“If you ask for Durex in Australia…”

Sunday, January 8, 2006 by

Are there four words in the English language more depressing than Jon Culshaw’s Commercial Breakdown?

Amazingly Culshaw is now the seventh person to front this format on BBC1 – after Jasper Carrott, Patrick Kielty, Rory McGrath, Jo Brand, Ruby Wax and Jim Davidson – which is remarkable when it was already running out of steam while the first presenter was doing it.

It’s such a lazy and uninteresting concept, though – fair enough as a one-off, which it originally was of course, but every week for eight weeks is just hideous. How can any of these hosts think their careers are being served by sitting on a set made of oversized Mars bars reading out lame gags off the autocue and linking into the same old clips each time? And why do the BBC continually recommission it? Yes, it’s cheap, but it’s also fantastically cynical.

The thing is shows like these all work from the same shallow pool – I recall Kielty’s stint in charge coinciding with a series of Tarrant on TV, and each week there’d be a handful of clips appearing on both shows. And what is the appeal of funny adverts? You wouldn’t get a clip show made up of Finnish TV comedy sketches, so why do we have one made up of Finnish TV adverts? And the thing is, adverts, from any country, are simply never, ever funny.

And lest we forget, “The producers would like to thank the world’s advertising industries for their invaluable help in the making of this programme”. Bleurgh.


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