Columnist

Are you not entertained?

Rachel Moloney talks Eurovision, The Great British Bake Off and glorified US shows

Queen Elizabeth II visits Margate, Britain - 11 Nov 2011

Every year, we are given an almighty culture shock as the Eurovision Song Contest hits our screens. And every time the UK insists on sending someone boring over, knowing full well that all Europe wants to see are some embarrassing grannies and monster rockers. This year will be no exception, as it was recently announced that 80s star Bonnie Tyler will be singing her heart out with the song ‘Believe in me.’ Well that’s exactly the problem Bonnie; I don’t believe in you.

Although Engelbert Humperdinck tried to rival the grannies in age last year, he still ended up a disappointing second from bottom proving that being elderly does not in fact win you points. Which a disappointing state of affairs. Tyler’s age is measly comparison to Humperdinck’s 76, yet her inclusion in the competition is surely confirmation that the BBC are totally out of ideas and are instead using Eurovision as an arena for nostalgia. Who are we going to be sending over next year, Rick Astley?

So whilst Tyler heads over to Europe on an undoubtedly fruitless trip, the Great British Bake Off’s Paul Hollywood is instead journeying in the other direction to eat cake USA style. It’s a country we have far more in common with, so I think he’ll do just fine. Plus look at his surname; he’s simply made for America.

Paul is set to be a judge on the US version of the award-winning show, yet has been forced to leave fellow judge Mary Berry behind because her surname is far more suited to the rustic outdoors of home. However, with two-thirds of US adults being overweight or obese, should we really be sending Hollywood over there to make the problem worse? Last year’s winner John claimed to have put on a stone-and-a-half during filming, so I feel like it’s probably not the best idea. They need Delia or Jamie Oliver. They’ve always got some vegetables to hand.

America clearly partakes in our love of cake, chocolate and custard, but I do spy other problems with the UK to the US transition. Baking in a large white marquee on a green inhabited by squirrels is something quintessentially British, so unless Paul has a tepee to hand, I just don’t see how it could ever be the same.

Perhaps we need to understand therefore that our two countries may look similar in spelling, but are otherwise very different in culture and behaviour. Take The Inbetweeners for instance. Some foolish producers tried to recreate it for an American audience but failed miserably with the show being axed just after one series. In a land where Glee and One Tree Hill are so popular, this was never going to catch on. American high-schools are just far too clean and happy for the Wills and Jays of this world.

[pullquote]American high-schools are just far too clean and happy for the Wills and Jays of this world.[/pullquote]

But American shows are just far too polished in general, with characters living in glorious mansions and with impeccable wardrobes. This is undoubtedly a rather unrealistic depiction of life in the US, yet one person to whom it does relate to is Michelle Obama. The First Lady clearly benefits from all of these perks, as she lives in a beautiful white house and frequently appears in a variety of Best-Dressed lists. However, that hasn’t stopped UK designer Vivienne Westwood from recently having a dig at Obama’s fashion sense, calling it ‘dreadful’ and far too conservative. perhaps Westwood wants to show the world that not all Brits are as boring as the stereotype suggests, but that still doesn’t mean that I’d wear any of her out-there clothes. Rocking up to a State Ball in a crazy punk dress? Now that would look silly.

So according to my rather cynical view of the world, we don’t fit in well with Europe and we often don’t even fit in with the land of the Star Bangled Banner. Nevertheless a compromise can sometimes be reached, as The Apprentice is still being filmed successfully on both sides of the pond. With a new All Star Celebrity Apprentice now airing on American television, its boss Donald Trump is likely be far happier than his British counterpart Sir Alan Sugar, who is currently being taken to court by season 6 winner Stella English. English, who doesn’t seem to understand the concept of ‘moving up the ranks,’ is claiming that she did not enjoy working for Sugar and was given only menial tasks that did not befit someone in her station. But in my opinion, you have a job- so deal with it.

All in all, it seems as if her £100,000 a year pay-cheque may have gone to her head. However, if English has world domination in mind (unlikely) then she should be aware that the rest of the world is a tough crowd. The Inbetweeners know it, Bonnie Tyler will probably soon know it and Paul Hollywood won’t even care, as he’ll just be stuffing his face with cake.

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