become what I was looking at now? The programme I was watching wasn’t one of those made- to- titillate ‘self-help’ ones, like people being intimate on camera and a ‘professional’ giving them advice. Or two 40-year-old-virgins, trying to ‘do it’ for the first time, but they’re shy and they have issues, so they go to nude therapists in California, with a camera crew. Or people showing very intimate body bits and saying, ‘I’ve been too embarrassed for the last 30 years to go to the doctor with this. So I’m showing you, TV doctor, broadcasting to millions.’ Or people humiliating themselves by eating
‘Bedtime Live used night-vision cameras to delve into the “lights out” reality of the suburban nursery. But why?’
actual woodlice and lying in rats live on telly, but it’s okay: they’re being paid and ‘you at home’ think it’s gas. Or people who live like disgusting pigs having other people who hate dirt coming in and scrubbing their homes for them, and while they’re up to their oxters in mire they and you, one of the millions at home on your sofa, gawk in disgust, commenting, ‘Pigs!’ And on and on in that ‘where will they go next with the cameras in a desperate bid to be original?’ vein.
No, it wasn’t any of the above, which extraordinarily are pretty much the norm now. This was a concept made stunning by dint of its outrageous, genre-busting banality. One can only imagine the producer pitching it to the Channel 4 commissioners: ‘Okay, so what this is about is: some people, couples, have children. And children, as most of the viewing public will be aware, need a thing: sleep. But sometimes they don’t want to go to bed. And that’s about it — LIVE!’
Yes, Bedtime Live used night-vision cameras to delve into the ‘lights out’ reality of the suburban nursery. It showed parents putting tots to bed and was presumably of interest to other parents putting tots to bed. But because, as the name suggested, it was on at bedtime, how would they be watching? More to the point, why? The justification was ‘information’, ‘help’. Whatever next? Indigestion Live? ‘We follow a few indigestion victims, AS IT HAPPENS, from evening dinner to burpy discomfort, live cameras inside the body show what’s going on, while, outside the troublesome digestive systems, a man from Alka Seltzer gives advice on what can be done, live.
Or, from just-showered freshness to embarrassing flaking of the scalp, for the first time ever a victim allows a microscopic camera inside her hair, for an in-depth look at a problem that affects quite a big lot of people: Dandruff Live! Or, to really up the personal problem infotainment ante: how about a show where a contestant sits behind a conveyor belt. People go by, like ‘OAP with persistent pain in lower leg’, ‘student with headache’, ‘couple not getting on’, ‘acrophobic man’, ‘obese family’, ‘woman with verruca’. Whomever the contestant remembers then joins him or her for fondue while relevant professionals give advice, live, in improvised song and Twink decides who the winner is, and the prize is a slot on Derek Mooney talking about owls, live, the next day. And Aonghus McAnally is definitely the presenter. And that’s quite enough of that.