October 25, 2012 by raconteurmagazine
By James Bovington
I know I promised you ramblings on the ‘Conservatives on Letterman’ furore, and they’re on their way, but in the meantime I had the distinct misfortune to find myself watching an episode of Switch (ITV1).
The blurb on the ITV website exposits thus; “Take four girls, add some flirting, a touch of rebelliousness, a pinch of risk-taking, and just a dash of true friendship.”
So far, so ho-hum Hollyoaks. A more typical show I have never seen. It continues;
“Lacey Turner, Nina Toussaint-White, Phoebe Fox and Hannah Tointon join forces to play four young twenty somethings based in London’s Camden Town, who just happen to be witches!”
Be honest; that reads like something a GCSE student would come up with doesn’t it? Not a particularly bright one, either.
Don’t forget they live in Camden, by the way, because that’s incredibly important. So important in fact that it’s stabbed into our collective eyes every young twenty something seconds with an establishing shot, of the same bridge every time. A bridge that has ‘Camden’ written on it, because don’t you dare forget it. At one point we were watching a scene in the main characters’ flat, the camera suddenly cut away and whipped across that fucking bridge and then we were back in the same room, in the same SCENE. You can’t just stick an establishing shot in the middle of a conversation, that’s not establishing anything except my urge to throttle you, several hundred puppies and JLS. Although that last one is fairly constant, so I can’t really blame the show for that. Just don’t forget they live in Camden, OK?
As it says above these women just happen to be witches, because witches are the new vampires. Occasionally they stand in a circle and deliver a little missive that makes cheap special effects happen. They brought a dead cat back to life.
Just let that sink in for a second, they take a dead animal and force it back into life then congratulate themselves heartily. In fact one character’s mum is also a witch and is super pleased that these apparently rubbish witches have managed to conjure life from nothing. If under-practiced, not- very-good witches can create LIFE from thin air what’s to stop them from simply taking it away? That’s where the show took a dark turn in my head and became about hyper-beings distracting themselves with trivial work-and-friends bullshit because they know if they didn’t they’d simply wipe the muggles off the face of the planet. Not that they won’t anyway; we mean nothing to them. Plus they live in Camden, remember.
Not one person involved here can act. Not. One. It’s a shame, because there’s plenty of arguments
and reconciliations, and some meaty chunks of ‘true friendship’ to sink our mind-teeth into, if
only they could be portrayed with anything approaching competency. There’s also a pair of one-
dimensional ‘gay man’ cardboard cut-outs. Cardboard cut-outs that are forced into a relationship through the application of a magic amulet, which is odd since you would assume the only two flamboyant, offensively portrayed gay people in Camden would already be camply mincing to each others’ Camden flats on a daily basis. In Camden. Or Camp-den. It’s difficult to tell when they’re on screen, which is for about four seconds. Impressively quick stereotyping.
So ignoring all the moral issues this show raises (they bring the dead back to life, force people into relationships for their own amusement and make a woman forget the last twenty-two years because she was a mean boss) and focusing entirely on the show itself, what’s the verdict?
It’s bad. It’s so, so bad. The acting, the editing, the script (“Did you bring the spell book?” “I can just use my Witch App.”), the characters, Camden, the premise and not forgetting Camden.
Do not watch this. It is worthless, stupid and mind-numbingly poor in its execution. They should have screwed up the pitch and watched it hover through the fog and filthy air right into the bin, because in this instance foul is just foul. There’s nothing fair here.
Just remember they live in Camden.