Channel 4

Your Scheduled Programming Shall Never Resume

The 80’s a fine decade. Well maybe I don’t really remember it, being born in June of 1980 as I was I pretty much spent half of the decade crapping my pants. I’ll let you decide which half that was. In the UK we had no remote control on the TV and when you got up to change the channel (Yes kids) you had the choice of 3 channels plus the new upstart Channel 4 from 1982 onwards.

On demand TV was how loud you shouted “I want to watch…” and your Sky Plus was a scuzzy Scotch VHS tape that allowed you to watch one thing and record another. The Internet was around in university computer labs, although Netflix was a while off and even if it was around they would still be waiting around now to see the opening frame of Breaking Bad given the speeds of the connection.

Fast forward to now and we have a multitude of things to watch, on a plethora of channels, platforms and devices. The BBC at the time of writing has ballooned from 2 channels in 80’s to 9 channels. All of which air via digital TV in the UK. It was announced yesterday that one of those 9, BBC Three, is going to go “online only” prompting lots of twitter outcry and #SaveBBCThree hashtaggery.

Why save something that isn’t going?
BBC Three is the corporations “Youth” offering, serving a demographic which I am still just part of. The same demographic (to generalise) have access to a smartphone, are computer savvy, have access to high speed broadband, regularly watch on-demand content. So for BBC Three’s target audience very little will change, especially if they have a smart TV. If it was BBC 2 or BBC Four I would understand the concern. Given the older target audience, again to generalise.

I believe that in the next fifteen to twenty years the only programming that will be scheduled, as it has been since the very start of TV, will be live sporting events and news programmes. Everything else will be delivered as you want it when you want it, in a similar way to how Netflix works now. So BBC Three is ahead of the game on this one, and although it will still run to an online schedule, if viewing figures are good I see other channels following suit.

The revolution will not be televised. But it will be downloaded.

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Sex On Wheels (Channel 4)

Sex, now here’s a post that will get me lots of hits. (Hello disappointed people looking for porn.) It’s a very powerful thing. Everyone likes it anyone who disagrees with that is lying. It’s a base urge, we must procreate otherwise humanity will die out, we were built to like it. Although where liking dressing up as an Adult Baby comes in to saving humanity I’m not quite sure. But each to their own.

Sex is a surefire ratings winner for TV. Fictional Sex, “Sex and the City”, “Girls” and “Californication” all have strong sexual content and all are ratings winners. Reality sex also sells, “The Sex Clinic”, “The Joy of Teen Sex”, and “The Sex Inspectors” to name but a few. Step forward (or rather roll forward) “Sex on Wheels” a documentary point and laugher that aired yesterday on Channel 4 in the UK. This followed the sex lives (or lack of them in some cases) of a few disabled people.

Disabled people like to fuck too. Wow who knew!

Sex Dice

All of the people featured I have no doubt are real people living independent lives. It is difficult to comment on the show without judging them. It would be interesting to see their real responses to the show now it has been shown, if they feel the edit portrayed them in a favourable light.

As with all “documentaries” it would seem these days there is no room for subtlety. People going about their lives telling their real stories. Therefore it would seem Channel 4 (edit aside) chose their participants for this documentary in the same way they would choose housemates for Big Brother. So with a sweeping a few sweeping generalisations we have our cast:-

  • The Nympho: Sexually active and adventurous but, she says wants to “settle down”. She has a nice rack and is only in her early twenties and someone settling down makes boring TV so she will be shown constantly flirting.
  • Reformed Jack the Lad: Alpha Male. Spends all of the time talking about his penis, until the spiritual sex therapy (Sham Science) lets him find himself.
  • You are a Wannabe and everyone is laughing at you: Wants to be a porn star because he “likes sex” Gets to visit a porn set like a little boy who wrote in to Jim’ll Fix It “Dear Nonce, Please can you fix it for me…”
  • The peoples Champion: For every panto villain there needs to be a hero. A good guy, a guy which we are all routing for. He is depicted as the most Normal of the ensemble, hell he even loves his mum and takes good care of animals. What a nice guy.

Remember this is not what I feel the people are actually like. Just how I feel how they were depicted. I haven’t mentioned their disabilities at this point because they are largely irrelevant. All of them are in wheelchairs bar the peoples champion (because he’s gotta look normal kids), Jack the Lad because of accident which has limited his sex life, the others are all disabled from birth.

This was a chance for the world to see how disabled people fuck or try to fuck. Disabled people in general are not viewed in a sexual way, so depicting them as sexually active showing a “healthy” level of desire would in itself made for a eye opening documentary for most people. However the editorial decision to show extremes, like the injured guy masturbating trying to gain an erection (yes really) and to allow the patronising treatment of the Wannabe Pornstar by everyone only serves to give something else for people to laugh at. If you don’t believe me search twitter for #sexonwheels.

Paralympics London 2012

Ok so I’m watching the Paralympics Opening ceremony. Channel 4 in the UK with wonderfully annoying adverts. It is however quite a spectacular show maybe without the panache of Danny Boyles olympic equivalent. Cheese laden gay disco anthem “I am What I am” finish hmmm. (nothing against the stunning Beverley Knight)

As quite a sporty spacker myself it is heartening to see the stadium full, to let all the athletes involved get some of the recognition they deserve due to a life time of dedication to their chosen disciplines. I completed at junior level at 2 Stoke Mandeville games, came second in the sprint, I lost twice once in the heat and once in the final to the same guy. Bastard. I did win the Boccia though, so yes I was UK under 11 champion. For those wondering Boccia is a bit like boulle but with soft hairless balls. (A bit like me at the time I seem to recall)

As moving as the vocals of Stephen Hawking are, featuring heavily in the ceremony as they do. It makes me wonder why in 2012 the Paralympic movement is needed at all. Stephen Hawking is undoubtedly more famous because of his disability but he doesn’t work in “disabled science” he works in “science”. The wheelchair has helped with greater exposure but it is his expertise that brought the opportunity.

All of the Paralympicans at London 2012 are athletes excelling in their chosen field like Hawking in his. Why then does their field have to be two weeks behind the able bodied athletes one. It reminds me of school sports days where we used to be able to take part but on a mat far away from the rest of the school. This is that mat but much much larger.

Yes there are logistical reasons why the Olympic games cannot be run at the same time as the Paralympics, with special arrangements needing to be made in accommodation and media, but there are special arrangements that need to be made lets say for Olympians who are muslim, vegetarian or gay. None of these minority groups have their own games. Nor should they. Why are the disabled so different?

London 2012 has set out the objective to inspire a generation. Time will tell if it achieves this. I can’t help but feel they missed a trick here. Superhumans they aren’t. They are athletes and under one olympic flag they should compete.

Good luck to all athletes competing. And I gotta say Go Team GB… oh and watch out for Wheelchair Rugby those fuckers are hardcore!

London 2012 A time for change?