Thursday, 30 November 2006
IT DRIVES ME CRACKERS
"As the crackling of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of the fool", says the Bible [Ecclesiastes, 7.vi]. This jumps to my mind on the rare occasions when I bother to look at television these days. Almost every "comedy" programme is infested with an invisible studio audience whose raucous shrieks, titters and giggles of mirth distract and irritate the viewer - this one, anyway. The other day I happened to turn on in the middle of a repeat episode of "Keeping Up Appearances" in which that consummate character actress Patricia Routledge, in her persona of Hyacinth Bucket, was endeavouring to mount a horse. Her antics and facial contortions were extremely amusing, but they were ruined by the otiose hoots and bellows of the absent audience. As the sequence was shot on location in the country, I cannot see what possible rhyme or reason there was to dub these repellent sound effects on to it. Can anyone with an insight into the workings of the minds of TV producers - on the charitable assumption that they think coherently - please explain why they consider this practice is an embellishment of their programmes? Studio audiences who can be seen by the viewer, yes by all means. But the invisible ones crackling under the pot, no thank you. Away with them!