NOW YOU'RE TALKING; TV EYE
Saturday 01 February 1997
But these choice cuts are, in fact, culled from the pilot of The Show , Channel 4's new chat show hosted by the stand-up comedian, Bob Mills. Interviews are just part of the package, interspersed with fly-on-the-wall footage of the preceding week spent frantically trying to secure guests.
Mills takes time out from the hectic build-up to explain the thinking behind The Show. "Nobody wants a Parkinson-type chat show anymore. We're in an age of guys with ponytails and red braces and spins and hooks. The hook on Mrs Merton - that's a terrible choice of words now, isn't it? - is that she's an 80-year-old woman who can say what she likes. The spin on Clive Anderson is that he's a dreadfully clever Oxbridge type who is always undercutting people. The spin on this is that it's a perfectly straight chat show with extra little inserts of how it has come to be. In every job - whether you work in a bank or a garage - there is always a moment where you think, `If the customers could see what really goes on here...'"
Perhaps warming up for the show, Mills goes into chat overdrive. "What it comes from," he motors on, "is the fact that Jeff Pope has spent a long time making fly-on-the-wall documentaries - in schools, hospitals and police stations - but he's never been anywhere as interesting as the office where he edits these things. With any other subject, you'd have to make compromises; but with this, there are none, because Jeff controls the fly-on-the-wall team and us. He has complete access. No one can say `no'. He's a man who'll think for eight-tenths of a milisecond about people's feelings and then run with it anyway."
The Show is obviously no place for the precious. "That's the reason why I'm doing it instead of better-known showbiz types," Mills says. "From the shows I've done in the past - In Bed with Medinner, Win, Lose or Draw - viewers know that what they're seeing is what they'd get if they met me in Sainsbury's. So they'll see me being made up to look like Johnny Showbiz before the show on a Thursday, but then we'll flash back to Monday morning when I'm wearing jeans and looking like Johnny Scumbag - which is what I am. I don't have a great image to protect."
The risk is that it will just seem too "in", another example of TV eating itself. "We're aware of that," Mills concedes, "but the time is right. People are media-literate. There have been enough insider documentaries. A big phrase in the office is `I smell Christopher Biggins in this' - people know what you mean by that.
"The fact it's set in a chat show is irrelevant," he continues. "The logistics of getting a big player like Michael Palin to a certain place in time to do an interview are incredible. But a person getting a shop ready for a big sale will identify with the pressures."
So does this very post-modern show represent the future of TV chat? "It's such a ridiculous industry," Mills sighs. "In five years' time, someone will say, `Why don't we get a trained journalist and have him just talk with the guests? It's off-the-wall, but it might just work.' Then they'd pay a million pounds to get Parky back.
"But while the industry is obsessed with hooks and spins," he concludes, "The Show is the future. While this is the horse that's running, our money's on it."
`The Show' starts tonight at 10.30pm on C4
Life & Style blogs
iPhone 5C could be killed next year, and Apple’s cheap and cheerful line might die with it
Girl, 7, gets Tesco to remove 'stupid' sign suggesting superheroes are 'for boys'
Coke milk? Coca-Cola to launch premium milk brand called Fairlife
Black Friday: Best fashion deals -online and on the high-street
UK's first plus-size fashion magazine Slink hits the shelves: 'Style doesn't stop at size 8'
Ukip says babies born to immigrants in the UK should be classed as migrants – which would include Nigel Farage’s own children
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
Rochester aftermath: Sacking of Emily Thornberry will make work of Labour MPs '10 times harder'
Obama: The only people with the right to object to immigration are Native Americans
Ed Miliband's 'north London set' must be demolished to save Labour, say critics
- 1 Exodus Gods and Kings: Ridley Scott never considered casting 'Mohammad so-and-so from such-and-such' in lead role
- 2 This letter from a reader explains why women can’t play football
- 3 'You should come to my house and eat cheeses with me': 4-year-old sends adorable love letter to girl at school
- 4 Scientists predict green energy revolution after incredible new graphene discoveries
- 5 Michael Buerk wishes he'd killed Jimmy Savile when he had the chance - by pushing him overboard a cruise ship
Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: SURREY MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: What do you want to do with your career? Do yo...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This company is a leading expert in immunoassa...