Saturday, 3 April 2010

The Door (ITV1 Friday 2 April)

Last night I watched the first of a two part celeb-challenge fest, imaginably titled ‘The Door’ (ITV1). Hosted by Chris Tarrant and the ever present Amanda Holden, the viewer is subjected to a rag-bag bunch of formerly and marginally famous individuals travelling through doors – hence the title – where they must crawl through slime, snakes, rats, rubbish, water and yet more slime, in order to tackle the sort of cranial tasks that wouldn’t usually trouble a Barbary ape.

This show is a mutated hybrid of The Crystal Maze, It’s a Knockout and Noel’s House Party, but with any of their respective charms removed; although I’d guess the programme makers probably pitched it to ITV as ‘I’m a Celebrity meets a Big Brother task.’  Perhaps a more accurate title would be 'I'm a Celebrity on the Cheap' as many of the components are lifted directly from ITV's diminishing ratings winner and placed on a cheap set, with cheap celebrities and no airline tickets.  The only contestant I recognised was Dean Gaffney, whose sole work these days is in the jaw droopingly abysmal Daz adverts. There was also, I was informed by my friend’s wife, a former Boyzone member, some guy off children’s ITV, some girl from the Saturdays, some girl off Eastenders and some woman off Corrie. We were as ever expected to believe that this was all for charity. However as we all well know, these folks aren’t in it for their local hospice, this is a last ditch attempt to resurrect their piss poor careers.

The usual trick with these shows is to have a hate figure, someone we all would like to see covered in revolting gunk and thereby giving the viewer some form of cathartic pleasure, think Jordan or John Fashanu on I’m a Celebrity. However with these contestants the viewer is left only with apathy, as they run around like headless chickens, groping through the various types of goo and shrieking at the menagerie of creepy-crawlies and rodents. The only person on this show who I’d have liked to see terrorised was the expressionless Amanda Holden. I am always left at a loss as to why Ms Holden gets so much TV work (I could hazard a cynical guess though), she is such a talentless presenter, who as time goes by seems to be turning into a ventriloquist’s dummy – I jest not, her face seems to have become set in stone. It was far more entertaining to imagine Chris Tarrant was throwing his voice whenever she spoke.

The majority of these contestants seem to be amiably inept, the girl off Eastenders amazingly even managed to have a panic attack and be pulled from the task. It also seems clear that the males seem to be taking this show much more seriously than the women – perhaps inadvertently the programme makers have created a sociological experiment highlighting gender differentials.  The guy from Boyzone (Keith Duffy) is perhaps the most entertaining of the participants, as he clearly wants to win this show ever so much. He looks as pumped up as a soldier being sent ‘over the top’ as he bounds into the challenges. It brings to mind Tim Robbins’ character in ‘The Shawshank Redemption’ as he stoically crawls a mile through shit towards his freedom – this guy would crawl for any distance through any effluence in order to garner the limited accolades of victory in The Door.

That is perhaps the true metaphor of shows like this. They teach us the real value of low-level celebrity and modern society in general. You must crawl on your hands and knees through crap and vermin in order to tackle an arbitrary and meaningless set of tasks, stabbing your friends in the back along the way to secure a Pyrrhic victory. And your prize should you succeed is a bit part in a washing powder advert. It is sad that 21st century television seems utterly bereft of any originality. We instead have to watch x meets y, and then chuck in some ‘celebrities’ of breath taking marginality, with which to hold the mesmerised audiences’ attention. On reflection, I don’t think I’ll bother to watch part two of this terrible show.

1 comment:

  1. haaa! I thought the person in the picture was Bono at first!!