Now, while he does nothing for me, I understand that the shockheaded twiglet known as Russell Brand is deemed attractive by a greater number of women than is strictly reasonable (it’s the mockney shrieking that puts me off – he claims it’s part of some ludicrously constructed ‘Victorian Dandy’ persona, but I’m fairly sure even Jamie Oliver would be embarrassed).
Got no problem with that, or with how many of said women he claims to have bedded (while one does question any man’s need for the world to know how urgently virile he is, it’s still an entirely different topic). I’ve got no problem with him as a radio DJ either: clearly he has the ability to both raise heckles and think quickly, which are obviously key to his kind of presentation style. But he didn’t really translate to TV, did he?
OK, so his Big Brother thing was a success. That is because:
a. to Big Brother audiences (who are so easily entertained that they’re prepared to watch wall-to-wall nightshots of people asleep) anyone who can string a sentence together is practically Chekhov,
b. it was only expected to get about 12 viewers in the first instance, and
c. his competition was Davina McCall.
However, his own show (Russell Brand's Got Issues - oh dear) started with great fanfare but last I heard, E4 had admitted that it was a flop, being beaten by shows on all the main rival channels (most of which hadn’t benefited from expensive promotional campaigns).
So tell me, what’s this all about?
“Comedian and presenter Russell Brand is to go head to head with Jonathan Ross after landing his own Channel 4 show. The Russell Brand Show will feature celebrity interviews, comedy sketches and live music performances. Channel 4's Factual entertainment editor Angela Jain said: "[Brand's] undoubtedly the man of the moment."
Wasn’t Charlotte Church the woman of the moment about 12 seconds ago?
When are television executives going to realise that the reality television they (but seemingly nobody else) are so keen on HASN’T transformed TV into an entirely throwaway medium? That you can’t just transform people into instant television ‘stars’ because they’ve impressed for approximately 3 weeks elsewhere?
Jonathan Ross is, whether you like him or not, an accomplished and at times very funny television presenter. That is because he has been doing it for QUITE A LONG TIME. The early stuff he did was, in all honesty, pretty rubbish, but so what? He was allowed to cut his teeth on the lighterweight stuff, hence he learned, he got better, and here he now is, the highest paid man in British television.
The Brands and the Churches of this world are both clearly talented people, but shoe-horning them into ridiculously hastily put-together and ill thought out formats for which they are inadequately experienced, then sticking them up against a highly accomplished performer is an almost guaranteed recipe for failure which neither of them deserve.
Why can’t we do as we did in the days of Jonathan Ross’s early career and let people develop properly into their personas, instead of setting them up for a slating and a likely future of unjustified television obscurity? In TV-Land as in any other, instant gratification means, more often than not, no gratification at all.