Monday, 23 November 2009

Is There Anybody There?

I’m *that* far away from demanding a refund with our Television Licence. Were it not for the fact that we have a million and one other channels courtesy (paid for courtesy of course) those nice** Virginal people so, okay, it’s not as if it’s the ONLY channel we can watch at that time – whatever that time is. After all, these programmes seem to be constantly on a loop-de-loop. It’s a wonder Sarah Beeney hasn’t gone down in medical history the number of times she’s been pregnant-not-pregnant all within the space of 24 hours – she must be exhausted, poor thing.

Anyway, my truck, viewers, is with that most stupid of stupidest programmes to ever have the idiot mad sense to ‘grace’ our screens. And quite how or when or by whom this ridiculous idea for a programme was passed remains almost as mysterious as the content of the programme itself.

In England we have ‘Most Haunted’. In the US, I think it’s called ‘A-Haunting’ which at least sounds a little nonsensical to start with so it begs a tongue-in-cheek attitude at the off (similar to ‘a-wassailing’ only with night-vision cameras and no carol-sheets).
And for the life of me I cannot remember a more ill-spent use of my viewing time other than the second or third year during Big Brother when I deliberately tuned in to see what all the fuss was about and spent about 40 minutes watching bodies sleeping followed by chickens peck the dusty ground for whatever it was they were looking for – inspiration or a way out – and the rest listening to irritatingly silenced-out random conversations about how hot and dusty it was and what were the chickens doing? Total waste of time. I’ve been more interested in hold-music and believe me recently I’ve heard a lot.

These people GET PAID to stand in dark rooms wearing padded coats and pained expressions, waiting. For what? They ‘get feelings’ about things. Oh yeah? They probably get the feeling that their pay packets will be nice and substantial and paid for by idiot Us, the viewing public. Then the ‘atmosphere’ (i.e. room/corridor/stairway somewhere – anywhere – they don’t care) in which they stand is so clogged with spiritual activity that they have to get in some supernatural expert to confirm that the air they are currently breathing is, in fact, laden with paranormal activity and they’ll have to get their table out.
Table out.
They all sit around, some cameraman at the back starts to hyperventilate and so another camera swings round unsteadily to catch him hyperventilate, during which time “Whoa, did you feel that?!” Answer: No, because this is television – a visual thing – not a tactile thing – we felt nothing. And, for the record – how do we know you bloody well did anyway?

“Something just touched my leg!” somebody shrieks and off we go again - a dodgy spin of the camera with loads of shake, some expressions of feigned shock and terror (ahem – terror?) and it was probably Kevin the hyperventilating cameraman who touched somebody’s leg as he toppled over with the sheer boredom of trying to hold a camera up waiting for nothing to happen again.
Nothing Happens.
And we’re the idiots who sit glued to it waiting for something to happen.
It’d be more believable if they at least put some spooky music to it like in Scooby Doo instead of all this heavy breathing and everyone comparing their levels of clamminess and fear and trying to out-do each other in heart-rate comparisons.
My god, in the American version they even have instruments – proper Ghost-hunting instruments like heat sensors and motion detectors – trip wire - and all that nonsense to help them see these apparitions.
But nobody ever has.
Have you?
Have they?

You only have to stand behind a particularly grumblesome old person in a queue somewhere to know that anybody can stand there and say they feel scared and they feel cold and they have a bad feeling about something. But very few of us have the unqualified cheek to demand they get paid for reporting these personal sentiments to a viewing public.

Of course, I’ll expect all of you to be racking up the viewing figures for me when I commission a pilot for a new show called ‘When Paint Dries’.
It’ll be edge-of-seat stuff, I’m telling you.

**not always

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