Wednesday, June 21

Auction, election and action

Nick Yates gets a taste of what life would be like if he ever got found out at work

Ah, the delights of mid-week afternoon TV. Not only do I have a day off work, but I can fill it with some cheaply-produced television: programmes too dire to assault viewers’ eyes post-6pm. Will it be antiques game shows, live politics, repeat cop series? Or maybe top class international football? Yes, everything was going to build up to Portugal vs Mexico, one of the highlights of the World Cup Match of the Day (BBC1, 3pm).

Before this, however, were many hours to fill. First up was Bargain Hunt (BBC1, 12.15pm), where a selection of crusty antiques were watched by me and a whole load of other people with nothing better to do. Flicking back and forth between BBC1 and BBC2, there seemed big similarities between the two channels’ offerings. The Daily Politics, a live broadcast of politicians arguing in a room, was after all a selection of crusty antiques watched by me and a whole load of other people with nothing better to do.

Bargain Hunt is presented by that bloke they got in to replace David Dickinson. He’s got the waistcoats, he’s got the eye-wateringly colourful ties. But he’s not got the perma-tan or more importantly the perma-personality. TV has never been the same since the Duke fox-trotted off to dance competitions on prime time.

Starting slightly later was House Auction. Here, it’s homes under the hammer, rather than century-old sideboards. Nevertheless, it has the same turgid voiceovers as subjects compete in the supposedly gripping art of bidding. Sadly, it hasn’t half the cult appeal of Bargain Hunt, even with the watered-down Dickinson clone.

Some dodgy goings-on were occurring in a health club in The Rockford Files (BBC1, whenever there’s a gap in the schedules). It was the episode where the PI is hired to investigate an insurance claim over the safety of a swimming pool. Needless to say, the waters he steps into are murkier than they first appear as Rockford stumbles across some suspicious business dealings and some even more suspicious seventies fashions. One of the villains is a guy who can clock people’s professions from their clothing. If only, he could apply the same knowingness to his own outfits. Some of them wouldn’t have looked out of place in David Dickinson’s wardrobe.

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