The days of TV gold are no more, as Andrew Stone pirouetted out of the house tonight in the campest fashion imaginable. Not only did he have to leave dressed as a pantomime beast, but the world's smallest carriage complete with pigmy pony was parked up in the garden ready to feed him to the hungry crowd.
When it comes to the X Factor, maybe the mantra that was drummed into us at school sports days is true after all - it's not the winning that counts, it really is the taking part...
So it's here, it's on our screens, get ready for Desperate Scousewives. I was ready alright - like the rest of the city - waiting in anticipation of how we were to be portrayed this time...
This weekend is the semi-final of the X-Factor, and while there's one contestant standing head and shoulders above the others, if I were a betting lady, I'd put money on Misha B being in the bottom two again. Britain, it seems, has a problem voting for the best act, and I'm calling it racist.
Judging by its opening gambit, Scousewives clings safely to the template laid down by its southern cousins in Essex and Chelsea, opening with a conformist series of oddly stunted conversational scenes resembling the awkward preliminary stages of a porn film, and concluding with some party or function to usher in the histrionics.
When he first sauntered into the jungle with his '80s counterpart, Sinitta, he seemed like this series' bland, middle-aged man. However, he has distinctly upped his game in the last few days, and for this I salute him.
It's like going to McDonald's and somehow, without expecting or ordering it, coming out with the finest haute cuisine meal of your life. I only hope we as an audience haven't had our aural taste buds numbed by too many years of fast food music to really appreciate Rebecca's talent.
The professional singers are skewered because they chose to work on their craft rather than whore themselves on reality TV, wiping away the tears after revealing how their grandmother got a paper cut in WW2 then proceed to butcher a Queen song to the slavish applause of the crowd.
The fact is, no one ever said this was going to be a talent show in its truest sense. If it was, we'd be so bored. Imagine sitting through a talent show resembling something like a Year 10 school production.
Will future generations look back on our love of the X Factor in the same way that we look back on our ancestors' love of bear-baiting? As our forefa...
It happens every year, of course. A young singer with a deep ache in their ego, I mean soul, blubs before the X Factor cameras. They say things that might as well be written on cue cards, helpfully held up by the producers: 'It means everything to me.'
Masterchef Australia is a television phenomenon in its domestic market. The previous two season finales were the most watched programmes of the year, and have entered the top ten of the most watched programmes on Australian television ever. The UK format has been tweaked as a nod to its Australian cousin, and Gordon Ramsey now leads an American version that is a derivation of the Oz rather than UK format. So what is it that the Australians have?
Masterchef Australia is a television phenomenon in its domestic market. The previous two season finales were the most watched programmes of the year, and have entered the top ten of the most watched programmes on Australian television ever. The UK format has been tweaked as a nod to its Australian cousin, and Gordon Ramsey now leads an American version that is a derivation of the Oz rather than UK format. So what is it the Australians have?
It's easy to attack The X Factor. Popularity is sometimes distrusted. If millions watch something, then it can be characterised as a bandwagon. A runaway success will often attract snobbery too. Arts aficionados hold their noses, signalling their allegedly superior taste.
Geordie Shore is but the latest in a long line of televised regional case studies showing how crap the world is. As propagating cartoonish stereotypes for cynical commercial gain is worth mega bucks these days, small wonder MTV are milking their Newcastle cash cows for all they're worth by sending them to Magaluf.
It's not just the show creators but the participants themselves who have shaped the reality television genre. The stuff we call reality TV is now more accurately categorised as 'reality as we wish it was', replete with happy endings, edits and external validation.