Paul Kennedy has written to TV Cream to ask:
“Can you tell me if the tea-boy from a long lost lower Amazonian rain forest tribe who has had access to a television for half a peko second has started rating the programmes on your site? I refer you to the rating for Fawlty Towers. One of the all time classics. Sack the tea-boy.”
It’s a fair point: who is responsible for determining the programme rating for each of the A-Z billings, and how precisely is it arrived at?
Suffice to say the process is a long and, conveniently for this blog, legible one. Initially a team of one hundred developers working in a boxroom in Shanghai calculate, on the basis of innumerable statistical formulae, what are the range of ratings available. This can take anything from one day to, if there’s a fair wind and Carla Lane is involved, half a minute.
The information is posted back to TV Cream Towers and verified by the recently-formed governmental Central Committee For Un-Archivery Activites, which cross-examines all the analysis for signs of fakery, ambiguity, imagination, creativity, innovation, identity and blarney.
The entire staff of TV Cream then spend a weekend watching every single episode of the programme in question, like those people at Dr Who Magazine who have spent the past fifteen years watching every episode of the titular children’s science fiction series in order. Voices are raised and opinions are aired, particularly when it comes to deciding what should be put on the TV instead, something that happens roughly fifteen minutes in.
A focus group is employed to measure the likely response to a number of options. Lots and lots of pie charts and graphs which have a line that goes up and down for no reason are produced. Somebody moots the idea of scrapping the entire A-Z. A tea boy from a lost Amazonian rain forest tribe stops by to say there’s no milk left in the fridge.
Finally the entire thing is put to a secret ballot and the results painted onto a giant piece of plywood by Bob MacKenzie.
Or at least that’s what is supposed to happen.