The 360-Degree View: Documentaries.

(Panning montage of serious-looking people talking, national institutions, angry fingers being pointed, people walking around and behind things.)

(Tenor voice-over).
“It’s a blight on the national psyche, an easy way out for hundreds of people who want easy answers. Politicians condemn it, Doctors say it destroys lives. But what does documentary-making really do to Britain? And is there any way out for the unfortunate addicts who make these programmes – the dealers who consume their own supply?”

“So, what sort of people get into badly-researched, scare-mongering journalism? We spoke to Barry (not his real name), who worked in the field for ten years.

(Silhouetted figure sat in front of a cardboard picture of Big Ben.)”
“I had no self-respect, was doing badly at school and was basically bored. So I got into… into investigative journalism. At first, I was only writing the occasional reviews column for the local newspaper, but it spiralled out of control. Before I knew it I was working on shoddily-researched documentaries, desperately trying to simplify the story to make it easy to understand – but we weren’t talking down to the public, we genuinely had no idea ourselves what we were on about.
At one point, I was presenting a late night news show, a crappy quiz show, a true crime show… I just couldn’t help myself. That’s when my family intervened… I’m so glad they did.  I knew if I kept on, I’d end up presenting a daytime talk show or QVC.”

(Tenor voice over)
(Another silhouette, this time huge, oddly like John Simpson wearing a Burkha.)
“John (not his fake name) is a current documentary maker.”

“I used to respect myself, wear suits and ties, look smart and make news. But gradually, I wanted to be more like the people I talked to, started wearing knackered t-shirts or ethnic clothing ‘to blend in’. God, I’d doorstep perfectly innocent people, just to make them look confused and upset when I asked them pushy questions while they were picking up their milk. I’m not proud of what I did. You know, making insinuating remarks, giving damaged people an out, so they could blame someone else for their problems. Documentary-making, it’s corrosive on the soul, y’know. I can’t stop – think of the children. I think I’ve got it under control now.”

(Tenor voice over)
“We spoke to a specialist in the field, who’s treated many addicts.”
(Picture of a woman in a white lab coat and glasses who sounds as if she’s never heard the words she’s saying before).

“If you’ve got an addictive personality, you should stay away from documentaries. There’s a visceral thrill in trying to cram all the relevant information into a 30-minute time slot, but gradually they all give in to temptation. They simplify, they excise relevant facts, they pander to their own prejudices. After a while, they’re not making documentaries any more, they’re making opinion pieces with a veneer of respectability provided mainly by how much they frown and nod – but they can’t stop themselves. Eventually, we bring them here.”

(Cuts to long shot of a chaotic ward of people, variously wearing backless nightgowns, suits and ethnic garb, all nodding, pointing toy microphones and frowning.)

(Tenor voice over)
“So there you have it, documentaries kill babies and play into the hands of radical Islam. I’m been a man with a reassuringly English name and deep voice. Good night. ”

Next week: something relevant to current affairs, maybe? Like should women have the vote?

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GriddleOctopus

There are few harder things in life than introducing yourself, especially in print where mellifluous nuance can turn to indulgent wankery. So. I am definitely a 'writer'. You could also call me an 'artist'. I could probably put the words 'designer' and 'consultant' here too, but they feel crass.

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