An interesting piece in the Sunday Herald about Paul Jackson.

A few notes, then.

  • “I have a terrible temper,” he admits with a conspiratorial grin – Something I’m hoping we’ll hear about in the upcoming Series 1 and 2 doccos…
  • The main contribution from Jackson, who sees this job as his last – Gah. Although looking at Paul Jackson’s career always makes me rather depressed. He’s done so FUCKING MUCH.
  • “With Got Talent we got the best panel in 30 years, the best hosts in British TV and we’ve got a tone of voice that makes it stand out,” he says… Even if this sounds like saying that anything is forgivable if it is a hit – Erm, no. Paul’s giving reasons why he thinks it’s a good show, not saying anything is forgivable if it is a hit. Pay attention, Mr. Steven Vass, Media Correspondent. (Although I haven’t actually watched the show, as – as great as Ant and Dec are – the presence of Simon Cowell would just irritate me far too much.)
  • Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? has its own issues… It is therefore to receive a revamp, including a “lick of paint, looking again at the music, the set, lighting, the questions and the money ladder – Long overdue. WWTBAM used to be fantastic, but it has got rather boring recently – a revamp could be just what is required.
  • …which leaves room for Celebrity Family Fortunes With Vernon Kay to come back for a second run in the autumn – I can’t speak for the general public, only for myself – but there are two things that could be done with that show to get me watching again (bearing in mind that I never used to miss an episode when Les Dennis presented it). One: get rid of Vernon Kay. He is bloody awful. Two: get rid of the celebrity angle. It’s boring, and distracts from the actual game.
  • There might also be another spin-off from the Gameshow Marathon. In the long run, says Jackson, “there is room for two regular gameshows” – Good news, as long as it’s done well. Unlike the Family Fortunes revamp.
  • Another thing he makes clear is that shows such as Grease, Got Talent, I’m a Celebrity and Tycoon are to be the last of their type. If the likes of Simon Cowell’s Syco production company are to continue to dominate primetime, they will need to create shows that do not feature people being eliminated by public vote – Excellent news. There’s always room for the public vote elimination format – but it’s just been done to death recently.
  • “We are not exactly looking for the new Gladiators, but some new way of doing a studio show,” he says – Yes! That’s what ITV needs – a big, spectacular, old-style studio show, done really really well.
  • He mentions Ant and Dec’s version of You Bet for American TV enthusiastically, and it should not be forgotten that he was once Noel’s House Party’s great champion at the BBC. Just when you thought it could have no more appetite, television looks set to continue eating itself – I care less about TV eating itself (TV has always taken inspiration, and hell, entire formats from the programmes of the past), and more about, you know, actually PRODUCING A GOOD SHOW. If a new version of You Bet!, works, then why not – it’s a great format. The Noel’s House Party reference seems odd, however, given that ITV’s very own Saturday Night Takeaway is the modern equivalent.
  • The other substantial part of his remit is to restore ITV’s reputation in comedy, which was built on the likes of Rising Damp and Spitting Image. This might always play second fiddle to general entertainment, but getting it right is crucial for adding to the sense of a broader-brush service that is not just for older people – YES. YES. YES. YES. YES. YES. YES. YES. YES. YES.
  • Successes have included Harry Hill’s TV Burp, Happy Hour and the Johnny Vegas sitcom Benidorm, which has been rewarded with a second series and a pre-10pm slot. Jackson is also upbeat about News Knight, the recently launched satirical show with Trevor McDonald. His attempts to revive 1980s stalwarts such as Dame Edna and Ben Elton have not worked so well, however, and all eyes will be watching to see if Ade Edmondson can buck the trend when his sitcom lands later in the year – The TV Burp reference seems a bit weird – I think Paul Jackson was working internationally at the time TV Burp started, not on domestic formats – although kudos to him for recomissioning it. The rest of the shows I can’t comment on, as I haven’t seen any of them (although Dame Edna got quite good response on one forum I frequent) – but hopefully the Ade Edmondson sitcom will be fantastic. (Incidentally, did anyone else here see him on the Bonzos reunion tour last year? Bloody brilliant, it was.)
  • He has also been put in charge of comedy and entertainment commissions on ITV2, 3 and 4 for the first time, which he hopes will make it possible to develop more leftfield comedies with smaller audiences in the same way as the BBC – This is great, and I really hope some excellent stuff comes out of it. But what ITV needs is a great, mainstream sitcom on ITV1. Let’s hope he can come up with one…

9 comments on “Oooh, sorry Paul

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  • I would love to see more comedy on ITV, News Knight it great, I saw the first episode. Saying that though, there is some pretty darn good comedy on C4. I would also like ITV to launch an on-demand service as I have 4OD and the BBC iPlayer, both of which are great.

  • An ITV on-demand service is coming soon to A ‘Best Of ITV’ service has already launched, although a bit wafer-thin at the moment.

  • Bloody hell John this is a fantastic find. He just seems to be hitting all the right notes in terms of what entertainment TV should be. Also the idea of the extra ITV channels getting more alternative (I don’t like to say niche) comedy appeals to me.

    Most of all though that new studio based entertainment show. YES! YES! YES! Even if it is just a re-imagining or something that’s gone before refreshed.

    I look back fondly to stuff like Knightmare, Gladiators, Crystal Maze and Treasure Hunt and found them so much more appealing than public vote TV; a genre which has been done to death. I was racking my brains the other day on a tube journey trying to think of a new gameshow format that had a kind of ‘event’ feel. It’s great to know someone with the power is thinking about TV the same way.

  • He just seems to be hitting all the right notes in terms of what entertainment TV should be.


    I really hope he manages to do it.

  • Actually Seb’s Crystal Maze idea was a bloody good one. I’ll leave it for him to share it (should he wish too), when he returns.

  • I too thought the new Dame Edna show was great. Or at least it was when they eventually just let Barry Humphries do what he does best instead of too much autocue and all the pointless health spa stuff.

    Sadly, I highly doubt we’ll see a reduction in the number of public vote shows. With the digital switchover upon us, the terrestrial channels will get less and less viewers, which means less money for ITV entertainment programming unless there’s a big phone vote to compensate.

    I can’t remember the last time I even watched Millionaire. It was probably when the million was ‘won’ last (that’s the second time they’ve fixed it in desperation, they don’t fix the questions just who they allow on. The guy who won it last time was more than the usual contestant. I’m sure if they put one of the Eggheads on they’d win it too. Oh wait, they already did… I say they don’t fix the questions but Judith Keppel’s million pound question was about royal history… )

  • Crystal Maze, eh?

    Alright, here’s my idea, copyright me :

    You bring it back. You stick it in the Deal or No Deal slot for when Noel wants a break, but you give it an hour. You bring back not only Richard O’Brien… but ALSO Ed Tudor Pole. And you have the pair of them leading two RIVAL teams through the maze, competing to get more crystals than the other, and thus get more time in the crystal dome (or possibly a better final game, as it was always a bit anticlimactic). If having two “hosts” would muddle things a bit, then you introduce a female host to interact between them, and have them act more as the team leaders. It would be BLUDY GRATE.

    Now, to get cracking on ideas for how to do Krypton Factor…

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