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The death of reality TV

AS PREDICTED, the X Factor ratings have taken a right hammering. It has been revealed that when we settle down on the sofa on a Sunday night, 7.39 million of us watch the BBC’s Countryfile compared to 7.18 million tuning into the X Factor.

The credibility of the show hasn’t been helped by presenter Olly Murs’ cock-up this week. He sent viewers reeling as he mistakenly declared that contestant Monica Michael would be leaving the show during Sunday night’s elimination after he miscounted the four judges’ deciding votes. Rita Ora’s contestant did end up being sent home, but she was forced to wait on stage until the full public vote came in. That has led to a huge backlash from X Factor fans who have taken to social media to claim Murs’ cock-up proves the show is fixed.

Meanwhile ‘Celebrity’ Big Brother is back on our screens. As per usual I’ve had to Google six of the ten ‘celebrities’. One interesting fact which did pop up was about contestant Brian Friedman. He’s been the X Factor’s creative director on and off for the last nine years. It would appear to me, as the endless new series of this show have dragged on, that we’ve gone from ‘celebrity’ B list to way, way further down the alphabet. Your agent only puts you up for selection for this one if your ‘career’ is about to crash and burn. It also seems the selection process is weighted in favour of those who have mental health issues or who are vulnerable. Whoever let Gail Porter go on the last series?

As for the latest collection of has-beens and nobodies on the show – who exactly is Lady Colin Campbell? I looked her up and some truly odd facts came up. One is that she was born in Jamaica and raised as a boy, due to some genital malformation. She married Lord Colin Campbell after a five-day whirlwind romance and they split after less than a year, but obviously she decided to hang on to the title – presumably because it opened doors in Royal circles, which enabled her to write those truly awful books about Princess Diana and the Queen Mother.

TALKING about people using their title to get them places – Baroness Mone of Mayfair – otherwise known as Baroness Bra – has been abusing her position again. Only recently she took to Twitter to boast about having been awarded a ministerial chauffeur-driven Jaguar by the government to transport her around the country at the taxpayers’ expense. The self-styled lingerie tycoon’s tweet was met with a barrage of criticism and she swiftly took it down, but Michelle Mone had still not learnt her lesson.

This week it has been revealed she has been making full use of Iain Duncan Smith’s Department of Work and Pensions team of press officers to tackle what she perceives as negative coverage of her on Twitter. Perhaps if the start-up business Czar stopped tweeting about herself, it might help. You can take the girl out of the east end of Glasgow, but you can’t take the east end of Glasgow out of the girl.

IF YOU’VE ever been to Dunster in Somerset you’ll know how quaint it is with its Bronze Age cobbled streets. Not anymore. The local council decided to rip up the cobbles in the medieval village on account of ‘elf and safety’ without consulting Historic England. They replaced the cobbles with Brecon Grey slabs, but now, after only 10 months in situ the slabs are to be removed – at a cost of £45,000 – as locals deem they are ‘too blue’ and not in keeping with the village. This comes after the cash-strapped Tory-run Somerset County Council approved budget cuts of £16 million earlier this year. Absolutely barmy.

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Kevan Blackadder

Written by Kevan Blackadder

Kevan Blackadder is a media consultant who runs Blackadder Media Limited. Kevan was previously editor of the Gloucestershire Echo and assistant editor of the Bristol Post. A Cumbrian who moved to the South West “for a couple of years” in the 1980s, he can’t quite believe he’s been there ever since.

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