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Who are the people pissing all over past glories?

June 23, 2009


DONAL MacIntyre ushered in, for better or worse, a new era of undercover TV reporting with his MacIntyre Undercover series for the BBC in 1999. Up to that point, and for a good time after, his courageous and insightful reporting redefined a genre of journalism which had been drifting towards obscurity or consumer gotcha-style Watchdog staidness.
The legions of TV honours which followed were rightly bestowed on the man and his team.
But, his new show on Virgin, MacIntyre’s Toughest Cities, a repeat from Bravo from earlier in the year, sees him become a cut price Danny Dyer. Visiting hard knocks, asking them to play up to stereotype on camera and then talking up their hardness sotto voce seems to be his raison d’etre now.
His pitiful show on Liverpool’s gangs was a case of disingenuous reporting at its very worst. Playing up the gang violence between two sets of ridiculous teenage crews high on strong weed, pills and Tupac CDs, he made a piece of televisual violence pornography on the back of the tragic death of Rhys Jones.
He then followed this up by taking part in ITV’s celebrity ice dancing show – surely nothing needs to be said about that.
Maybe he pays for the better work by doing stuff that is patently beneath him.
But, as he now seemingly takes Ross Kemp’s sloppy seconds, is he an example of one of those people who not only prove the Trainspotting adage that you get old and lose your edge, but that he is dramatically demeaning past glories by fronting simplistic, multi-channel age sensationalist bilge?
And if so, who are the others urinating all over their chips chasing the dollar by making stuff clearly benath a bar they set high earlier in their career?

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