On “National Television”


The single biggest faux pas you can make is to say something awful. On ‘National Television’.

No matter how extensive the indignities suffered by Big Brother contestants, their every indiscretion broadcast to the nation around the clock, the one thing that unites them is that, at some point in the series, one of them will have a dazzling moment of clarity and express a view that they can’t believe they just did that thing they just did. On. National. Television.

The last time I checked, pretty much all television is broadly national, other than for the dreary 30 minute slots the BBC is forced to devote to coverage of pot holes and bus routes, that masquerades as local news under the terms of its charter.

Yet National Television is the official standard for broadcast situations in which you shouldn’t do things.

I’d probably be more embarrassed appearing on a Look North vox pop proffering my ill-informed views about whatever flimsy subject they’ve wheeled out a camera for – usually over-taxed pasties or Should That Car Park Be Demolished? – than I would making an utterly drunken arse-flashing mess of myself on Channel 4. At least one way lies entry-level notoriety.

A more pressing point, in the case of most of the people who put themselves forward for the nation’s major industry of talent show attendance and general twattery, is why they’re on television of any kind.

Given the diversification of TV audiences amongst all those channels that bored people watch on Sky, it’s probably more of a surprise that more people aren’t ashamed of having destroyed themselves “on National Twitter”.