Britain, for all its many wonderful attributes, does love to take people down a peg or two. If you followed the launch of Channel 4’s 10 O’Clock Live on Twitter last night, you’d be forgiven for thinking that this was the new Lily Allen and Friends.
Many people seemed to take personal offence that the programme was not instantly everything they wanted it to be — intellectually heavyweight yet hilariously funny; fast-paced yet in-depth; giving more time, or less time, to one of the four presenters.
Yes, there were problems: the set was gaudy; the round table and interviews were too short to get past soundbites and on to something interesting; having the audience in shot for much of the show altered the dynamic of their interaction with the hosts. And yes, Lauren Laverne’s attempt at an American accent (I think?) while presenting a spoof news segment on the Sudan is something we should all try very hard to pretend never happened. But as the Guardian‘s Janine Gibson pointed out, “I didn’t see the first Daily Show but I bet it was unfunny and stilted with the merest glimmer of a charismatic host.”
David Mitchell’s rant about local news was the logical extension of his Soapbox podcast and damn funny, too. His interview with David Willetts made David Willetts watchable; no mean feat. Married life is clearly doing wonders for Charlie Brooker, who looked disconcertingly happy and relaxed. The banter between the presenters at the end was sparky, which is certainly something the producers can build on in the next 14 weeks. Jimmy Carr’s Tunisia bit didn’t work but his opening monologue responded nimbly to the big news of Alan Johnson’s resignation just hours earlier.
Next week, I hope they’ll focus less on cramming loads of stuff into the show and let their undeniably talented line-up go off the cuff a bit more. And I think the armchair generals who were so ready to slag the programme off should remember that its failures weren’t down to laziness or a lack of conscientiousness, which would have been truly unforgivable. The show is trying to do something new and not every experiment works — as any Nobel Prize-winning scientist will tell you. Or, to give another example: do remember the first series of Blackadder?
Anyway, what do you think?