beyonce's music in ultimate humiliation
Britain's Got Talent 2015: Jamie Raven divides Twitter as fans expose mind-boggling magic trick
ASAP Rocky gives nauseating response to explicit Rita Ora rap: 'I'm not saying she's a terrible person'
Big Brother 2015 new housemates: Simon Gross returns as stripper Marc O'Neill, model Harry Amelia Martin and X Factor reject Sam Kay join
Burning Man festival revellers accidentally torch prehistoric artefacts in Israel
EU referendum: David Cameron's rules are a 'democratic disgrace', says French-born Scottish politician set to be denied a vote
British tourists complain that impoverished boat migrants are making holidays 'awkward' in Kos
A nation of inequality: How the UK is failing to feed its most vulnerable people
Australian man punched in the face for defending Muslim women from abuse on train
David Starkey 'tells Amal Clooney to shut up and stop over-promoting human rights'
EU referendum: David Cameron to deny EU migrants and under-18s the chance to vote