Britain’s Got The Pop Factor And Possibly A New Celebrity Jesus Christ Soapstar Superstar Strictly On Ice (Channel 4, 2008)
As people continue to anticipate Peter Kay’s return to the stage after a long time away with about 500 dates at the O2 or whatever it is, here is a look at another of his comedy shows. Following the success of sitcom Phoenix Nights, viewers keenly looked forward to his next move, but the spin-off sitcom Max And Paddy’s Road To Nowhere didn’t do so well.
But this didn’t stop another of his ideas grabbing a lot of attention, partly because this was rather intriguing. Britain’s Got The Pop Factor… was essentially a parody of musical talent contests that been clogging up the screen for a while, including Pop Idol, and the like. And this was going to take the idea to the extreme. To add a touch of authenticity, the host was Cat Deeley, and the judging panel included Pete Waterman, who had contributed to the real shows.
Kay was Geraldine, a young lady who was hoping for stardom. Just about every cliché in these shows was tackled, including the sob stories, the rather average performances, the elaborate staging, the overexcited studio audience, the guests appearances by pop stars, and so on. Geraldine had managed to make the later stages, and was aiming for the dream of being the champion coming true.
But somehow, Geraldine somehow captures the eye of the viewers as well as the judges, and has a rather remarkable triumph. Britain’s Got The Pop Factor… was supposed to be a scathing spoof of these type of shows, that were beginning to run out of steam by this point. But at times, with plenty of people taking part sending themselves up, this actually came across as rather affectionate.
One of the more amusing moments was the stage design, which meant the contestants had difficulty walking off. And this concluded with a performance of the winning song by Geraldine, which was released as a single for real (and they were hopeful that they had pressed enough CDs to deal with the huge demand), meaning that some felt that technically this was all an advert for this song.
This made the Top Ten as well, meaning that there was the rather complicated situation of Kay having a hit that he did sing on that wasn’t released under his name, unlike the re-release of “Amarillo”, that he didn’t sing on, but was credited. There was later an extra edition showing how Geraldine was coping with this newfound fame, along with another single, but the joke had worn thin by this point, and Kay went off to do other things.