Watchdog

The All New Watchdog (not the official title you understand) aired last night which saw the BBC wanted the show to return to glories past… which effectively meant getting Anne Robinson back on board as she’s clearly not phased by getting all up in people’s faces.

To make the show All New And Improved, the producers of the show did what any upstanding TV person would do… and that was to nick ideas from other programmes and tack them on to an old one.

This meant that Watchdog had incorporated Rogue Traders, Matt Thingy’s show which saw him doorstepping bad sorts and bombing about pointlessly on a motorbike with a troglodyte at the controls.

So the merging of two shows is it eh?

Well no, this was the merging of two shows and the wholesale pinchery of another… namely, Top Gear.

Top Gear’s zoo format works because, in essence, it’s a room full of people who wish it was still the mid ’90s, which really means a fondness for Stella Artois and FHM centerfolds whilst dribbling on cars and ironically being xenophobic.

Naturally, these things don’t cross over into the land of consumer affairs, so what we instead got was a bunch of people stood around awkwardly whilst quite boring stuff unfolded in front of their eyes.

The Top Gear aping didn’t stop there either. Gabby Yorath/Logan was sent out to do a Wacky Top Gear Test thing. Whilst May, Clarkson and Hammond seem to get a genuine kick out of blowing things up and doing doughnuts, the same cannot be said of Gabby’s forced enthusiasm for a pram strapped to a bucking bronco machine with a dolly in it.

Poor old Gabby. The BBC really don’t know what to do with her do they? She went from being a football presenter, to being binned off to a late night sports magazine show to… well… standing in a field watching babies being flung through the air.

Anne Robinson, back in the studio, didn’t have much to do either, apart from give off the impression that someone had glued her teeth together.

Essentially, Watchdog came back tinkered with… and felt as pointless as ever.

Watchdog presenter Julia Bradbury has stepped down from the show following investigations into her airmiles account. Police are investigating an alleged fraud involving free flights awarded to her family. 

Julia, 36, who co-presents the consumer affairs programme with Nicky Campbell, requested some time off from the BBC, as Sussex Police are probing allegations by Virgin Atlantic that she reportedly had points added to her account when they should have been reduceded, earned points on flights she did not take, and took free flights using miles that were never deducted.

Virgin Atlantic claims it may have been defrauded by £20,000. Julia’s sister and agent Gina Fox is also linked to allegations over £35,000 worth of free flights. Julia has made a statement, insisted that she has done “nothing wrong”.

The BBC will continue to pay Julia but Nicky Campbell will host the next episode of Watchdog on his own.

The story broke in a newspaper, The Mirror, who claimed Julia and Gina’s flying accounts with the airline were suspended last month before suspicious staff called police.

Gina told the paper: “I understand the interest with Julia presenting Watchdog. We have nothing to hide. If we have to sit down with the police that’s fine. Virgin told me they were passing it to the police.”

Julia is a popular BBC presenter, and she has co-hosted Watchdog since 2005. Recently, she has also hosted BBC’s Wainwright’s Walks series and Channel Five’s Rough Guide travel show. Last week she appeared on Channel 4 cooking show, Celebrity Come Dine With Me.

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