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That's All We've Got Time For

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It's been a while now since The Brit Awards, and it sort of feels even longer than it was because the only thing memorable thing about the show was how dull it was. Coldplay opened, which is like splashing anaesthetic on your face. James Corden left the funny in his other trousers, which were probably in a kitbag in the back of Smithy's Volvo estate. Rihanna didn't even have the decency to do anything really filthy. In fact, about the funniest thing that happened was a bloke walking in front of James during a link. But that wasn't all the talk the following morning in the papers and news websites. That accolade belonged to Adele, and it wasn't even for her awards.

It was because her victory speech was curtailed after she won best album. Because they ran out of time. Having hosted live events before of different kinds myself I can sympathise with the predicament James Corden found himself in, and it's never easy to hit every mark when you're working without a net, but such a lapse at a major awards ceremony is as inexplicable as it is unforgivable.

You'd think given the year Adele has had - stratospheric success on one hand, potentially career-threatening medical worries on the other - the producers may have had their antennae up for a few pathos-laden landmark acceptance sentences, a real Youtube moment. Especially so since she had just won album of the year, the award they had been hyping up with profile vignettes all night long. But instead, they cut her and their own main event off. Why do TV makers do this?

As it's a minefield unique to live TV, news and current affairs are regular offenders. "That's all we've got time for" are among the six most hateful and yet most commonly used words in the newsman's lexicon, and for what? Another interview that will be cut off just as it's getting interesting? You'd think 24 hour news stations would have time to stretch out but they're often worse, micro-filling their schedules or frequently repeating themselves rather than extending discussion. A lot of the time it's as if programme makers (mistakenly) either think we'll get bored watching one topic for too long or think we like it that way. Though in some cases, not focusing on one topic long enough to actually think about it is probably the point. Looking at you, Fox.

To their credit the BBC are among the best at extended analysis and alternative angles, one of the benefits of being a night owl is being able to see some of the specialist debate and reports they have on their news channel at that hour, but they aren't blameless either. Question Time, one of their best and most popular shows, does a good job at packing in all they do in about an hour, but invariably His Royal Dimbleness has to disappoint raised hands in the audience and call time before they get to say their peace. And all so Andrew Neil and the This Week crew can arse about with Underworld tracks.

We've never had more kinds of media at our disposal than we do now, and perhaps because of the high level of competition TV channels seem to be wrapped into a battle stations mentality. But in their haste to try and cover every base, rather than getting a proper view of something you never get more than an unsatisfying glimpse of anything. Modern life moves very fast, and it's vital the media helps us make sense of it all. We ought to make time for that.