Remote Control - Saturday May 23, 2015

Ben Shepherd, Rochelle Humes and Chris Kamara on Ninja Warrior UK
Ben Shepherd, Rochelle Humes and Chris Kamara on Ninja Warrior UK
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Saturday night TV is a turn-off for families

I don’t know. Kids these days, eh? Always off in dark corners with their iPads and their smartphones, their iPlayers and their Instagrams, their bit torrents and their Snapchats.

They don’t have time for proper TV anymore, do they? The all-sit-on-the-sofa, Saturday night, shiny floor shows we all used to love in our day.

Except, they do.

A survey by TV Licensing found that 89 per cent of all viewing by 12 to 15-year-olds was of ‘live’ broadcasts – that is, TV as scheduled in the Radio Times.

In fact, the same survey (Telescope 2014) found that it wasn’t children’s programmes that kept the whole family entertained, it was the shows like Strictly Come Dancing and Great British Bake-Off.

So, what do the terrestrial broadcasting companies give us families to watch on those Saturday nights, when we’re chilling out from taking little Johnny to football, and little Jane to ballet (or vice versa)?

If you’re ITV, you give us Super Saturday.

Calling anything ‘super’ is a hostage to fortune. Sky Sports has already devalued it by applying it to live broadcasts of Stoke against West Brom on a wet Sunday in February. Now ITV is doing further damage.

We kick off Super Saturday with You’ve Been Framed. Harry Hill’s voiceovers have enlivened this ITV staple over the last few years, and watching granny fall off a plastic garden chair is always funny, but they are now beginning to repeat themselves, with themed shows and best ofs.

However, Ninja Warrior UK is new, although borrowed from a Japanese format. This one also relies on people falling over in amusing ways, although this time the schadenfreude is increased, as they’re all super-fit men and women taking on an obstacle course which is a cross between Total Wipeout and the Krypton Factor. It’s made worse by the forced banter between presenters Ben Shepherd and Chris ‘Kammy’ Kamara, better known for providing inept updates from Selhurst Park on a Saturday afternoon.

This is followed by another series of Britain’s Got Talent. The auditions are always the best bit of these talent search shows, but even these are now predictable, with a bunch of no-hopers followed by a child who can spin plates on their nose and wows the judges, before the ad break, then a montage of good ones, before a couple of amusing no-hopers, then another good one, then another ad break.

Super Saturday is rounded by Play to the Whistle, a comedy sports quiz which falls uncomfortably between the two stools of A Question of Sport and A League of Their Own, without being as good as either of them.

So despite us being sat on our sofas on a Saturday, hoping to be entertained, ITV serves us old, repetitive, uninspiring shows, seemingly convinced we’re all off doing something better with our time.

I only wish we were. Now, where’s my iPad?