Tuesday, 3 July 2007

Monday 2 July 2007

there’s more crazy rain.
someone near the sheffield zoo
is building an ark.

I was amused to hear Joan Rivers’ remark on the quizcom ‘Nine Out of Ten Cats’ on Friday:-
‘It’s the first time the Spice Girls have been together in years… just like Paris Hilton’s knees.’
‘Quizcom’ seems to be the new word for these comedy panel shows, which have been a staple of Radio and Television for longer than I can remember. The word ‘quizcom’ however, seems to be a relatively new meme for which, according to idigitalsales.co.uk, the UKTV G2 channel is responsible.

‘Quizcom is a brand new phrase UKTV G2 has cleverly coined to describe our bestloved panel game shows, all of which are witty and spontaneous, erudite and clever, with a touch of irreverence thrown in. There has to be a chairman, who presides over events with a firm hand. There has to be a regular guest or team captain, preferably given to flight of fancy, and there has to be occasional guests who contribute to the show’s ethos. It also has to be half-an-hour long, be recorded before a live audience, and winning is almost irrelevant. That’s Quizcom – quiz plus comedy.’


‘Just a Minute’ for instance, has been running continuously since 1967, its longevity due its simple format in which contestants have to speak continuously on a given subject for sixty seconds without hesitation, repetition or deviation.
On the other hand, many Quizcoms, unlike sitcoms, tend to have a longer shelf life. ‘I’m Sorry, I Haven’t a Clue’ chaired by the marvellous Humphrey Lyttlelton, has been with us on radio since April 1972, and on TV, ‘Have I Got News For You’, the satirical Rottweiller of Quizcoms, has been on air since 1990 and amazingly survived its host, Angus Deayton, being exposed in the National Press in 2002 for allegedly indulging in cocaine-fuelled romps with prostitutes.
The most innovative sitcom of the year, if one can call it such, is ‘Annually Retentive’, a strange hybrid, shamefully hidden away on a late night spot on BBC 3. Starring the very talented (and Welsh) Rob Brydon, it is a comedy revolving around the fictional quizcom, ‘Annually Retentive’, in which Rob Brydon plays himself as the host, and in which many other ‘names’ play themselves, or, more actually, a satirical caricature of themselves. This idea of course, has already been used in Ricky Gervais’ ‘Extras’ to great effect, but where Gervais played a somewhat naïve and sympathetic character, continually blundering disastrously into areas of political correctness, and encountering theatrical monsters, Brydon himself is the monster, with an ego inflated well beyond the boundaries of his fame, and plagued with neuroses and petty jealousies.It’s an interesting direction for comedy to go in, especially taking into account the public’s seemingly unquenchable appetite for reality programmes.
Put it on BBC 1, you mad scheduling fools!

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