Video Nation Shorts (BBC2, 1994-2000)
This is a show that I thought I’d review because I always found it rather curious. With the advancements in technology, there were several shows in the 90s based around camcorders. Not only were there educational shows that explained how to get the best out of them, there were also lots of those “home video howlers”-type shows that captured the funniest moments.
And there were also the “video diary”-type documentary shows, where we were given access to people who wanted to show us their routine at home or work, or offer their opinions on things. I do remember that there was a series like this on CBBC called As Seen On TV (not to be confused with the later BBC1 game show), and there was also Video Nation.
This was where people from all over the country showed us their life, and then this was all put together to try and create a capture of Britain on a particular day or subject. Then the decision was made to take some of these videos and show them individually, in the spin-off series Video Nation Shorts. Following a brief introduction, we would discover what they were up to, and a lot of ideas were tried out.
But it was the scheduling of these that was rather curious too. The majority of these were shown before Newsnight, usually after a comedy show had ended, or whatever was in the 10pm slot. Because for some reason it seems that Newsnight has to begin at 10:32. This did mean though that a lot of people got their two minutes of fame (and these really were about two minutes long) on TV.
This seemed to end up running for longer than the original series it was based on. There would often be shows around this time that were only about five or ten minutes long that had a creative idea, but this one was so short that it was practically considered to be between the shows rather than one itself. And well, the people of Britain, what characters they clearly all are.
The number of editions of Video Nation Shorts eventually ran into the hundreds, maybe there were even over a thousand shown. But this come to an end after a while, and you wouldn’t really need a show like this on TV now. This is because something like this is much easier to do, people can put every single moment of their life online to share with people, and everyone will be hugely interested I’m sure.