CHANNEL 5 DID TO ME what 20 years of leukemia, meningitis, diabetes and the Press Complaints Commission combined couldn’t accomplish: THEY SHUT ME UP!
Remember, I told you last week that I was due to appear in yet another of those interminable three-part tabloids-v-celebrities TV trials? Well, I did. But if you blinked you missed it!
“I thought you were goings to be on Channel 5 three nights this week?” queried Billy the Quid down at the Red Lion.
“Aye,” said John the Undertaker. “I missed the first one on Tuesday but the Radio Times said that Sex and Power was going to continue on Wednesday and Thursday, too.”
“You missed nothing,” snorted Steve the Copper. “I watched the start of it on Tuesday and switched it off. . . same old rubbish!”
And THAT, according to Those Who Know, is why Channel 5 pulled the plug on its much trailed, heavily publicised Sex and Power series after showing just one of the three hour-long episodes.
As well-made as it appeared to me to have been, the familiar charge that the ‘evil’ tabloid press goes stalking sweetly innocent celebs was just a rehash of the sort of tabloid television viewers have been watching for years. ‘A cuttings job’, we call it in the newspaper business: nothing new, just a re-worked version of whatever the library clippings or footage already have in stock brought up to date using interviews on the same old subjects with the same old people (me included!).
Channel 5 has a reputation for ‘pulling’ episodes of programmes whose first part doesn’t attract a competitive audience share, and Sex and Power certainly fell into that category: according to TV spies it attracted only 270,00 viewers in the prime 9pm slot, whereas BBC-1’s powerful Surviving 9/11 pulled in eight million and Long Lost Family on ITV-1 topped four million.
Admittedly, Tuesday August 31 was a strong night for TV competition but here’s the clincher: even Channel 4’s dopey, soapy Married At First Sight attracted almost a million viewers. In other words, viewers preferred by three-to-one to watch yet another UN-reality TV show which aims to create more trashy, money-hungry wannabe celebs for the tabloids to chase!
In the unlikely event that you DO wish to see the whole three episodes – and I had plenty more to say in episodes two and three – you can find Sex and Power HERE.
In fairness, it wasn’t a total flop. One viewer emailed, “Shame it was pulled, I thought it was an interesting insight into the celebrity/press dynamic.
“What went on in the past with the paparazzi was awful but it did show that celebs were in on it too, selling photos of their beach holidays. Suspect it goes on to this day.”
Another wrote, “I thought this series had a good start, I was looking forward to the rest.”
To sum up my advice to those who momentarily hit the headlines and are offered money for their story: Don’t do it! Unless you are prepared for ALL that follows, DON’T DO THE DEAL!
Why? Because dog eats dog in the media world: tell your tale to the Mail and the Express will crucify you. Sell your story exclusively to the Sun and the Mirror will hunt down your dark side.
So what to do if you feel you MUST get your side of the story out there? Hire a church hall and some security, give a press conference and invite the world. And if you MUST make money charge each reporter and photographer £500 to get in. That’ll cover your costs and give you a bit of spending money.
And everyone goes away happy!