Wednesday, July 28, 2004

"i will hunt u down an kill u"

It's been ever so long since we've updated, hasn't it? It's probably a little late for excuses, so we'll carry on as if nothing happened.

Here is all the news that matters on kids' TV for the week 24th-30th July 2004.


Tuesday, July 06, 2004


First of all we'd like to apologise for giving our comeback post such a terrible headline, but we really couldn't think of a better one. In all honesty, you should probably be glad you didn't have to see some of the ideas we discarded before deciding on this one.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that Top of the Pops is quite rubbish these days. However, we're not really in the business of discussing TV for grown-ups on this site, so we're turning our beady (and increasingly square) eyes onto its young upward relation, Top of the Pops Saturday.

TOTPS, as it's known in abbreviating circles, faces a challenge by being in direct competition with ITV's cooler, more established (in Saturday morning terms, at least) brand CD:UK, and is often seen to come off as the poor alternative. But we're going to risk being forever branded a deviant and a traitor and admit that we don't like it all that much. It's probably something to do with our ever-increasing dislike of Cat Deeley and her disdain for some of the acts she has to introduce. We realise that Fearne Cotton is not to everyone's taste either, but at least we respect her decision not to try and tell us what we are allowed to like and what we aren't.

This is not, however, a CD:UK vs. Top of the Pops Saturday post, but more a post dedicated to our appreciation of a particular part of the latter. TOTPS has recently acquired a short animated insert called Pop Skool which, somewhat unsurprisingly, is set in a fictitious academy where popstars go to learn their craft. We'd previously viewed it somewhat suspiciously, thinking of it as well-intentioned but generally a bit rubbish. This Saturday, however, we were provided gloriously wrong and don't mind admitting it.

This Saturday's episode featured around the class 'Exotic Cooking with Senora Beckham'. Mrs B was leading the class a lesson on what she referred to as "cordon blue" cookery. Shortly after this, she turned round to the class and exclaimed "Michelle? Sam? Mark? What are you doing?" At which point we saw Michelle McManus and Sam & Mark wrapping up the band Blue in police tape, while Sam guiltily explained "Sorry, Miss, we thought you said to cordon Blue". We laughed and we laughed and we laughed.

The unfortunate thing about Pop Skool is that it can be extremely hit-and-miss. Often the jokes are laboured and heavily signposted, but just when it's lulled you into a false sense of security, it knocks you sideways with a superbly-executed gag (such as "cordon Blue" above) which makes you think there is a really gifted comedy writer paying their dues on this series. And frankly, we applaud them, and we want more.

It's also worth mentioning that even when the jokes are lacklustre, the characters in Pop Skool are frequently well-observed. Professor K Minogue is always seen prominently from behind so that we can appreciate her posterior, Busted are always jumping and their faces are largely obscured by their enormous eyebrows, and Will Young is posh and shy and quite possibly the cutest cartoon character we've ever seen - as soon as we learn how to do screen grabs, we're going to get pictures up here to prove it.

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