Friday, 30 December 2011

My news review 2011 - how were we entertained?

I’ve covered some serious news events in my previous posts, but what was newsworthy in terms of entertainment?

In March Radio 1 Breakfast presenter Chris Moyles set a world record by doing a marathon show in aid of Comic Relief. He and fellow presenter Dave Vitty stayed on the air for 52 hours and raised a total of £2.5 million for the charity. I think that Chris Moyles on the whole is a bit like marmite – people either love him or hate him. But one thing is for certain – he seems to have a remarkable ability to get those who listen to his shows to do things – such as donate their cash, or influence the charts (more on that later). The initial goal was to raise £1 million, but I think it fair to say that the longer he stayed on air the more people got caught up in it all. It was a remarkable feat really – 52 hours of non sleep is generally not to be recommended – especially when you consider that sleep deprivation is often used as a form of torture. Love him or loathe him, you have to admire him for that I think.

In terms of the charts another record was set when the Military wives choir gained the Christmas no. one, managing to out-sell all the other entries in the top ten combined. X-factor winners Little Mix came in at no. Two, however they’d already had the no. One slot the week before since the Christmas no. One was actually announced on Christmas Day this year. I mentioned Chris Moyles earlier and his ability to influence people, well, the collective buying power of his listeners took Lou Monte’s 60’s song Dominick the Donkey to no. Three in the charts. This is a song that has never charted before, and this is apparently the longest period between a song being released an appearing in the charts.

So what did the viewers complain about this year? Well the complaints started out fairly early in the year when thousands of users complained about the controversial Eastenders baby swap storyline. Viewers felt that the storyline, in which the character Ronnie Mitchell swapped her dead baby for Kat Slater’s live one showed bereaved parents in a bad light and was an unrealistic depiction of how a bereaved mother would react. The number of complaints led to the show’s producers ending the story earlier than had previously been planned.

This month record numbers of complaints were received when Jeremy Clarkson made comments on BBC’s The One Show, saying that public sector strikers should be taken out and executed in front of their families. I think there’s fairly little doubt that the comments were clearly made as a joke, and it seems that the number of complaints only really rose after the story of complaints hit the headlines.

TV adverts did not escape unmentioned, and many viewers felt the need to complain about the Littlewoods Christmas advert, saying that it ruined the magic of Christmas for children, because it claimed that the presents were all bought by “my lovely mother,” instead of by Santa. Of course, if children up and down the country believe that their mothers can afford all the things on that advert then they probably have bigger things to worry about than the shattering of the illusion that is Santa.

But perhaps the advert that gained the biggest aww factor was the John Lewis Christmas ad. Although I think the question still remains... what was in the box?

It’s certainly been an entertaining year.

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