The first leaders debate is on ITV at the moment. As is the norm for an ITV production, the whole thing looks incredibly cheap, and I’m not just talking about Alastair Stewart’s tie.
Now it’s possible that the studio layout – here reminiscent of a mid-afternoon quiz-show – will be very similar for the forthcoming BBC and Sky debates. But I’d be willing to bet money that both rival productions look classier and less garish than ITV’s.
It’s always the same with ITV. The lighting’s a little too bright, a little too artificial; the backdrop looks like it’s been cobbled together in five minutes from bits of plastic and MDF; the production values are low. Even the camerawork seems ‘off’, somehow.
There was a bizarre moment before where Stewart was addressing the camera from the right-hand side of the picture, standing much lower than the others and looking like a dwarf that had been superimposed over footage over the three leaders. Stewart just seems to be shouting over the three party leaders whenever one talks for more than about thirty seconds, at a stage where he randomly deems it appropriate to interrupt. It’s typically shoddy; typically ITV.
It’s the same for pretty much everything the broadcaster does. Football coverage is again garish and often poorly presented. Entertainment shows are loud, shrill and cheap. And everything always looks so artificial. It’s astonishing that no-one at ITV seems to notice this – or if anyone has, they’re not doing anything about it.
In short, it’s little wonder no-one’s watching any more.