Election 2010: Prime Minsterial Debate (1)

As television goes, this was – in a sense – heavy duty viewing. All three speakers lumbered from fact-laden segment to sequences of pragmatic back-scratching with alarming ease, this undoubtedly aided by the printed notes all three frequently scribbled on during the hour and a half ‘debate’.

The fact there was no commercial break was important. All three were subjected to a demanding live TV presentation experience. Live streaming an event on the internet was nothing in comparison to this.

With no audience reaction to fill the embarrassing voids, the wannabee PMs presentation made delineating policy annoyingly inaccesible.

But nowhere near as irritating as the TV viewer’s experience watching a fairly dry political debate for an hour and a half.

Mind you, seeing as they’re people look for a job for the next four or five years maybe they deserved the challenge.

But there’s a big problem with the Prime Minsterial debate. Viewers are being encouraged to vote for a leader when they they place a tick in the box on 6 May, even though the arrangement is to vote for the person you’d like to represent them in the House of Commons.

That’s difficult to marry up. Journalists will – inevitably – need to find a way of summarising policy in a bite-size, voter-friendly way.

What seems far more fitting for internet consumers is to advocate watching the debate in it’s entirety. It’s only by watching the ‘unplugged’ version that a relatively fair conclusion can be reached.

Of course, that view is in conflict with the short-attention span demands of the internet, but still the context is vital. And audiences are more than capable of understanding the context themselves without direction.

Journalistic intervention is something to be avoided at all costs. The arguments are way too close to make arguments robust and convincing.

TV: Joanna Lumley: Catwoman (ITV)

Joanna's suitably pleased

ITV Director of Television Peter Fincham must be feeling a little pleased with himself. For most people who remember his departure from the BBC over that Queen documentary thing, Joanna Lumley’s lead in ITV’s Sunday night late-teatime documentary piece about cats will surely have secured a core demographic.

‘Everyone loves cats,’ the executives must have screamed across the table, ‘let’s make a documentary about cats.’

You’d think it might have been a bit mawkish. It might have been just that little bit ‘ITV’ (low on information, high on filler). You’d be wrong. Instead Joanna Lumley lit up the screen with her warmth and sincerity.

Fine. I may not have learnt much more about cats than I knew already but I did get to see cats on television on a Sunday night interspersed amongst interviews with cat-lovers and cat-carers who weren’t necessarily given an easy ride at every turn by this most famous of cat-fans.

Nice work Mr Fincham.

What the hell were you thinking Mr Davidson?

Jim Davidson did seem like an OK bloke when Simon and I reluctantly tuned into the first couple of episodes of ITV’s restaurant/celebrity chef/reality show thing Hell’s Kitchen.

I don’t normally laugh at Jim Davidson but I didn’t have any adverse reactions to him either.

That said, there’s one thing I’m now thinking as a result of him being punished for his inappropriate remark

What the hell were you thinking Mr Davidson?