Thursday, 20 January 2011

10 O'Clock Live (Channel 4)

Channel 4's new topical comedy show, hosted by Jimmy Carr, David Mitchell, Lauren Laverne and Charlie Brooker, was something of a mixed bag. It's lumbered from the off with the baggage of being a satirical news comedy show and therefore has an instant hurdle to overcome in that any satirical news comedy show on TV has to live up to the original, and possibly still best, comedy quiz show in Have I Got News For You and Chris Morris's classic The Day Today and Brass Eye, which isn't really very fair; 1o O'Clock Live isn't trying to be either.

Instead it is trying to be everything and herein lay the problem. Due to the sheer volume of content they tried to pack into an hour nothing quite fully worked and some things (the horrific US news spoof) were appalling. I'm hoping that as they have a 15 week run they will tweak the format to make it work better. Here's how I'd do it.

First I'd get rid of Lauren Laverne. She seems like a spare wheel. Apart from being the closest there was to a host her only input was the aforementioned US news sketch. I suppose she's useful as the focal point of the round the table discussion (which needs to be tweaked by the other 3 letting Brooker talk instead of just talking over him). Second, get rid of the desperately poor sketches they take up time that will easily be filled with content already there.. For example, Mitchell hosting a debate with 3 people started chaotic and just as it was starting to work they had to end it for a Brooker video segment. Brooker was followed by a break and when it returned there was THAT sketch and a Jimmy Carr segment so poor I can't remember anything about it. Cut the crap after the break, move Brooker there and allow the debate to run longer.

The best between break part of the show was the one that started with Brooker's cynical rant and then had Mitchell discussing tuition fees with a single politician. Brooker was very funny, the discussion was interesting. This should be how the whole show plays then you'd have Intro, Carr monologue about the news, Mitchell does a serious bit, ads, Brooker video, Carr interviews someone interesting, Mitchell monologue if the interviewee is less interesting than he was this week, ads, round the table talk (preceded by Mitchell if the interviewee was as interesting as this week), ads, Brooker rant, Mitchell discussion, Carr sign off. Credits. Better programme.


  1. right, finally finished it. Yes. James is correct on every point.

    This talkbalk's easy.

  2. Fair points yes. One point not made though - get rid of Jimmy Carr. Are there really be no better 'comedians' than Carr to front his show? I've seen statues with better comic instinct.

  3. Again, I am surprising agreeance with pretty much everyone I've read talk about this - some real promising moments, but some real redundant ones, and it's all too rushed asn as yet a bit unsure of itself and nervy.

    Brooker and Mitchell's rants are ace, and actually I'm in the shocking posiiton of standing up for Carr - his "sketch" bits are rubbish, but his table contributions are pretty sharp and he's delivered some of the most biting satirical lines, as well as currently being easily the most assured and relaxed of the presenters... I know, I never thought I'd say it, but I think he might be quite palatable doing political material...

    There's been a bit of suggestion that Lauren Laverne is being sidelined, but then she's not a comedian or writer, and the rest are - they don't really know what to do with her, and the only thing she does comfortably at present is the presenty bits.

    The debates/interviews last week were rushed, this week not as bad, but that showed them up - I'm really not sure Mitchell's quite got the balls to really grill these people (maybe he'll get better with experience), and since the audience have already made up their mind what they're going to boo and hiss at, it all seems a bit pointless...

    So yes - very hit and miss. Hope it beds down and sorts it's teething problems out, cos it could be really good.

  4. Watching episode 3, missed 2. I think it is getting better, but they still seem terrified. I'm sure that'll get better after doing a few more. Laverne's a bit better (not doing as much, really) and I think Mitchell's got real potential. The points he makes and questions he asks are actually really good. And I'm with Noise on Jimmy Carr - the most relaxed by far, he's got good timing. Probably because he's the only stand up.

    I think they're getting a pretty long run and I think on balance it'll be success. And it's not really here nor there, but fair play to them for doing it all live. Tough.