Thursday, January 01, 2009

Who won the bragging rights for TV New Year coverage?

A very Happy New Year to you all.

Unlike most years, I was with a family gathering round the TV on the eve of 2009, having spent the afternoon in a dentist's chair. I'm feeling no pain now, thank goodnes.

So we flicked channels to try to find the best TV coverage. BBC1 was having a party on HMS Belfast, BBC2 had the usual Jools Holland Hootenanny (the only time that word is ever seen), ITV was at the 02 with Sir Elton and friends, C4 had Jimmy Carr hosting a quiz, C5 copped out with a compilaton of film clips, and Sky didn't bother.

BBC1 - Well, it was live, so that's a plus. The music was OK, especially Russell Watson, though Aleesha looked out of place, cold, and mimed terribly. The worst part was at 2 minutes to midnight when Matt Baker had to fill airtime with inane comments like "It's all going to go off like a multicoloured pizza".However, the fireworks from the London Eye were stuning, though we could hear them seven seconds earlier bystanding in the street, which was a bit odd.

BBC2 - As usual, Jools and the gang put on a great show, with Duffy, Annie Lenniox, Adele, The Ting Tings, and a particularly brilliant Kelly Jones. There was a very large lady who claimed to be Martha Reeves, and a bizarre five-piece harmonica band from Finland (I'm not making this up) who would have been fine on a Saturday night variety show 40 years ago. It would have all been great, had it not been recorded several weeks ago. All a bit of a sham, really.

ITV - Had the benefit of being live (well, sort of) Dear old Elt was on good form, despite now looking like Miss Piggy with hair borrowed from another muppet. Alas, the comercial breaks were a problem since you don't have them in live concerts. As a result, the digital editors worked overtime, so we saw songs time-shifted back and forth.

C4 - Well, Jimmy Carr is always good for a laugh, and this was probaly the channel of choice for those people who "don't do New Year". Alas, the format was the usual carefully scipted ad-libs and extra canned laughter on the soundtrack.

C5 - If you like clip compilation shows, featuring talking heads who you recognise but couldn't name, then this was decent fare, though it could have been broadcast at any time.

Sky - Nothing need be said.

So who won? No contest, in my view. This is what the Beeb excel at. BBC1 by a mile.

However, next year I'm going out.

Happy 2009.

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