TV blamed for recent upsurge in violence
Low televisional standards are said to have forced thousands of desperate youngsters out onto the streets of Ulster during January, causing millions of pounds worth of damage and the lowest viewer ratings since BBC Northern Ireland was launched.
A report released by the Northern Ireland Office yesterday singled out UTV for particular ire. “By putting on the likes of TV’s Naughtiest Blunders 3 and Christmas Uncovered at prime time the authorities were just forcing impressionable kids to join gangs and burn cars,” said overpaid pundit, Spenceton Biggle. “The very existence of Pop Idol was a godsend to the paramilitary gangs that control the province.”
Even some UTV executives have admitted that the poor standard of programming was bound to drive a significant section of the community to mindless violence. “It’s not like it’s our duty to keep kids hypnotised and off the street at night by a drip-feed of monotonous programming,” said Randall McCracken III of UTV. “We’re always being told we’re brainwashing the youth, but now we put on programmes so shite that they’ve no choice but to go out and crack skulls to stave off the boredom of living in Ulster. We’re just doing what we see is our civil duty.”
The development has been given a broad welcome by paramilitaries. Patrick O’Neill (his real name), spokesman for the Real Continuity Provisional Irish Republican Army, told The Gerald that the drop in televisual standards had given groups such as the RCPIRA the opportunity to pass on skills to younger members of the community. “Now Northern Ireland is at ‘peace’ and we’re supposed to be on ceasefire, those skills are in danger of being lost. If I don’t teach my young fella how to break knees, how’s he going to learn? Is UTV going to teach him that?
Those skills, the traditional crafts that we’ve been practicing for 30 years, were dying out during the ceasefires. And tv was robbing us of our bond as a community. I mean, what ever happened to the good old-fashioned art of interrogation? Me and my Daddy used to sit around a guy in a damp basement, and interrogate him until he’d pass out. And then we’d give him a beating. Then we’d interrogate him some more. When he woke up we’d shoot him in the knees. Heartbeat or A Touch of Frost isn’t going to teach my wee lad that kind of cameraderie. That’s real life experience, so it is.”
Members of both loyalist and republican gangs said the current schedules gave their movements a real boost. “Buffy, Britain’s Brainiest Footballer, Peak Practice, The Bill, Nationwide Football League Extra – thank you, UTV,” said one prominent loyalist thug.
“And the launch of Footballers’ Wives was a real shot in the arm. I mean leg. I meant to say leg. Make sure you get that bit right.”