Putting public morality on the box

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…


  1. Madam Miaow said,

    April 5, 2008 at 12:42 pm

    Yes, and look out for Single Mum Mansion, a charming offering from the BBC. Their trawl for participants even called it “Pramface Mansion”, so I think we can guess how this one will pan out.
    … we are going to give ten single mothers and their children the opportunity to experience what it’s like to live together in a group under one roof. The accommodation will be organised in a similar way to a house-share where everything is shared and everyone helps and supports each other.

    Let’s all watch the pramfaces stabbing each other.

  2. Lobby Ludd said,

    April 5, 2008 at 10:57 pm

    From the ever-reliable News of the World:

    “TV’S holier-than-thou talk show king Jeremy Kyle has a dirty secret to rival any of the lowlife guests he pillories on screen.

    The slick-talking star lured a 16-year-old schoolgirl into a lust-fuelled fling by promising to get her into showbiz.

    Kyle became infatuated with pretty Becky Hayes when she did work experience at the radio station where he was a DJ. Now she has revealed to a close friend how the schemer:

    * PLEADED for her to dress up in school uniform for him,
    * CONFESSED he was pleasuring himself as he fantasised about it,
    * ADMITTED he was turned on by the fact she was a virgin,
    * CALLED her for phone sex as she walked home from school,
    * INVITED her to a swingers’ party,
    * GROPED her intimately in his car and murmured: “I want to do you…”

    I’m sure there’s potential for a new confessional-type show here. “Are you slimier than a talk show host” or “Tishu”, maybe.

    (Despite his apparent potential, everybody knows Kilroy-Silk is a wanker, so there’d be not much shock value from using him, more’s the pity.)

  3. charliemarks said,

    April 6, 2008 at 7:42 am

    If you reverse the vowels in Trisha’s name you get an apt description of her show.

    If you do the same for Jeremy Kyle, you still get Jeremy Kyle. The nobhead.

  4. prianikoff said,

    April 6, 2008 at 8:22 am

    There’s a disturbing tendency by elements in the political establishment to construct a “holier than thou” tendency.
    It’s really got fuck-all to do with public morality though. It’s all about the power of money. Don’t expect them to suggest giving that up anytime soon.

  5. margo said,

    April 9, 2008 at 11:26 am

    When is having sex a scandal ?

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