Going for a gong

Wednesday, May 10, 2006 by

At Sunday night’s TV BAFTA ceremony, out of a total of 19 awards, ITV won just one. Yes, just one. One single, solitary award.

For a network that calls itself the people’s channel, never mind one that’s supposed to be the richest in the land, such a tally is, quite frankly, derisory. In fact, for any network calling itself anything at all, such a tally is derisory, if not pathetic.

At least nobody at ITV is going around claiming it is a channel that is in any kind of shape, never mind firing on all cylinders or drawing upon all its collective talents. Indeed, ITV hasn’t been floundering in such a rough patch since, well, the last one. But in the past it always seemed to be able to pick itself up and do enough to perform OK at the nearest gong show. 2006, though, must mark some kind of nadir.

Not that you feel it doesn’t deserve such a public pummelling. After all, when was the last time ITV managed to conceive, develop and sustain any programming that was in any way new, exciting and fun? Worse, if you look at the BAFTA nominations (four for each award, hence a total of 76), how many do you think ITV notched up? A third? A quarter? Wrong on both counts. Surely they made it into double figures? Wrong again. They got a miserable, shameful total of seven. Seven nominations out of 76. Has there ever been a more sorry performance by what used to be the most watched channel in the country?

Any sensible, rational person sitting in ITV Towers mulling over these statistics would pick up the telephone and offer Greg Dyke whatever he asked to come and run the network, starting as soon as possible. Yet it won’t happen, because there don’t seem to be any. Sensible, rational people, that is. Although the same may as well go for telephones, for when was the last time ITV seemed to have any two-way contact with the real world?


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