The Loneliest Jukebox

Graham Barnfield's weblog, being gradually replaced by his Twitter feed - www.twitter.com/GrahamBarnfield

Graham Author Page

Thursday, July 29, 2004

“Are we on the telly now?”

I’ve just sat through Sky One’s Terror Alert. Ex-SAS survival guru Chris Ryan helps out some folk in Manchester after a dirty bomb blast, gets contaminated, gets decontaminated, and comes to London in time for a giant Anthrax attack. He presumably missed out on the third prong of the attack, Anthrax-laced cocaine sold to London clubbers.

The images and décor are straight out of 24, which Terror Alert has replaced in the schedules. The use of real-life (Sky) newscasters is supposed to heighten the realism. Britain’s unlimited supply of CCTV cameras is supposed to be reassuring. At least expert Bill Durodie talked some sense.

The mixing of catastrophe, video reportage and location footage has been done to death, most recently in the Dawn of the Dead remake, in 28 Days Later and in Shaun of the Dead (where the big joke is zombies plague north London and no-one notices). Now a supposedly news/current affairs show is plagiarising off the works of fiction which previously plagiarised off news/current affairs shows.

Memo to Sky One (and TV more broadly): why not just get a big snake and shove its tail in its mouth and broadcast the footage 24/7?

----------------------

Talking of generic entertainment, on 11 August Number One Longing. Number Two Regret is playing at the Portobello Film Festival, London. Eagle-eyed viewers might spot me in the role of ‘Woods Guy’, either delving the depths of human depravity or thinking about what’s for lunch, depending on how you rate my acting abilities.


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