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Sandraseahorse



Joined: 21 Nov 2008
Posts: 1153



PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2010 2:36 pm    Post subject: The Channel 4 Book Group show  Reply with quote

After vowing I would never watch another edition of this show after viewing the car crash of the first, I did tune in for the second - or at least the first five and last ten minutes of it.

About 85 comments were put on the Channel 4 website about  this programme and approximately 90 per cent were highly critical.  The programme's editor then posted that the remarks had been taken on board and we were asked to watch the next programme.  As the editor had been courteous enough to respond to the comments, I felt it was only fair to give it another go.

It was the same format as before; the first item was an interview with a celeb with a new book to plug (in this case Alan Davies), then a filmed interview with an author whose sales had been  boosted by being an R&J book club choice (this time William Boyd) and then a light-hearted item about a quirky new book.  However, these three items were much shorter than before to allow far more time for the book discussion at the end.

The book was "Blacklands" by Belinda Bauer; a thriller about a 12-year-old boy who writes to a paedophile serial killer in prison in an attempt to find out where the killer buried the body of the boy's uncle. The first half of the book is told through the eyes of the boy; the second half from the killer's viewpoint.

Jo Brand loathed the book and said it presented paedophilia as an entertainment when it wasn't.  The others enjoyed it as a gripping but harrowing thriller.  There were some interesting points made by the group about the psychology of the boy and his grandmother, whom the boy was desperate to please.  It was clear that the group had given the book some thought.

I admit I enjoyed the discussion and it certainly gave the flavour of the book.  What I felt didn't work was the celeb bit at the beginning; it all got very luvvy with the others telling Alan Davies how the first thing they did was look up in the index whether they were mentioned in his book.

IMO unless the panel are prepared to tell a celeb to his or her face that they didn't like the book, then this undermines their objectivity when they come to discuss the nominated book at the end of the show.

Also, I feel that having two comedians on, Jo Brand and Dave Spikey, they feel the need to  compete with jokes and will often make flippant remarks which only undermine the seriousness of what they have said before.

For example, it was quite clear that Jo Brand felt strongly that the "Blacklands" subject matter was exploitative and shouldn't be used for entertainment.  Yet she then went on to make a flippant remark about how she "made the mistake of reading it as a bed time book to my kids."  So she doesn't think paedophilia is a suitable subject for a thriller but she's prepared to make a joke about a book on the topic.

I've tried to be fair to the show.  I might watch it again but only for the last 10 minutes.




Last edited by Sandraseahorse on Tue Jan 26, 2010 3:54 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Mikeharvey



Joined: 22 Nov 2008
Posts: 3360


Location: Lancashire

PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2010 3:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Having just wandered down into town and looked as always at the bookshops,  I notice that all the books scheduled to be discussed on The Book Club seem to have some sort of a tie-in with Smiths  and Waterstones. There's a big display of the titles in both places.  Why do I find this depressing?  Who was reponsible for choosing the books.  Would it be better, I wonder, if the club members were not 'celebrities'?  How about older books that had not just appeared, or were about to appear, in paperback?  
Can anyone tell me what the young man, with the hair, on the extreme left is famous for?


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MikeAlx



Joined: 17 Nov 2008
Posts: 2105


Location: Seaford, East Sussex

PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2010 5:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Book Club is the latest vehicle of TV Producer Amanda Ross (sister-in-law to Jonathan & Paul Ross), who brought us Richard & Judy's book club.

The reason Waterstones have this floor to ceiling is that when R&J's book club first aired, they found they never had enough stock for the books that were being featured - so they phoned the TV company and asked them if in future they could tip them off in advance. And that is what has happened ever since. Of course the publishers also pay the shops for the privilege of prominent positioning. Aren't market forces a wonderful thing?



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TheRejectAmidHair



Joined: 19 Nov 2008
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Location: Staines, Middlesex

PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2010 5:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What a sad state of affairs all round.


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Sandraseahorse



Joined: 21 Nov 2008
Posts: 1153



PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2010 5:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Can anyone tell me what the young man, with the hair, on the extreme left is famous for?


Mike, I think you mean Gok Wan.  He is a stylist who presents "How To Look Good Naked."  He revealed his (lack of) intellectual credentials by choosing as his specialist subject when he appeared on "Celebrity Mastermind" A SINGLE play, Jonathan Harvey's "Beautiful Thing."  I've no objections to someone picking the work of Jonathan Harvey as a subject but if they can't be bothered to study more than one of his plays, then they can't be much of a fan, so why chose that topic?

Gok is the celeb who appears most at sea in the discussions and his claim in the first programme that he "is only just learning how to read" doesn't seem like a joke now.

I'm trying not to be too dismissive of the show because if it were to be axed from television, the chances are that it wouldn't be replaced by a series like "Civilisation" or "The Ascent of Man" but by another celeb infested lifestyles programme.




Last edited by Sandraseahorse on Tue Jan 26, 2010 10:26 pm; edited 1 time in total
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TheRejectAmidHair



Joined: 19 Nov 2008
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Location: Staines, Middlesex

PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2010 5:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sandraseahorse wrote:
I'm trying not to be too dismissive of the show because if it were to be axed from television, the chances are that it wouldn't be replaced by a series like "Civilisation" or "The Ascent of Man" but by another celeb infested lifestyles programme.


I don't really see what difference that would make. Let them make celeb lifestyle programmes by all means - I don't see it would be any worse than the sort of horse manure I've been reading about on this thread.


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MikeAlx



Joined: 17 Nov 2008
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Location: Seaford, East Sussex

PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2010 6:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The thing I don't understand is, why is there an audience for intellectual quiz shows like University Challenge, Only Connect and Mastermind, but apparently none for something like the late lamented Bookmark?



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county_lady



Joined: 21 Nov 2008
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Location: N Worcs.

PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2010 6:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

MikeAlx wrote:
The thing I don't understand is, why is there an audience for intellectual quiz shows like University Challenge, Only Connect and Mastermind, but apparently none for something like the late lamented Bookmark?


That's a real puzzle. We love those and would also enjoy a Bookmark programme. Crying or Very sad


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Evie
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Joined: 24 Oct 2008
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Location: Kenilworth, Warwickshire, UK

PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2010 7:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

People like a quiz, they don't like stuff about litratcher, 'sborin', innit?

People read for pleasure, but don't see the need to intellectualise it.  Society in Britain is increasingly anti-intellectual.


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miranda



Joined: 22 Nov 2008
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Location: over there somewhere

PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2010 7:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Society in Britain has always been anti-intellectual.  That's been a complaint of intellectuals for centuries.




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