THE BOOK OF LISTS: The 10 Programme Planning Disasters
campaignlive.co.uk, Tuesday, 17 December 2002 12:00AM
1. SURPRISE WEDDING
Carlton TV commissioned a two-hour spectacular called Surprise Wedding as part of ITV1's winter line-up. The show featured six brides proposing to their unknowing boyfriends in front of a studio audience and then followed them on to their weddings and honeymoons. This all sounds cosy and mainstream enough until you discover that the person chosen to present the show was, erm, John Leslie.
Oh dear, oh dear. ITV's Elimidate, the dating show hosted by ex-Atomic Kitten Kerry McFadden, was pulled five shows into its eight-show run and goes down as the worst TV programme of the year. It wasn't cheap to film either, featuring exotic locations, but it still managed to get roundly beaten on the ratings front by Question Time.
3. WUDJA? CUDJA?
This beauty seems to have come out of exactly the same mould as Elimidate and was similarly dropped after just a few painful episodes. Wudja? Cudja? was a bastardised version of The Hopefuls on The Word and involved contestants challenged to pull off girls' bikinis in a tug of war, or lick cheese off an old man's beard. It was quietly dropped from ITV1 and gasped its last on ITV2.
This was the BBC's attempt at transferring the Private Eye cartoon of the same name on to the small screen. Despite Harry Enfield and Amanda Holden's best efforts, the series retained its cartoony, two-dimensional feel and the show proved a scheduling disaster in its Friday peak spot.
5. FAME ACADEMY
For the first time in recent memory, ITV managed to get one over on the BBC after the corporation attempted to copy ITV's incomprehensibly successful reality TV show Pop Idol. Shame Academy, as it quickly came to be known, proved to be the BBC's highest-profile and most expensive flop of the year.
6. TOP RANKO
When Andrew Newman took over as head of entertainment at Five, he said he'd "throw a lot of mud at the schedule and see what sticks". Top Ranko - a dismal TV version of the board game Outburst - was among the dirtiest and it spectacularly failed to stick. The concept was contestants ranking various lists, such as chocolate bars in the 80s, into top tens.
Channel 4's replacement for The Big Breakfast debuted at the end of April and was billed as "The Sun on TV". Viewers turned off in their droves and after just a month it was being thrashed by Five's children's TV offering Bear in the Big Blue House. That said, it remains a testament to Mark Thompson's promise to deliver risky programmes.
8. THE LIKELY LADS WITH ANT & DEC
Ant & Dec are hailed as the saviours of ITV, but in this pilot episode of the BBC's classic The Likely Lads they failed to deliver. While Ant & Dec clearly enjoy each other's company, they proved not to have the acting abilities of James Bolam and Rodney Bewes, so thankfully a series will never be commissioned.
9. DWARVES IN SHOWBIZ
Another sorry show from Andrew Newman's stable - a documentary charting the fortunes of dwarves on television. Astonishingly, just shy of one million viewers tuned in to watch this on Five.
10. BRITAIN'S SEXIEST
In a bizarre piece of scheduling, ITV saw fit to run this low-rent series after I'm A Celebrity ... Get Me Out Of Here. The audience it inherited voted with their remote controls and the series, featuring the sexiest hairdressers, builders etc, bombed.
This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk
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