Doreen Tipton: He’s a politician – get him out of here!

By Doreen Tipton | Weekend | Published:

This week I’ve been dreaming up some programmes I’d like to see on national television. The TV folk, you see, have finally run out of ideas. In fact, they only ever had one idea, and now they’ve run out of it.

Strictly. . . Ed Balls

Have you noticed, for example, how many new reality shows have shot up since the BBC lost The Great British Bake off?

We’ve had pottery competitions, painting competitions, antique-buying, decorating, cooking, singing, dancing, and dating competitions – but always with the same format. A couple of smarmy judges, two Z-list celebrity hosts who take it in turns to read the lame jokes off the autocue, and some contestants who it all ‘means the world’ to, who’ve ‘been on a journey’ and who cry a lot. And every week one of the contestants ‘sadly, has to leave the process’.

So then there has to be a vote from us, the plebs. They call on us, like some mindless baying crowd at a Roman Gladiator competition, to give our thumbs up or thumbs down to the contestants, and all from the comfort of our interest-free credit sofa from DFS. But, of course, this is the 21st Century, so there’s an app to download, or a text that costs you 50p plus your standard message rate, and ‘lines that are now open’ and ‘lines that are now closed, so don’t vote now because your vote may not count but we’ll still have the money off you’. But it doesn’t really matter, does it? Because however we vote, they won’t just ditch the loser – that would be too easy. They have to have a ‘bottom two’ – even though one of them might have got a million votes and the other got no votes at all except the one from his granny.

So, then, to drag out the misery even more, we have the sing-offs, the paint-offs, the bake-offs, the cake-offs, the date-offs, and the rip-offs.

Is there anything they can’t make a reality show about these days? Are there any original ideas left?

Well, it got me thinking what new formats I could dream up, and it struck me that politics would be an ideal subject matter. After all, just like Reality TV, politics these days also has nothing to do with reality, so we could combine the running of the country with a bit of Saturday night entertainment. And I’m not talking about ex-politicians like Ed Balls just doing a bit of dodgy dancing on Strictly – I’m talking about proper, currently-elected politicians having their performance judged on a weekly basis.

Perhaps we could start with a Brexit-based show set in the political jungle of the EU. We could call it: ‘You’re a politician – get us out of here’. And never mind electing MPs for four years – I quite like the idea that every single week they have to perform – to sort out a burning issue – and every week one politician would ‘sadly, have to leave the process’. That might sharpen up their performances a bit. And, perhaps for once, when they know that we’re watching closely with our fingers hovering over the app, the popular vote might finally be treated with some respect, rather than them spitting out the word ‘populism’ like it’s some sort of dirty word, as the political elite tend to do nowadays. Since when did the views of the majority of the electorate become distasteful to those who are supposed to serve that electorate? Did I miss something?

Other fun shows to enliven our Saturday nights might be ‘Hate Island’, where we bung a cross-section of folks who clearly hate each other on an over-crowded little island somewhere in the Atlantic, where there are no hate crime laws, and see what happens. Would they learn to cooperate to survive, or become tribal and try and eradicate the opposition? We can watch and make notes. It might be a good pointer to how to handle the real world.


Then we could have ‘The Great British Rake Off’ set in the corrupt world of business contracts, or even ‘Britain’s Got No Talent’, in which a load of moaning old gits with no imagination constantly try and drag the country down to make it seem like we can’t survive without belonging to a nanny superstate. Oh, hang on though, that last idea might be just a bit too close to those other two popular reality shows, the BBC News and Question Time.

What fun we could have though, watching the bottom two politicians every week desperately battling it out in the ‘talk-off’ to win our trust. And then us having the chance to phone in or press the app to vote, and instantly get rid of the ones who’ve blown it. Such power. And there’d be a delicious irony. Because then the reality shows would actually be the reality, rather than the mindless fodder that the establishment feeds us to try and take our minds off the reality.

But it won’t happen, of course. Because then it would almost be like, dare I say it – democracy?

Tarra a bit x

Doreen Tipton

By Doreen Tipton
Columnist - @DoreenTipton

The Queen of the Black Country shares her take on the week's hot topics.


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