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#LondonLive: What am I watching?

1st April 2014

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Last night saw the debut of “London’s first 24-hour television station” (which isn’t London’s first 24-hour television station at all, but that’s a different story), backed by The Independent’s owner Evgeny Lebedev and the Evening Standard and promising to feed us London’s best culture, news and entertainment all day and all night. Forever.

I switched on London Live at 7.15pm, 45 minutes into its fledgling existence, and was greeted with Not The One Show.

Not The One Show (hmm, not sure about that name) saw a very, very long discussion about the whiteness of the England football team kit (hasn’t it always been white?) peppered with jokes like, “Londoners talking to each other? As if! Hohoho!”

The main feature of this segment seemed to be asking shopkeepers and people on the street what they thought of the whiteness of the England kit, but the sound crew appeared to be woefully underequipped because we could hardly hear them over the sound of passing lorries/pigeons.



























Then we went to visit a couple of lads in a shitty flat who didn’t want to move out and pay more and were therefore reluctantly, unhappily bunking down in their damp-infested hovel. It was all fairly grim, and then we clumsily skipped back to the studio, where the panellists completely failed to have a coherent discussion about the often dire state of London’s renting sector.

So far I’d rather have actually been watching The One Show, which is not exactly what they were aiming for with their piss-take title. Alex Jones 1, Not The One Show presenter Louise Scodie – big fat 0.

Most of twitter seemed to have switched off mentally if not also literally at this point (as evidenced below.) But I’d heard there was going to be some food appearing at 8pm, so I thought I’d better hang around. Fingers crossed it would get better...























“A food show like you’ve never seen before,” said the cons woman, “as we meet... the Food Junkies!”

One of said “food junkies” was Cockney cabbie Joey, who cheerfully tolds us without pausing for breath, “When it comes to food I’ll eat anything. Jellied eels – it just don’t look right, does it? If it don’t look right I ain’ eatin’ it.”

Obviously, this is a nonsensical trio of sentences. But people generally don’t make perfect sense, especially when a camera is being stuffed in their face, and that’s what editors are for. Usually.

Joey takes us to three London pie shops in his cab, and tells us how much the pie he consumes in every one takes like, erm… pie.

Then it’s over to Euston, where the sarcastic, Come Dine With Me-esque narrator has a laugh with himself over Amy and Ed, pop-up foodies who are erecting what seems to be a garden shed right by the side of the Euston Road. Watching Amy and Ed spend a very, very long time putting up the shed instead of getting their beer n’ cheese on is a strange editorial choice.

But then, London Live so far is full of really, really odd editorial choices.

After the food people we were treated to F2 Kicks Off, which consisted of two lads travelling around and performing tricks with a football. They were probably the best things about London Live that had happened thus far, but that isn’t to say that I was gripped by their street football skills. Or even mildly interested. I don’t have much to say about them, in all honesty.

The main issue with London Live (so far) is that it is absolutely gasping for a personality. You know, how e4 has its e-stings, and Dave has its oddly-placed man bantz. Not that Dave and his bantz are in any way a good thing, but at least it’s a thing. A personality. A niche. A brand. Things that London Live doesn’t seem to have considered.

It seems to be deliberately targeting London’s twenty-somethings, but we don’t need a channel that identifies its comedy as that which “you wouldn’t let your mum watch.” You know why, London Live? Because my mum is pretty cool, and owing to the fact that she and I are both legitimate adults I can now watch comedians (including, if I so wish, those on after 9pm on Alex Zane's Funny Rotten Scoundrels) with her without going pink and giggly and having to hide behind the sofa. Which seems to be what you’re suggesting I do, you big weirdo.

London Live is so clumsy and ill thought out that it’s a relief when the adverts roll around, even when they’re advertising Joey Essex’s Essex Anthems, which they are at every opportunity.

The most successful part of London Live so far looks like it’s probably going to be the London-centric comedy/drama slot at 10pm – although I'm personally more likely to get my Misfits, Peep Show, etc via the internet, so we’ll see how that works out.

London Live feels like it has been put together by a bunch of third year media students – and if that was the case, they’d have done a pretty good job.

Unfortunately, that’s not the case. But let’s give it another chance, and see if it can iron out its issues this week – because if it wants to be a success, it really, really needs to.

London Live is available on Freeview 8, Sky 117, Virgin 159 and YouView 8.


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