Monday, April 29, 2002

RI:SE is Channel 4's latest early morning offering. I decided to watch the first one this morning though couldn't quite manage to get to the end. Gone was the organised mayhem and contrived anarchy of the Big Breakfast, the programme that proved to be too successful for its own good. It created ship jumping presenter stars all of whom felt compelled to seek greater fame once the incentive of money was no longer relevant. And there were many crappy efforts between Chris Evans and Johnny Vaughn ( and after) so there was a real risk that BB without JV would be crap for quite a while as various presenters were tried out. So the decision to pull the plug was made.

Unfortunately "RI:SE" is worse than the Big Breakfast could ever quite manage to be. The Big Breakfast occupied the so bad it's good school of TV programming. The banter, the errors, the gaudy sets, cheesy quizzes, tacky phone-ins, kooky guests and tabloid obsessed muggings to camera at least had an identifiable audience. There're plenty of people whose idea of a culture hit is to read the Sun without the need for crib notes and giggle uncontrollably at that funny dad making an arse of himself on the Generation Game. Offer these people, (and there're are millions out there) news with a Tiswasian set and a Sunday Sport subtext and success is all but virtually guaranteed. A new JV would have come along eventually, but C4 always happy to go for the new (can't fault that) have served up RI:SE - note the quirky colon, a grammatical arse in the middle of the word.

And there's a smug arse as anchor presenter of this newsy viewsy chum-fest love-in. Two guys, two gals sit at a table, think - Question Time without the brains or HIGNFY without the wit and you'll have the idea of the camera shot. They're all young(ish) and attractive(ish): a feisty Scottish Denise Van Outen type, curvy and common and seemingly always ready for a punch up. A cheeky Irishman, a brunette who will be the but(t) of much future repartee from: the smug presenter lad - who looks like a cross between Nasty Nick (remember him?) and a TV doctor. Any TV doctor.

Perhaps I'm being overly judgmental and unkind, today's show after all was the first one; but I can't really see who this programme's for. There's plenty of news programmes and entertainment programmes out there and this one fails at both. An attempt to generate humour about May Day riots was irresponsible and not funny and the joshing during mid news reading, particularly between anchor boy and the brunette (he's probably afraid of the Scot - I am) - astonished me. "You're rotten," the brunette said to nasty Nick, while she tried to present the weather and he tried to put her off. She's right. He's rotten, and so is RI:SE. No news can be reported whether serious or not without strained efforts at humour and a sort of chummy rivalry and one-upmanship between the presenters - they'd be having a ball if they were all together in a wine bar, trying to out loud and out do each other. But that's fine, we don't have to watch them. And although they're on TV, I still don't have to watch them. And you don't have to watch them. And that at least is good.

NB: Later research reveals the anchor to be the 33 year old son of Wish You Were Here matriarch Judith Chalmers And there are more presenters, these are the just the ones I saw. There are others lurking, eagerly waiting to do their bit.

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