TV review: I can’t resist the allure of Britain’s Got Idiots

Special appeal… Britain's Got Talent. Photograph: ITV
Special appeal… Britain’s Got Talent. Photograph: ITV

lucy-bellerby-byline-photo-bwLucy Bellerby knows there are more edifying shows on the box but they don’t have dancing dogs


bellers-on-the-box-logo-230Telling people you like Britain’s Got Talent (ITV1) is somewhat similar to telling them you enjoy spending your weekends cleaning your diamond encrusted shoes with the skin of a dead puppy.

Yes, Simon Cowell is the harbinger of the end of the world; the hair plugged, big bosomed face of evil, capitalism and One Direction. Amanda Holden makes my skin crawl and David Walliams is starting to look like the conservative MP for Slough, or perhaps a slightly sweaty dentist in the midst of a mid-life crisis.

I should probably spend my evenings watching Newsnight, eating Ryvitas and trying to understand what Germaine Greer is harping on about this week. I’m all for fibre and bringing down the patriarchy, but to be quite honest I’d rather watch a dancing dog in a gold top hat.

No once cares for the sob stories, and the crap acts are only funny when the performers know they’re crap. I can see how easily it could happen; it would be at that time of the morning when it’s still dark but the birds are beginning to tweet.

You’re back from town, onto the store cupboard booze; sangria mixed with half a can of flat diet coke that’s been in the fridge so long it smells a bit like onions. The carpet is covered in a thin layer of baccy and you’ve just watched the entirety of Morrissey’s 2004 Manchester show on YouTube. Then someone pipes up “ha, think how funny it would be if we went on Britain’s Got Talent! We could do an interpretive dance to Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now wearing a onsie made of bacon sandwiches, we would be welcomed back to Yorkshire as KINGS!”

Thankfully the lure of short-lived celebrity has so far evaded me, but there are a legion of other idiots lined up ready to get cracking every Saturday night. There are also loads of good acts who can actually sing/juggle/do impressions of Amy Childs, but the real reason we all watch it is for the embarrassing ones. Thank goodness I’ve never (yet) been drunk enough for that to be me.

Explosive stuff… Neighbours. Photograph: Channel 5
Explosive stuff… Neighbours. Photograph: Channel 5

The nation was left baffled last week, when Neighbours (Channel 5) cropped up on telly at 10pm. All my 9-5 friends took to Twitter to vent their confusion, asking imperative questions such as “is Karl Kennedy dead yet?”, “Are Kylie and Jason now in the midst of a bitter divorce?” and most importantly, “Does Harold still play the tuba?” The rest of us – the unemployed, the students, and the work-from-home procrastinators – were on hand to answer.

Karl Kennedy is still alive, he and Susan have just got back together. Susan has chopped all her hair off and now looks like she should be on the panel of Loose Women. Theirs is the greatest romance of the 21st century and they are the modern day Tristan and Isolde. Kylie and Jason have never come back, they are traitors and deserters. Harold left a few years ago, leaving his long time love Lou in charge of their coffee shop that only sells cheese toasties.

So not much has happened, and Neighbours has been plodding along, watched half-heartedly by students who are still drunk from the night before. I think Channel 5 were hoping that flinging in an explosion and the subsequent deaths of two characters (that no one has ever heard of) would spice things up a little. But the glory days of the Eighties and Nineties are over for Neighbours; we don’t want people burning to death while we eat our tea, we want the Mangles throwing a shrimp on the barbie.

Have a 10pm special where Harold comes back and plays his tuba forlornly by a cliff before falling off it, and then people might start to tune in.