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Running Man – so ahead of its time…

December 11, 2006

If Saturday night’s ITV line-up is anything to go by, the future of TV is sure to be something along the lines of Running Man (which is just as well, as it’s my fave Arnie film). First up, there’s X Factor, with its vote-a-thon each week (mind you, it’s only 35p. I voted for Leona last week and was surprised at how cheap it was. Plus you get a little message from the lady herself, which was a nice touch and well worth the expense, I reckon). Sandwiched in between the mighty X Factor is newbie ‘Extinct’. One of those serious live ‘issues’ shows about endangered species featuring Zoe Ball (queen of Live telly) and Sir Trev.

What was a little strange though, is the introduction of the vote-a-thon element. Here the viewer must decide (with the help of a celebrity, who’s championing their chosen animal) which animal is to gain the funds to basically escape extinction (or so we hope). The rest of the money is divided up between each of the remaining animals, and it’s great that such issues are being highlighted. But it’s still a huge thing for Joe Public to decide, surely.

Going from something as trivial as the X Factor (yes, Ray, even though it’s all you’ve ever wanted to do, but it’s not literally life or death, now, is it?), to something as World-changing as this is just weird. It’s such a huge gear-change for ITV to ask of us if you ask me. We have (as Zoe keeps reminding us) the chance to change history. Yes, really. So should David Suchet really be the one to highlight the fact that pandas have a mating problem (she’s on heat for four days a year, he’s never up for it…)? Or should we be leaving it to experts who have no sway on the general public because they once played everyone’s favourite Belgian detective (are there any others?)

I just worry that those insane voters (you know the ones – the ones that keep Ray in each and every week) would go for Suchet because they like Poirot (and because Annika Rice hasn’t been on TV for years – but doesn’t she look well? I’m thinking of starting a Challenge Annika campaign; what do you think?). And I also don’t think it’s our responsibility to choose just one animal to save. It’s humanity who have caused such devastation to all these species, and so it’s humanity who should give them all the chance to survive. God. I’ve gone hippy…

I just think that asking viewers to make such critical decisions is dangerous. What’s next? “Welcome back to this year’s Life Support Final. Who’ll have their life support machine switched off this week? Gerald or Sidney? You decide.” It’s all just a bit sick if you ask me…

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