The incestuous vortex of cross-promotion

OK! TV is the latest addition to the bewildering circle-jerk that is Richard Desmond’s media empire.

"OK! TV kicked off to a triumphant start," said OK! magazine this week in an interview with the OK! TV host Kate Walsh. The Channel 5 show could be glad of one positive review, at least, even if the more cynical among us might suspect that due to printing deadlines it may have been written before the "triumphant start" had even gone to air.

But then this is the bewildering circle-jerk that is Richard Desmond's empire right now. OK! TV, Channel 5's new brightly coloured approximation of a couple of vapid office drones chattering about celebrities over a water cooler, promotes OK! magazine. The Daily Star and Daily Express promote OK! TV and OK! magazine, as well as giving remarkably positive reviews to the likes of the Channel 5 host Vanessa Feltz; OK! magazine has a two-page feature telling you what's coming up this week on Channel 5 . . . and so on, and so on.

"We are beyond excited by the launch of OK! TV," said the magazine's editor in a leader this week. Beyond excited!

The incestuous vortex of cross-promotion gets to the point where if you see something in a Desmond publication that isn't anything to do with another of his assets, you wonder why it's there at all. And which one is meant to be the flagship? Is Channel 5 the jewel in the crown, or is it OK!, or the Daily Express? Or are they all fighting for the title of least mediocre? It's hard to tell.

It was my own fault, really. I'd decided to watch OK! TV while reading a copy of OK! magazine. I think I got overloaded by it all. But one thing I did notice was that I was reading more than I was watching. I ended up being fascinated by Josie Gibson's Big Fat Gypsy Wedding photo shoot, leaving Kate Walsh and Matt Johnson babbling away in the background.

Of course, this being a Desmond publication, the photo shoot is to tell you that Gibson is a reporter on . . . yes, you guessed it, OK! TV. But even as someone who isn't the target audience of the mag, who couldn't really care less about celebrity culture and all the trashy awfulness therein, I found her tales of growing up in a traveller family (hence the giant pink dress and caravan) quite intriguing.

OK! TV, in comparison, is pretty shabby. Gibson is, by a bus ride, the best thing about it, chirping merrily away about celebrity tweets in that delightful Bristolian burr ("Shane Warne, he's a blancmange, in't he?"), but her segment was a rare moment that strayed beyond the otiose. The rest just makes you yearn for the understated subtlety and class of the show's predecessor, Live from Studio Five.

Besides, they're missing a trick. If they called it Daily Star Daily Express Sunday Express New! Magazine Star Magazine Daily Star on Sunday OK! TV, they'd be able to promote even more Northern & Shell goodies at one go. Surely it's only a matter of time.

Patrolling the murkier waters of the mainstream media
Ben Stansall / Getty Images
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#RedWhiteandBlueBrexit: How do you like your EU negotiations?

Twitter users have responded to the prime minister's statement that she wants a multi-coloured Brexit.

Earlier today, Theresa May spoke from Bahrain to the BBC’s deputy political editor John Pienaar, about the type of Brexit deal she is looking to make. The most we've heard from the prime minister so far on this most significant of consitutional issues is the much repeated "Brexit means Brexit." Yet now it seems May has a new catchphrase — what she is really looking for is a "red, white and blue Brexit".

The remark was a response to the suggestion that the chancellor Philip Hammond and the Brexit secretary, David Davis favour a so-called "grey Brexit" which would involve the UK exiting the single market while retaining Canada-style access to parts of the free trade zone, and limits on immigration apart for skilled migrants in specific sectors. This is the mid-range option between a "white Brexit", which would see the UK attempt to remain in the single market, and a "black Brexit" which would see the UK exit the EU without a viable future deal.

May told reporters: “I’m interested in all these terms that have been identified – hard Brexit, soft Brexit, black Brexit, white Brexit, grey Brexit – and actually what we should be looking for is a red, white and blue Brexit.” 

The people of Twitter, as always, have responded to the prime minister's possibly ill-advised attempt to inject some patriotic colour into the debate with suggestions for the type of Brexit they would like to see.

Some Twitter users were just clowning around.

 

Some would like to see a festive Brexit.

 

While others would like to sweeten the deal.


Some are auditioning for the Great British Brexit Bake Off.


And some are just staring at Twitter in confusion.