TV Times - Leave your light on

THOUGH I may be looking back through a rose tinted television screen, Saturday night used to be one of the best nights of the week for tele.

Saturday’s offered a different type of programme, true fun light entertainment.

But despite the fact we’re constantly told none of us can afford to go out on a Saturday night any more, the channels at this time are an entertainment wasteland.

I’m sorry, but repeats of Benidorm are not worthy of a 9pm slot.

There is hope though.

It may be much maligned in this column, but the X Factor deserves credit – along with Strictly Come Dancing – for restoring some interest in Saturday night television.

It’s just a shame it takes over the entire world for the many months it occupies the prime weekend slot.

But thankfully, another phenomena has grown and is showing signs of becoming a ratings behemoth in the years to come.

I’m sure if I said ‘no likey, no lighty’ you’ll know exactly what I mean.

Take Me Out seems to have filled the so-called ‘water cooler talk’ void in the absence of the X Factor.

If you haven’t caught it yet, think Blind Date but more crass and cruel.

A bloke descends from a lift, stands in front of 40 women and tries to make a good impression.

The women have several options to eliminate themselves from contention by turning out a light in front of them.

If the bloke is lucky – or not in some cases – there will still be some lights left on at the end and he has the chance to choose one to take on a date.

It sounds awful. It should be awful. But it’s brilliant.

Take Me Out is probably the most superficial programme on television, and it’s got good company in that category.

The men are usually flash idiots but if they’re half decent in the looks department, a sea of lights will be left on.

If they’re a bit chunky or older than 35 they’ve got no chance and will probably be on their way home sooner rather than later.

One of the best elements of the show is the group of women who return week after week hoping for a date.

A lot of them seem to have some standards or at least a type of bloke they’d like.

But some of them are clearly desperate and leave their light on for anyone, only to be crushed when the man walks over at the end and turns their light off.

It’s a cruel, cruel world.

Take Me Out is completely mindless and that is exactly why it’s so popular.

It’s what we need on a Saturday night as we sit with our takeaways.

Much of the success is down to presenter Paddy McGuinness, confidently stepping away from his previous role as Peter Kay’s mate.

His off the cuff catchphrases and general presenting style assures the audience everyone knows it’s simply a bit of a laugh.

If Take Me Out tried to portray itself as a serious attempt to match people up, it just wouldn’t work.

Everyone knows there is no weight to it and you can tell most of the people on there just fancy getting on the tele for 10 minutes.

It’s just the desperates you have to feel sorry for.