Trista Grant sees the Girlie Show as a great idea that has been poorly executed

Trista Grant sees the Girlie Show as a great idea that has been poorly


On paper, the Girlie Show looks pretty good - an audience of two million

on Friday night and another 900,000 for the Saturday repeat. It

certainly qualifies as ‘original programming’ and uses the magazine

format that is tried and tested for youth programming. Attitudinally it

probably hits the mark too...but did you see it?

What a load of old rubbish. I may not be 16 to 24, but I am 16 to 34 (as

were most of the studio audience) and I found the content enormously


Some at Universal McCann and within the agency even suggested that they

would have preferred to see The Word.

Think about it - ‘wanker of the week’, ‘naked apes’, ‘knickers’,

‘viewers’ husbands’. I doubt the consumer research from Channel 4 said:

‘What we really want is toilet humour on TV - wouldn’t it be funny to

take a microscope to men’s underwear?’

If we had polled our media clients, I am sure that they would have come

up with a different format for their ads for the Girlie Show. Product

association with some of the elements of the programme were dire.

We interviewed more than 450 viewers the next day with the statement:

‘It’s a show for people like me.’ Overall, our street interviews showed

that it was the specific content, not the idea, that was the problem.

On the presentation issue, Sara Cox struggling with an autocue is

inexcusable. It may be true that this type of imperfection will improve

with time, but will the public give you the time?

All of these elements can easily be fixed, and overall Channel 4 should

be applauded for taking the risk in the first place.

One thing that really puzzled me was the absence of ads from record

companies. They were an obvious target for such a youth-oriented

programme. It’ll be interesting to see who joins the queue for centre-

break spots in the weeks ahead.

Trista Grant is the managing director of Universal McCann