Peter Reynolds

The life and times of Peter Reynolds

School Of Saatchi

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Quality television is difficult to find.  Yes, though there are hundreds of channels available, most of it is rubbish.  Of course, what constitutes “rubbish” is a moving target.  It depends on mood, snobbery, fashion, tribe and all sorts of complicated human emotions.  It’s always perplexed me why it’s so “cool” to work in telly but so “uncool” to watch it!

“School Of Saatchi” is another formulaic “reality” competition but it’s fantastic.  (BBC2, Mondays 9.00pm) It’s hugely entertaining but also very educational.  You can empathise with each of the contestants even though each one is a real weirdy.  You can get excited about whether they’ll meet their deadline and what the public vote will be on their bizarre “art”.

It’s the “X Factor” where “X” equals modern art and the chance to exhibit at the Saatchi Gallery and get a studio free for three years. The characters are eccentric and divine darling, particulary the asian boy with the spiky hair and Eugenie, the gorgeous 19 year old minx who wore her waders from suspenders in the last episode when her sculpture had to be installed in a pond!

There are the experts of course with Tracey Emin playing Arlene from Strictly and Charles’ advisors playing Nick and Margaret from The Apprentice or Sarah and David from The Restaurant.  The USP though is Charles himself or, rather, his absence.  The famously “camera-shy” Charles, dare I suggest it, is bound to make an appearance in the final programme.

Of course, Saatchi & Saatchi is my alma mater so perhaps I’m biased but within its cliched formula this programme is a delight.  In fact, perhaps it’s because it’s structure is such a cliche that it can explain things that are almost beyond explanation and give us mere mortals an insight into the minds of modern artists.

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