The Third Leader: Harsh reality

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The Independent Online

Serious news, indeed: the vogue for television reality programmes may be over. Viewers, it seems, have not been seized by Celebrity Love Island, the two adjectives in which should, by rights, be helping the police with their inquiries into a nasty case of misrepresentation. Alarm bells are ringing and klaxons hooting in production offices everywhere as ITV insists it is "very, very pleased" with the show, the equivalent of the chairman's vote of confidence.

Serious news, indeed: the vogue for television reality programmes may be over. Viewers, it seems, have not been seized by Celebrity Love Island, the two adjectives in which should, by rights, be helping the police with their inquiries into a nasty case of misrepresentation. Alarm bells are ringing and klaxons hooting in production offices everywhere as ITV insists it is "very, very pleased" with the show, the equivalent of the chairman's vote of confidence.

Can this really be the end of watching groups of people in artificial situations who don't seem to have anything of interest to say to one another? Sorry, that definition might be drawn a little too widely, as it only leaves watching Huw Edwards when Gardeners' World isn't on, and would have the Parliament Channel in serious trouble.

No, I think the success of the one with monks points the way forward: a little more imagination, a raising of the game, and a few simple restrictions like no blondes with first names coined since 1975, and no men who have ever pushed their jacket sleeves up to their elbows (although here I feel an exception may have to be made for Huw and, possibly, Dr David Starkey). I would also propose an immediate ban on anyone being able to confide their innermost thoughts to their own video camera, especially late at night, especially at sea.

Farming, that would be interesting. Sorry? Ah, well, perhaps not, then. A library? Underwater? Ten people speaking different languages in a tower? Gordon Ramsay in a convent? Hoodies building their own shopping centre? Or perhaps we could just watch reality programme makers trying to come up with a reality programme.

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