Thursday, 26 February 2009

Should Cerrie get the sack?

By Oonagh Robinson

Due to circumstances beyond my control (i.e living with a psychotic toddler), I find myself watching a lot of kids’ telly.
Specifically, CBeebies - the dedicated channel for pre-school kids.
Now it’s not very often that this channel gets a mention in the news (I think the last time was when some plonker decided to drop In the Night Garden), but this week it’s hardly been out of the headlines.
All because of new presenter Cerrie Burnell, who only has one arm.
According to some reports, small tots have been running screaming from their living rooms and having recurrent nightmares because they have been forced to watch Ms Burnell.
Her disability, which she makes absolutely no attempt to hide (and why should she?) is too scary for small tots to put up with, according to some dubious Internet discussion forums.
"This sort of thing shouldn’t be inflicted on my granddaughters!" said one irate woman who called in to The Wright Stuff on Five this week.
Doesn’t it make you proud that you live in such a caring and broadminded society?
Of course, it’s utter nonsense that kids have been scared by Cerrie’s appearance.
My tot hasn’t even noticed and neither have any of her friends. That’s the beauty of little kids - they accept everything as completely "normal."
It’s far more likely that any "scaring" that’s been going on is a result of narrow minded parents vocalising their own expressions of distaste.
And even if a child did appear to be uncomfortable about watching the disabled presenter, wouldn’t that be a good opportunity for a parent to have a little chat about the issue and resolve the situation?
Rather than immediately bombarding the CBeebies message board with demands for Cerrie to be sacked.
On the other hand, I do actually think Cerrie SHOULD be fired. And her co-presenter Alex.
But that opinion has got nothing to do with disability.
I say that because they are both utterly terrible at presenting.
She has a permanent look like a rabbit caught in the headlights while he is so bland you could probably use him to wallpaper a new-build house.
And neither of them can sing the iconic "bedtime song" - a signal for millions of kids all over the UK to go to sleep.
Predecessors Chris and Pui were magnificent in comparison and it’s a travesty that they were dropped in favour of this insipid pair.
Heck, Pui was an actual Teletubby for goodness sake - what more could you want from a children’s presenter?
As I listen to my 22-month-old asking me every day: "Where Oy Dom?" (translation "where’s Pui gone?"), I have to wipe away a silent tear as I tell her she’s just away on holiday and will be back soon.
Don’t get me wrong, I wish Cerrie all the best and hope she goes on to prove me totally wrong - developing into an accomplished presenter.
But at this very moment?
Bring back Chris and Pui!

Thursday, 19 February 2009

The Meh Awards...

Oonagh Robinson on The Brit Awards (ITV1, Weds)

Well, it's a long way from Burton Joyce to The Brit Awards - but the question is will last night's co-host Mathew Horne get asked back next year?
Hmm, I wouldn't put money on it.
Oh, don't get me wrong. The Nottingham lad - who was presenting along with pal James Corden and teeny tiny Kylie Minogue - didn't do anything particularly horrifying. Nothing in the Sam Fox/Mick Fleetwood category anyway.
But the whole thing was just a bit "meh!"
Kylie spent most of the time backstage changing into different outfits.
Mat and James tried their hand at a few jokes (mostly centring around Craig David not winning anything, zzzzz) - and they seemed to go down like the proverbial lead balloon.
Unless that was just a result of these horrible modern production techniques for "live" TV performances, where the crowd noises are completely switched off - leading to a serious lack of atmosphere.
The awards themselves were a predictable affair - Duffy won everything and Coldplay walked away empty handed (snigger).
Paul Weller got British Male Solo Artist. Eh? Makes you wonder where Robbie Williams is when you need him.
It was a nice surprise to see Elbow pip Take That to the post for British Group - especially since Gary and the lads blatantly mimed during their "spectacular" live performance. (Although I rather liked their Kraftwerk inspired costumes, so maybe I'll let them off).
Iron Maiden were rather suspiciously named Best Live Act and a weird girl called Florence won something for being new and edgy and tall. Her swearing got bleeped out, which is lucky considering this was supposed to be a live broadcast.
The rest of the awards seemed to be dominated by "International" categories, mostly won by Kings of Leon.
Which brings me to the live performances.
U2 were surprisingly bad. Girls Aloud were surprisingly good (and wore hardly any clothes, which was quite helpful).
Chris Martin ran out of puff as usual, Duffy was boringly competent and the Ting Tings for some reason had to put up with Estelle ruining their biggest hits. Oh well.
The only ones who were really any good were the aforementioned Kings of Leon. So much for British music ruling the world.
Lifetime Achievement award winners The Pet Shop Boys struggled a bit in the finale until that nice chap from The Killers came on stage to help with their attempts at "singing." Lovely lad.
In the end, though, the whole show was a rather staid, oh-so-professional affair - with us viewers praying for some amusing cock-up or other to brighten the evening.
So let's give it up for Alex James from Blur, who was the only guest to even attempt to make himself look a total plonker by fumbling his lines and missing his cue...

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

The kids are all right...

More cutting edge investigative journalism from Channel 4 last night with the hard hitting series Boys and Girls Alone.
Apparently, right, if you get a group of primary school aged boys and a group of primary school aged girls and leave them together in a house to fend for themselves for three weeks without any adult supervision, chaos ensues.
Blimey, who could have known?
Still it was all ever so entertaining in a kind of "Big Brother for Little Uns" way.
The boys spent their entire time the first couple of days playing at water fights and failing miserably to feed themselves.
One little fella did try to cook himself a Pot Noodle, but didn't know how to plug the kettle in. So he tried it with cold water instead. Nasty.
The girls, meanwhile, were a lot better at cooking - with a decent looking Spag Bol on the cards one night.
Only trouble was, the two self styled head girls weren't giving their lovingly cooked food to just any old housemate. Oh no, THEY decided who ate and who didn't.
They decided more or less everything in fact.
Yes indeed, the girls had quickly divided into the It Crowd and the Isn't Crowd.
At one point the It girls broke into their rivals' house and sprawled evil messages like: "You're going to die" on the walls.
Which made a couple of eight-year-olds cry ( and I must say I would have too).
It must have been a proud moment for the parents as they watched this real life horror story unfold from the safety of the video room, where they were merrily following the action.
At one point, the grown ups were allowed to visit their offspring and offer a bit of moral support and guidance.
One little lad, who was more or less starving, begged and begged his mum to go home.
She was having none of it - after all, she wanted her 15 minutes of fame didn't she?
Eventually she relented and the tot was last seen tugging his suitcase out the gate as his fellow inmates looked on.
Eye opening stuff this for anyone who's ever wondered what their kids get up to when they're on their own.
But I kind of hope it doesn't go on for to much longer.
Remember Lord of the Flies anyone?