Getting jiggy with it

Friday, May 9, 2008 by

What’s the most shocking thing about the ITV phone-in scandal? Surely it’s the fact that the problems on Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway stem from the two worst items on the show.

The Jiggy Bank was comfortably the dullest and most boring part of Takeaway every time it appeared. As you’ll be aware, the “game”, such as it was, involved members of the public straddling the giant pig to dislodge cash. This may have been fun if you were there riding it, but it never once worked as a piece of television – you could never work out how much the thing worked and how much cash they were making. I was always amazed it lasted as long as it did, as it was such a hopeless item.

The biggest surprise, though, is that callers on the Grab the Ads phone-in were being vetted beforehand to judge their suitability to appear on air. I’m amazed by this, as the public’s contribution to this “game”, which invariably lasted about thirty seconds as it was always overruninng, consisted of nothing but them screaming “Hellloooooooo!” when they were put on air and “Hooraaaaay!” when they were given their prize. Most of the callers were completely indescipherable. Indeed, a few series back when the show was pre-recorded because of that strike at LWT, they played Grab the Ads without callers – winners’ names were just flashed on screen – and it made absolutely no difference to the feature whatsoever. What on earth was the point of fixing it?

Indeed, the awful thing about these problems is that in every case, the phone-in aspect made no difference to the quality of the show and, in most cases, was in fact the most boring aspect. The Gameshow Marathon was a lovely piece of warm-hearted nostalgia, only spoilt by the amount of time they kept on demanding we call in.

I’m not blaming Ant and Dec for any of this. Sure, they were billed as Executive Producers, but there’s such a thing as delegation. I would question whether the Editors of the newspapers printing such suggestions know much about their papers’ distribution methods or how their switchboard operates. They have trust in those who are responsible for it.

The worst thing about all this is that, unlike most of the other issues at the Beeb when they were often ham-fisted attempts to solve problems, these scandals have come about purely due to cynicism and greed. And that’s a real shame.


Comments are closed.