Moan, moan, moan. That’s all you do these days isn’t it? From Twitter to TV Critics everything on TV that isn’t on BBC4 or Sky Atlantic isn’t good enough anymore. Wrong – fun still exists without the dumbing down of society. Saturday night from the BBC makes me laugh in a good way unlike the miserable misanthropes who decided to berate it.
There’s a lot of this negativity about with regards to TV at the moment – Count Arthur Strong, I love my country and New Tricks are all good programmes yet the omnipresent grumble-monkeys have written them all off as if their say is final. Take Count Arthur Strong as an example. I watched the first episode and wasn’t that swayed either way but by the last episode I laughed a lot – Graham Linehan and Steve Delaney’s writing and the latter’s performance takes time to embed itself, but once it does you will find you are chuckling away without anyone saying anything – a mere “bit of business” will raise a belly laugh. A great cast, very silly jokes and a solid central performance.
Saturday night in the UK has always been important – but we’re in the middle of Summer so I don’t expect the big guns out at this time of year, so other shows have the space to find their feet. That Puppet Game Show is something I can sit down with the kids and watch and we all enjoyed it. “Oh it’s trying to be the new Muppets!” – it’s been co-created with Brian Henson so I would hope it was at least vaguely recognisable as being Muppet-esque. No it’s not highbrow but who cares on a Saturday night with your Takeaway on your lap – if I want highbrow I’ll switch channels. The same goes for I love my country. The first episode was a bit wooden but this week’s was better and again once you put away the snob in you it’s all good fun. Quick wits from Micky Flannigan and Frank Skinner, a selection of fun games and questions we can all play along with and an old fashioned feel to the show – there’s nothing wrong with it.
People seem to forget that the big hitters in the Saturday Night Primetime slots have included Gunging people on Noel’s House Party, potters’ wheel disasters on the Generation Game, cheesy chat up lines on Blind Date, Cotton Bud fights on Gladiators and Everything on Seaside Special! We’re not dumbing down, we’ve just lost our sense of humour and the idea of fun. Yes I love BBC4 and Sky Atlantic, but it doesn’t mean I can’t laugh at those dafties on Total Wipeout falling off a Big Red Ball. We are not one dimensional and neither should our TV output be. I’d rather watch any of the aforementioned shows before I tune into that Clare Balding show to find know-alls that was on a few months ago. Saturday night is about fun, family entertainment. And throughout the week there is plenty space for new ideas and shows to find their feet before the misery police come along to stop us smiling.
Consider Only Fools and Horses, Men Behaving Badly, Fawlty Towers, Blackadder, Friends, Father Ted and Modern Family all took a couple of seasons to get going – if Twitter had existed when those were starting out we wouldn’t have had those great shows as part of our list of favourites. Maybe Count Arthur Strong will never be the colossus those shows were but give it a chance.
The UK used to have a great sense of humour but we’re losing it and crying phrases like “Dumbing down” without actually considering what we watched in the past. Go on, treat yourself to a bit of fun – you never know you might actually enjoy yourself for once you miserable bastard.