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Posted on Mar 3, 2008 in zeitgeist | 4 comments

Schrödinger’s Documentary

Schrödinger’s Documentary


I generally don’t do much in the way of TV review or commment but I’ve seen a couple of things recently that have given me a notion I feel compelled to share.

Last night I watched a ‘documentary’ called “Willie’s Wonky Chocolate Factory“. I got pretty much what I expected. A posh guy (somewhat engaging, bit annoying) and his travails to grow and make chocolate. But on occasion it went a bit off-piste with sections of the show that were much more like a cookery show.

Overall it made sense. The guy was trying to punt his chocolate as an ingredient and was therefore using the show to advertise this. But it did very much seem like the inclusion of his ‘cookery’ slots were very much a condition of the show.

But because of this the show very quickly begun to lose credibility. We see him on the phone trying to get more money from the bank. We see a clip of him (from next week’s show) trying to sell the chocolate to Selfridges and being asked “How do we get the message across that this can be used an ingredient?” Hello?

How can these supposed difficuilties be real when the intrusion of the ‘reality’ TV crew clearly has, in itself, a material impact on the outcome?

Now, I’m not saying that this family didn’t have any difficulties but by allowing itself to be an advert for the product, the show can no longer be a true reflection of what (or what could have) happened. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing if the story is interesting enough but this collusion between filmer and filmee must surely be done in an open and honest way.

Hopefully at some point in the shows to come, Willie will be up front with someone and just say “Look, all this is on TV, what better advertising do you want?”

Next week, Channel 4 come and talk to me about my book and how interesting it would be if everyone bought it. While I drone on about the difficulities of the creative process and how hard it is for new authors to get noticed.

4 Comments

  1. Hard to believe one person could correctly use the quantum theory of superposition in a blog title and then use the word ‘filmee’ in the body of the text.

    Nice inclusion of a book plug, though 🙂

  2. OK, I’ll allow it, we must all respect the lines between spam and opportunistic digital marketing. You’ve made me want to buy some now…

  3. Ah’ve hud that chocolate – it’s pish, not a patch on the stuff you get in advent calendars!

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