People complain that reality TV shows are becoming too repetitive. But what about reality itself?
The recent floods in Yorkshire were lamentably derivative and showed a complete failure of creative imagination.
It's a total waste of money shooting new flood footage because it's indistinguishable from any previous flood footage. The same is true of the news scripts. Helicopters are always scrambled (just as snow ploughs are always out in force), there's always a big clear up operation underway and insurers face a massive pay out.
Animals always feature prominently. On this angle the Yorkshire floods had three ducks in a row. Well, not literally. Rescuing ducks from a flood would be a disgraceful waste of resources by the emergency services.
But there were cattle, sheep and dogs. The canine angle, so vital to a flood, was covered with a thoroughness that some might find excessive: an entire kennels was reported to have been washed away. In this case, the storyliners had forgotten the golden rule that less is more. A single mutt winched to safety from a rooftop and re-united with its tearful owner will always have more impact than some kind of canine holocaust.
Another curious thing is that floods only happen in places with caravan parks. Have you ever seen a flood on television that didn't include images of caravans floating across the fields? The alternative explanation is that this green and pleasant land is entirely covered with trailer parks. This seems unlikely but it would explain why Trisha always has a ready supply of trailer park persons to dispute paternity issues on her television show.
On Sunday night before Coronation Street I caught the end of the Formula One coverage and gathered that between the beginning and the end there had been almost nothing. Apparently a problem with the tyres had left ITV broadcasting hours of nothing much happening - to some of us barely distinguishable from normal Formula One coverage.
I am now praying that Health and Safety officers in south west London will discover some hitherto unknown but potentially fatal risk in grass tennis courts. Or find that that Robinson's Barley Water has been made with genetically modified barley that causes women to develop masculine characteristics. On second thoughts.........
Returning to the motor racing, Jim Rosenthal said this could be the end of Formula One. But this could be a great opportunity because, let's face it, Formula One has become.....how shall I put it?......rather formulaic. Not that that's ever been a problem for Casualty. But noisy cars going round in circles was never going to reach out beyond its core audience.
So, if this is really the end of Formula One, maybe it's time to try Formulas Two, Three or Four?
Personally, I'd go straight to Formula Six.
This would involve teams of hooded twockers being pursued round the track by the cast of The Bill (Tony Stamp in the area car, of course) and that nice young policeman from Heartbeat on his 1960s motorbike and sidecar, with a soundtrack of The Bachelors greatest hits. Stuart Hall would replace Jim Rosenthal as commentator, viewing figures would soar and ITV would sell masses of advertising to Yorkshire Tea, Hovis, and Quality Street.
Everyone's a winner.