Too much reality on our screens

PUBLISHED: 11:48 19 January 2006 | UPDATED: 09:27 06 May 2010

George Galloway

George Galloway

I M sure this doesn t apply to any of the esteemed Comet readers, but I ve been sent a press release appealing for rough diamonds, ex cons, absent fathers, workshy wasters and loveable rogues to come forward. Don t worry, I m not recruiting for some kind

I'M sure this doesn't apply to any of the esteemed Comet readers, but I've been sent a press release appealing for rough diamonds, ex cons, absent fathers, workshy wasters and loveable rogues to come forward.

Don't worry, I'm not recruiting for some kind of ritualised punishment for all the badly behaved boys in Comet country, it's for a reality TV show.

No, not Big Brother (although I'm sure they must have had a few from that list in the BB house before now) but for this year's Bad Lads Army.

For those of you not familiar with this jewel of television scheduling (I'm counting myself in this number) Bad Lads Army essentially frog-marches 30 naughty boys from 2006 to live the life of a soldier in the 1950s, complete with military discipline, shaved heads, army food and church parades.

The idea, I'm guessing from the press release, is that it helps these lazy lads to get themselves back on track, while no doubt providing the viewer at home with some 'entertaining' footage.

According to the publicity, 11 of the previous participants in the show have signed up to the forces, while many others have found full time work.

Well, good for them, I say.

But why did they feel the need to exorcise their demons and resolve their issues so publicly?

Could they not just do it in the privacy of their own homes, or perhaps with the help of a licensed professional?

I'm all for a bit of self-examination and improvement, but I fail to see a) why you would want viewers at home eating their dinner to witness this, and b) why the dinner-munching audience is so concerned with people they've never met.

TV for me is about escapism, not watching real people make real mistakes - I have enough of that all day every day, as surely we all do.

Not all reality TV shows aim to help people, of course - and not all participants want to be helped.

Some just want the fame, plain and simple, and I'm personally not sure what's worse.

I don't want to watch people struggling to improve themselves for our viewing pleasure, but I'm not that keen on the fame-seekers with their fake tans and utter lack of any form of talent, either.

Surely worse than any of these, however, has to be George Galloway, MP for Bethnal Green and Bow, currently to be seen pretending to be a cat sipping cream from Rula Lenska's hands in Celebrity Big Brother.

It is completely and utterly inappropriate for an MP to be making a fool out of himself on national TV instead of attending Parliament, as he is elected, and paid, to do.

I don't much like Joe or Josephine Bloggs clogging up our airways on the myriad of 'reality' TV shows, but I'm even less enamoured that someone invested with a lot of responsibility and power is doing it as well.

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