Throw Saturday night television in a Dusty Bin

Lancashire Evening Post head of content Blaise Tapp
Lancashire Evening Post head of content Blaise Tapp
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I am not a great one for nostalgia – I have never been interested in reliving past glories or joining websites where you can pick up where you left off with the school psychopath 20-odd years later.

In my experience those who constantly hanker after yesteryear tend to be either well past retirement age (and most would agree, they are entitled to reminisce) and the bored and unimaginative. I have never got 80s nights when drunk folk throw themselves around a social club dance floor to the tunes of Wham! and Black Lace, as I have always been of the opinion that it was a rubbish decade first time around.

But where I do don a pair of rose-tinted specs is when it comes to modern day light entertainment television programmes. For all the modern advancements in technology which have produced giant, wafer thin television screens, given us a choice of hundreds of channels which we can even watch on our mobile phones, it seems that the content has been left behind in 1987.

Yes, there have been TV duds throughout history – for every hit family show like Noel’s House Party there was an absolute stinker such as Jim Davidson’s Big Break, which if you have wiped it from your memory, was a ‘game show’ based all around a snooker table.

Obviously those behind the concept thought they could mirror the success of the darts fest that was Bullseye, but for all his Cockney patter Davidson was no Jim Bowen. But, do you know how many episodes of Big Break were screened? A whopping 225! No, me neither.

You could put the success of dire formats such as this down to the fact there simply wasn’t the choice of channels in the 1990s that there are today but then that doesn’t really explain why 5.5 million people tune into uninspired dross like ITV1’s latest offering Splash!, which, from where I was sat on Saturday night, has been created merely to give teenage girls the opportunity to slather over Tom Daley in his Budgie Smugglers.

The genre of ‘celebrity’ challenge shows must surely have reached its nadir with Splash! – although I am sure there are hungover young television execs currently working on the next big thing – probably involving someone who used to be in Hollyoaks and a hungry lion. I might just watch that. It isn’t just commercial channels which are currently serving up dross – the Beeb’s latest Saturday night offering is Britain’s Brightest, hosted by the excellent Clare Balding, who usually can do no wrong. Unfortunately she has been sold a pup on this one as the 10 minutes I saw featured two incredibly brainy smug people participating in classroom level word association games.

Of course, it would be easier to switch off the box and read a book, but that would be too easy. I just keep on dreaming of Dusty Bin and the Two Ronnies.