Saturday, June 07, 2008

Just one more thing ma'am...

Daytime telly. What are they thinking, other than "we get paid slightly more than the night-time telly schedulers to do this, so we best make a reasonable fist of it". Or something along those lines. Not that I'm complaining really - I remember being off school once or twice (as a pupil) in the days when there were only just four channels, some of the time, and the best that daytime TV had to offer was 'The Sullivans' and 'Crown Court'. However, I've had my fill of Time Team, Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) and romcoms and due to a clash in the sleep / TV schedule, I missed the only screening of Columbo I could find all week.

Then there's the guilt complex. I just phoned my line manager to see if there was even the slightest possibility of some support in getting off lightly tomorrow at work. Of course it's not that I don't appreciate the three and a half months of sick pay they have already generously paid me; nor am I trying to shirk my responsibilities to my employer. Indeed, the only reasons I am returning to work are A Level exams and horrific guilt for being off for the second time in an academic year. Are all jobs like this? I'm led to believe that it is not unknown for people to be sacked for sickness, so perhaps they are somewhat less tolerant in other professions than education, but I imagine the burden of guilt is proportionate to the boss's sympathy.

And one more thing: I watched the finale of Derren Brown's latest series last night and it's left me feeling kind of let down. I don't watch his shows religiously, but when I do watch them I find them incredibly intriguing. Some of his trickery seems straightforward enough (to a viewer at least), yet sometimes I, like others, am left scratching my head and wondering 'how the hell...?'. It's allowed me to place Derren Brown on the scarcely populated pedestal I have for TV superstars: clever, unusual, entertaining and not often predictable. Last night's show proved him to be entirely unpredictable, as for the first time ever I witnessed his attitudes and behaviour being influenced by one of his guests, one David Tennant.

Derren made no secret of his thoughts on Mr. Tennant in a previous episode, but at the end of the thirty minutes of Skinnerian scuttling endured by his guests, Derren declared that only David was doubtful of the association between their actions and subsequent score, which was in actuality randomly generated by a goldfish behind the scenes. Obviously that explains why at one point David Tennant was to be seen looking up at the score board with an apple clenched between his teeth and both hands occupied by other fruits. Now I like David Tennant myself and don't like to think of him as the sort of chap to be easily swayed by clever stunts, not even those performed by Derren Brown, but there is no escaping the truth that he was.

For now they can both keep their place on my pedestal, along with Peter Faulk, Patrick Stewart, Tom Baker, Tom de Lancy, Brent Spiner and Jeremy Paxman. I'm sure there are a few others up there, throwing about their intellect and talent, but it's been a week of TV overload, so I'll stop there - my programme's about to start!

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