Friday, January 21, 2011

10 O'Clock Live - A quick review now the dust has settled

As Stu Heritage has astutely pointed out over on The Guardian, Twitter isn't really the best platform for considered, balanced reviews. He says it's "bad" at that, but it's more that it's just not really the point - Twitter's for spur of the moment reactions: "OMG - BEST THING EVER" or "OMG - WORST THING EVER." There are exceptions of course, some clever Tweeters can shape the sum total of their complex thoughts into a single beautiful Tweet, but a lot of it is knee-jerk, as-it-happens stuff. And from a lot of people, the knee-jerk, as-it-happens reaction to Channel 4's 10 O'Clock Live was not a particularly good one. "It's too bright"; "the audience are too loud", "right, you've had twenty minutes, I'm switching off."

But over the course of today, the multitude of little complaints have coalesced into just a few key gripes, really - and they were all expertly skewered by my very own mum in an email earlier...

"It needs to slow down a bit.": Totally. This is absolutely the main thing that needs to be sorted, but luckily it's an easy one to tackle. The interviews especially felt rushed; David Mitchell was just getting into his rather impressive stride when he had to wrap things up. Fewer items will make this a much, much better show.

"Why have Lauren Laverne on board and then not use her?": Well, quite. This was a blatant and bizarre error that the producers do need to work on. I've read a couple of times that she's there because she has the most experience of live broadcasting and so will be able to hold things together, but she needs to do more than a few links and one deeply cringey sketch...

"Does it need four presenters?": Probably not, actually, but - like the other regularly-raised issue that it doesn't really need to be live - this isn't something they're likely to change mid-series.

"Not sure about large studio and large audience.": Again, not something that's going to tweaked any time soon, but having the presenters wander a around what appears to be a huge Dan Flavin exhibition was admittedly a bit odd.

The Good Stuff

The two main issues are the pacing and how Laverne is being used, but other than that, anyone after an intelligent, bold and funny comic current affairs programme should surely be feeling pretty optimistic after last night's first episode. Sure they all looked nervous as hell, but it's obvious that that's purely because they really want it to be good, important even, rather than them not being up to it.

Mitchell is clearly going to be an excellent interviewer who asks the sort of things we all like to think we would put to MPs given the chance, and Charlie Brooker is in a league of his own when it comes to ripping dodgy news coverage to shreds. Laverne, given the right role, can be excellent, and while Jimmy Carr gets a lot of stick, he will provide uber-up-to-date gags every week. And he actually delivered one of the lines of the night with his reference to Alan Johnson's resignation: "We thought it was something tragic that we couldn't make jokes about - apparently it's just a man's life crumbling about him, so that's alright."

Arguably (and it's an argument I'd make), the best bits were when the four presenters just sat around and chatted for a bit. They're all naturally funny, clever people - that's the point - so just free up a bit more time for them to show it, and this could turn into something great.

2 comments:

muhammadrazzaq said...

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Hello, thank you very much for this review, I was hesitation on whether I should or shouldn't watch and check out everything myself but now I think it worth my attention. thank you so much for sharing!