Well, actually I don't care for Sondheim either, but apart from that I agree.
BEN ELTON Turned rock history into a 'jukebox musical' cash cow
"The Matrix meets the Arthurian legend meets Terminator 2," was how Ben Elton hilariously described his Queen musical when it debuted in 2002. A more honest commentator might have pegged We Will Rock You as being a bit like Suzi Quatro directing a particularly stupid episode of Deep Space Nine using a cast entirely drawn from the Camden branch of Fresh & Wild. By blowing off any regard for plot, cliche or character arc, Elton took the genteel traditions of musical theatre and rock's outsider chic, and served them up as a mindless MOR smoothie. Marketing men realised there were plenty more theatregoers too old to rock'n'roll, yet too dumb for Sondheim. And so, as Tonight's The Night et al followed the idiot-proof recipe drawn up by WWRY and its close predecessor, Mamma Mia!, Elton – rather wisely – relocated to Australia. Now, if you stand in the West End on a Saturday night and tune out the muffled chorus of Hoover salesmen singing Bohemian Rhapsody, you can hear Theatreland creaking towards a new cultural low.
And then there is this, about a TV producer I've never heard of who has a hell of lot to answer for:
PETER BAZALGETTE TV's posh popularist
What do Rebecca Loos's porcine pull-off in The Farm, Jade Goody's entire TV career, and those late-night call-in shows where glamour models pretend that no one in the country is able to rearrange the letters "s-p-a-n-n-r-e" to spell out something you find in a tool box, all have in common? The uncommonly common touch of Peter "Baz" Bazalgette, ex-chairman of Endemol UK. Though Bazalgette says he's a "fishwife at heart", he remains one of those odd, Notting Hill fishwives who attended Dulwich College, Cambridge University and now sits on the board at The English National Opera. Under Bazalgette's watch, TV schedules resembled a televisual tranquiliser, administered from the top table of British society, down to the TV diners at the bottom. He would of course, dismiss this as miserable, puritanical carping, before popping off to a box at the ENO to catch a simply delightful Italian sing their heart out (while you watched Ground Force).
SEE ALSO Anyone with an Oxbridge education working on Wife Swap(Regular readers may recall that, strangely, fiddling with pigs seems to be a particularly popular feature of British TV.)