The Ultimate Edinburgh Hangover
By Richard Herring
Now come on, letÂ’s stop the pretence, we all know what the Edinburgh International Television Festival is really about. ItÂ’s an excuse to get away from the family for the bank holiday weekend, get pissed with your mates, make ill-advised sexual advances on your colleagues and generally behave like a student again. To make the college experience more authentic the festival even put on lectures for you to turn up at, sit at the back all bleary-eyed and pretend to find interesting.
LetÂ’s face it, they could put a dead body on stage and no-one would notice the difference. And this year they are doing just that: a plasticized corpse is the festivalÂ’s star attraction. Is Robert Kilroy-Silk making a welcome return to broadcasting? Does the cadaver represent the brain dead members of the public who managed to sit through every second of Big Brother 6? No, of course not, itÂ’s the ghoulish work of Gunther Von Hagens, that creepy bloke in the hat who performed the first live autopsy on Channel 4. He has been invited to hang one of his Â“works of artÂ” from the ceiling of the conference centre. This seems appropriate, as presumably that corpse was once a TV viewer and so his fate can serve as a medieval-style warning to the others not to complain about our magnificent television output.
Indeed, according to festival boss, EndemolÂ’s Tim Hincks there is Â“a renewed sense of vigourÂ” in the TV industry and that the unofficial theme of the festival is: Â“itÂ’s time for the moaning to stop.Â” Which is a veiled threat if I have ever heard one.
The weekend hopes to determine whether the TV boundaries have been pushed back too far when it comes to death, sex and cosmetic surgery. I can save you the bother of the trip fellas. The answer is yes they have. You can tell your partners that youÂ’re able to go to Alton Towers with the kids that weekend after all! You only have yourself to blame. You should have come up with a trickier question. Though I think there might be a new market for a show that combines death, sex and cosmetic surgery, though possibly not in that order.
According to Hincks, Â“there is a new found confidence in the British TV industry among the people who run it, work in it and star in it.Â” If only that was true of the people who have to watch it as well. But we neednÂ’t worry about them. The only way theyÂ’re getting in is coated in plastic and hanging from the rafters. Maybe Endemol could create some new kind of Big Brother style reality show in which terminally ill members of the public fight it out to see whoÂ’ll be swinging from the roof at next yearÂ’s TV festival. Maybe there is some room for pushing back those boundaries after all.
Richard Herring will be appearing in Â“Someone Likes YoghurtÂ” at the Pleasance at 8pm during the entire Edinburgh Fringe