Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Wentworth Prison Review

As a Prisoner fan, I really want to like Wentworth, but there are just so many things I don’t like about it.

The constant slow motion. The blue tint. The rubbish songs played over a montage at the end of every-single-episode. The series’ inability to have a consistent storytelling format And the series inability to keep to a consistent tone.

The slow motion completely takes me out of Wentworth, by reminding me that I’m just watching a TV programme. I have to try to quell my frustration at the cheesy slow motion and get back in to it. And then what happens? More slow motion! The choice to add slow motion is completely bewildering because slow motion has been thought of as cheesy for at least 20 years. I remember being a wee boy and comedy sketch shows would mock movies and TV as being cheesy by mocking their slow motion. Every single violent scene in Wentworth completely loses it’s dramatic impact because of it’s unnecessary, ill-advised slow motion. To makes things even worse they always add a cheesy ‘whoosh’ sound effect at the beginning and end of the slow motion, which makes it even more noticeable and more cheesy! Even worse than the slow-mo is when they speed up the footage (again accompanied by a whoosh sound effect) This slow-mo to fast forward type effect was the type of thing you used to see in cheesy straight to video action movies, in the 90s, starring people like Jean Claude Van Damme and Steven Seagal. It’s unnecessary, excruciatingly cringe-worthy and always takes me right out of the show.

The rubbish songs played over a montage at the end of every-single-episode.

There’s nothing wrong with having a montage, if it’s done on a particularly special episode. For example when a major character has died, a Christmas special, the last episode, or whatever. But Wentworth uses a montage (with a rubbish song playing over it) on every single episode! And it’s done so right from the very beginning of the series! It’s far too heavy handed. As with the slow motion, I’ve never seen anything like it. Never have I seen a TV programme over use something the way Wentworth does.

The series’ inability to have a consistent storytelling format.

Season 1 had a very annoying format of each episode focusing almost completely on one character. Laboriously jumping back and forth between present day Wentworth and the crime that got them in there. Season 2 seemed to have ditched the laborious flashbacks (thank god) But then brought them back for Joan Ferguson. As with the slow-mo and montages, I’ve never seen a TV show have such an inconsistent format.

The series inability to keep to a consistent tone.

The first episode saw a mini riot brake out in the prison in which the prison governor was killed. The series had set itself up as being a dark, gritty crime drama. Yet when viewers tune in to see the second episode, taking place just after the riot, we’re confronted with the inmates singing and dancing to ‘Hot Potato’, directly towards the camera. I wouldn’t necessarily mind a little subtle humour in the series, but a riot had just taken place. Viewers are tuning in to see the aftermath. Yet at the very start of only the second episode we’re confronted with the inmates singing Hot Potato? What the fuck? It’s a song I’ve not heard since nursery school and upon seeing it in Wentworth, made me realise how annoying it is. The scene was an extremely stupid thing to do in such an early episode, when a series should be making a mark as to it’s overall tone.

Season 2 seemed to be an improvement on the first. And then the programme brings in a transsexual male character, as if a man would be put in a female prison! Then, as if to deliberately make it more cringe worthy, they put a tea cosy on it’s head. Some viewers have asked their selves why Wentworth isn’t more popular in Britain than it is. Part of the reason for this might be the fact it’s on channel 5. But partly it’s because the series doesn’t keep a consistent tone, in the same way, a better produced U.S. drama would. You simply wouldn’t see such ill-advised , cringe-worthy scenes such as prisoners singing Hot Potato or a transsexual man in a female prison in U.S. drama’s such as Oz, Prison Break, The Sopranos, Sons of Anarchy or Breaking Bad. Such scenes have shown the producers don’t have any awareness as to what makes or breaks a programme having any street cred.

The constant slow motion, montages and the fact that each episode focuses mainly on one character, with one character’s flash backs being boringly interspersed throughout each episode, makes the series very difficult to get in to. And very difficult to find entertaining. The series is chucking everything but the kitchen sink at you . Wentworth is all over the place.

One of the good things about Prisoner, is that it had this wonderful feel of voyeurism. As if you were peering into a world you shouldn’t be allowed access to. And it all seemed so effortless and naturalistic. Wentworth never has that feel because of the constant reminders that you’re just watching a TV show. Wentworth needs to ditch the slow motion, the blue tint, the rubbish songs and montages and just get on with the serious business of telling stories.

Friday, 19 July 2013

Work Programme Complaints

1. Rude staff.

Every time I have attended the work programme I have been spoken down to, condescended to and generally spoken to as if I am a child.

2. The oppressive nature of the work programme.

The work programme makes me feel very much like a prisoner. People are forced to attend (or have no money to live on) forced to be there at a certain time, forced to do what the work programme tells you to do ( for example do an hours job search despite the fact that can be easily done at the library) answer personal questions about medical history, criminal record and so on. Fill in a job sheet (yet another one on top of the job seekers diary) sign in, sign out. Every single aspect of the work programme seems to be about herding people like cattle. Training people in to servitude and letting them know, they are not free. Not only are people told what to do and when to do it, they are constantly made to prove themselves and justify themselves. For example signing in and out, filling in a job search diary / filling in a job search sheet. As if they are not to be trusted. As if they are not responsible self aware adults, but criminals or badly behaved children who have to prove themselves to the authority figures.

3. Sanctions due to claim by work programme provider.

If the Work Programme provider claims that someone did not attend, that person can lose their benefits for at least two weeks and have no money to live on. I was sanctioned for two weeks because The Work Programme claimed I did not attend an appointment. I did not receive a letter for the appointment which they claimed I did not attend. I tried to talk to Triage about this. They said take it up with the Jobcentre. I tried talking to the Jobcentre about it. They said take it up with Triage. This is the type of bureaucratic nightmare that has resulted from people on benefits being leased out to a private company. When I was sanctioned (because of a letter which I did not receive) it was a very difficult two weeks to get through and because my Housing Benefit was also stopped, I ended up owing a lot of rent. I submitted a request for a review of this decision and the Jobcentre did not get back to me. Funny that, they’re always quick enough to send me a letter about a sanction.

The Department for Work and Pensions are sanctioning people’s money for not attending an appointment with the Work Programme, when the appointment was not made by the Department of Work and Pensions! And so they don’t know whether the benefit claimant did or did not attend an appointment, or even if one was really made for them!. The fact that people are losing out on benefit from the Department of Work and Pensions because of claims made about them by a private company is madness.

4.The work programme being run by a private company.

The fact that the job of the Jobcentre is being leased out to a private company is absolutely ridiculous. It means that people are under the control and authority of a private company when they are claiming a benefit from The Department of Work and Pensions. It means people’s personal information is now with a private company. A company they did not want to sign up with in the first place. A company they would not have signed up with, were it not for the threats and duress of having ones benefit stopped. And to make matters worse, I’m told that if I have a complaint, I have to take it to the company, the very company who has given me reason to complain in the first place! It’s the Jobcentre who are making people go on this ‘Work Programme’, it should at least be the Jobcentre who deals with complaints about it. Why should the company (Triage) be allowed to deal with complaints insularly? What possible motivation could they have for dealing with complaints properly, when every single person on The Work Programme is just money to them?

5. The very existence of the Work Programme.

It’s oppressive. And what can really be gained from forcing people in to an oppressive atmosphere? How much enthusiasm is expected from people who are being made to do something? Why are people being made to do something in a supposedly free society?

Friday, 12 July 2013

Tabloids Looking for Women

Hay ladies!

Have you been sexually abused?

If you haven’t, who cares!

Just pick a man. Any man.

Say he sexually abused you.

Say he did it 40 or 50 years ago. That way it’s impossible for him to clear himself!

Who cares it happened 40 or 50 years ago. Who cares you were a teenager when he felt you up. We’ll call him a pedo anyway. We don’t worry about semantics.

Don’t worry about your allegations not being true. That’s why we have lawyers!

Hay, you can even pick a man who’s dead! That way he can’t defend himself.

If you’d like your name in the paper and a shit load of cash we’d like to hear from you.

If you’ve got the allegations we’ve got the headlines. And who knows, you might even end up on the next reality show. Money. Fame. Attention. Money. They all await you. That’s right ladies, you can start getting the cash and attention you deserve. So point your finger and say the magic word: Rape!

So join in on the latest craze sweeping the nation and accuse a man of sexual abuse today!

Testimonials:

Here’s what others have had to say:

Mary: “I’d never really thought about accusing a man of sexual abuse before, but now that everyone’s doing it I thought why not give it a go, you know. All me mates down bingo are all talking about how me name was in the paper. And I’ve been able to do up me living room with the 50 grand I got. I’ve never been the centre of attention before. But it’s great, yeah, really good”.

Abigale: “I thought it would be really hard but the paper talked me through it, you know, what to say ’n’ that. In fact once I got talking to the woman from the paper, the story practically wrote itself. I’ve never really felt like I fitted in or belonged but being one of the claimants, well it gives you a sense of belonging. I wanted to fit in, be a part of something and now I am. And now that my name has been in the paper a few times, I’ve been asked to appear on the next addition of Celebrity Big Brother. If you haven’t accused a man of rape then all I can say is do it today. Yeah do it today, it’ll change your life”.

Maureen “I’m glad I had those awful men from Corrie arrested. What they did to Deirdre and Sally was terrible”.

Butch Buzzcut: “All men deserve this. It doesn’t matter if it’s true or not, all men deserve this. At birth they should all be circumcised, completely, if you know what I mean. Men have been oppressing women for far too long and I say it’s about time we started oppressing them. Let’s have them all bloody locked up. They’ll pay. They’ll all pay”.

Stacey: “I just did it for the cash”.

Tracey: “With so many women saying they were abused by celebrities decades ago, I thought, it must have happened to me too. And I just don’t remember it. You know, repressed memories like. Anyway I must have been right coz as soon as I phoned the police he was arrested and the next day the papers were calling him a pedo”.

Kim: In the 60’s I used to go to the BBC and ITV buildings and hang around all the stars, all tarted up like. I was 15, just a month away from turning 16 actually. I was a perfectly willing participant. Boy, we had some good times. But I thought, if shagging someone a month under the legal age is so abominable now, it must be 50 years retroactive. And with everyone else accusing these men, I thought why not join in. You know, get in on it, be part of something”.

So ladies, why not join in on the current cool trend. And don’t worry if you don’t want your name in the paper. It can be completely anonymous and your details are kept confidential. Remember, It’s his name we’re sullying, not yours!

Friday, 2 November 2012

Poppies

If someone fights an enemy of theirs, they are thought of as being a thug. Yet if someone kills strangers for politicians they are branded a "hero". Tony Blair wears a poppy! If there’s anything that sums up how much of an empty sentiment poppies are, it’s seeing the very person who started a war, wearing one. I’ve never started a war, and you know what, I don’t wear a poppy. Poppies are a symbol of war. The very point in them is to make you think of “heroes” “who have died for their country” This hero-ising of soldiers is what keeps war going. If we stopped glorifying war, maybe we’d stop war. In what situation do you think war is most likely to occur? Among people who don’t think, but rather believe and repeat what the mainstream media tells them, that soldiers are “heroes” who are “fighting for their country”? Or among people who refuse to be a part of war, including not wearing a poppy? Virtually everyone on TV wears one. And you can tell just how contrived that is. The amount of politicians and people on TV wearing poppies is very disproportionate to the amount of people who wear one in the real world. You can tell, squirmy, weasely politicians wear one just because they think it will make them look good in the eyes of the majority. You can tell TV presenters and news readers wear poppies because their producers behind the scenes are saying “here, stick one of these on, we don’t want any complaints”. I remember at school, the poppies were in a box at the till, where you paid the dinner lady for lunch. And the dinner lady would say “want a poppy”, making sure everyone knew they were there. So there was pressure to buy one there and then, as there were lots of other kids in the queue behind you (who were also buying and wearing poppies just to fit in). Kids don’t have any real understanding of the world, of what poppies are about. Many things are inaccessible to children because their minds aren’t developed enough to know if they want it. Yet they are pressured in to buying poppies. Funny that. It could be said encouraging children to wear poppies, which are a symbol of how the establishment has tried to legitimise war and killing, is child abuse. Why should children be encouraged to wear a symbol of the hero-ising of killers. Poppies are worn by people who want to fit in. Poppies are a symbol. And as George Carlin once said, I leave symbols to the symbol minded.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

4Later




Overview:

4Later was a late night block of offbeat programming on the UK’s Channel 4. It was broadcast sporadically, Thursdays to Sundays in between the years of 1998 to 2002. Some nights of 4Later only included one or two programmes, while other nights (particularly Friday and Saturday nights) would include programming all through the night from around midnight to 5:30am.


Idents and presentation:

Each night of 4Later began with a specially made introduction. A menu would show the list of programmes coming up, then a surreal short film or animation would be shown before each programme.

One introduction used for 4Later showed footage of a mouse, as the image faded on and off, footage of a dog was shown barking. The sound of barking was morphed with other sounds and the feeling of the introduction was deliberately quite menacing, strange and sinister. This introduction can be viewed on the TV Ark website in the channel 4 1999 idents section.

After some time, the introductions for 4Later programmes were changed to a specially made CGI introduction called The Motel. Although The Motel was adult in it’s content, it was visually similar looking to the Channel 5 children’s series, Too Much TV. In fact The Motel and Too Much TV were made by the same animators. A short segment of The Motel introduced each programme on 4Later.
The Motel was a strange and surreal CGI animation used to introduce programmes on 4Later. A short segment was shown before each programme and then one last segment after the last programme. Each segment of The Motel played out a small part of a story, with a different story being played out each night of 4Later. On one occasion The Motel spoofed the U.S. prison drama, Oz. On another occasion it spoofed Jam by Chris Morris.

During this era of 4Later, the idents and break bumpers showed the image of an animated brain with the 4Later logo on it. During this era, 4Later’s night of programming would end with a TV ‘snow’ effect as if the broadcast had been interrupted, to signal the night of programming was over. The 4Later ‘Brain’ idents can be viewed on the TV Ark website in the Channel 4 1999 idents section.

After some time the interstitials were changed again. This time they focused on a character from The Motel, called Ginger Forrest and her chat show, Secrets With Ginger Forrest, broadcast from fictional channel, ‘Channel Phwoar’. Ginger Forrest was a character who’s dialogue mainly consisted of sexual innuendo. Secrets With Ginger Forrest once included the guest voices of 4Later personalities, Nigel Buckland (from Vids) and the presenters of video game review show, Bits.
To celebrate 4Later’s birthday and a night before Channel 4’s animation week, Ginger Forrest interstitials were used to introduce Friends, Frasier and South Park. Which must have been confusing to a mainstream audience. Both The Motel and Ginger Forrest were made by production company, Impossible Television.

When 4Later returned, it had another ambitious change in presentation. It returned with it’s own slogan, “Do Not Sleep”. The idents and introductions were changed again to allow viewers to introduce programmes their selves via their webcams. Some viewers were regular contributors and became familiar faces to regular 4Later viewers. 4Later viewers introducing programmes via their webcams were known as The Collective. A couple of times celebrities unexpectedly popped up via their webcams, page 3 model Joanne Guest and astronomer Patrick Moore. DJ Downfall was commissioned to make a track for 4Later called Do Not Sleep. Tiny segments of Do Not Sleep were used in the background of 4Later idents while viewers introduced programmes. And it was also used for break bumpers. (The screen used to separate programmes and commercials.) So, for example while a movie was on, before the adverts interrupted it, a break bumper would play a tiny segment of DJ Downfall’s track with the audio “do not sleep, (echoed twice) do not sleep, do not sleep”.

Sometimes 4Later complimented programming on Channel 4. For example, during Channel 4’s animation week, 4Later screened more provocative, adult animations such as Deep Sympathy and Sittin’ Pretty by Michael Grimshaw. And during channel 4’s horror weekend in which they screened the original version of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Death Race 2000, 4Later screened Fear, Panic And Censorship, a one off documentary about horror film and censorship.

4Later Programming:

Vids. A cult film review show. Presented by Nigel Buckland and Stef Gardiner.

Bits. A video game review show. Presented by Alex Krotoski, Emily Booth and Emily Newton Dunn.

Eurotika! A documentary about European horror and sex films, before a Eurotika presentation film afterwards. (1999)

Exploitica. A surreal comedy series using clips of old ‘b movies’ and public information films. (1999)

Frontal. Broadcast live from the Channel 4 building, Frontal was a subversive series looking at the 'underbelly of pop culture'. Included features on culture jamming, reviews on erotica, revenge techniques, performance art and a weekly instruction on how to get high legally, including how to get high using a cactus. The pilot episode for Frontal included showing a banned music video for the song ‘Pretty When You Cry’ by Vast. Another episode of Frontal showed the music videos for ‘Plug Me In’ and Metal Fingers In My Body by the group Add N To X. Presented by James Hyman, Natasha Bell, Tim Gould, Lisa Rogers and Italian music producer Charlie Rapino. A pilot for Frontal aired in 1999. Five episodes where aired in 2000. In total six episodes were made. Although Frontal was a very unique and subversive programme, it’s short life span means that it seems to have fallen in to obscurity. Frontal was shown on Friday nights after the first series of Big Brother. A Channel 4 introduction to Frontal can be viewed on the TV Ark website. The Frontal opening sequence can be viewed on YouTube.

Sweet Talk. A late review of erotica filmed in Amsterdam. Rowan Pelling from `The Erotic Review' interviews guests drawn from Euro-intellectuals and sex professionals. Each episode included a segment in which Page 3 model Joanne Guest read out erotic literature. (1999) Production company: Freeform.

The Other Side. A weekly documentary about people and their story / journey.

The Trip. A surreal mix of NASA space footage mixed with drum and base music.

Spy TV. A programme about how technology is effecting voyeurism.

Disinfo Nation. AKA Disinformation. A conspiracy and counter culture magazine show. Season one comprised of 6 episodes. Season two comprised of 10 episodes.

Digital Sex. A show about how technology is changing our sex lives. Produced by Ricochet Films. Six 30 minute episodes were made. Included Scott Capurro reviewing Japanese erotic animation.

Pulp. A book review show.

Treasure. A programme about people’s weird collections and hobbies. One episode features a woman who collected medical paraphernalia.

Late Night Poker.

The Clangers.

Dick’s Bar. From the Zombie club in London, a 5 minute programme in which a barman gives instructions on how to mix your own cocktails.

Naked Elvis. Game show.

The Divine David Presents. (1999) Production company: World Of Wonder.

The Divine David Heals. (2000) Production company: Allied Forces.

Mirror Ball. A programme about music video directors.

Pets. A comedy puppet show.

A Taste Of The Vampire. A one-off programme looking at people who wish to be vampires. Includes footage from the Vampyria II event in Camden Palace, London. (2000) Full Gauge Productions.

Troma’s Edge TV. A magazine show from independent movie company, Troma. 20 episodes were made.

Slam. A street performance show. Showcasing street dance, skateboarding etc.

The Magic Roundabout. Shown at the end of 4Later Saturday night broadcasts. Presumably shown to add surrealism and provide light relief.

Focus North. A parody of lame daytime TV.

Onedottv. A programme about digital creativity.

Love’s Like A Dog. Named after a European soap of the same name. A game show utilising clips of strange TV. Presented by Trey Farley and Lauren Laverne. Usually included clips of Colin’s Sleazy Friends.

Fear, Panic and Censorship. A one off documentary about horror films and censorship.

Manga Erotica. A one off documentary about erotic manga. This was narrated and presented by anime expert and author, Helen McCarthy.

Dogma TV. Each episode was a self contained drama, mainly about teenagers. Possibly the most memorable episode was about two teenagers who decided they couldn’t cope with their baby. They left their baby on a beach, to be drowned when the tide came in.

Karaoke Fish Tank. Pop music videos introduced by a foul mouthed CGI fish.

Jam late night remix. A ‘remixed’ version of the dark sketch show by Chris Morris.

Man Test. Male celebrities such as Henry Rollins and Michael Winner answer questions on their masculinity.

SF: UK. A weekly show about British Sci-Fi. Later shown on the UK Sci-Fi channel.

Bad Trip. Travel documentary in which people travelling through different parts of the world kept a video diary.

Reclaim The Streets. One-off documentary about protesting in the UK.

Road Movies. Drama/factual crossover. Each episode takes a white Cadillac as its theme and features a different director each with a £12,000 budget. The 30-minute slots are split into two: the first half follows the director who, having written the movie, goes about getting it shot; the second half showcases the result. The series comprised 5 x 30 minute episodes.

Strippers. A documentary about club strippers, made by an all female team. 10 x 30 minute episodes. Produced by Ricochet Films
Cult Crazy. 6 part series about cults.
Bangkok Beats. Ambient sounds Thai style.
Sick and Twisted. Series about animation. 6 x 30 minute episodes.
Celeb TV. Synopsis unknown.
E For Edge. Synopsis unknown.
DURT. Digital Underground Remixed Television. Synopsis unknown.
Mondo Macabro. From the makers of Eurotika. Another documentary about bizarre films from around the world. (2001)


Do Not Sleep.

As well as being the 4Later slogan, Do Not Sleep was also the name given to a one off special 4Later night, broadcast live from the Sound Nightclub in Leicester Square, London. It was shown at the festive season to celebrate Christmas and the new year. It was presented by Paul Tonkinson, Emma B and June Sarpong. Although 4Later regulars were also included such as Nigel Buckland and Stef Gardiner (from Vids) Emily Booth (Bits) , and Charlie Rapino and Tim Gould (Frontal). The Do Not Sleep one off special included mini versions of 4Later programmes and live features broadcast from the club. (Such as strip poker.) Break bumpers showed people blowing up a bed. The night ended with all the presenters singing Lonely This Christmas by the band, Mud.

After the Do Not Sleep one off special had finished at around 05:00am, past Ginger Forrest interstitials were shown, which had been edited together to create a full 15 minute episode.

Due to the above programmes being shown late at night, most of them have fallen in to obscurity. With Channel 4 now being a much more mainstream channel, it’s possible Channel 4 want to distance themselves from these programmes due to the provocative and experimental nature of some of them.

Imported shows on 4Later:

Oz (U.S. prison drama)
American Gothic
Vengeance Unlimited
Codename: Eternity
Prey
Spy Games
Brimstone
Mortal Kombat: Conquest
Pop Up Video
Fist Of The North Star. (Anime)



Films on 4Later: (Included but not limited to)

Films shown as part of Jackie Chan season:

Police Story 2
Police Story 3: Super Cop
The Young Master

Each film in the Jackie Chan season was introduced by Nige and Stef from Vids under the title Vids Does Jackie Chan

Films shown as part of Eurotika season: (Included but not limited to)

The Shiver Of The Vampires
Female Vampire
I Am Frigid…Why?
The Awful DR Orlof
Naked Warewolf Woman
Frustration
The Devil’s Kiss
Four Times That Night
She Beast
Black Candles

Each film in the Eurotika season was shown after an episode of the Eurotika documentary and a special Eurotika introduction to each film.

Films shown as part of Godzilla season:

Godzilla
Godzilla Raids again
Ghidrah, The Three Headed Monster
Godzilla Vs Mothra
Return Of Godzilla
Godzilla Vs Hedorah
Godzilla’s Revenge

Each film in the Godzilla season was introduced by Nige and Stef from Vids, in a segment called Vidzilla.

Films shown as part of Troma Classic Movie season:

Terror Firmer
SGT Kabukiman
A Nymphoid Barbarian In Dinosaur Hell
Surf Nazi’s Must Die
Chopper Chicks In Zombie Town
Redneck Zombies
Tromeo & Juliet

Films shown as part of Secrets of Japan season:

Tandem
The Dream Of Garuda
The Bedroom

In the Secrets of Japan season, the Channel 4 logo was changed to a Japanese 4. These idents can be viewed on the TV ark website in the Channel 4 1999 idents section.

Films shown as part of Mondo Macabro season:

Blood Of The Virgins
Awakening Of The Beast.
The Killing Of Satan.
Ammoru The Mother Goddess
Karamurat The Sultan’s Warrior
Alucarda
Secret Chronicle: Prostitution Market
The Warrior

Other films shown on 4Later:

Shadow Skill: The Movie was shown on 4Later as part of Channel 4’s animation week, just after the one off documentary, Manga Erotica.

Films shown on 4Later that weren’t shown as part of a season:

Martin (horror directed by George Romero)

4Later usually included a short animation under the title ‘Late Toon’. Late Toon was sometimes shown at the start of the night and sometimes at the end. These included: (but not limited to)

No More Mr. Nice Guy (by Brad Schiff)
Lava Lava
Gas Planet
Beat The Meatles (by Keith Alcorn)
Morris (by Ed Talfan)
Xerox And Mylar
Homiez (French animation)

Sick Night:

During Channel 4’s animation week, 4Later broadcast ‘Sick Night’. A list of all the animations shown as part of Sick Night:

Sittin’ Pretty
Quiet Please
Deep Sympathy
Guano!
Bump In The Night
There’s A Pervert In Our Pool
Expelling The Demon

4Later’s Influence:

Late Night Poker began a poker craze in Britain which continues to this day. For a short while, BBC Three allowed viewers to introduce programmes by filming themselves doing a short sketch. This is very similar to the idea pioneered by 4Later’s The Collective. Though 4Later allowed viewers a greater amount of freedom in what they said and did. Whereas BBC Three viewer introductions were confined to introductions for the particular show they were introducing. BBC Three showed a programme called ‘Mongrels’ which is very similar in concept to 4Later’s Pets. And the sardonic style of Charlie Brooker’s Screenwipe is similar to 4Later’s Vids.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Eastenders: The Recasts

Some people may like the 'new Lauren' and 'new Ben'. But people taking to the characters is not the point. It's not the point at all.

If for example Phil Mitchell was recast, there would be people who liked the recast. Especially if he was recast to being a younger, handsome guy.

There would be women saying "I like the recast, he's younger and handsome now".

But it does not mean he should have been recast in the first place.

Eastenders is supposed to be set in the real world. Obviously storylines can be far fetched as it is. And a suspension of disbelief is required, as with all fiction.

As such, the physical aspects of the programme, the sets, the production values need to be kept as realistic as possible. It needs to look real. it needs to feel real.
So it's like dropping in to a real community.

Madeline Duggan was Lauren. Charlie Jones was Ben.

Eastenders isn't a radio show. it's a television programme. And we can see that that is not Lauren. And that is not Ben.

These characters where both being played by actors. As such their recasts where completely and totally unnecessary.

The actress who's been brought in to play 'nu Lauren' is not a better actress than the one already playing her.

And even if she was, what takes you out of a show more, acting you don't find particularly stunning, or a character suddenly changing in to another person!?

Recasting a character we've seen onscreen for years defeats the very purpose of acting. It takes the viewer out of the programme and destroys credibility and realism.

Lauren was not a child. She was a teenager. 15, a year away from legally being considered an adult. Nor was she a bit character. She was in the show for years. And I never heard anyone complain about her acting until Kirkwood needlessly replaced her and Eastenders cult like loyal followers use excuses for his actions.

If Lauren and Ben where sent packing I might not have liked it. But I would have accepted it. Because characters leaving for somewhere else is realistic. So it doesn't ruin the credibility of the programme at all. But to axe and recast the characters brings insult to injury. people changing in to other people is not something that happens in real life. So it's not something that should happen in Eastenders.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Bryan Kirkwood Ruining Eastenders


I am a life long fan of Eastenders. However I have recently stopped watching due to the recasts. The recasts of Lauren, Ben and Lucy are completely unnecessary. Even as a life long fan of Eastenders the recast of Lauren has taken me right out of the programme. And isn’t that the opposite effect an ongoing drama is supposed to have? I know recasts have happened before and I think recasts should be left in the past as an embarrassing part of soap history. Lauren was already being played by an actress. There was no need to recast her. Recasts are insulting to the performer, insulting to the programme and insulting to the viewer. What is the point in an ongoing drama if actors who portray characters are suddenly going to be changed? If actors want to leave or have been fired then the programme should build that in to the story. When Madeline Duggen left the programme it could have been worked in to Eastenders by showing Max and Tanya struggling with the absence of their daughter.

To me, when an actor has left, their character has went with them. And their replacement is an embarrassing impostor , ruining the credibility of the show. When a recast happens it doesn’t just effect that particular character, it effects every character they interact with. For example, when Lauren talks to Max I think “Max, what are you doing, that’s not your daughter”. As such Jake Wood’s acting talent is going to waste. Again, when “Lauren is interacting with Stacey I think Stacey “what are you doing, that’s not Lauren”. Watching Eastenders should be like dropping in on a community. But it can’t possibly be like that if characters are going to be replaced with “new heads.” The look of the show is what draws you in as a viewer. How something looks is the first thing people take in. And as such make their mind up if they are going to be open to the storylines. How realistic something looks dictates ones openness to accept it. Why should viewers have to make their selves struggle to accept a “recast”. What is the point in an ongoing drama if the makers are going to say “you know that character you’ve been watching for the past four years? Well she’s now a different person”. When a recast character is onscreen I can’t help but be reminded of how patronising it is to the viewer and how much little respect producers must have for the viewer and the integrity and credibility of the programme. Madeline Duggan was Lauren. Melissa Suffield was Lucy. It's as simple as that.

Recasts are possibly the ultimate insult to the viewer. I can’t imagine anything more patronising and condescending. It go’s to show in the world of soap nothing is credible and nothing is safe. What is the point in being a loyal viewer if a character you're invested in, is suddenly and pointlessly replaced. As if they never existed. It means a character someone is invested in could suddenly change. So what’s the point in investing any time on the show at all? I watched Eastenders when I was a wee boy and throughout my teens. But Eastenders has now lost me as a viewer. The introduction of the "new Lauren" was the last episode for me.