sat 13/08/2022

The Cut (episode three), BBC Switch | reviews, news & interviews

The Cut (episode three), BBC Switch

The Cut (episode three), BBC Switch

A poor second to Pugwash and Prancelot

Last night the latest segment of the BBC’s new online soap for teens played on computer screens across the land. OK, if we’re splitting hairs, it wasn’t technically last night. The show is streamed every afternoon at ten past five. However, the grand Panjandrum who pulls most of the strings round here advises that frontloading your opening paragraph with last+night this and last+night that will hoik you rapidly up the squash ladder that is Google Search.

Which is why last night - around about teatime - I got to thinking about the title. Why The Cut? A quick recap of the plot, if you will, up to and including last night.

In part one Jay, cut up about his girlfriend, wanted to cut and run. In part two Marla, who thinks she’s a cut above everyone else, noticed a cut on her dad’s cheek. The whole of last night’s part three was shot on Olive’s videocam, thus giving her director’s cut, presumably a result of budget cuts. So what or who is The Cut? If I hear anything, it will be passed on.

Olive, incidentally, might want to think about spending time at film school. If she could learn about projection while she’s there, that would be dandy. Couldn’t hear a word she said. Unless I missed something, this was by some yardage the least action-packed five-minute instalment yet in a soap which is breaking new ground in its efforts to discourage people from coming back for more. Previously in The Cut we’ve had (a) a mysterious corpse, (b) some misplaced knickers and (c) no plot to speak of. In part three, Olive said she was going to post a letter. Then she posted it. Cue credits.

Those of us who did a spot of growing up in the mid-Seventies will recall how narratives used to be skilfully wedged into the five-minute filler slot at the end of children’s programming, just before Richard Baker or Kenneth Kendall or that other bag-eyed Grenadier Guard read the Six O’Clock News in pre-Huw BBC accents. I refer of course to the likes of Roobarb and Custard, in which you were served a beginning, a middle and an end plus a brandy and a cigar. Who can forget the sophisticated plotting of Sir Prancelot? I will concede that Crystal Tipps and Alistair was the utterest guff, but then it was manifestly aimed at girls. The point stands. Five-minute storytelling technique has suffered a fatal decline since the glory days, of course above all, of Captain Pugwash.

However, rather than fall lazily back on nostalgia and prejudice, I summoned in an expert: a 16-year-old with an MLitt in Hollyoaks Studies. One of the characters in the title sequence was duly declared “fit”. Or was it “buff”? It hardly matters. Olive started wielding her shakycam and after three minutes the target audience pronounced itself “dizzy”. And not, I fancy, with anticipation. Think I’ll be downloading part four on my own.


Awful, awful, awful show. How patronizing of the BBC to think this is what teens want. Just goes to show how far out of touch they really are. At least C4 can pick up their disappointed ex-viewers.

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