Now, you see, I was going to write some smart-aleckry about Channel 4’s 10 O’Clock Live; about how it’s painfully obvious that Channel 4 wants to create a British version of The Daily Show, and how this feels a bit like 20 years ago when everyone wanted to make a British version of The Late Show With David Letterman.
Actually, I started, but then realised that what’d really made an impression was Jimmy Carr. Not just by how bad he was, but because five minutes into the programme, it dawned on me who he’s slowly morphing into. It’s actually quite unsettling.
Long-time Londoners will get this, under 30s are now going to look at me in a really strange way.
Below, irritatingly posh comedian Jimmy Carr, whose dapper appearance and measured tones are let down by flat and insulting jokes. “Say what you like about Sarah Palin, I still would.”
Above, avuncular stalwart of London’s long-gone local television, Philip Elsmore, softly-spoken continuity announcer at Thames Television throughout its 24 years on air. “This is Thames, from London.”
Now, you wouldn’t catch a gentleman like Mr Elsmore come out with crude trying-too-hard gags. And Jimmy Carr would never be able to introduce an edition of Rainbow without making an unfunny crack about Zippy and George, either. But even down to the parting… it’s disturbing.
Anyhow, my own thoughts on 10 O’Clock Live was that it showed promise but was too long. If I was Channel 4, I’d drop Carr, dump the sketches, and split it into two half-hourly shows to run twice each week – 60 minutes was a bit of a slog, especially with the first half-hour being full of duff and awkwardly-delievered material.
I’d also allow Charlie Brooker and David Mitchell to riff a bit more freely on the week’s news, and give Lauren Laverne something to do that’s more immediately obvious to the audience than “the one who can do live telly so can tell the boys when it’s time for an ad break” – an important job on live TV, but one that seemed to scream “token woman”. Then they might be onto something…