Piling Pelion on Ossa?*

by Stephen Arnell

*From the online Free Dictionary: to further complicate something that is already tedious or challenging. Ossa and Pelion are two mountains in Greece

Three recent TV industry news stories illustrate the futility of trying to make sense of modern Britain.

In a Dominic Cummings-influenced presentation/mini-blog, here are my thoughts on three of the TV topics of the week – hopefully expressed without DC’s patented brand of long-winded pseudo-scientific b*llocks.

All presented in the spirit of fun; naturellement.

Streamers to face UK regulation?

Should we be swayed by the unconvincing arguments from the likes of media and marketing commentator Kate Bulkley, who welcomed the news via LinkedIn with this post:

“It’s taken concerns by some over how the royal family is portrayed in drama The Crown on Netflix to finally spur the UK government into action on regulating the streamers.

Given that UK broadcasters must operate under strict rules whereas streamers do not, this move to regulate #OTT services is a good thing, albeit a convoluted route to get there!”

Aside from whining about the depiction of The Royal Family in The Crown, what exactly do the government and Bulkley want to crack down on?

Dick Van Dyke’s accent in Mary Poppins? Maybe Mel Gibson’s War of Independence epic The Patriot should be taken down as offending our not-so-United Kingdom?

Was Netflix’s recent Yorkshire Ripper documentary a slur upon England’s biggest county and the honourable profession of the long and short haul lorry driver?

I’m afraid the fact that the measure is promoted by media minister John Whittingdale makes me doubt that the government’s motives are exactly pristine. In-depth documentaries about the secret lives of UK politicians off the development slate? Say no more, gov.

EU to cut UK content on continental TV

My pithy response to the prospect of cuts to UK programming in EU countries would be – tough sh*t.

From a more nuanced perspective, I don’t know whether our European friends are that likely to do it, but, considering the behaviour of the UK government over the last couple of years, in some ways I wouldn’t blame them.

The recently ennobled David (‘no not him, the other one’) Frost looks to be the pugnacious and incompetent chancer he appears whenever interviewed or filmed waddling purposefully through the streets of Brussels.

One can only imagine the crestfallen faces of the various EU Grand Logothetēs when, in imitation of Moonraker’s Hugh Drax, they welcome the boorish Frost thusly:

“You have arrived at a propitious moment, considered to be your country’s one indisputable contribution to Western Civilization: Afternoon tea. May I press you to a cucumber sandwich?”

Only to be offhandedly refused, in favour of an ‘ot dog’ and can of Fanta.

No surprise then, as the ‘oven-ready’ Brexit deal hurriedly stitched together with part-time PM Johnson last Christmas Eve seems to have sold the farm (sic) on this and a host of other UK trade issues (fishing, musicians touring the Continent etc).

I blame hornswoggled UK voters for buying the sizzle of Brexit, not the actualité of the rancid steak on offer. And the Labour Party for retaining the hopeless Jeremy Corbyn as leader until the December 2019 election disaster.

Unfortunately, the industry will have to suck it up, unless the likes of PACT can rescue something from the bonfire of Frost’s vanity.

The push to privatise Channel 4

I suspect many viewers don’t realise Ch4 is not a private company but a public-service television network with a remit to produce “high quality and distinctive programming”.

With the exception of Ch4 News, the occasional quality drama (It’s a Sin) and a few documentaries, the channel is now best known for wall-to-wall smut such as Naked Attraction, Mums Make Porn, 100 Vaginas, My & My Penis, Generation Porn, The Sex Clinic, Dogging Tales, Gay Pets, Sex Toy Secrets, Sex Toy Stories, A Very British Sex Shop, The Sex Testers, Naked Beach, Sex Box, Adult Material, The Sex Clinic, Sex Odyssey, SeXXXy Tatts, LA Vice: Porn Stars & Hustlers, Gay Sex, Apps & Men, Sex Party Secrets, The Sex Testers and Sex in Lockdown: Keep Shagging & Carry On.

Oh, and Amanda (Les Dennis) Holden has a new primetime Ch4 show.

‘Everyone wants a piece of Amanda right now,’

Not me, mate.

Excuse me David Attenborough, but I find it difficult to get all that bothered about it. Especially when you know how much top Ch4 executives Alex Mahon and Ian Katz get paid for their ‘public service’.

Stephen Arnell

By Stephen Arnell