Reality TV update

Two articles have come out in the last few days, the first in the Guardian and the second online for the BBC.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-55847941

https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2021/jan/29/gogglebox-staff-claim-toxic-culture-behind-scenes-of-hit-show

The BBC article offers little more to Jim waterson’s article than photographs and a bizarrely ambiguous statement about Tania Alexander who created Gogglebox and left suddenly in the middle of the 16th series of Gogglebox.

What seems clear to me is that bullying and aggressive workplace behaviour is never an isolated issue whoever is accused- it is generally linked to a general abuse of or struggle for power that seems to envelope the business as a whole and the BBC article confirms this when it makes it clear that there have been numerous complaints certainly to BECTU officials: I am disappointed, therefore, that so little has been done to sort this out.

It is often difficult to say where bullying begins though once it starts, isolated instances seem to explode all over the place. I have seen this happen in a number of places and in different countries and cultures- certainly, people have talked to me about the whole subject of bullying in the workplace. The Greeks have a very nice saying- the fish smells from the head. Allegations of bullying, then, suggest that a business badly needs some serious self-examination and a renewed sense of leadership and direction.

I have been concerned about the industry for some time, partly because of the persistent trail of misery that seems to dog this form of TV production. The catalogue of suicides and mental health problems associated with the various shows is harrowing and growing. It affects not only those we see on camera but also those behind the camera. If we want to save this form of entertainment, we need to act fast and go beyond what is in the futile (and now current) OFCOM regulations. I have suggestions- they simply need to be considered. Others may have better suggestions, but sitting on our laurels, or crowing about the publication of the OFCOM regulations will not now be enough. Nor is enough to change personnel or scatter psychiatry at former contestants as if they are the problem. This is an industry that needs root and branch reform globally if it is to continue and I think we have the expertise and the imagination to lead the way if we want to.

As for Studio Lambert, I can only say, at this stage, that I enjoyed the process of filming “The Circle” enormously and felt very cared for and protected while I was in the apartment bock in Salford. Whatever was going on was certainly not evident to me while we were making the show.


I agreed to do “the Circle” partly because I was aware of an article that had appeared in the Guardian following what is called “Crowngate”. It strongly suggests that Stephen Lambert set up his own studio, in part, as a moral crusade to reform the way TV documentaries and reality shows are filmed. This was published in 2007:

https://www.theguardian.com/media/2007/oct/05/bbc.tvfakery3

In 2010, RDF was sold to France. It has since been taken up by Banijay, and is responsible for a host of reality tv shows from Big Brother to Survivor, Masterchef and wifeswap as well as some scripted shows like Wallander and Black Mirror.

In response to the story that also appeared in the Daily Mail, here are a couple of comments. It makes for sad reading:

More on Gogglebox

I only watched Gogglebox to support Woody and his mother.

woody and zoe first pic gogglebox

I drew furiously while watching it. It was very interesting. This, incidentally, was a picture of Woody and his mother watching “the Favourite”, certainly not a film I would have liked to have watched with my mother. But Woody was there with a quick “Oy oy!” He knows how to place these one liners.

Today, the media has been whipped up about what happened to Eamonn Holmes and rightly so.

I feel deeply for Eamonn Holmes partly because I was also the victim of some nasty editing on TV. In my case, this took place in Russia and what I had said was dubbed over with words that I never used at any point in my interview. The solution when I complained was to remove the entire episode from the live feed. Of course, I expected a better response from Gogglebox and I am pleased it has now been sorted out.

The Daily Mirror adds a very interesting line:

When one fan begged him not to take any notice of the trolls, Eamonn hit back: “Thank you SL …. but a lie unchallenged becomes the truth.”

Believe me, I can understand how wounded and upset Mr Holmes must have been. At the bottom of this page is a link to my story as reported by the BBC.

This is what the Mail on line have written this evening:

Celebrity Gogglebox have issued an apology to Eamonn Holmes after he slammed them for their editing of him during Friday’s show.

Eamonn took to Twitter calling out the show’s ‘idiotic and cruel choice’ to air a clip of him joking after a harrowing moment from the BBC series Ambulance, instead of a filmed clip of him discussing his father’s death.

Producers issued a grovelling apology on Saturday to the This Morning host, 60, in which they promised to edit future repeats of the episode.

In a statement shared on Gogglebox’s Twitter, they wrote: ‘We have apologised to Eamonn over what happened in this week’s episode. We understand and respect Eamonn’s feelings on such a deeply personal story

‘We have taken the decision to edit the episode for future repeats and All4. We look forward to working with Eamonn and Ruth for the rest of the series.’

Eamonn took to his own Twitter to re-share the statement and added his own comment.

Reply: Eamonn took to his own Twitter to re-share the statement and added his own comment

He wrote: ‘For those who judged me wrongly. I think it’s important you read this. It was a bad edit and we move on with what should be a fun experience on what is almost always a very entertaining programme. Thank you @C4Gogglebox.’

He then shared the statement to his Instagram, but this time wrote: ‘After last night’s clumsy edit which led to a huge amount of distress and outrage to viewers ,myself and my family…. Thank you, We move on and look forward to making fun TV.’

Viewers were quick to react to the show’s apology and editing plan, with some praising the plan, while some still felt disappointed by their actions.

‘This is my favourite show and I feel let down by this! I’m pleased you have corrected your mistake’ tweeted one follower.

While another remarked: ‘Hope the damage & hurt you caused to @EamonnHolmes can be undone with this. I fear not. I’m so disappointed in my favourite show.’

'Clumsy edit': He then shared the statement to his Instagram, but this time wrote: 'After last night's clumsy edit which led to a huge amount of distress and outrage to viewers ,myself and my family.... Thank you, We move on and look forward to making fun TV'

A third Twitter user simply put: ‘Very very decent of you.’

‘I’m sure Eamonn and Ruth are big enough people to accept your apology and move forward, though I, for one, would understand if they chose to take no further part in the series. Your actions to edit future transmissions of this episode are correct. Just my opinion’ wrote a fourth.

‘Thank you. I messaged you earlier to do this. It was totally unacceptable to show what you did but I hope Mr Holmes can accept your apology’ commented a fifth person.

With another agreeing: ‘This is good see! I thought is was appalling the way they edited the episode! Hopefully they are more careful in the future!!!’

It comes after Celebrity Gogglebox was removed from the catch up service All4 in light of Eamonn’s outburst.

In the scene that Eamonn criticised, the celebrities were moved by a touching story where a child phoned 999 to report that her father was having a heart attack

Bizarrely, Eamonn was shown telling a story about how he drove his wife to the hospital when his son Jack was born. It was a good story and he explained that even while his wife was having contractions, she had to give him directions. The problem was that it appeared insensitive to be telling such a story in response to the very touching scene where a child gave his father life-saving first aid.

The stream of twitter criticism was intense:

One wrote: ‘@EamonnHolmes comparing taking Ruth to hospital to have a baby – with a 10 year old lad doing chest compressions on his dad that’s just had a heart attack – is beyond belief!’

Another shared: ‘Did Eamonn Holmes just compare driving his wife to hospital to a 10 year old child giving chest compressions to his dying dad on #CelebrityGogglebox? Unreal…’

I am reminded of the story told about the Cure D’ars and the girl who spread gossip. It is impossible to fully repair the damage done. It does not even have to have been done deliberately. The fact that it was done is enough. In the story of the Cure d’Ars, the girl is asked to pluck a chicken as she walks along the road and when she gets to the church, the cure tells her to go back and pick up all the lost feathers. “That would be impossible”, she replies and he agrees. That is the problem with gossip. that is why it is so important to get things right. The Mail finishes its story by printing these two telling tweets from Eamonn Holmes.

However, the presenter did not ignore the trolls and instead hit back with: ‘Please read my posts. I’m then expecting an apology or an understanding from you ….. or are you not man enough ?’

In another tweet he penned: ‘I’m devastated that the Boy, the Ambulance Service and my whole family have been hurt by this …. sometimes I despair at decision making in TV.’

My story can be found here:

https://monitoring.bbc.co.uk/product/c200wjny

Screen Shot 2020-06-06 at 22.48.25

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censorship and dubbing comic strip

masha and the bear

tim interviewed about MASHA and the BEAR

tim on dubbing in HTV Irada Zeynalova

 

I can think of only one successful example where dubbing completely different text over a tv dialogue was both efficacious and right.

magic roundabout facts by tim

 

Gogglebox

I had never watched this show before and it was an interesting experience. It was certainly lovely to see Woody and Zoe, and also Nigel Havers, Maureen Lipman, Gyles Brandeth and Millie Fox – I remember her from way-back in Oxford when she performed in a series of shows that I designed and I have vivid memoried of Maureen Lipman singing and dancing in “Wonderful Town” at what was then called the “Queens theatre”., and has now been renamed and houses the new version of Les Miserables.

I did some drawings which I am adding here.

The show has sparked some controversy. Some of it is silly, about the perception of “social distancing” but there is a more worrying story. Hence, I suppose, it is currently off-line and evidently being re-edited. Certainly, it would explain a jarring/ uncomfortable moment in the episode.

eamonn holmes and ruthnigel havers gogglebox

Zoe and Woody goggleboxMillie Fox Gogglebox

For the record, this is how some of the press have reported the story:

This is from a site called “DIGITAL SPY”

The assortment of celebrities – which also included the likes of Joe Swash and Stacey Solomon, I’m a Celebrity winner Harry Redknapp and his wife Sandra, and Martin and Roman Kemp – were shown a devastating clip from the accident and emergency show, in which a 10-year-old boy had to resuscitate his dad after he suffered a heart attack.

Thankfully (and amazingly), the boy was able to bring his father back to life by performing CPR.

The moment had a huge impact on Eamonn, whose father died of a heart attack.

However, the This Morning presenter was furious to discover his emotional comments about his dad’s death had been edited out of the episode, replaced instead with a joke he made about driving wife Ruth Langsford to hospital when she went into labour.

“In reply to a number of complaints, I am hurt beyond belief that @C4Gogglebox chose not to use me talking about my father dying from a Heart Attack at the side of a road and replace it with a funny story following a young lad giving his father CPR. Idiotic and cruel edit,” Eamonn tweeted after the episode.

Eamonn Holmes

@EamonnHolmes

In reply to a number of complaints ….
I am hurt beyond belief that @C4Gogglebox chose not to use me talking about my Father dying from a Heart Attack at the side of a road and replace it with a funny story following a young lad giving his Father CPR . Idiotic and cruel edit.