Comparison’s will be unfair, but they are also inevitable. This will definitely be the case when 10 O’Clock Live premieres tonight on Channel 4 in the UK. Immediate comparisons will be made with the undeniably brilliant Daily Show with Jon Stewart given that it’s main focus will be to put a comical, satirical bent on the day’s news from a political standpoint. As one who watches the U.S. equivalent almost nightly, they have a lot to live up to from the outset. With much of America’s younger viewers turning to The Daily Show as its primary news source, the particulars involved in this new adventure seem to be up to the challenge.
10 O’Clock Live, which premieres tonight at, duh, 10:00pm, will be live each week, a concept that is, initially, terrifying to main host, David Mitchell. No stranger to the UK television audience, the Peep Show star is terrified, but excited about the show. Rightfully so, as he’ll have a lot of talent surrounding him with a group of very talented individuals like Jimmy Carr, Lauren Laverne and Charlie Brooker. As Brooker put it recently, “…we are the Travelling Wilburys of topical comedy“.
Much like their American counterpart which has put their satirical stamp on election night coverage with their Indecision 20xx coverage, The 10 O’Clock Live show was conceived out of a very successful Alternative Election Night broadcast last May during the most recent pivotal UK elections.
While The Daily Show and shows like it in the US are still in their infancy, there is quite a history in the UK for political satire programs of this nature. Series like That Was the Week That Was (TWTWTW) and The Frost Report, two mainstays of the 60’s television landscape.
What makes me really look forward to this is not only the impressive list of participants, but that Channel 4 is not treating this as a show out of just the comedy and entertainment division. Channel 4 is throwing the resources of the entire channel at the show with the news and current affairs division at the disposal of the new kid on the block.
David Mitchell sums it up in his best Jon Stewart impression, “…The ultimate aim is to become a show that people find genuinely entertaining but feel they need to see in order to become informed about what’s happening in politics. And if we can occasionally be a show that affects the debate, that would be brilliant.”
Would love to hear what anyone in the UK thinks of the show….