Technically I only ended up looking at BadPsychics.Com having exhausted all the various and sundry loveliness on Derren Brown's website, although I don't particularly think he compelled me to visit it through the random subliminal images that popped up throughout my browsing. ;)
In principle, debunking the eponymous bad psychics is a good concept for a website; and had it not been for their personal vendetta against Most Haunted and all who sail in her, I might find the site more worthy of praise. As it stands, however, it just made me roll my eyes at their spite and childishness.
I believe initially their aim was to debunk Derek Acorah as a fake, as many have tried to do. Since Derek's popularity soared through his appearance in Most Haunted, the show became the next obvious target, and along with it (after Derek's departure), David Wells. I've seen Derek live, and I've also been to a night of Most Haunted Live that had both Derek and David in it, and I still don't know what to think. Derek has an amazing sense of showmanship and he uses that to his advantage; he is a popular personality these days and yes, he's making big bucks out of it. He may very well be providing 'cold readings' the entire time, but that still doesn't explain some of the things he manages to come out with, especially in the early series. As for David Wells, he's much less of a showman and is far too loveable and sincere (IMHO) to be maliciously faking, if he's faking at all. Embellishment isn't a crime, is it?
The website contains an archive of Most Haunted episode 'reviews' (read: badly-spelt attempts at sarcasm that fall rather flat due to the reviewer actually lacking any sense of humour. Or any sense at all, apparently, since he appears to review whilst drunk.), video footage of Yvette and/or Stuart 'faking' things, and links to various articles. There are also a few interviews where the interviewer from the website deliberately sets traps for those he interviews, in order to 'catch them out'. Because, yeah, if they're faking it, they're going to out and out admit it... Some of the video footage has been removed from YouTube by Antix Productions (unsurprisingly) so now all we really have is the website's word for it.
Some of the footage isn't even relevant to what they're trying to prove; there's footage of Yvette 'domestically abusing' Karl during one of the live shows (actually, she slaps him to wake him from some kind of stupor and shouts at him to get him to move out of the room; if they'd ever paid any attention to the actual crew dynamic, they'd realise that 'domestic abuse' is really very far off the mark...) which has no relevance whatsoever to any apparent 'fakeage', except that apparently they were both acting for the cameras. There is further footage of behind-the-scenes silliness, which only appears to be there to jibe at fans of the show. "Why would anyone with half a brain watch this?" they ask; well, I say, so they can make their own opinions about it.
Most Haunted is and always has been watched by believers and sceptics alike; it's popularity grew through the likeability of the crew and the hope that they would one day capture something on camera. It did lose a little of its magic after series 5 when they pushed it too far, but the fact that it's still popular should say something. It's up to the fans of the show to form their own ideas about what's going on. So what if it's fake? It's still great entertainment. What they (by which I mean Bad Psychics.Com and any tabloid newspaper with an apparent 'exposé'...) don't realise is that the more they whinge and moan about it being a fake, the more people are going to tune in to see for themselves. Far from damaging the series, they're just making it stronger. And as long as people believe in ghosts, as long as sceptics remain unsure and open-minded, then Most Haunted will continue to do what it's always done - provide quality entertainment with just the right amount of scare-factor to appeal to a wide audience.
Most Haunted aside, one of the claims against 'bad psychics' is that they are, by apparently contacting the spirits of people's family members and acquaintances, just extending the grieving process. I would argue it's not just bad psychics who do this, but all psychics. I believe that rather than extending the grieving process, it brings hope. The people who request readings and receive messages from their loved ones come away from it feeling reassured. Surely, that can't be a bad thing.
So, yes. BadPsychics.Com would be a far more thought-provoking and believable website if they didn't resort to immature jibes, rumour-mongering and tabloid fiction. It reeks of a pissed off television viewer with more money than sense and, alas, a rather like-minded following. I'm rather ashamed that Derren Brown is associated with it, as I would've thought he might have more sense and logic. But then, I don't entirely agree with Derren's theories on mediumship, and he's been interviewed by the website anyway.
Anyway. After my stint on BadPsychics.Com, I watched EastEnders, and then randomly went hunting for Jonathan Creek stuffs.
In my wanderings, I started at IMDb and read the message boards, where there was a fairly recent rumour that there may be a Christmas special coming up that may also see the return of Caroline Quentin as Maddy. Which, obviously, would be THE YAY. A lot of people seem to believe that they left the end of series 3 open enough that she could easily come back; apparently in the 'comma' episode the email she sends reads "I'll see you when I get back", and the letter in "Satan's Chimney" also alludes to this with "masses to tell you!". However, Jonathan Creek has never been one for good canon, so I don't hold out much hope that these 'clues' really mean anything.
Nevertheless, I wandered off to Liane Broadfield's site and also the main BBC site, neither of which shed any light on the rumours. The BBC site is quite cool, though, with plenty of content. Alas, I couldn't get the deleted scenes clips to work, and I don't think the one I want to see is on there anyway. It's also very annoying that the DVDs were so poor with regards to extras when they were released. As I recall, there were some screentests and a couple of boring deleted scenes, and that was about it.
There was also a section on the BBC site where David Renwick talked about 'Americanising' the series for broadcast in the USA. The original series went over there to be aired on BBC America and was obviously very popular, hence the idea to make an American version. Apparently, the first attempt was a total disaster; Renwick had re-penned the "Jack in the Box" episode from series 1 (where a man Maddy has helped release from prison shoots an old vaudeville film star and then bricks himself up inside a bomb shelter having taken an overdose), and apparently the network who were going to buy it decided their demographic wouldn't like an 80-year-old man being on screen for three minutes.
So obviously, Renwick found a different network. :)
There were script extracts on the site from the UK and US versions of the same episode; the UK one seems more intelligent, and I have to say that the very idea of an American Maddy fills me with horror. Caroline Quention WAS that role; I doubt the American Maddy would be plump and short and scary, somehow. It probably doesn't suit their demographic. :P
I want more Creek. Alan Davies' hair has been looking quite suspiciously long lately in QI...
I watched another episode of Play It Again earlier, wherein Diane Abbott wanted to learn to play the piano, with no musical experience whatsoever. As with the Jo Brand episode a few weeks ago (learning the organ) the final culmination of her efforts was lovely to watch, as she stumbled, started again, stumbled again, and finally regained confidence with the help of her tutor.
What it did make me realise, though, is how much I took for granted the seemingly simple ability to coordinate both hands to do different things at the same time. I don't remember learning to play the piano because I was about 4 or 5, but it's the same principle as doing ballet or gymnastics from a young age - the muscle memory. I'm convinced I type so fast because touch-typing uses the same kind of principles as playing the piano. In the show, Diane had trouble even pressing the keys on her first attempt, let alone coordinating her fingers enough to play a melody. It brings it into perspective a bit, I think, how lucky people are who have the ability / chance to play an instrument, or learn to dance. And, as ever, I remembered how much I used to love playing, and how horribly out of practice I am. Time to get the keyboard out, I think...
And that, I think, is it. We just watched Superskinny Me: Race to Size Double-Zero on Channel 4, but it's all too horrendous and ridiculous to comment on.
Time for bed.