Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Frank Bruno was sectioned last night. Friends said they had been worried about him for months. I wonder if Frank was watching E4 last week when an episode of the “hilarious” new comedy programme “The Pilot Show” aired for the first time? On The Pilot Show, celebrities and ordinary people are conned into making pilot tv programmes for crap fake ideas. This includes programmes such as Lapdance Island and Catch the Sandwich. Frank Bruno was in one of these programmes, called Celebrity Advice Bureau, where an actress posing as a member of the public told him that since her pregnancy her “flaps” were distended and she couldn’t enjoy a normal sex life. Other celebrities who were ridiculed on the programme included Dean Gaffney, Anne Diamond and Debbie McGee – the sort of people who are hungry for work. In other clips, ordinary people, even more desperate for fame showed themselves willing to cut themselves off from their entire families, possibly forever, or humiliated themselves in a sex-related DIY show. The Pilot Show is Poison TV. I feel dirty and bad about myself after watching it. For all I know, Frank Bruno et al could actually be in on the joke too, but I doubt it. Nasty, nasty E4.

Another programme, shown on BBC3 at the moment, also plays practical jokes on members of the public, but in a way that isn’t offensive. 3 Non-blondes features three black women who engage with passers-by, asking them bizarre questions “Excuse me, are you black?” or getting them to do things “Can you undo my zip so I can use the toilet?” Where the programme succeeds (and the Pilot Show fails) is that 3 Non-Blondes doesn’t hate its victims. Instead, it is often the actresses who are the butt of their own jokes (for example, in one joke the actress asks a passer-by directions and her dress (or wig) falls off, in another she has a speech impediment, in another she raps… badly). And the British Public are shown on the whole as being exceptionally kind, tolerant and helpful when faced with these bizarre situations. On the other hand, the Pilot Show plays on people’s hunger to be famous – as a result, nobody comes off particularly well in it. Not the poor patsys and certainly not the smug, cynical makers of the programme.

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