Legal Alien: A Scotsman in Montreal

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of UK Broadcasting

Couple of new programmes have made it on to the airwaves over here, with varying degrees of success:

The Good: Big Cat Diary

So cool! Basically, the BBC have a dedicated team of wildlife camera crews/reporters out in the Masai Mara in Kenya who have been there for I'd guess at least a decade. They are thus obviously very knowledgable about the environment and in particular about the big cats that live there. Every two years, they have recorded enough footage to tell the stories of several families - usually the mother's struggle to rear cubs - and would show it in the wildlife slots that used to crop up on Sundays on BBC2.

This year, they have pushed it into prime time and are telling the stories of Bibi, the lioness and her two cubs; Bella the leopard and her two cubs; and Kike, the cheetah and her three cubs. It's a fantastic program, if a little pessimistic as all we ever seem to see are things that are about to go wrong. For example, last night's episode finished with the leopard cubs trapped inside a cave with a troop of baboons intent on flushing them out.

Still, the photography is amazing, and the presenters are very intimate with the animals who are now thoroughly acclimatised to having jeeps follow them everywhere: Kike has a habit of jumping onto the jeep (she even crapped in it through the sunroof once).

The Bad: Shattered

Channel 4 is developing a nasty habit of showing reality TV - they're the ones behind Big Brother UK, and they've just snapped up Joe Millionaire. Indeed they've always been keen to buy US programmes, and they're getting a bit like Global (for those in Canada). Their saving grace is that they consistently show good, not-so-wellknown films, but otherwise are getting pretty trashy.

Their new challenge involves putting 10 people in a house where they are filmed constantly and evicted one by one and the winner gets pot loads of cash (sound familiar?). The twist is proviede by the fact that they're not allowed to sleep - they have to spend 7 whole days awake. There are, of course, doctors on hand to withdraw people for when the hallucinations get too real. AND the challenges they are set are conducive to sleep: have to get a massage, or wear a blindfold etc.

Although the promise of seeing 6 sleep-deprived lunatics does perk the interest, the highlights show on the domestic channel doesn't show any of this, just the elimination contest - but the sister cable channel probably runs into 24/7 like they do with Big Brother. So on the whole, it kind of sucks. Prob be a hit and prob make it to the US any day now.

The Ugly: Chris Moyles

Radio 1 have appointed Chris Moyles as their new breakfast morning DJ in another attempt to halt the ratings slide. Hopefully he won't last long. He's a lame kind of shock-jock, which means that when my clock-radio goes off to wake me up, instead of hearing non-descript chart music I get thoroughly annoyed by hearing him bleat on about some sort of purile joke with his buddies in the booth. Drives me nuts. Just play the music dammit.

Of course, I can change station, but the best thing about the BBC is that there are no adverts which put me off commercial stations. So I'm left with Radio2 and Radio4. Radio4 is a current-affairs programme that is really good to eat breakfast to, but too heavy to wake up to. Radio2 has traditionally been old people's music, but I realise I am fast becoming one of their demographics!

To top it all of the Radio2 DJ, Terry Wogan, is involved in a slanging match with Chris Moyles. Sad really.