Dick finds the truth out there


Dick Hobbs. TV-Bay Magazine
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The Oxford English Dictionary has determined that its word of the year for 2016 was "post-truth". We'll skip over the fact that it is, clearly, two words.

Post-truth is, according to the world's best lexicographers, "an adjective defined as 'relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief'."

As Michael Gove said on Sky News on 3 June last year, "people in this country have had enough of experts". The splendidly-named Scottie Nell Hughes, who at the time of writing at least is a CNN political commentator (and Trump cheerleader), went on NPR at the beginning of December to deliver a particularly splendid ramble, in which she asserted "There's no such thing, unfortunately, any more as facts." Nor, it would appear, syntax.

All this seems to give me carte blanche to write any old nonsense in this month's column, or at least it would were carte blanche not a nasty foreign phrase. So here are my non-expert, post-truth, fact-free predictions for 2017.

January, and the year opens as usual with the CES exhibition in Las Vegas, where the must-have product is the 96", 8k-ready OLED television. The month ends in tragedy as a number of apartment blocks in trendy areas collapse under the weight of new wall-mounted screens.

In February SMPTE finally bows to the inevitable and admits there are only two people in the world who understand why American television runs at 59.94 frames a second, and one of them says he does not care any more. Henceforth, television pictures will arrive sort of when you need another one.

All UK news outlets in March are dominated by the triggering of Article 50. Producers of The News Quiz and Have I Got News for You announce they are quitting their broadcasting careers, and are seen boarding flights for a specialist retreat in the Tibetan foothills, run by gurus Marcus Brigstocke and Susan Calman.

April sees shock news, as NAB reports an international attendance of just 29 people. But by Thursday morning the queues at immigration at Las Vegas airport have grown to 16,000 very bored and thirsty international broadcasters. President Trump tweets that he does not do tired, poor, huddled masses. And that the line includes some "nasty women".

By May, sports broadcasters have realised that, with no Olympics or World Cups in 2017, they have no idea how to fill their schedules. NEP announces a new fleet of 20-camera trucks designed especially for international tiddlywinks and pro-celebrity cribbage.

More sports headlines in June, when Wimbledon authorities are forced to ban VR headsets inside the All-England Club, following a spate of neck injuries on Murray Mound.

Noting the success of the rebooted Top Gear, in July Amazon announces that it has outbid Channel 4 and is now the new home of The Great British Bake-Off. Mel and Sue are replaced by May and Hammond (I was thinking of the car nerds, but by then the prime minister and chancellor may be looking for work). An ambitious attempt to make it more exciting by turbo-charging the ovens sees the tent burn down in the first technical challenge. Jeremy Clarkson is quoted as saying "I thought Fougasse was a Brazilian Formula 1 driver."

BBC continues to follow the slow television trend in August. A seasonal special sees an ever increasing band of men attempt to mow a meadow. Critics generally say they would prefer to have seen more of the dog.

Programming returns to normal in September with the launch of season 15 of Strictly Come Dancing. New head judge Ann Widdecombe tips Nigel Farage and Katie Hopkins as the celebrities to watch.

In October a Flexicart, with working VTRs, appears on eBay. The successful bidder, offering $12.5 million, is reported to be Kim Jong-un.

In the misery month of November, the one cheering highlight is the launch of the blockbuster Christmas commercials. Spurred on by Heathrow's homecoming bears from 2016, but without the production budget, Ryanair joins the festive fun with a spot in which sock puppet leprechauns debate how nice it is to see the countryside on the three hour bus ride from distant airports to the city you were trying to get to.

Finally, by December the fake news situation descends into farce. Google and Facebook both claim success for their fake news detection software, but not only does it eliminate any shares at all for Fox News and RT, it also deletes all references to Joe Root, Laura Trott and the England rugby team, on the grounds that no Brit is ever that good at sport in real life.

That's what will be occupying us in 2017. Definitely. True fact. You can trust me, because I am like Huckleberry Finn, of whom Mark Twain said "There was things he stretched, but mainly he told the truth."


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Contributing Author Dick Hobbs.

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