Friday, 24 February 2012

Strictly Baby Disco - Child Abuse by Any Other Name

Channel 4 broadcast a programme at 10.00 p.m. on Thursday 23 February, which followed the lives of three little girls who were aiming to win the title of Disco Kid, dancing freestyle in outrageously sexualized costumes and heavy make-up. Well, OK, most little girls love to dress up, but these poor little souls were forced to dance, no matter what, by their wildly ambitious mothers. In fact, what they put the children through amounted to child abuse.

Orlagh from Belfast had to dance while taking anti-biotics for a kidney infection, being sick with fear and puffing on an inhaler. In between 45 second bouts of frenetic, body-breaking movement, her mother berated her for not being "crisp" enough.

Clemmie had a bad back, but her mother told the physio about the finals, so of course she had to go to Blackpool and dance, never mind damaging her spine further.

Poor Billie was dragged away from her friends and family in Bradford, to live in Scotland to be near the best disco dance teacher there was. She was so sad and actually, a bit traumatized by the move, but hey, mum's ambitions had to be fulfilled.

It was fascinating viewing, eliciting a mixed response of horror and sorrow, and most of all, anger at what those children were made to endure by the mothers who were supposed to love and care for them. If you can watch it, then do so and see how it affects you personally. If anybody reads this, then please find a way to make your feelings known, because I bet any right-thinking person would be as horrified as I am.

Monday, 9 January 2012

Christmas Television - My Turn to Comment

Well, Christmas is over for another year and as ever, televisual delights during the festive period were hit and miss. Having read what my favourite critics, Kevin O'Sullivan (Sunday Mirror) and Ian Hyland (Mail on Sunday) had to say, being paid to do so, of course, I felt obliged to add my two-pennorth. And believe me, it was not all dross.

The BBC did actually give us some excellent pieces. On 18 December, Lost Christmas, starring the wonderful Eddie Izzard was a gem of a performance by all concerned and a magical story. Mind you, I would watch Eddie Izzard eating a piece of toast and laugh; the man is a marathon hero and a very funny individual. Then, on 23 December, BBC2 screened what is described as an "improvised Britcom" with Martin Freeman at the helm. Nativity was another great piece of television and it even made me shed a tear. Now that's what I call moving.

On December 24, BBC1 showed the last episode of Merlin with yet another great actor, Colin Morgan in the title role. I can hardly wait for it to be back on our screens. For Christmas Day itself, I have to thank Michael McIntyre and Auntie Beeb for making me laugh so much in his Christmas Comedy Roadshow. His imitation of Shane McGowan, that Pogue fella, singing Fairytale of New York was a masterpiece of fun and audience participation, and Pixie Lott did a good job in taking Kirsty McColl's part. There was even a visit from Kylie, so what more could you ask for?

Sadly, there were some not so good moments, namely Channel 4's show Bear's Wild Weekend with Miranda. Still, for all its nonevent quality, I still think Miranda Hart is a woman of great talent. The worst televisual experience had to be those weird clowns, Jedward on Alan Carr, Chatty Man Christmas Special, where he was reduced to calling them names and putting them on the naughty step. If only somebody would send them back to Mars, or at least the Bog of Allen, then we would all feel much happier. They reduced David Walliams to the use of strong language and really upset Ruth Jones. What a pair of planks!

There you have it folks, my pick of the Christmas television for 2011. Oh, and thank God for Morecambe and Wise.