We love Charlie Brooker

Here he is talking about the bizarre and sinister Sky One show ‘Noel’s HQ’:

A live Saturday night ‘shiny floor’ show with conspicuous altruism at its core, it’s essentially a cross between That’s Life, Surprise Surprise, and some unmade episode of I’m Alan Partridge in which Alan snaps and runs into traffic with his shirt off, smashing windscreens with a cricket bat.

Noel shouts about petty-minded local councils, and the studio audience cheers or boos and waves union flags and the whole thing starts to resemble a disturbing political rally.

Last week the show featured an item about a badly injured marine who, having lost both legs in Afghanistan, was denied planning permission for a specially adapted bungalow by his local council. It was a tale that would irritate more or less anyone – the guy’s lost his legs, so cut him some slack, for Christ’s sake. Following an emotive VT on the subject, Cheggers (Noel’s eternal sidekick; someday they’ll be buried together) read a statement from the council saying they were prepared to negotiate with the marine and his family.

Good. But not good enough for Noel, who wanted them there in the studio. Worse still, the council’s press officer, Jim Van den Bos, told a researcher that Wealden District Council wouldn’t talk to ‘an entertainment show’.

This was the cue for an astonishing three-minute down-the-lens rant during which Noel yelled that Jim Van den Bos, and people like him, were ‘at the heart of everything that’s wrong with this country’, while the audience cheered and yelled. He went on to suggest, via the medium of bellowing, that the people of Wealden should ‘have their say’ at the next local election – and that hopefully they’d be ‘advertising for a new press officer soon’. All of which slightly overshadowed the bit where he read a statement from Gordon Brown supporting the construction of the bungalow. Council policy aside, what really irked Noel, it seemed, was being dismissed as an ‘entertainment show’, even though: a) It’s listed on the Sky EPG under ‘entertainment’, b) The studio audience wear big foam gloves with ‘Noel’s HQ’ printed on them, and c) It opens with a theme tune that sounds like a pinball machine malfunctioning on a bouncy castle.

Highlighting the story would’ve been enough: instead, Noel stood before a baying TV mob calling for the instant dismissal of a press officer who doesn’t make planning decisions, had already issued a statement, was presumably simply doing what he was told, and possibly has a family to feed.

Noel reckons that ‘This show is not going to change society…. but it is a tiny step.’ Towards the nearest psychiatric institution.


Edmonds: saving the world through Sky


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