Saturday, March 14, 2009

A bit of a Relief

So, not only did last night's Comic Relief raise the sort of sums that only Fred Goodwin could dream of, but actually managed to be consistently entertaining throughout. Normally, by pub-chucking-out-time, they're scrabbling about to give you "another chance to see" stuff that had already played out earlier; this year, they had so much stuff they hadn't even got round to The Apprentice firing by midnight. Even the French and Saunders bit was funny, and that's something you've not been able to say for the best part of a decade and a half.

There was the puzzle of Patrick Kielty - did they call him up and offer him the chance to do a single link while David Tennant and Davina McCall were busy doing Mastermind, or did he just show up and they reckoned that "since you're here, you might as well..."?

What really detains us, though, is that strange edition of Top Of The Pops which filled the gap that normally would have had an episode of QI in. Incidentally, how do they think poor Huw Edwards feels, getting ready to read the news, hearing everyone on BBC One telling the massive audience to turn over and not watch him. I bet he has to wipe a little tear each time it happens.

Now, although it was coming from the Comic Relief studio and there were a couple of extra nods to the event - superimposing red noses on the chart rundown, for example - this was, to all intents and purposes, like Top Of The Pops had never been canceled. Even down to that Top Ten and having the number one act live in the studio. Sure, there was a bit of smudging the boundaries, but even the shoe-horning of Oasis and U2 was for their latest singles rather than, say, something that people might actually want to hear. It was all a little bizarre having, in the midst of 'very special episodes of', to get 'more or less a bog-standard edition of' a programme that doesn't even exist any more. If nothing else, it showed there's still an enormous amount of affection for the old warhorse both amongst bands and at the BBC.

Perhaps if someone could come up with a chart that actually reflected the new music scene, there might be a second life for the programme...

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