This is an ex-tortoise

Another Broadcasting Complaints Commission bulletin arrives with a satisfying thunk on small screen's faux-leopardskin doormat, and we are led to wonder yet again why it is that these people have no grasp of basic statistics. Should several million people be deprived of their pleasure in watching obscene and offensive goings-on just because four people with nothing better to do of a stifling Tuesday afternoon break out their pot of green ink to scribble in barely literate rage to the all-powerful broadcasting watchdogs? Humph. One (count 'em) listener to Talk Radio UK - the evidence for madness is prima facie corroborated, m'lud - complained about an item on Chad Benson's show which involved "tasteless references to a frog [left]". Unfortunately, we are not enlightened any further, but we firmly believe that it's impossible to be tasteless about a frog because they're such revolting, slimy creatures already. Complaint rightly dismissed. But a total of 16 viewers complained about Simon Mayo's barrel-scraping, suicide- inducing, vomit-encouraging, dead, decomposing dog of a "show", Confessions. Not, you understand, because it's hideous, moronic broadcasting, but because the confessions made by contestants were anti-social or even criminal. Fair enough, and the BSC upheld the complaint with regard to the following revelations: setting fire to a young woman's hair; reversing a car into a policeman; stealing cutlery from a supermarket; placing an able-bodied child into a wheelchair to avoid queueing; burying a tortoise alive; stealing clothes from a launderette; chopping down a forecourt tree to use for Christmas; and stealing money from an employer. They're right: anybody who buries a tortoise alive deserves to be summarily shot. But apparently it's absolutely fine to: joy-ride in an army tank while drunk; send a stuffed pig's head to a relative; or place a toenail in a person's unattended food in a pub. What a strange world we live in, eh, viewers?

Bravo (ma non troppo)

Have you got satellite TV yet? Regular perusers of this column will no doubt have already rollerbladed down to Dixons with their chequebook and dog, screaming "Sell me a satellite system now or the dog gets it!" following our recent revelations about the spectacular programming available to you from outer space, but if you still need convincing, hark at this. Tomorrow sees the start of the much-flagged Cult TV Weekend on Bravo, the only TV channel which professes to have a personality. Yes, and I quote: "Bravo's personality is a unique combination of characteristics which make it unpredictable, irreverent, outrageous, anarchic, quirky, charismatic, eccentric, funny, ridiculous." So what is the Cult TV Weekend that makes it so unpredictable and outrageous? Er, it's 48 hours of old Seventies shows that they've just bought from ITC. Oh. Never mind, some of it's pretty good stuff, like The Prisoner and Sapphire and Steel, the eerie time-travel classic starring the strange Joanna Lumley (left).

Fluffy things with no mouths

Lost in the unforgiving jungle of new video releases? Let small screen grasp you moistly by the hand and lead you to refreshing, sun-dappled groves full of wild berries and cuddly creatures. From Monday, for example, you can shell out a well-earned pounds 6.99 on the BBC release, Moomin, the first two tales of the enchanting mouthless animals and their friends (below right). The realm of Moominland is a marvellous, magical place, my friend, a landscape of mountains, forests and rivers where the truly wondrous does happen, it's not really 1995 and you don't have to get up horribly early tomorrow morning. Bask in the joyous company of Tove Jansson's characters Moomin, Moominmamma, Moominpappa, Snork, Snorkmaiden, Snuffkin and Little My. The two stories on this tape are "The Moomin Valley in Spring" and "The Magic Hat", wherein Snuffkin finds a top hat which is leaking raspberry juice into the river, so he hides it in the cellar. I think I'm going to cry.

Compiled by Steven Poole

Comments