Please Release Me

Being stuck at home because of the bad weather this week, I watched more television than is probably good for me. The adverts on daytime TV seemed not to be aimed at me, or anyone else normal, but rather at women with the mental age of Fozzie Bear.

An alien watching these would assume all British women have flatulence and streaming

underarm sweat that, should it be harnessed as wave power, could keep the national grid going. These poor women in the adverts are constantly bloated and tripping over holes in the pavement and needing to sue someone, but they smile through it all because the answer to all their problems seems to be yoghurt which has the restorative powers of penicillin, faith healing and voodoo. If only Florence Nightingale had eaten enough Activia she would still be with us and running the NHS.

So, the TV drove me mad, and coupled with the usual seasonal viruses and colds made me start to feel giddy. Watching the white stuff fall outside I felt like a mini me living in a snow globe. If only that giant would stop picking up my house and shaking me.

But I was not so dizzy as to miss one really terrible show on the BBC. Having battled to get my own TV formats on air I know how difficult it is to get funding and convince the powers that be to let your show on air so I congratulate anyone who can do it. However, this week I watched what must be the most ridiculous reality show ever. It was called Young Plumber Of The Year.

Who on earth came up with this idea, and how did they manage to sell it?

The answer to the first question is simple. The person who devised this is the same person who came up with Young Fishmonger Of The Year and Young Butcher Of The Year, each of which, unbelievably, will appear later in this series. I not only applaud his tenacity and work rate in getting these ideas accepted by the BBC, I also applaud the carers who let him in to the community for his short period of work experience. But enough’s enough. Get him back in before he causes more harm.

Make no mistake. Young Plumber Of The Year was bad. Really, really bad. The sort of telly that would have John Logie Baird and Lord Reith travelling to a Zurich clinic begging for the ultimate injection but slitting each others’ wrists on the way just to make sure.

Four finalists had to weld bends in water pipes against the clock, losing marks for scorching or leaving drips of solder which are called “Snot”, according to a badly preserved judge who, we were told, ran his own profitable plumbing company. He looked like a preserved Sixties era Beatle wearing a late Seventies suit, and I’m guessing he was in his Eighties or Nineties.

The show moved on to tasks such as clearing blocked toilets, a re enactment I'm guessing of the initial production meeting when the idea was pitched.

My kids also caught a lot of rotten telly as they were off school. I found them watching something about a single, teenaged mum on MTV and they tell me the station also carries shows called Sixteen And Pregnant, Teen Mum, Pregnant Teen Mum, and others. My thirteen year old daughter Luisa tells me there’s now so many of these programmes that, genuinely, a Facebook network has been set up called “If I’m Teenage And Pregnant How Come I Get A Slap Not A TV Show.”

Coming next on the BBC, Young Pole Dancer Of The Year? Or how about Young Bloated Yoghurt Addict Of the Year? And how long till some clever clogs TV producer comes up with Young Teenage Mum Of The Year? Please God make this bad weather go away.

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