Cracker by Damian Christie

The Brian Drain

I must be one of the most gullible television viewers around. In the past week I wasted hours and hours of my precious spare time watching TV programmes that looked promising but turned out to be absolute pants. I guess I should have known, the signs were all there – I mean it's unlikely that The Real Truth About Lesbian Sex was ever going to live up to its title. Despite this however, the three lads at number 15 brought in some beers, put the heater on and got ready for action.

Well, to say the title was misleading is like saying Police Minister George Hawkins isn't that sharp. At best it should have been called Some Stuff About Lesbians, but as I said, I suspect deep down we weren't hoping for that much. You would think that someone whose IQ is almost as high as Mary Lambie's should have known better.

Ahh, Test the Nation. As Russell noted last week, the nature of the sample audience meant it was skewed somewhat, but I wasted three hours nevertheless. After seven years of doing the Sunday news, those in the know at TVNZ decided it was Simon Dallow's time to shine. And shine he did; if your definition of shining consists of crap puns and a shit-eating grin that would make Mike King proud. Test the Nation was less like a snapshot of our intellectual prowess, and more like the middle twelve hours of Telethon '86, minus the old ducks dressed in rainbow wigs performing the macarena, although Jackie Clark came close to qualifying.

What has happened to TV One? Where have all the good documentaries gone? As my girlfriend points out, 'if you didn't keep watching the rubbish they feed you, perhaps they'd change'. In my defence, if you schedule a programme about a man who's transformed into a cat with the help of fake whiskers and tattoos, who's not going to watch?

Oh well, we'll see what Bill Ralston's going to do about the situation in his new role as head of News & Current Affairs. In the meantime, at least Six Feet Under is starting to pick up after a distressingly slow start. Fellow viewers will no doubt join me in thanking the TV God (or at least the Six Feet Under screenwriters) for the return of psycho-ex Brenda.

I interviewed National's Broadcasting spokesperson Katherine Rich last week, in the hope of shedding some light on her concerns about the appointment of Dr Brian Edwards as a chat show host on TVNZ, the topic of a press release last week. Now I can think of any number of reasons not to have Brian Edwards hosting any show that is to be described as "entertainment", but his political consulting work is not one of them. I put this to Rich:

A lot of noise about this Brian Edwards appointment, it's hardly controversial is it, he's doing a chat show on a Saturday evening?

I think Brian Edwards is a bit different [from Pam Corkery's current affairs show] because he's a man who's got obviously a huge amount of experience, he's someone who's been... Gee is it 30 or 40 years he's been involved?

So you're not so worried about that one?

No, not so worried.

But in your press release you say "the public should be very nervous about the new programme involving media consultant Brian Edwards who is himself a failed Labour candidate in the Miramar seat."

Well, in terms... I mean that's one of the things I suppose we're saying...we, we want Brian Edwards to, you know, at least be thinking about the sort of show he's going to do, I understand it's going to be a lifestyle show though, where you're focusing more on personalities, as opposed to politicians. Which mightn't be a bad thing, I think people get sick of hearing politicians speak, don't you?

...I supposed it depends what they've got to say, doesn't it?