For some reason I try really hard to like Charlotte Church.
There’s something fresh faced, unaffected and honest about her. A youthful sense of fun and fair play that I like and a refreshingly healthy attitude to her body image. Who cares if she occasionally puts on a few extra pounds? She always looks gorgeous and fab to be with.
And before I kick off into the meat of this post I must also point out that I love Wales. Both Karen and I do. We’ve been going to the place regularly for years – as often as we can – and even chose to get married there in a beautiful little mining village called Abergynolwyn. We’ve always found the Welsh people to be warm, wonderful and endlessly helpful. We are seriously considering moving there one day. Wales is great. The BIG country indeed.
But for the life of me I cannot abide The Charlotte Church Show.
I gave up watching the first series after the first episode. It was appalling. Tacky, amateurish, coarse in an unattractively pedestrian way and appealing to all the lowest possible denominators. Not a good vehicle for Charlotte’s talents or for Wales.
I therefore approached the first episode of series 2 (broadcast on Friday) with some apprehension. I’d heard tales that Charlotte had learnt from the mistakes of her previous outing and this series would be a big jump up the professional scale of quality. Fair enough, I thought. She’s only 21, bless her, she’s allowed to make mistakes and find her way.
So I tuned in. And, despite the dynamic Billie Piper being one of her guests, I had to turn the damn thing off within the first 15 minutes.
Charlotte, Charlotte, Charlotte! What are you doing?
It was embarrassing and uncomfortable viewing.
The trouble is, although Charlotte’s youth and ebullience are part of her charm, these qualities betray her when it comes to the role of interviewer. She’s too gauche and inexperienced to perform an adept interview.
A good interviewer must have some worldly wisdom, some knowledge of the human condition which they are able to utilize and manipulate in order to tune into their guests and bring out their very best. As it is Charlotte’s guests always seem to be far more mature in their outlook and bearing than she is and the effect is to make Charlotte look inane and blank. She doesn’t seem to connect with them on any intelligent level at all. Which is a shame because Charlotte is not stupid.
Her writers however are and should be shot. The jokes are awful. That dreadful "theme song " ditty is diabolical and should be scrapped. It makes me cringe to think of it. It isn’t funny and it has the effect of making Charlotte look as if she can’t sing for toffee. Well done, guys. You’re not only misrepresenting Charlotte’s talents you’re also destroying them!
The humour of the show is coarse and explicit but it’s handled lazily. This is a mistake. Using coarse humour well is a great skill yet people constantly make the mistake of thinking that it is the easiest way to get a laugh. It isn’t. The Friday Night Project employs coarse humour superbly. So does Graham Norton and shows like Never Mind The Buzzcocks and Little Britain. But handled badly it just comes across as prepubescent and tasteless.
Charlotte doesn’t have the skill to deliver coarse humour well. It just makes her look oafish and a bit of a ladette. Fine if all you want to appeal to is the beer and lager consuming members of the public who are too drunk to have any discerning qualities one way or another. Not so good if you’re trying to sell a modern vision of Wales to as broad a spectrum of the British viewing public as possible.
I’m not Welsh. But I can’t help feeling that The Charlotte Church Show is an insult to Wales, the Welsh people and to Charlotte herself.
Like I said. Shoot the writers.