Saturday, 29 January 2011

Any Other Business

I don't know if any of you are familiar with Saturday morning radio. Probably not. You're probably still perservering with that inane excuse for an entertainment show they call Soccer AM. The best part of 20 years on our screens and still doing the same lame joke. It's some achievement when you come to think about it, but I'm afraid I gave up on it some time ago.

That was when I found Fighting Talk on Five Live. It's advantages over Soccer AM include the fact that it has never been hosted by Tim Lovejoy, but that's not all. For the uninitiated it is a panel show (isn't everything these days if it doesn't consist of some celebrity gobshite cooking?) in which guests try to earn points for what they call 'punditry'. It's presented by the ubiquitous Colin Murray, who poses the questions to which the contestants have to come up with witty or interesting answers. Think QI without Alan Davies. And on a sporting theme. Utopia.

Yet this column is nothing if not furious and angry, and Fighting Talk is no different to anything else in that it wouldn't get a mention if it hadn't rubbed your writer up the wrong way. In the penultimate round the contestants are asked for 'Any Other Business', for which they are given half a minute or so to ramble on about anything (sport-related or not) that has caught their attention in the past week. And this is the point at which one Kevin Bridges wrote his name into the archives of Musings Of A Fire Hazard;

"I was watching Deal Or No Deal the other day." began the Scottish comedian. You know the one? The one whose Christmas DVD was advertised to death from around November 1 to twelfth night? And not only that, but it was the same clip, in which he oh so hilariously cracks a gag about naming his offspring after the places in which they were conceived;

"This is my son, the garage." he quips, bed-wettingly.

And so back to the plot;

"I was watching Deal Or No Deal the other day, and there was this guy in a wheelchair on."

Oh oh, stand by for excruciating patronisation;

"Anyway it was a real tear-jerker. It came down to the last two boxes and he was going to win something like £50 or £100,000, and he went for it and he won, and everyone was crying and even Noel Edmonds looked human for a moment. I shed a little tear there, though."

Excuse me, Kevin? I couldn't tell whether he was joking or not by this point but I would still like someone to explain to me why it is any more 'tear-jerking' or 'emotional' to watch a disabled person in this situation as opposed to anyone else? Because that is what he is saying by mentioning it on national radio. But anyone who has ever seen Deal Or No Deal will know that it's neurosis-suffering contestants cry on a regular basis. It would not surprise me if the questions on the application form read something like; Are you an overly emotional lunatic?. Can we rely on you to cry if someone who came on to the show with nothing leaves with nothing?. Better still would you cry with joy if someone you met 35 seconds ago won £250,000?'

All of which leaves little doubt that Bridges thought this particular bout of whailing and sniffling to be special. Somehow different. Justified. And if what he says is to be believed, Edmonds did too. I don't know the young man who won, but I do know some people who do due to my links with the wheelchair basketball fraternity. I don't know his personal circumstances and I'm delighted for him that he has been so fortunate. I don't begrudge him a penny. But it's a TV game show. It's not a matter of life and death. He, like the rest of us, is not a hero or a role model because he manages to get out of bed every day and get on with his life. The only difficulty in doing that is provided by the prejudices of an able-bodied community which tries to either patronise, ignore or discriminate us into submission.

Compared with that, meeting Noel Edmonds is a stroll in the park. And that concludes Any Other Business for today.

1 comment:

Cath Delaney said...

I have two versions of Saturday morning on a regular basis. One involves the bed being invaded by two overly excited sprogs (which I have to add, I was not best pleased about at first but slowly I have had to get used to it - or lose my spot in the bed!) or of course, the much more sedate but painful hangover. So no, can't say I have listened to Saturday morning radio.