campaignlive.co.uk, Tuesday, 17 December 2002 12:00AM
Despite a once-rich vein of innovative drama - Inspector Morse, London's Burning etc - the words "ITV" and "innovation" don't tend to cling togethe. But this interior decor makeover show brings the two words closer together because the kids make it genuinely subversive. In one, they got their own back on their strict mum by turning the kitchen into a burger bar.
2. LAD'S ARMY. ITV1
There are still people who believe that the world would be a far, far better place if only they brought back National Service. So ITV (Wakey, wakey. Hands off cocks, on socks. Stand by your beds. Wait for it, wait for it, etc) obliged. Strangely fascinating, especially given the fact that all of these guinea pigs had actually volunteered for this and could've swung their 'ooks any time they bleedin' wanted.
3. DESIGNER VAGINAS. Channel 4
Mutilation has, of course, been the new black in 2002. This programme came not only in black but also in purple, blue, many shades of purulent and weeping yellow, plus a very fetching nacreous, inflamed pink.
4. MICHAEL JACKSON'S FACE. Five
Mutilation AND celebrity. Now you're talking. Strip out one-off dramas from the new programmes list and then delete new series of old properties, you're basically looking at celebrity profile "documentaries".
5. THE CHAIR. BBC1
Not forgetting the odd new gameshow format. And this one really is odd. It features a tired and emotional old tennis pro (played almost convincingly by John McEnroe) who wires a succession of shamelessly desperate contestants up to the electrodes.
6. INVASION. BBC2
If mutilation is the new black, history is the new gardening. The Invasion series charted serious threats throughout history to the BBC's cultural and broadcasting hegemony ... from programmes produced overseas - and their ultimate fate at the hands of Roland Rat. Or something like that.
7. ART NOW. Five
Actually, this title looks small but really it's as earth shaking in its own way as Apocalypse Now. It really is the most astonishing innovation in British TV last year. Channel Five dabbling in the Fine Arts? Could this be the same channel that pinned its faith on the three Fs - films, football and fucking. Are these the same fly-by-night chancers that once upon a time offered us Touch the Truck? Well, yes it can. Believe.
8. THE GREAT STINK OF LONDON. Five
Courtesy of Peter Bazalgetter, the founder of the most successful independent production company in recent time, this profile of his great-great-grandfather ... Bazalgette, proved that the family has been in exactly the same business down the generations since the mid-19th century. Bazalgette, you may recall, built London's sewerage system. Pooh!
9. ANT AND DEC'S SATURDAY NIGHT TAKEAWAY. ITV
TV will eat itself. Actually, it started doing that years ago and there isn't the tiniest corner of the medium that hasn't been recycled, pastiched or fetishised in a post-modern ironic sort of way. But this was genius. Contests can ... how about this? ... win the ad break.
10 RI:SE. Channel 4
No. Only joking. RI:SE was actually proposed to Campaign by those wags at Five, because RI:SE was consistently trounced in the ratings by Five's own morning flagship, Make Way For Noddy. Which RI:SE, of course, did.
This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk