Run with Eric + TIME

An entirely justified rant about television

Last night I found myself watching a much heralded little British film called Happy-Go-Lucky on FilmFour, directed by Mike Leigh of Secrets & Lies and Vera Drake fame. It wasn't very good, to be honest: a pointless non-journey with a terrible script and an incredibly annoying soundtrack (think when Lottery-funded films have 'quirky' scenes). Without stellar performances from Sally Hawkins and the ever-brilliant Eddie Marsan, it would have been a complete waste of everybody's time.

But even though it wasn't going anywhere, I wanted to know what happened at the end. I'd been sitting through this film for two and a bit hours waiting for something to happen (caveat: a film can be good, even brilliant, without anything happening; it's just that this was not an example) and finally it was petering out to an inevitably saccharine conclusion. Still, I wanted to hear what the final words were. It's the end of a film, isn't it? Of course you do.

Then, over the final scene: "And next on FilmFour, blah di blah di blah di fucking blah."

What? You're joking, right? Now? Right now? Over the final words of the film?

But no - it happened, and in the film's closing scene. Not over the credits, which immediately followed. Over the film itself. The last bit we heard, after the voiceover, was two characters laughing. What were they laughing about? I don't know.

This is absolutely inexcusable. In fact, it's unthinkable. Further than that, it's mental. Completely, utterly mental. I can't think of any way of justifying this argument because, surely, surely, it's just so bloody obvious. YOU DON'T TALK OVER THE END OF A FILM. Even I know that, and I used to talk over films all the time.

And yet this isn't even the worst example of plugging the next show during the current one. On Christmas Day, I was watching one of the many millions of A Christmas Carol adaptations that always turn up. In fact, through circumstance more than judgement, I think I watched four or five that year. Patrick Stewart, Jim Carrey, Michael Caine and the muppets, the cracking Alistair Sim... thank Dickens I was saved from the Kelsey Grammar musical shocker.

ANYWAY, the film was drawing to its close and we all know what's going to happen. Still, we've had 90 minutes of misery and here comes the big ending, right? The closing speech in which we find that Scrooge went on to be a good man and Tiny Tim, who did not die, etc. etc. etc.


"And next on BBC1, blah di blah di FUCKING BLAH BLAH."

Unbelievable. I mean that. I couldn't believe it. It's not just one of the most famous endings of all time in any medium, it's the whole point of the fucking story. It's the fucking moral. What the HELL is a child meant to take from that film without the final monologue? Did Tiny Tim die? They'll never know, but at least they'll know that Sue Barker's wearing Christmas holly for a predictably shit seasonal edition of Question of fucking Sport.

This has to be stopped. Now. If you're running late (these weren't) and have to - HAVE TO - talk over the credits, do it. But you don't talk over the end of a film. You just don't. I mean... that's it. No argument here. You just don't.

This says a lot about society, I think. We find ourselves accepting this And next week on Huw Davies' Week Spot, your not-so-intrepid occasional blogger rants about the BNP and asks, how can we let ourselves be in such a position that this party can exist? Make sure you stay tuned to for intellectual discussion end up dying in a fucking sewer with pokers in our eyeballs.

Oh, it makes me mad.

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An entirely justified rant about television + TIME