Haven’t done any blogging stuff for a while now. The last month or so has been rather strange, but this week seems to be seeing the start of various new exciting things, so I thought I’d put pen to paper (fingers to keyboard?) and write about Channel Five. Why the hell not?
For those of you that don’t know it, Five is this the fifth terrestrial channel in the UK. In recent times its big hits have been American imports, along with a few homegrown commissions. Earlier on in the year, Five got a new controller, Richard Woolfe – a well-known figure in the industry. Richard is credited with turning round Living (“pink and paranormal” were the then mots du jours). More recently Richard was heading up Sky1, 2 & 3 – it was he that poached Lost from Channel 4, he that brought back Gladiators and he that was responsible for an overall change in direction for Sky, resulting in Stuart Murphy inheriting a reasonably healthy few channels.
Richards big plan for Five is Entertainment, hopefully putting Five back on the map and making it a destination channel. One of his biggest commissions so far has been Live from Studio Five, a topical daily live show broadcast between 18.30 and 19.30. Five have said it’s nothing to do with The One Show and that the inspiration came from elsewhere. I don’t believe them.
The show has already suffered poor ratings and I can’t say that I’m surprised: it really is terrible. The basic idea behind it is quite good – it’s news, but not as we know it. There’s a bit of Loose Women in there, a dash of This Morning, two spoonfuls of Newsround and a little Big Breakfast thrown in for good measure. But it’s rubbish.
The first problem are the presenters. Melinda Messenger, Ian Wright and some old bint from the Apprentice. This was just never going to work. Ian Wright is clearly out of his depth discussing even the most basic of news stories, and makes up for this by grinning inanely at the camera, laughing to cover gaps and generally making a fool of himself. When he does talk, my instant reaction is to shout ‘SHUT UP IAN, I DON’T CARE WHAT YOU THINK’.
Melinda Messenger looks very happy, but then so would you be if you hadn’t had a job in five years. Out of all of them though, she’s the one that they should keep on. She has spark in her eyes, she acts professionally and more importantly comes across as being genuinely inerested/aware in what’s going on, rather than just reading an auto-prompt badly like the other two.
The girl of the Apprentice is pretty. Sadly for her, she’s also pretty stupid. Today she managed to stumble over her words and call the show ‘Five from Studio Five. Obviously she’s not a trained presenter, it’s only the beginning (of the end) of her TV career, so allowances should be made for mistakes. Her main problem is blandness, it’s something that she’ll never overcome. Fixed with a perma-smile, her and Ian spend most of their time grinning at each other, whilst Melinda valiantly tries to save the show.
You can’t manufacture a relationship on screen, it’s either there from the beginning or it’s not. Fern and Phil, Johnny and Denise, Chis and Gabby – these were genuinely good on-screen relationships. Will we be talking about these three in years to come? No.
My solution: ditch Wright and the Apprentice girl, keep Melinda, get her a new male side-kick and bring in a guest presenter each week.
Content wise, the show’s pretty poor – but when the credits roll at the end and a BSkyB endboard flashes up it all becomes clear. Sky provide Five with all their news and this must fall under that contract.
The studio is small and brightly coloured. It makes me want to be sick a little bit in my mouth if I stare at it for too long. The crew get involved in the action, reacting to the triumvirate and their incessant babbling (cf. Big Breakfast) but even this is a relationship that comes across as fake and manufactured.
I want to write more about the show but as it’s not on Demand Five (they really ought to sort the rights issue out ASAP) I can’t remember what else happened, mainly because I’ve tried to block most of it out of my mind. Live from Studio Five: good idea, poorly executed.
Here’s a lovely little sketch from Cowards, a sketch show on BBC Four which passed by with few people realising it was on. Watch out for the comedians in it, they’re all incredibly talented.