30 January 2015

TV: Weekly Wipe III.1


In case you're not aware, Weekly Wipe is a show about things that are happening. 

This satirical sideways look at the week's news is something of a favourite of mine. Indeed, the 2014 review edition that aired in late December may be my favourite single programme of 2014. No pressure then.

But Brooker was - as always - on fine form. This episode, the first of six, dealt with many of the topical issues that have already filled the headlines so far in 2015. Almost inevitably, most prominently under the microscope were the Charlie Hebdo murders and the relevant global reaction, Russia's first attempt at a robotic soldier and the launch of Microsoft's virtual reality headset. Each of these were treated with the due respect (clue: they're in descending order) and the scrutiny was reliably well-judged.

Also covered this week were new BBC drama adaptation Wolf Hall, ITV 'entertainment' programme Get Your Act Together and the return of Top Gear. Media dissection of course means the consultation of the industry's two top critics and voices of the people Barry Shitpeas and Philomena Cunk, brought to life as brilliantly as always by Al Campbell and Diane Morgan. The latter was also afforded the return of her series of short fact-inspired segments Moments of Wonder. This week's was concerned with Winstone Churchill [sic] and while it was an improvement on the content from last series, I still felt it was a little too long given the brief.

Joining the legions of pre-records is Morgana Robinson as stereotypical wannabe hipster middle-class YouTuber Zeb. Zeb shared his uninformed, self-promotional opinions on several burning issues this week, such as a new brand of KitKat. Whilst this was an amusing interlude, and I do appreciate the importance of pre-recorded VTs in a topical weekly show such as this, I once again felt it was too long. The most amusing and engaging material is delivered by Brooker (although written by a small army) and if possible I would like to spend more time with him in future editions.

One final mention for Brooker's clear Doctor Who affection; there were two prominent mentions this week (labelling Eric Pickles a 'government Sontaran' and Zeb referring to his previous video, which was concerned with that typical Amy vs Clara debate). I do hope this is some kind of sign, because I would absolutely love for Brooker to contribute to the series, and I know I'm not alone in this aspiration.

Despite what I've said above, all the (minor) criticisms of timing only came to me as I was writing this and in no way spoiled my enjoyment of the programme. This was as laugh-out-loud hilarious and slyly satirical as always, and a true pleasure to watch. I can't find any justifiable problem with Weekly Wipe and it's great to have it back. There's no doubt in my mind that this deserves full marks. For me, this is essential viewing.


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