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Cheers - AE

Saturday, 30 January 2010

Things I still don't get about Australia - No. 18

TV. It's often shit. And worse still it's often shit in a way that's depressingly familiar because, I'm slightly embarrassed to say, it's British shit. Now that's fair enough because Australia produces some spectacular shit of it's own - name an Aussie soap and I probably hated it - which have been bought up by UK channels, so I do understand if an Aussie TV channel bought British soaps. And I can just about understand why SBS bought Top Gear as 'infotainment' (and why Nine nicked it) even though every time they mention speed, weight, power etc. since it's not in metric it'll often be unfamiliar to many Aussies much under 40. And giving prices in Sterling really is pretty irrelevant here, doubly so if it's a car that isn't available in Oz in the first place. But if that seems weird it's nothing on some of the other stuff. I thought seeing Antiques Roadshow was odd when I first got here, though I suppose that could be Top Gear for the Baby Boomer generation, but who the hell here is supposed to get anything from seeing Catherine Gee traipsing around rural Britain house hunting for cashed up townies? Escape to the Country ticks all the fail boxes - unfamiliar geography, irrelevant currency and, since Catherine Gee apparently doesn't do the show anymore, it's a few years out of date and the prices will be even more meaningless. They do it with Grand Designs and that one with Amanda Lamb as well. Why? Are the British channels selling them so much cheaper than it costs to make some Australian content to fill the schedules? It's surely not padding out the schedules because Escape to the Country is on at half nine on Friday nights. So why do it?

On the off chance any British TV execs come across this I'd like to pitch an idea for a new show. We find some charismatic, camera friendly Aussie girl and send her to look at properties for Aussie families and couples who want to trade up. We stick to dollars and never mention how much it is in pounds. We discuss floor areas in squares* in order to make British viewers ask 'square whats' and we try to send her only to towns and suburbs that difficult to spell and preferably have a misleading pronunciation so that it's tricky to look them up in Google Earth and preserves the mystery of where, in a very large country almost as far away from the viewers as it's possible to be, they actually are. We can call it 'No, Me Neither, But Dale Winton's On The Other Side.'
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