Tag Archives: News of the World

Five Years on the Show – And Still Doesn’t Understand How the Public Vote

Digital Spy this morning picked up on a Craig Revel Horwood interview in the News of the World where he lets rip over a number of the contestants in Strictly Come Dancing. It’s not until you’ve seen the recorded results show that is now held over from Saturday to Sunday night that you realise quite why he is so annoyed.

This year the rules were changed to give the judges the final decision over who is going to leave, apparently as a result of a number of the shock exits last year where the struggling couple scraped through at the expense of much better competition. The problem is that it has backfired, and is just not working like that. Tonight in particular all the struggling couples were lifted well out of the bottom two by the voting public leaving the couples placed fourth and sixth by the judges to dance it out.

This resulted in much head scratching from most people in the audience, all sorts of discussion on the fan forums, and some decidedly frustrated judges. But the dynamics of the way the public votes haven’t changed, and as always the judges, and Craig especially just don’t seem to get it. Craig seems to think that the public are out to humiliate Kate Garraway but it’s nothing of the sort. Essentially the judges will mark on aptitude (although there is always a bit of favouritism too) and the public tend to vote on effort, however they’ll also tend to vote to protect contestants who have had an unfairly hard time from the judges. Essentially all the judges have to do is deliver a low mark, or in particular come out with a pithy one-liner or rude comparison at the expense of a contestant, and they’re pretty well guaranteeing they’ll go into the next round. It was clear right from the start of the first series with Christopher Parker being carried through all the way to the final for exactly that reason. Usually it’s someone who finishes mid-table who ends up being voted off as the public vote for people they think have been given a hard time, and it was much the same tonight.

Kate and Anton’s performance gets called a Samba nightmare, and she gets called a dancing quail – that’s ensured they’re through. Kenny and Ola’s performance is described as a dance disaster, and he gets told he has the grace of a vacuum cleaner and again they’re through. John and Nicole get heavily marked down by Craig, and again they go through, until it gets to the middle table where people had hiccups so missed out on the top spot, but didn’t get a hard time from the judges that the public feel like they need help so they don’t get votes and end up in the dance off.

All the judges have been doing the show for five years, and they just don’t seem to get it! Although the forum fans are calling it a farce, what makes it fascinating to watch is the interplay between the dance, the comments from the judges, and the public appeal, as such it has, and still is incredibly difficult to predict. After last night I knew it probably wouldn’t be any of the bottom three or four, just a question of how far up the table it would go…

Katie Gets Fired (For Real)

Katie Hopkins has certainly been the focus of much of the press attention during the third series of the Apprentice. Having had by far the most press attention before her exit, it has only increased now she has gone, thanks to the fact that she avoided being fired. (Although if you watched the special programme on Sunday, Sir Alan has said he would have fired her anyway.) After her departure she sold her story to the News of the World, using the opportunity to hit back at Michelle Mone who verbally blasted her on You’re Fired, and including a expose of her love life which includes her ex-boss who she mentioned last week (the eight out of ten for ruthlessness), and an affair with a colleague at the Met Office pictures of which turned up in the papers right on time to boost her profile. Certainly there is a strong impression that this is all part of some grand project to carve out a media career for herself – Project Katie.

However, today comes news that perhaps Project Katie is maybe running into problems, with the Met Office where she has worked since September 2006 confirming that she has been fired. Apparently her conduct on the show wasn’t the reason she was fired, but it was an aspect of her review. Starting in the job she was given a years probationary period – the Met Office have chosen to terminate her employment before that period is up. Interestingly they also denied that she was earning £90,000 working for them – so quite where that oft quoted figure came from I don’t know.

So will being fired in real life de-rail Project Katie? I doubt it – she apparently has clocked up £40,000 from the sale of her story, so it will probably give her even more time to work on building her media career…

Big Brother Racism Fallout

Not surprisingly, as the first Sunday after Jade was evicted, we have more of the fallout from the events of the last week. Chief among them is the News of the World Exclusive, that main feature of this is ‘Jade on Trial‘ where they give her a surprisingly detailed questioning over all the controversial comments from herself, but also comments made by Jo, Danielle and Jack.

There are one or two other interesting points that have come out, firstly that Jade has visited India fairly recently as her perfume is manufactured in a factory over there and she wanted to visit the plant. Other interesting facts to come out are that according to the Guardian, Jade’s Mum is a practising Muslim – the quote stating this is about halfway down. The rest of the article is worth reading too, as it highlights quite what a problem Channel 4 now has with the perception that they let things go on longer than they should in order to boost ratings. Having said that, haven’t they always let this sort of thing go on longer than it should do boost ratings, remember the alcohol fuelled brawl in 2004 that earned a rebuke from Ofcom because they waited twenty minutes before sending in the security guards, an argument that was again underpinned by accusations of racism against Victor by Emma.

In terms of the ‘Was she told about what had happened?’ debate, Jade categorically denies this in the News of the World. Watching the highlights show for Friday it is clear that the housemates were aware something is going on as they appear to have been kept inside most of the day due to helicopters hovering over ahead. This coupled with both the lack of crowd noise, and the questions Big Brother had been asking them led them to conclude that something has been going on. Interestingly there were also discussions between the remaining two girls as to how they have been perceived too.

Of course as they will discover, their careers have just the same problems as Jade does – alongside the Jade interview, the News of the World has also said that Danielle has been ditched by Teddy Sheringham who is said to feel that he has been put in an impossible position with his team mates, who like many football teams are drawn from a range of different countries and backgrounds. Not surprisingly her contribution to the comments has left him ’embarrassed and deeply ashamed’.

In terms of looking for a positive outcome, the Education Secretary has said that schools should use the programme to tackle racial issues – and certainly suggest that with the number of young people who will have watched this week, youth groups could well use it as a topic for discussion. The Archbishop of York, himself invited to be on this series of the programme but who wisely passed, has commented on racism in the UK. It is fair to say that he is no stranger to the topic, I have always remembered him describing the number of times he was ‘randomly’ stopped by the police whilst driving his car when he was Bishop of Stepney, and the transformation in the behaviour of the officers when they found out who he was. His comments included the following:

“Sadly ignorance is not in short supply. Racism is real.

As the week’s events on reality television demonstrate, there is an ugly underbelly in society only too ready to point the finger at the foreigner, or those who might not fit in.â€?

Indeed, the leader in the News of the World makes a similar point – much as I said on Friday whilst large, there were still 18% of voters who voted to keep her in. They also want to see both Danielle and Jo booted out, and Shilpa to win.

Of course quite the most frightening part of this whole thing, is the fact that as a result, in the course of one posting, I’ve linked to, and approved of quite so much of what the News of the World has said… 😮