It was good to see the Knitted Character making a last minute appearance on ‘Harry Hill’s TV Burp Review of the Year’. The little fellow even had a seasonal Santa Hat on.
Boxing Day was an interesting polarisation of high and low culture on the terrestrial channels. BBC1 had the incredibly banal ‘Celebrity Total Wipeout’ which, if such a thing can be imagined, is like a dumbed-down version of ‘It’s A Knockout’ done on the cheap. In fact, the presenter, Richard Hamster Hammond made a great song and dance about how he’d bothered to turn up on the set rather than just voice-over from the studio.
Perhaps to compensate BBC2 ran a worthy ‘Hamlet’ for those with more than a couple of braincells and so needing more cultural nourishment than ‘Celebrity Total Wipeout’ could offer. It wasn’t quite as high-minded as it may have been as it was a celebrity vehicle in itself — with David ‘Dr Who’ Tennant. It’s obvious that he originally decided to do ‘Hamlet’ for the RSC as part of a mutually beneficially arrangement whereby he would avoid being typecast and reveal himself as an ‘AC-TOR’ while they could coin in the cash from pubescent girls wanting to wet their pants while watching him in Stratford. In a similar vein I guess that the BBC2 version of ‘Hamlet’ may well be an updated, ‘contemporary ironic’ version in which Hamlet might use the Tardis to go back in time to witness the death of his father (unlike that Hackneyed ghost rubbish) and some of the baddies could be re-cast as Daleks (Claudius or Laertes maybe and certainly Rosencrantz and Guildernstern). Ophelia is obviously a classic Doctor’s assistant part — more Billie Piper to my mind than Catherine Tate.
Our recording equipment was going into overdrive with these three cultural offerings happening simultaneously — it was too difficult to decide between Wipeout, Hamlet and Harry Hill. The lure of the Knitted Character won out in the end with Harry Hill being the first programme watched. The great thing about Hill is that he’s quite happy to make a total berk of himself — something one doesn’t imagine David Tennant’s Doctor ever really would. TV Burp has grown on me recently — and it’s really a triumph of good editing as much as anything else. The formula is hilariously rigid — the ritual fight before the adverts and the crap song at the end. I wonder what anyone in another country might say about an ending with two men in drag (one as Susan Boyle) being joined by a pantomime guitar-playing horse singing an Osmond’s song (guess which one). It will certainly be watched by several times as many people as Hamlet — even with Daleks.