Mash WordUp

Things that I think and do

The Great British Mundanity-Off


For a while now the BBC has been big on shows that celebrated some kind of aptitude (or lack thereof) in competition format – The Apprentice, Strictly Come Dancing et al.  Audiences get to watch people who claim to be able to sell a variety of useless things to people in places famous for that thing, and to see minor celebrities throwing shapes with various degrees of incompetence.

This is all very well because everyone wants to laugh at Ann Widdecombe trying to salsa and because business acumen is relevant in times of recession.  And anyway, we all hate the Apprentice candidates and want them to fail.

Recently there’s been an abundance of shows celebrating far more mundane skills.  Shows that sensationalise hobbies and pastimes as if they are worthy of an hour of scheduling time.  Shows like the Great British Bake Off , where the height of drama was a man putting a cake into the bin because he was annoyed.

There are programmes about drawing and painting, hairdressing, and I’m pretty sure there was one called something like the Great British Sewing Bee.

So to save BBC brains valuable time I have thought of several mundane tasks that could be made into thrilling hour-long contests in the future.

Catching public transport

Send cameras to follow contestants as they get on buses and trains to get to places they want to go.  Expert commentators could tell viewers if the choice of route was sensible, if they got the best deal on tickets and contestants would be eliminated if they made the fatal mistake of engaging anyone else in conversation.

Christmas special: The Great Tube-Off.  Contestants must take the Tube from somewhere to somewhere else.

Dog walking

Contestants take their dogs for a walk.  I’m not even sure how this could be made into a competition but if viewers are content to watch a few people in a tent making cakes then I’m sure The Great Dog Walk Off would get a healthy slice of the ratings.

Getting dressed

Expert pundits would discuss the perpetual debate about whether socks go on before or after trousers.  If a contestant fumbles with a shirt button, Twitter can stir up a scandal claiming sabotage by other competitors.

Paying for things in shops

Rules: have money ready before you’re asked for it; use as few bags as possible; do not move queues once you’ve chosen one (even if other ones are much shorter); avoid eye contact with the cashiers.

Buying drinks in a pub

‘And as Steve makes his way to the bar, let’s hope he’s remembered all the drinks orders.  There’s a bit of a queue now, Steve is going to need to get his eye contact skills sorted out if he’s going to be back with the drinks in less than five minutes.  Here he comes now, approaching the queue…and wait, wait!  He’s forgotten to go side on and get his elbow on the bar!  This is a schoolboy error for Steve, and he knows it.  It’s cost him valuable seconds and his mates waiting at the table for their pints will be discussing what a knob he is, and rightly so.  I don’t have high hopes for him in this competition.’

Other possible topics:

Withdrawing money from cash machines

Making tea

Boiling an egg



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This entry was posted on April 3, 2015 by in Culture, Humour, TV and tagged , , , , , , , , .


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