Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Heartbeat: Woe

Heartbeat: Woe

Last Sunday night, I accidentally watched Heartbeat, and a pox on the other networks for forcing me into this sad state of affairs.

And come on, admit it. You've all done the same at some stage in your sorry lives. Sunday. Too broke to go down the pub, the television's stuck on ITV and Nick Berry starts singing "Heartbeat....". Too late.

It was, as I expected, exactly the same as the last time I saw it - the copper who is not N. Berry is still solving crimes caused by mysterious outsiders with the help of the doctor with is not Niamh Cusack. Meanwhile, there is a predictable subplot involving an amusing yet doomed business deal featuring the wheeler-dealer who is not Claude Greengrass; while the girl in the pub is still nineteen despite all the evidence to the contrary and the fact she's been there for thirteen years.

On no occasion - but I have missed several hundred episodes - does one of these hour-long slices of mediocrity featured anything that is actually interesting. There was an episode featuring Lord Ashfordleigh being blackmailed by a mysterious outsider over his habit of buggering watermelons, but they shelved it at the last minute after that nasty business with Tony Blair's bins.

However, now is its FIFTEENTH series, and the producers are still clinging grimly onto the idea that it's still in the 1960s. The doctor-who-isn't-Niamh-Cusack-anymore drives a big French car with an "H" reg plate, meaning that the date is at least August 1969, while - so my sources tell me - they've had at least four 1969 Christmases already.

Perhaps there's now a special Hearbeat dimension, where they will never reach 1970, similar to the one in the Simpsons where Bart will never reach ten years old, or where Bobby Ewing never got out of the shower. Perhaps we're already in it.

Or maybe they're just going to bite the bullet, and a forthcoming episode of the nation's favourite gentle police drama will feature rolling countryside, the usual lovable characters and the Sex Pistols doing "Pretty Vacant". One can live in hope. But frankly, ten million people tune into this televised valium, so why should they bother?

Heartbeat, like Westlife, will never die - God help us all - but what year is it? Eh?

I actually went out and researched this piece, you bastards. That's what I call suffering for my art. Also: No apologies to colonials who haven't got a clue what this is all about. Bad television, that is all.

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