Forget the professional critics – no one comments on TV programmes quite like the Twitterati. From the witty to the savage, every show is dissected in 140 characters or fewer by viewers in real-time. In this (hopefully) weekly column, I’ll sift through the week’s tweets to bring a flavour of who’s saying what about whom this week. Here are a few observations from the week ending 6th January 2013.
Here’s one we made earlier
When you have three young children, seeing in the New Year quietly with some friends, a game of Trivial Pursuit and Jools’ Annual Hootenanny is about as much excitement as I can cope with. Watching Hootenanny is a tradition in our household, not least because it’s a breeding ground for the kind of wit that Twitter – especially Twitter on a night when a beverage or two has been consumed – specialises in.
First things first, let’s get the public service announcement out of the way. You’d think by now everyone would know that the programme is pre-recorded before Christmas, including a fake countdown to midnight. But no.
Watching some of #hootenanny again. Is it true it's recorded? Don't know whether to feel conned or impressed by apparent NYE authenticity.—
Robert Weaver (@robweaverwm) January 06, 2013
SPOILER ALERT: The tooth fairy doesn’t exist either. And I have my doubts about that Santa Claus fella too.
While I was impressed with several of the contemporary artists such as Jake Bugg, Lianne La Havas and oh-no-not-you-again Emile Sandé, it was two veterans who stole the show for me. It seems I wasn’t the only one who was impressed by
Watching Jools's #hootenanny on iPlayer, which is good because it allows me to skip through anyone that isn't Adam Ant.—
Thoughtcat (@thoughtcat) January 01, 2013
As I find 'Up' far too emotional I caught up with Jools Holland '#Hootenanny' from last night. Is it just me or was Petula Clark the star?—
Stewart Weir (@sweirz) January 01, 2013
Although I was much less impressed by Dexys Midnight Runners. (Did you know they’re named after a brand of amphetamine? Well, you do now.) Front-man Kevin Rowland delegated much of the singing and really wasn’t wearing his age well. (He doesn’t turn 60 until the summer.)
Kevin Rowland looking not unlike the love child of Kid Creole and Skeletor there—
Tim Liew (@timliew) January 01, 2013
Seriously, watch it back on iPlayer and you’ll see what I mean.
Making a Splash (not)
With the last of the Christmas and New Year specials put to bed, the start of January brought a showcase of ambitious new programming. Actually, no it didn’t. What the opening days of 2013 brought us was the return of Celebrity Big Brother 97, Dancing on Ice and a reality vehicle for Olympic diving bronze medallist Tom Daley entitled Splash, in which the usual array of C-list celebs learn how to dive. No, really.
There was some confusion (particularly from across the pond) as to why thousands of people were suddenly slagging off the 1980s film starring Daryl Hannah and Tom Hanks, but those who watched this new Saturday night ‘entertainment’ show were almost universally united – a rarity for Twitter – in a chorus of disapproval.
Thoughts this was one of those "100 worst tv program's of all time" shows.....then realised its just ITV's line-up for tonight.... #splash—
Chris Morgan (@ChrisMorgan10) January 05, 2013
A few astute commenters wondered aloud whether this is really what the ‘Olympic legacy’ is all about.
(@westendproducer) January 05, 2013
And some viewers even offered constructive suggestions as to how things could be improved.
This show could be vastly improved with the addition of two Great White Sharks #splash—
Katie Weasel (@KatieWeasel) January 05, 2013
Even former England cricket captain Michael Vaughan was moved to comment on an obvious omission from the judging panel.
Cannot believe Drogba isn't a judge on #Splash....—
Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) January 05, 2013
Personally I’d have had Gareth Bale, but the Drog’s a good shout.
Over on BBC1, their new high-brow quiz show, Britain’s Brightest, fared better – but not much better – with the armchair critics.
Thommo Shaw (@thommoshaw) January 05, 2013
Although in fairness the show certainly seemed to have many more fans than its ITV rival, especially amongst those who are happy to proclaim themselves #nerdandproud:
Ellie Hodgson (@EllieHodgson1) January 06, 2013
And, of course, the poor spelling, grammar and punctuation exhibited by a number of the show’s more vocal critics did not go unnoticed:
Peter Anghelides (@anghelides) January 05, 2013
Kudos for spelling ‘Morissette’ correctly there!
I watched ten minutes of both Splash and Britain’s Brightest. I liked the latter enough to give it a full go this weekend. You couldn’t pay me enough to revisit the former. (Although anyone who wants to tempt me with a large briefcase of used, non-sequential bank-notes is more than welcome to try.) Having said that, the overnight audience numbers gave the first round to Splash, which pulled in 5.5 million ‘live’ viewers versus 4.9 million for Britain’s Brightest. Sigh.
And finally … the power of Twitter
To finish up, whether you like Twitter or not – personally, I’m happy to ignore the 1% of abusive idiots and the death-threat brigade in favour of the 99% of honest and frequently hilarious tweeters – there’s no denying that it is a fantastic medium for giving ordinary people a voice. The broadcasters are starting to take notice too. Every programme has its own hashtag now, and in the US CBS are even allowing Twitter users to hashtag-vote for one of three alternate endings for next week’s episode of Hawaii Five-0 (which should air in the UK some time in April). How cool is that?
Mike Proulx (@McProulx) January 05, 2013
Anyhow, that’s it for now. Back for more next week!