Friday, May 09, 2008

Robbie Williams is not giving a prize to Catherine Tate

Micheal Grade has insisted that none of the shady work done by ITV when fleecing its viewers was done intentionally to simply make money. It was all about making the programmes better - misguided enthusiasm rather than criminal deception.

Oh, really? What about the Robbie Williams incident? Williams said, grandly, that he'd turn up to present a prize at the 2005 British Comedy Awards. Providing, of course, that he was giving a prize to his old chums Ant and Dec.

Now, it's arguable that people at ITV really do believe that Robbie Williams handing a chunk of plastic to his old chums Ant and Dec is the sort of televisual feast that cannot be turned down. They may also think it's appropriate that Robbie Williams should be dictating who wins what at the Comedy Awards, even the people's choice awards. But in what sense would anyone think that having a fake phone-in vote that was going to have no outcome over the eventual winner of the prize would "add" to the programme? Did someone really sit at a production meeting and say "you know what, this show would be even more fun for the audiences if they could dial up and give us money during the course of it?"

In effect, it's actually more comforting to think that ITV really were setting out to defraud its viewers - because it'd be better to think that the network sees its audience as schmucks and marks rather than idiots who need to be given an empty opportunity to press buttons on a telephone to stimulate their short attention spans.

Robbie Williams' old chums Ant and Dec have said they'll give their award back. It might be nice if there was a ceremony in which Robbie Williams takes the prize back. Perhaps it could be on a tumbrel.