Taking Stock with Rob Stocks - June 6, 2011

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When it comes to TV talent shows, I’ll admit I’m something of a snob.

Perhaps that’s because the majority of them are shown on “the other side” – something of a taboo in the Stocks household when I was a youngster.

Barring the odd episode of Morse, the main commercial channel was pretty much off limits.

Of a Saturday teatime you most certainly could beat a bit of Bully – give me Anneka Rice in her Treasure Hunt jumpsuit any day.

It’s a prejudice I’ve carried with me into adulthood and one which puts me somewhat at loggerheads with My Good Wife who loves a good talent show.

Every year she’s glued to the X-Factor while I skulk around, moaning about the latest Beatles classic being murdered by a pop wannabe.

Britain’s Got Talent is another favourite of hers – to the point she’s been sneaking in the episodes she’s missed using the catch-up telly button.

In my normal pompous way I’ve been doing my best to avoid the whole palaver.

“Talent... pah!” I normally sneer, before disappearing to find alternative amusement.

But last week I found myself with no escape.

With work to be done and twins asleep upstairs, I was forced to take up office in the lounge.

Slumped in my decrepit ( but oh so comfortable) armchair with the laptop I thought I could cocoon myself from the televised tomfoolery.

How wrong I was.

No matter how hard I tried to keep my mind on work, I couldn’t help but be drawn to the car crash happening on the TV screen.

I’ll not for a moment admit that anything I saw constituted pure, raw talent, but I was enthralled by the bizarre circus of it all.

Disobedient dog acts (and one which looked as if it was about to keel over and head to the great kennel in the sky), a pensioner unable to remember either his cue or his words on national telly, a keyboard playing fifty-something (half way between Liberace and Les Dawson) and a Thai woman whose only talent appeared to be the ability to change clothes.

And these are the people who passed the auditions!

Yes, so the impressionist appeared to be OK (although I can only assume most of the people he was “doing” appeared on “the other side” as I haven’t a clue who they were) and the usual, predictable stream of cherubic young singers were irritatingly competent.

But they really weren’t much fun.

I’m only interested when things go wrong. So, ditch the pretence.

Rename the show Britain’s Got Eccentrics and maybe then I’ll be a true convert.