Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Four Rooms

First we had 'reality TV' where cheapskate TV producers saved money on having actual presenters by filming hapless members of the public doing stupid things such as living in a big house together or decorating each others' living rooms in a frenzy of revenge for not getting the lawn mower back. "It looks like a puff's boudoir", sobs the housewife as she surveys the carbuncle of MDF and pink chiffon that was once her pride and joy G-Plan sideboard.

Of course, we must take a moment to pay tribute to the original, the grand-daddy of reality TV - Antiques Roadshow.

Week after week, hopeful, wide eyed, bushy tailed, greedy little grandchildren peddled their tat to a gang of gaudily dressed experts, only to find that their hopes of inheriting a fortune had been dashed by the fact that they had used the Ming dynasty chamber pot to mix paint in and had therefore reduced its value from £1.5M to 50p.

But what happens when the viewing public get sick of reality TV? Or, more likely, what happens when everyone has actually been on TV and there's no reality left?

Yes! Fusion TV!

We've had Embarrassing Bodies meets Animal Hospital... Pet Shame!

We've had Gladiators meets It's a Knockout... Total Wipeout!

Big Brother meets Gardeners World... I'm a Celebrity, Get me out of Alan Titchmarsh!

And now... Dragon's Den meets Antiques Roadshow... it's Four Rooms.

Every week, a bunch of greedy little ponces try and squeeze cash out of four greedy big ponces. It's everything we love! Greed! Tat! Ponces!

"If it costs you £100,000, that's the real buzz"

First, it's Gerard who is apparently a Flora Storer. He puts tubs of margarine away. Oh, hang on, is he a Floor Restorer?

Gerard brought along a Francis Bacon painting. Or at least what was left of it. It was a Francis Bacon painting that he bought for £4,800. It was a painting with the middle cut out of it. And by middle, we mean the picture. So what Gerard was in fact peddling was a tattered bit of canvas with a big hole in the middle. Well done, Gerard.

Apparently, Francis Bacon slashed his canvasses because the paintings weren't good enough. Well, if it's not good enough for Frank, it's not good enough for us.

Emma Hawkins, a kind of goth Deborah Meaden, sits on a big chair made of antlers. Gerard would be open to suggestion. Long silences. Close-ups on fingers. Close ups on Gerard dribbling. He wants £50,000. "Just imagine, if it wasn't torn, it would be worth £10 Million, £20 Million". But it is torn. There's a big hole in it. Emma offers £9,000. Well, maybe £30,000. £32,000, final offer. Oh, OK then. £48.000. One of the other dealers says he would have paid more than £80,000.

£80,000 for a bit of tatty canvass. Jesus. I have half a bus ticket that Van Gogh stuck up his nose here. Must be worth a bob or two.

"There was something inside me that inspired me to spend £48,000", says Emma. Was it the warm fuzzy feeling that you get from seeing a quick fifty grand profit?

Next, Princess Diana's Christmas cards. It's Emma again! She fails to offer enough.

Another room... a bloke in a suit wearing a big scarf. It's Geoff Salmon, apparently. He gets out a dice.

"If you throw odds, you'll take £10,000, if you throw evens, you'll take £25,000."

"I'm not a gambling man but the odds are good." says the man with the collection of Royal tat.

Erm... 50/50? Obviously not a gambling man. Just before the man rolls the dice, Monsieur Salmon says, "I've never ever lost". Um... how about we try it with MY dice then? Not yours with the lead shot taped to the bottom! So the hapless money grabber lost £5,000. Dope.

Moral, if a big fat bloke in a suit wearing a big gay scarf offers to play dice with you, say, "No thankyou. How about Twister?"

Next up, a bronze bust of Adolf Hitler. Apparently, it's illegal to sell Nazi memorabilia in Germany. DENIAL!!

It was a heinous piece, apparently. Nobody should make money on it. Hang on.. the bloke selling it... there's something familiar about him. Swept over hair, beady little eyes, little moustache. Whoa! And how did he get the bronze bust??

"I won't make money out of something like this. It's inappropriate. OK then, I'll give you a grand for it."

We could go on... Churchill's cigar, a dalek, a golf buggy with 'Elvis' written on it... but it's the same old story over and over. "I'll give you a fiver", "no thanks", "OK then, ten thousand", "Oh, OK then".

We lost interest in this twaddle rather quickly.

"Will dealer Geoff Salmon believe Robert's story and give him the money he's after?"

Will viewers believe Channel 4's new program strategy and give them the viewing figures they're after?

Here's a quid. Now sod off.

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