10 O'Clock Live: But Is It News?
Having assembled a satire super team of Mitchell, Laverne, Brooker and Carr, will Channel 4’s take on comedy news succeed?
There was a time long ago when Channel 4 was a station well respected for its innovative and challenging programming. Throughout the last ten years Channel 4’s reliance on mind numbing phenomenon of Big Brother has led to less focus on other areas of production. Now looking for a fresh start and with a big hole in their schedule to fill, 4 has poured money into their new Thursday evening satirical news show 10 O’Clock Live.
We’ve seen this before – comedy news programmes are massively successful, just look at Russell Howard on BBC3 and the likes of Jon Stewart in the US. The question is, can Channel 4 can get the formula right to make this show a success?
10 O’Clock Live’ features four ‘edgy’ presenters with bags of youth appeal. For me, media conscious Charlie Brooker was the stand out presenter. He used his sections of the show for his trademark media analysis and to show off his new haircut which he clearly despises but loves in a Stockholm syndrome kind of a way.
A man whose haircut hasn’t changed a single hair’s position in ten years is Jimmy Carr who delivered his usual one liner sessions which were a bit hit and miss to say the least.
Hit and miss is the best way to describe David Mitchell’s interviews as well. One on banker’s bonuses was lost amongst the rushed pace and pointless annoying and overly zealous applauding and booing of the studio audience. However, the other interview, with University’s minister David Willetts, was better, and demonstrated how the political rhetoric we are fed crumbles under some scrutiny.
Amongst these popular and big personality comedians was Lauren Laverne, who risked being branded a token female presenter with no skills to contribute except an ability to read witty lines off an autocue. She did, however, serve as the role of anchor between the presenters, bringing them together in an around the table discussion bizarrely reminiscent of a loose women episode where each sentence ends in a sex joke.
All this culminated in an experience that felt like having all the presenters personalities forcefully squeezed inside my head at once as I tried to grasp onto some sort of relevance to news. Adding to this the flashing lights and rushed shouting pace of the beginning I did feel a headache being induced. Thankfully I was fine because the show got better as it went along and slowed down in the hands of Brooker and Mitchell.
If they can work out the kinks I think the show definitely has potential to be fruitful for both Channel 4 and the viewing audience. After all, in a political landscape of cuts that is radicalising and polarising people surely it can only be a good thing that there is a weekly light-hearted programme to remind us of reality in an accessible and funny way?
If you missed the programme, you can catch up with it on 4od.