by Graham Pierrepoint
The line between politics and entertainment has been blurring for some time – both in the US and in the UK – and while this generally occurs most of all once certain politicians are out of office, there have been several figureheads who have been particularly media-savvy over the years. Ex US President Barack Obama, for example, was particularly media friendly – and we all know where Trump stands on the mainstream media! Even so, the move to make politicians seem more human through including them in entertainment programmes and TV shows can be seen as a little clunky at times – but, at others, it can work. There’s a fine line when it comes to being genuinely engaging and being genuinely ingratiating.
One such politician in the UK who is looking to join the ‘politainment’ bandwagon is Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, who – after considerable months of infighting among his own staff – managed to achieve a surprise result in this year’s snap election, where his party gained seats as opposed to lose them – and where rival Theresa May, the Prime Minister, failed to make good on her move to solidify her governmental majority. It’s a move which has, largely, only boosted Corbyn’s popularity and has only eaten away at May’s – regardless of which side of the political coin you sit on.
Corbyn is reportedly set to appear on UK Channel 4 next week as part of their ‘Stand Up To Cancer’ telethon and events – where he will reportedly take part in a special edition of the TV show Gogglebox. Gogglebox is reality TV with a difference – it is watching people watch TV shows that have been on during the week prior, with humor derived from their various reactions and comments. It’s a premise that many joked about as a possibility at the beginning of the reality TV boom – and yet it continues to be a massive draw for Channel 4, with many of its participants becoming household names in their own right.
Corbyn, however, seems keen to show the viewing public what he thinks on certain UK TV standards – he’s set to be signed up with a celebrity who has not yet been confirmed – but it’s a remarkably different move for a UK politician at the forefront of UK political debate. Will Corbyn come out of it shining? Let’s wait and see – it’ll be interesting to see what his watching habits are!