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Saturday, October 14, 2006 by

Matthew’s comments on Lead Balloon are, at least for me, a sobering demonstration of how not everyone can agree on the quality of a programme. He’s correct in saying that it has had generally favourable reviews, although this is what I wrote on my own blog the night of the first episode, after banging my head against a table trying to come up with something longer:

“It reminded me of Ken Campbell’s word, Jokoid – something which has all the trappings of being a joke without being funny. The performances were all perfectly fine, great in the case of Raquel Cassidy (one of the few survivors from the equally disappointing According to Bex) and in places the tragedy and desperation worked very well. But this had the appearance of being a sitcom without raising a laugh. Which is a shame because the (apparently) specially prepared trailers were very good indeed. Maybe I’ve missed something – that the title is supposed to be ironic, for example.”

And I stand by that. It seemed overly derivative without transcending its influences – I’m yet to see the second episode, although I’m not sure it will change my opinion. As to why the programme is initially on BBC4 – despite my reservations I think it’s part of the process that BBC TV appear to be spearheading of attempting to spread the view the public have of digital and multi-channel television. That in the digital broadcasting world, there aren’t “main” channels just lots of choice, and after the big switch off I don’t see a reason why these things would transfer to those main channels because by then the originating station will be available to everyone.

If anything this might actually a good thing for the consumer, since it will allow each channel to have its own flavour ala the BBC Radio stations rather than the unfocused mish-mash that BBC1 and 2 have become.


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