Why 10 O’Clock Live is Important

10 O'Clock Left

Channel 4’s 10 O’Clock Live has been the subject of much criticism, some of it justifable, some of it not. I’m not writing this to defend the show because I think it is perfect, I’m defending it because I think it is sorely needed.

Christopher Hooton of the Metro has commented that the show is “as overtly partisan as Fox News.” I wonder which party Hooton believes the show is Partisan to? It is heavily critical of all the major political parties as far as I can see. I suspect he is deriding the show for being overtly left-wing – a horrible sin as that may be, comparing the show in any way to Fox News is obscene bullshit.

It pisses me off when people equate a bias for the left with a bias for the right. These are not equal, comparable opposite ends of a single political continuum as some would like to have us believe. The right serves to protect the status quo, the hidden agenda is exploitation. Extreme right wing views are often moral perversions born of fear. Fear of change, fear of outsiders, fear of losing material possessions or status. They come from self-interest, patriotism and nostalgia. People who harbour right-wing views tend to want to preserve privilege and protect the inequality of capitalism.

People who sympathise with left-wing idealogies are not immune from self-interest, they are not saints and they certainly aren’t always right. But their ideas come from a desire to make the world fairer – their hearts are in a more altruistic place. So when someone says that something has a left-wing bias as some sort of a criticism, I can only assume that they are a cunt. Balance in this case is an illusion – and frankly impossible. The news is biased to the right, most newspapers are biased to the right, most political parties are biased to the right, and are there to preserve the status quo… so when something comes along that isn’t, I say, well, good. About fucking time, in fact.

10 O’Clock live is biased to the left. Great.

The program has also been criticised from the left – for not being left enough, for being too soft on certain issues, and missing opportunities to give people who deserve it, a good grilling. For example, the interview with Alastair Campbell in Episode 2 of the first series was painful to watch, as David Mitchell was obviously in awe of him, and seemed unable to take command of the situation, ask any pertinant questions, or hold him to account in any way. This isn’t that surprising though. David Mitchell is a comedian (albeit a politicially astute one), and Campbell was the UK’s Spin Doctor in Chief – not a fair fight.

To those on the left who criticise this show, I say, give it chance. Hopefully it will get a second series and continue to mature into a quality vehicle for political satire. In Tory Britian (sorry, Coalition Britain… pfft), we need a mainstream left-wing voice that is actually heard by people in their living rooms. People saying these important things in an inclusive, funny way that is accessible and entertaining – and this show does just that. If you want to keep your left wing views undiluted and pure in your little middle class left-wing clique, you may as well surrender this country to the fuckers who want to carve it up, and sell it off in bits, to their friends, for a tidy profit.

Most importantly 10 O’Clock Live is hilarious. David Mitchell is in his element – self-indulgent ranting that is cheered because it is heart-felt – often you can’t even be arsed to listen, the guy is so verbose, but you know it was probably fucking excellent. Charlie Brooker has shit hair, but who cares, the man is a miserablist genius. Jimmy Car is much funnier than I ever thought he could be and even Lauren Lavern is getting better.

So long may it continue. We need it in these dark times.

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5 Comments

  1. The Metro is owned by THE fear peddlers; the Daily Mail group. Who were proud to announce on the front of their daily rag today (Sat 30th April), that they had “40 pages of historic pictures and reports” of the royal wedding.

    • … so that criticism by Christopher Hooton is rather rich I’d say.

  2. I didn’t know Metro was owned by the Daily Mail Group, that makes sense 😉


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