Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Nuala McKeever: At least this lot are paid to sit through Saturday night TV

Simon Cowell

By the time you read this, I hope I'm feeling better than I do now as I sit here writing it.

My head's bustin', my sinuses are blocked and every muscle that isn't stiff, is aching. Honestly, I feel worse than Graeme McDowell's accent.

But there's always someone worse off, isn't there? My suffering is nothing compared to that of a young girl on board a ship from Ireland to Canada in 1825. According to the doctor-on-board's notes, the child vomited up a worm that was 87 inches long. That's 7 feet! That's taller than most of our current, errant sportsmen! And it's only a worm, not a snake ...

See now, why can't we have people doing things like that on The X Factor?

Simon: “Hello Jacinta and what are you going to do for us this evening?” Jacinta: (SWALLOWING FURIOUSLY IN AN EFFORT NOT TO PEAK TOO EARLY) “Tonight Simon, I'm goin' t'bring up something so grey and limp, it'll make Louis Walsh look healthy!”

Cut to audience going “Oooh, yuck!”, quickly followed by a standing ovation, many hands clasped over open mouths, squeals and an entry into the Guinness Book of Records for most hits on Youtube, ever.

I say this with some authority now, having watched The X Factor for the first time last week. (No, I'm not a snob, I just never got round to it, alright?)

I didn't see any of the early weeks where it's basically kicking cripples for entertainment. (Well, I'd signed numerous online petitions against the stoning of that woman in Iran, so I thought watching the ritual humiliation of The X Factor heats would be a tad hypocritical.)

It was ok. I got emotionally involved with some contestants and wanted to slap others. Mind you, it was around the time of the month when I cry at toilet roll ads and want to slap Anne Robinson, so maybe hormones were in play. (Not for the Anne Robinson bit — I'd probably want to do that any day of the year).

But for me, the singing was the least interesting part of all and if that's all they're gonna do for the next 500 weeks, I can't see it holding my attention.

Certainly not now that Strictly Come Overkill has started again. I don't really like the dancing either. And when I watch Masterchef I'm not really into the cooking as such. In all of them, I just really like the “She's a right cow! Look at the state of him! Who do they think they are!?!” moments.

And watching it on record means y'can fast forward through all the dull “entertainment” bits (who wants to watch Tom Jones singing on a Saturday evening on Strictly? I mean, if I want that I can jump in my time machine and go back to the mid-seventies, when that was the whole show, never mind a glossy filler) and get straight to the grimy bits.

If Madame LaFarge had had a remote control instead of her knitting, she'd have skipped all the preamble too — it'd just have been, “Off with their heads!” Zip! “Off with their heads!” etc ...

I may feel sick, but by God, I now feel at one with the rest of society. Can't wait to go to my first PA meeting (Populists Anonymous) and declare, “My name is Nuala and I am a Saturday Night S**** Time-aholic!”

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