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Friday, December 12, 2008

Carol's last show in innocent & kind Countdown

Two TV programmes left our screens this week with barely a murmur in the papers, but both are significant in that they represent a dying breed of show: the innocent, kind, whimsical programme that today's cruel and trashy reality TV shows and dumbed-down documentaries cannot hope to emulate.

The last Countdown featuring Carol Vorderman was shown today, preceded by a programme "One Last Consonant" that recounted the 26 years of the show.

Meanwhile, the gentle little series on BBC2, "An Island Parish", came to a close, with a shocking end.

Only the very hard hearted would not have shed a tear along with Carol as she struggled to say goodbye. Looking sensational in a red Roland Mouret dress, today's Carol is far more groomed and attractive than the gauche girl who was the first woman to appear on Channel 4 (pictured).

Now the nitwits at Channel 4 have decided Carol is too expensive for them. I believe the show is continuing, but I can't see it lasting. It was unique, and solely because of the friendly banter and family atmosphere. I don't think the viewing regulars will choose to be insulted by Channel 4 with a new look all cheap show.

"An Island Parish" recounts life on the Isles of Scilly. Nothing much happens: it's big news when someone gets married, or gets a boyfriend, or starts a new business. Sometimes what does happen seems manufactured, like the time Heike the vet decided to go to London to see if she could become a foot model. But it's very gentle, easy entertainment, so it was quite a shock this week when the Methodist Minister who has been the lynchpin of the series, David Easton, was voted out by the locals.

It was such a surprise, not just to him and most of the locals, but also to Nigel Farrell who produces and narrates the programme.

It seems just a tiny handful of the voting Methodists voted against him. I imagine their names are well known now in the Scillies - it's not the sort of place that can keep a secret. It was very moving to see poor David breaking down because he loved the islands and didn't want to leave. Plus he felt, inevitably, hurt and rejected.

I hope those who voted against him had proper reasons for doing this and weren't motivated by jealousy of his TV success, or some past slight that as Christians they should have forgiven.

I wonder what will happen now. Will there be a new series, featuring the new Methodist minister as he / she seeks to be accepted by this complex community? Judging by what happened to Father Guy, the hapless CofE vicar in the last series, maybe it's a poisoned chalice.

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