I wake up in the morning. I’m tired. I want something to give me a jolt. Coffee? Toast? Shower? Tell you what. I’ll stick the telly on and see what’s going on in the world.
And that’s it. It’s that easy. Suddenly I’m plugged into the world of NEWS! There we go, the overnight pangs of news deprivation should be easing any minute now… But wait!? What’s going on?! This is news but it’s not right. Where’s my smackneedled heroin hit of topicality???? Jesus. This is desperate! It’s like news but not news. Some sickly sweet methadone version of the news. All primary colours and big fat grins and warm sofas. Why are they smiling like this? Grinning like children while people are DYING for gods sake!!! Well not dying. Here’s a piece on how school dinners are cooked, with a reporter interviewing dinner ladies in their kitchen!?!??
Gah! This is wrong, but if I change channel it can only get wronger. I know that much from experience. BBC breakfast might be a weak dosage but it’s the best on offer. Switch up to sky sunrise and it’s OD time. Like having scalding caffeine thrown in your eyes to the soundtrack of aphex twins “come to daddy”. If I watched nothing but sky news when I got up every day I’d probably end up hanging out on the roofs of buildings picking off people in imaginary cross-hairs. Til I could afford a gun to make the cross hairs real. Hell they might even get the sky-coptor out with the carnage I’d cause. On sky sunrise even reviewing the papers feels like a terse affair where immigrants or bombs could rain down any second.
The other option is GMTV. That’s not even news. It’s a smirking duvet of banality. It’s for people too depressed or Valium soaked to want to get out of bed. People who can’t face reality, so settle for a big warm sunny version of celebrity obsessed reality. Like the telly tubbies for adults. You know all those people who you read about who stay in bed for years and grow obese and get covered in bedsores and then have to get a crane in to finally winch them out of their sordid little griefhole? That all started with settling for GMTV in the morning.
That’s the problem with BBC breakfast. I get it. I really do. When you wake up the last thing you want is some grey-faced hangdog telling you not to bother getting up cos the world is too depressing to even contemplate. Jeepers. Imagine the suicide rate if the late night news format just ran through the morning? Smudge-eyed laconic anchors rattling off their 15 minute monologues in the twilight zone, when even the make-up artists have gone home, catering to the howling loons of the night and hoping that some insomniac prime-time big-wig spots them.
BBC Breakfast is carefully constructed to take the edge off the world outside while keeping it real enough to allow you to open the front door and take a step outside without bursting into the hysterical bleetings of a nervous breakdown.
I want to like BBC Breakfast. I want to like the fact that Sian, Bill, Susanna and Charlie put on this mock warm chemistry to to draw you in. Like your friendly uncle and your mates mum from school – the one you always had a bit of a crush on (or is that just me?). I want to like the ‘have a go’ attitude of Mike Bushell in his sports reports. Playing zorb lacrosse with a bunch of 4 year olds as though it’s gonna be an Olympic sport in 2012 (you never know. They’re building a handball stadium for frikks sake). I want to like the way that the eternally cheerful and brightly clothed Carol chirps gaily on about the weather as she braves the cold.
But I don’t. Not one bit. It’s not their fault. It’s just that… Well it’s all so banal isn’t it? Dressing the news up to make it seem different is pathetic. Filling up segments with meaningless on-sofa interviews about largely irrelevant and instantly forgettable human interest stories is lame. I can’t even get worked up when they try the hard-hitting approach. Sian got all challenging in an interview the other day and started haranguing George Osborne. normally I’d be cheering her on but it felt embarrassing. Like when your mum sticks up for you to the headmaster. This may sound sexist but it’s not – this is the image producers have forced her to project and it doesn’t work when she rails against the cast she’s been typed in… I could almost sense someone in her earpiece telling her to get angry… But it just looked wrong.
And now it’s gonna be over. The dream has died. No more smiles bearing down from the morning screen burning out my dull retina. They’re all quitting rather than moving up to Manchester. And who can blame them? Manchester? It’s like being sent to Coventry but further north. The Londocentric Beeb may as well have shipped them to the Orkneys to present local editions of “sheepwatch”. Well! Some of them are leaving. Enough to mean it’s the end of an era. Well it isn’t actually. The shows format is almost set in stone. All you need to do is sit on a sofa with a fixed grin drinking mugs of tea as though you hadn’t been in make-up since 3am. Jesus. Sounds like hell.
Anyway. Not a lot will change. The breakfast team will move on, replaced by grinning replicants. Bill might turn up presenting antiques roadshow if the traditionalist backlash against Fiona takes root. Sian could take a turn on newsnight fighting real battles rather than maternally reprimanding politicians like naughty schoolboys. Susanna and Charlie were made for “this morning” or “the one show” and I imagine Mike Bushell already has his eyes on celebrity come dancing. Or the lacrosse zorbing olympic team.
The problem is that the rest of us. The VIEWING PUBLIC won’t be able to move on. Whatever carbon copy replaces the current team will ensure a seamless saccharin continuity and once again I’ll wake up every morning caught in the twilight zone between the glossy soft focus sofas of GMTV and the hammer in the face brass band of sky sunrise wondering why I hate the news so much again!