Planners: Review

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Planners, 31 January 2013, BBC2 8pm

I understand there is an interest in planning; indeed my own family were involved in a lengthy battle a few years ago, it is something that may well affect us all at some time or another.

Plus with recent changes to legislation, which make it easier for building to happen on the green belt, there is some concern over how this will affect our countryside.

To actually commission a whole series of hour long fly on the walls docs about Council Planners and their jobs is an appalling and reckless waste of Licence payer’s cash.

The first episode opens with Fiona Edwards, Head Planner of West Cheshire, asserting the following:

“We’re not boring people we’re really exciting people…now is probably the most exciting time to be a Plannerâ€?

Well bully for you, I am sure there is an exciting time to watch paint dry if you are a paint drying professional…and even then I can imagine the changes of hue and subtle plays of light on the changing texture of the paint would still be more a far more entertaining and informative sixty minutes than this ridiculous programme.

It is a show devoted to red tape, administration and the frustrations of dealing with bureaucracy and the bloody minded. This is ballache enough when going through it yourself in real life but having to watch other people handle it is mind, soul and arse numbing.

The BBC has a few shows where we follow ordinary people in ‘low concept’ situations. They are all scored with plinky-plonky music, whicch lends a banal eccentricity to the proceedings and voice overs that are swollen with enough tension to make you think something actually might happen.

These types of productions aren’t for everyone and certainly are not my cup of tea. Yet ‘Island Parish’ has a certain charm and ‘Heir Hunters’, which though I don’t feel is right in its new place in prime time, can on occasion be fascinating.

Planners however, with its stories of parking spaces, curbs and hedges alongside petty NIMBY posturing is without doubt the dreariest example of modern, penny pinching TV I have had to sit through.

There isn’t even any pay off, the applicants upon hearing l applications approval do not rejoice or revel in the glory, they just sigh in the bathetic relief that their ordeal is over. If they fail they just lodge an appeal and the enervating cycle of bullshit starts again.

I am furious with the BBC for allowing this onto the air waves. I don’t care if it’s cheap. Even if it cost under a quid it still a huge waste of time and money. I cannot stress enough for you to avoid this abomination of Television and personally I would rather my nails were pulled out and my eyes rubbed with salt than watch it again.

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