ANNE GILDEA

The Irish Mail on Sunday - TV Week - - REAL LIFE - Anne.gildea@mailon­sun­day.ie

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.

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