The past week has seen our screens used by two quite separate pieces of political agitprop, neither of sufficient quality to have made it to the national schedule had we not been in a pre-election period. It's the metropolitan luvvies trying desperately to swing the vote for the dying incumbent parties, but managing only to sneer at the rest of us in the process.
The production of J.K.Rowling's The Casual Vacancy had all the high production values of Midsomer Murders - using the glories of the rural home counties in Summer as the star that supports the storyline. TV luvvies always set anything in the country in July. It preserves the Guardianista view of the country as a golden idyll polluted only by industrial farmers growing two-headed cows in factory sheds. This was easy on the eye and easier on the brain; a competent, simple morality tale for fourteen year-olds with two dimensional characterisation and every cultural stereotype in the book. It did a decent job of sneering at everyone who isn't a member of the metropolitan political class; Council tenants were thieves and skagheads, white van man was a thug, the middle classes were grovellingly aspirational and the upper classes predatory bottom feeders.
Sneer factor: ***
UKIP: The first 100 days by contrast was almost comedic; there were moments that had me laughing at the sheer, blatant ineptitude of the editing of a collage of old news clips with low-budget filler. At first I thought it was a Brass Eye type self-parody at the output of a not-terribly-capable production team, but then realised it was in reality the best output that a not-terribly-capable production team* could produce. The storyline was risible, the characterisation clumsy and parodic, with little depth and zero quality. It was the sort of thing that at any time other than a pre-election would make it no further than a 3pm slot on Dave.
Sneer factor: *****
*Channel 4 is coy on this - saying only it was produced by the same people as Cyberbully. Raw TV was the production company behind Cyberbully - a production house whose output is usually low-grade digital channel fodder on aliens, yeti and 'natural mysteries', with some karaoke tapes thrown in. Raw TV IMDB entry.