A Preview of What Was to Come
, 24 May 2010
It's hard to remember just how forward-thinking this series was when it hit our screens a full 16 years ago. I was 14 at the time but remember being exasperated by the Americanised style that British news programs were trying to adopt. The worst offender at the time was Tonight With Trevor Macdonald.
The Day Today's over-the-top graphics, artificially-frenetic pace, quick camera cutaways and bombastic music were absolutely brilliant parody at the time of how the news was becoming.
WARNING to those who either didn't see it first time round or are too young to have watched it back then...!! Watching it in 2010, it of course feels a little dated. The topical references to politicians of the time are obviously going to be out of date and won't make a huge amount of sense without some background as to who the politicians in question are. The deliberately over-cooked production actually now looks a bit tame in comparison to most UK news programmes these days: it was a preview of what was to come but that reality has now more than fully arrived, as anyone with Sky News will know, and is quite normal to us now.
If you watched it at the time, it's well worth another look. However, if you remember it being brilliant and want to show it to someone who hasn't seen it before now then sadly I have a feeling that you'll have the slightly disappointing experience of someone who makes a non-relative watch their child performing a song or a poem. Satire is of course rooted in the time that it satirises and therefore has moved on with series like The Thick of It and even Charlie Brooker's Screen/Newswipe giving us a fresher take on today's politics and the way that the media feeds news to us in the 21st Century.
It is, nevertheless, massively funny if slightly dated and marked a move, as far as I'm aware, from quite obvious Spitting Image-style political satire to a style of mockumentary comedy where part of the comedy is the cleverness of the production and the fact that, if you didn't know better, you actually could believe that you were watching the real thing. For me therefore it's a 5 Star rating but with a clear warning that, in the same way as Spinal Tap is an awful lot funnier if you actually grew up with pretentious Hair Metal, it might not be as funny for those who don't clearly remember the media style or politics of the time.
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