Opinion: If I Ruled...10 O'Clock Live

10 O'Clock Live

Three episodes into its third series 10 O'Clock Live seems to have entered adolescence and has got a bit surly and angry. It is good, but it could still be even better. In the first in an occasional series offering careers advice, here is my ten-point plan to making 10  O'Clock Live essential viewing


1. Do something about the rainbow-coloured set – it's like an old disused Top of The Pops set tarted up with Fisher Price paints to look like a children's nightclub.

2. Replace Lauren Laverne with a comedian who is quick-witted enough to compete with Brooker, Mitchell and Carr. Bridget Christie would be my first choice.  Laverne is clearly very smart but her role is too ambiguous. If she is the "straight man" she needs to stop trying to be funny, if she is one of the comedians she needs to be funnier.

3. Alternatively keep Laverne and give her more to do. Some of her scripted pre-recorded reports in previous series were infinitely funnier than her off-the-cuff studio asides. However…

4. …there seem to be less pre-recorded bits. I don't know if this is down to budgets, but last night's edition virtually all took place around that big shiny, round dinner table with Brooker, Mitchell and Carr flinging around banter and bons mots as if they were at the Algonquin. So more pre-recorded bits please, but not spoof reporter and fifth-rate Dom Joly Pat Putterson again (yes, I know it's Facejacker's Kayvan Novak)

5. The pressure to be topical is almost unbearable. The trouble is that there are so many outlets trying to be rapid-response funny now, from Twitter to Have I Got News For You? everyone ends up spraying the same targets with very similar sounding bile. Last night's fish-in-a-barrel take-down of The Apprentice, with Brooker describing the contestants and mocking their surely self-parodic intro speeches ("I'm half machine"), did little more than Twitter did when The Apprentice as actually was on.

6. If the programme can't beat Twitter in the one-liners department, maybe it can beat social media with its more in-depth debates. The first show had a right old ding dong between Katie Hopkins and Owen Jones. Last night's clash, between George Galloway and two other people (sorry, I was so distracted by George Galloway's "Tonight Matthew, I will be Elvis Costello" makeover I didn't take in who they were) was so civil and unfunny by comparison I might as well have been watching Question Time. David Mitchell needed to chair proceedings more firmly – or maybe lob a stapler at Galloway's forehead to liven things up.

7. Charlie Brooker is the best thing about the show – just for calling UKIP the "Grumble Sponge Party". I wonder if he was worried that people were saying he had gone soft after becoming a father. I wondered it myself when the thing he fulminated about the most last night was wrong aspect ratios when people film things on their phones (he's right, by the way), but most of the time he has decided to go in harder than ever. More Brooker please – although then the programme risks turning into Newswipe.

 8. It's too smug. 

9. Charlie Brooker needs a haircut

10. Jimmy Carr needs to stop making wisecracks about tax/accountancy/money. We get it, you can laugh at yourself. Now move on. 


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