|L-R David Mitchell, Lauren Laverne, Jimmy Carr and Charlie Brooker (as if you didn’t already know)|
I’ve just seen a Channel 4 promo featuring the likes of David Mitchell, Lauren Laverne, Charlie Brooker and Jimmy Carr. It’s for 10 O’Clock live – the ‘satirical’ news show that took over our screens on Thursday nights for 15 weeks last year.
Pitched at viewers who need some laughter with their politics, turned off by Question Time and Newsnight, Brooker and co have returned, with a shorter run-time and, hopefully a new look.
This time last year I was thoroughly looking forward to some of my favourite TV personalities taking over my television and shouting at me about the week that was.
Unfortunately, I was sorely disappointed. Last week I saw someone tweet that Andrew Neil’s BBC show ‘This Week’ was our version of The Daily Show (despite it being weekly). I’m sure I can hear your moans of despair pre-emptively, as I type. Given that last week’s show ended with Alistair Campbell murdering some bagpipes using only his elbow as Michael Portillo wanly assaulted a triangle, you can be forgiven for your exhalation of grief.
I’m looking back to 10 O’Clock Live for my satire.
Whilst 10OCL was clever in truly keeping up with the news of the day – unlike Have I Got News For You which fell short in the case of resigning MPs in the furore over expenses and last summer’s riots; Mock the Week and the hacking scandal and even the ‘live’ Jonathan Ross show – all shows that suffer from the trouble of prerecording before a major news story takes hold.
But that wasn’t enough to save it from a litany of despair. I found the spoof sketches disappointing and unfunny and the ascerbic irreverance that I expect from Brooker and Mitchell in their written articles just feels tired and hackneyed when delivered onscreen.
Trying to fit so much into the show meant it was fractured, fluffy and inconsequential. There was a real image confusion for the show – was this a show for grown-ups, delivering political satire or was the show hogging too many audience – grabbing and dragging as many niches as it could, rendering it useful to no one?
Use of a live audience didn’t work as the fact there was more laughter emanating from my television set rendered the dearth of laughter on my side all the more obvious.
Some have criticised its presenters’ homogeneic political standpoints and allegiance to the Guardian but that doesn’t overly worry me. What I’m wondering is whether I should give 10OCL another chance to remake itself.
Much as I mourned Kurt Cobain’s death several years after his passing, as I discovered his music only to find he was dead, never more have I mourned the loss of Spitting Image.
And don’t even get me started on the token woman.