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Tuesday, May 31, 2005

The Tuesday Twat(s)

No. 19. "Celebrity" Reality TV.

Once upon a time, some TV bod came up with the idea of the "Celebrity Special", for favourite TV shows. At first, it was a relatively harmless idea, confined to Christmas, Children in Need night and Comic Relief night. Indeed, the shows were often eagerly anticipated. The Celebs in question would forgo their usual astronomical appearance fee and donate all of their winnings to a charity of their choice. The shows themselves ranged from dire (It's a Royal Knockout being the most notable example), to rather good (the big name quiz shows, such as Millionaire or Mastermind). In the case of the quiz shows, it could either be very funny (some celebs make real prats of themselves, being unable to answer even the most trivial of general knowledge questions under the steely gaze of Ann Robinson) or quite eye-opening (more than one soap bimbo has stunned audiences be answering quite esoteric questions with remarkable ease).

Then, disaster struck. Some TV executive noticed that shows with "Celebrity" in the title seemed to attract more viewers. Hmmm....

Even worse, "Reality TV" shows were also becoming popular. Suddenly a brainwave occured...

"Why don't we combine the two?".

The first outing was for Comic Relief - Celebrity Big Brother, a group of Z-listers and a couple of popular comedians locked in the house for a week. One contestant went mad, a former entertainer told all the details of his marriage breakup to another celeb and the public fell in love with a previously moderately popular comedian. Ratings skyrocketed and careers were reinvigorated. Oh and they raised some money for charity as well.

It was now unstoppable.

Eyebrows were raised when "I'm a celebrity get me out of here!" didn't actually feature any celebrities, merely people who once featured in the tabloids or who had a minor role in a soap opera. Nevertheless you got to see them being covered in rats and forced to eat live insects so ratings remained high.

The search was on for newer and more extreme types of these shows. Rebecca Loos - famous only because she claims to have had an affair with the England football Captain David Beckham - seems game for anything. Her first outing provoked outrage when she wanked a pig off on live TV. Subsequent reality TV appearances have usually involved desert islands, bikini's and some sort of sexual ritual involving weighted stones (?). She is currently starring in "Celebrity Love Island" - where a group of single "Celebs" (Fran Cosgrove is described as a "Nightclub owner" - WTF? Being a nightclub owner constitutes celebrity these days?) are stranded and encouraged to shag each other - yes televised pimping is here!

But nothing prepared me quite for the shock I got the other night - channel hopping during an ad break for the highbrow documentary "World's wildest police chases", I came across the "comedian" Richie Blackmore sifting through his own shit.

This is not an exageration for comic effect - you can now watch celebrity detox! "Celebs" starve themselves, guzzle litres of salty water then either throw it up on camera or let it run out the other end. They are then encouraged to retain their excrement and examine it, like some sort of latter-day gold prospector.

As to Mr Blackmore, he examined the shit for hours on end and still couldn't find that elusive funny and original joke.





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