Monday, November 21, 2011

Piddles The Cat

My male staff is always telling how wonderful British television used to be thirty years ago. There were numerous cerebral quiz shows like "Mastermind" and "University Challenge". The Mastermind questions were so hard that my male staff only managed to answer two correctly over the entire time that the show was being aired. And who do you think was the most successful winner of Mastermind? A university professor, a physicist, an airline pilot, a brain surgeon, a rocket scientist? Nope. It was a taxi driver called Fred Housego.

According to my male staff there were people like Fred all over Britain, doing everyday, menial jobs; sometimes through choice but often because Margaret Thatcher' anti-intellectual stance and policy of making everyone jobless made it hard for really clever people to find good jobs. Now, having been forced to watch twenty first century British television for three weeks I can officially reveal that British television has been dumbed down to a level that has barely twice the intellectual content of Australian television and only four times that of the United States.

Mastermind and University Challenge have been replaced by "I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here." and "Deal Or No Deal". We have Deal Or No Deal in Australia too, but there it's only a half hour programme; twenty two minutes actually if you don't count the commercial breaks. In Britain it's an interminable hour. For those of you fortunate enough not to have seen it, it involves contestants choosing numbered boxes each containing a sum of money. In the Australian version the contestant picks a number and that's it. In Britain however, each choice is analysed minutely.

Host:  "Why did you choose box number four.

Contestant:  "Because it was the number of legs my cat had"

Host: (Absently as though bored stiff.) "Ooo! Four legs. That's unusual. What was his name? Was he a special cat?"

Contestant:: His name was Piddles.

Host: Piddles?

Contestant: Yes, he kept pissing on the carpet. He was very special indeed.

Host: "Why was that?"

Contestant. "Because he was so tasty."

Host: "Splutter!" (Spits coffee over contestant.)

My Male Staff: "GET ON WITH IT!"

Then there's "I'm a Celebrity Ger Me Out Of Here." This is a so called reality TV show and involves about a dozen F List minor celebrities who are so past it and desperate that they are willing to take part in a show that sees them eat mushed up cockroaches, mice tails and other such delights while camping out in what is supposed to be a remote Australia jungle, but is actually the grounds of a four star resort close to the Gold Coast. Another ordeal makes them grope around in boxes of creepy crawlies in search of various items. When they've had enough torture they are encouraged to shout "I'm a celebrity get me out of here." University Challenge it ain't.

So, my male staff and I were sitting in his mum and dad's lounge watching this sort of stuff and he turned to me as I was munching on a pile of lettuce and capsicum on the sofa and said. "Crap on the telly tonight Billy."
Being an obliging sort of a cavy I did just that. On the telly, beside the telly and all around the telly. Then my male staff complained when he trod in it and squashed it into the carpet. Honestly, sometimes you just can't win.


  1. I really enjoyed the post, but I think you gave American television way too much credit. I'm guessing the BBC shows were easily 8x more intellectual.

  2. Whee do not approve of reality tv either. Top on our most disliked list is that rubbish featuring the Kardashians. We would like to Krap on those Kardashians.