Here’s something that annoys my brain. The rise on British TV of the Springer-style talk show, although broadcasting regulations prevent you being really outrageous like Springer. The use of the same bag of tricks over and over again – the paternity test, the lie detector test, the Asbo – are pretty tired by now. And, although Trisha is sympathetic while Kyle is accusatory, that’s about all the variation you get.
What’s important, of course, is the class base of these shows. We’re watching the working class – and not the respectable wing of the working class either – washing their dirty linen in public. The Kyle show, in fact, is about the only place outside of Big Brother where you’ll get to see chavs and spides in the raw. Some of the posher layers of society, as a result, have a sort of horrified fascination with them – even Rankin’ Dave Cameron is sounding off about the “Jeremy Kyle generation”. And no article in the Mail about the Shannon case is complete without a prominent mention for her mum having seven kids by five fathers.
It strikes me that there’s a gap in the market here. I envision a TV show where the upper half of society can wash their dirty linen in public. You could call it The Morality Show. It would be sponsored by the Daily Mail, which would solve the problem of reluctant guests – appear on the show or the Mail will get you. And I envision it being hosted by Melanie Phillips and Peter Hitchens, who between them should be able to get the right censorious tone.
Imagine the first edition of the show hosting racing boss Max Mosley and his five Nazi S&M hookers. I can see it now…
Hitchens: Max, do you like dungeons?
Mosley: I beg your pardon?
Hitchens: Well, your dad did, didn’t he? Especially if they were full of Jews!
If nothing else, it would give Max pause for thought next time he feels the urge to re-enact Ilsa, She-Wolf of the SS.
Then you could do a special on the London mayoral election, since the media are going buck mad over Ken Livingstone’s five kids from three partners. Actually, I don’t see it doing Ken much harm, as he isn’t a deadbeat dad, he isn’t a sexual hypocrite and the punters have seen much worse. (Then again, Londoners seem to be obsessed with the Lee Jasper saga, which tells you how much I know.) Besides, Bonking Boris has had his own trouble in keeping his zip up, and would be ill advised to make this an election issue.
And at this point the SWP Central Committee heaves a collective sigh of relief that Lyndzee is an also-ran, and the tabloids haven’t gone after sex scandals on their territory…