Hit & Run: Extremely entertaining?
Thursday 27 August 2009
Channel 4 unveiled its autumn schedules yesterday, one of the highlights being Alone in the Wild, in which Ed Wardle, a cameraman of no previous experience of survival techniques, was left to fend for himself in the Canadian wilderness. Nice one; couldn't they throw in a couple of globe-trotting comedians while they're at it? "I guess I'll have a long haul of eating fish in front me", Wardle had blithely remarked before his departure, although it seems that, seven weeks into this experiment, he had to be airlifted out of the Yukon. The fish weren't biting and he was near to starvation. His girlfriend back in London had noticed on his Twitter feed that Wardle had apparently become delirious and started talking to the insects, which, let's face it, is darned-sight more exciting than the vast majority of Tweets.
The sorry tale of Mr Wardle's famishment has triggered predictable accusations of irresponsibility and exploitation. What was Channel 4 thinking of, etc, etc? But what if it had provided discreet back-up – a log cabin equipped with first aid kit, perhaps, or a fridge full of M&S ready meals – just in case things got hairy? Or just a little uncomfortable? Then of course we would have had a cheating row on our hands. You may recall the faking-it fuss when Bear Grylls was discovered to have been checking into a motel in Hawaii instead of being (as he informed viewers of Born Survivor) "a real life Robinson Crusoe" on a desert island. As for the supposedly "wild" mustangs in Nevada he bravely managed to lasso, well, they were less wild and more miffed...
So what do we want from these survival programmes? Non-survival? Or just some triumph-over-adversity escapism with a happy ending? If you want the former, check out the snuff movies on YouTube of Steve Irwin getting entangled with a stingray – the most viewed of which is dressed up as a soupy tribute to the Aussie 'crocodile hunter'.
Bear Grylls himself broke his shoulder just before Christmas on an Antarctic ice cliff requiring a daring air rescue, while, of course, Top Gear petrol-head Richard Hammond became a national hero after his jet-propelled car experienced a tyre-burst at 288mph. The law of averages says that sooner or later people doing dangerous things will come a cropper. meanwhile the equally immutable law of television states that dangers have to become ever more extreme. There's only one way this is heading. Straight to A&E. Gerard Gilbert
Don't get mad, get your own celebrity show
Do we need any more proof that producer-musician DJ Calvin Harris (aka Adam Wiles) doesn't care what people think? First came his online tirade earlier this month against pop critic Alexis Petridis, who dared to damn Harris's recently-released chart-topping album Ready for the Weekend (direct quote: "THIS ENTIRE INDUSTRY IS FULL OF RICH PEOPLE'S KIDS"). Now, he's got the careers of up-and-coming comedians in his sights. After Holly Walsh, a presenter for online magazine show Pocket TV dared to approach Harris with a jam jar that was allegedly super-glued shut (not a great gag, but not the worst you'll see) at July's Wireless Festival, Harris has come up with his response: Jam TV. It's a YouTube channel in which Harris approaches various of his celeb mates: Katy Perry, Goldie, Tony Robinson (Tony Robinson?) and asks them to open jam. His theory goes: what's more hilarious than a niche television show taking the piss out of a multi-millionaire celebrity? Answer: a multi-millionaire celebrity taking the piss out of a niche television show. Harris has pointed out that he's now received more hits than the original interview (he gets some 10,000 an episode, compared to some 3,000 for the original). All of this from a man who sings the lyrics: "I can't help but play around for sure; I get all the girls." What a charmer. We're sure Holly was thusly enamoured. Rob Sharp
How to be hip on a tights budget
Want to run with the fashion pack this season? Forget thigh-high boots with a sky-high price tag or a leather biker jacket that costs the Earth – the quickest and cheapest way to be on-trend for autumn/winter '09 is to follow Kate Moss's lead and put a ladder in your tights. The campaign pictures for her latest Topshop collection (right) show her sporting hacked hosiery that's part rock chick, part grunge 2.0. All this look requires is a pair of opaques, a some scissors and voilà! You've got yourself a stairway to style heaven. Rebecca Armstrong
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