Stuntwatch: Over the years, Channel 4 has generated hype with its ‘alternative’ Christmas message. Does it really have anything new to say this year? By Mark Borkowski
The trouble with being ‘alternative’ is that if you do it often enough you become predictable – and then you’re not alternative any more. And that is what has happened to Channel 4 with its annual ‘alternative’
Over the years C4 has managed to generate massive media hype around the festive season with its wacky/zany/alternative treatment of the traditional Queen’s Christmas message. I suspect that Channel 4 doesn’t really believe in Christmas, but that hasn’t stopped it trying to cash in with its own seasonal stunt of winding up the outraged of little Britain.
Since the early nineties the channel has offered up a cornucopia of ‘alternative’ messages featuring a fashionable, and often controversial, celebrity delivering a message in the manner of her Maj. but the joke is wearing thin. Quentin Crisp, Rory Bremner (as Diana, Princess of Wales), Barry and Michelle Seabourn, a Merseyside couple who appeared on Wife Swap, Marge Simpson, Sharon Osbourne.. I could go on.
There were some highpoints – Margaret Gibney, a Belfast schoolgirl, broadcast a plea for peace in Northern Ireland. Doreen Lawrence and Neville Lawrence. Genelle Guzman, survivor of the World Trade Centre terrorist attacks. It’s important to get it right.
So this year the publicity-seeking gnomes of Victoria have gone for another ‘controversial’-slash-‘alternative’ idea by giving air time to a Muslim woman who wears the Niqab – though quite what she’s got to do with Christmas (a Christian festival the last time I checked), I’m not too sure.
I hope it’s good, because otherwise the objective of stimulating debate will be submerged in a predictable onslaught from the usual (John) Gauntian quarters. And don’t forget to turn to Teletext page 888 for Clarification.