Thick as two short planks

Working mostly from home now even I can only take so much Kay Burley and that protestor on Parliament Square who can’t play the xylophone so I find myself switching channels to marvel at the sheer brain freezing ineptitude of the contestants on afternoon TV quiz shows.

I spent 24 hours trying to come up with something kinder than thick as pigs**t but I just couldn’t because rather than entertain me and making me laugh (which I presume is the producers’ intentions when they put these idiots in front of a camera) the degree of ignorance of the most basic general knowledge actually infuriates me and lately I spend more time shouting at these numbties than I do at the football.

To say that some of these people have the IQ of a goldfish is unfair to goldfish.

On just one day last week (it was Wednesday if anyone wants to check I’m not exaggerating), I witnessed displays of cluelessness that were so appalling I was actually embarrassed for them.

Firstly, a programme called Tipping Point and host Ben Shephard asked a woman called Jo which US president wrote the children’s book ‘Of Thee I Sing: A Letter To My Daughters’ in 2010?

With the opportunity to pass the question to her fellow contestant she insisted on answering herself, confidently saying: “Obaraka Bama.”

An incredulous Shephard asked her to repeat the answer and again she said: “Obaraka Bama.”

And believe it or not she went on to win £3,000!

Tipping Point is followed by The Chase where contestants go face to face with one of five quiz nerds who really know their stuff – not that they need to be at the top of their game when someone they are up against thinks the successor to US President Dwight D Eisenhower in 1960 was Bill Clinton!

Past answers have included a guy who thought a lion was a primate, someone who thought Jilly Cooper wrote Far From The Madding Crowd, “What is a herd of elephants called?” Contestant: “Cows!” and the classic: What day is Christmas day traditionally celebrated in the UK?
Answer: Wednesday.

These dufuses must live in a fog with only the vaguest of details from the world around them getting through.

There’s no excuse for this level of ignorance and I don’t find it funny in the slightest. It’s disgraceful.

But it’s indicative of how TV celebrates mediocrity. The more dense you are, the more chance you’re going to get on the telly.

In fact, there are reality TV stars who continue to make a very handsome living out of being as thick as two short planks.

* David Cameron has come out from the rock he’s been hiding under since running away from the carnage he set in motion to plug the publication of his memoirs: For The Record, which hits the shelves (as it’s thrown from a great distance hopefully) this week.

In more than 700 pages, the man no one calls Dave will seek to wrestle control back of his tainted legacy by doing what politicians have done since time immemorial – blaming others.

I won’t be reading it, even though it would probably cure my chronic insomnia, but for the record, Dave, accusing Boris and Gove of behaving appallingly really is a case of the pot calling the kettle black.

He was a bit partial to his weed in his youth, apparently. That’s if you’re able to believe anything that spills from this coward’s pen (so tempted to quote a Bob Calvert lyric from Hawkwind here, but I shall exercise control).

Doubt there’s any mention of a pig’s head in there though.

Edward Case

Columnist