I’ve never really watched Pointless apart from a few stray minutes at the end while waiting for Casualty to finally make an appearance. but unlike with Strictly we leave the volume on so I’ve got an idea of what it’s all about. It’s kind of the reverse of Blankety-Blank (if you remember that horror) where you were rewarded for thinking in cliches; as I understand it, Pointless encourages you to think outside the herd mentality and come up with a correct answer which few people would get. So that’s at least a worthwhile element, and Alexander Armstrong is a personable presenter (I think of him as this generation’s Graeme Garden – both lanky, both comedians, both ex-doctors.) But! it is not Pointless per se to which I invite you to turn your minds today but Points of View, the BBC’s right-to-reply programme which may be the longest-running on TV apart from The Sky at Night*. Now here’s a genuinely pointless programme: I gave it a go yesterday just wondering if it would’ve changed from the old Barry Took days; alas, it had not. One particularly silly comment complained about the plastic dividers in Only Connect separating the contestants, saying she didn’t want to be reminded of C19 when she watched TV. Perhaps she’d prefer the contestants to come down with the virus instead. The programme is basically a series of boos and hurrahs: I could use words like bland and moronic but instead I’ll point you (ahem!) in the direction of this Not the Nine o’clock News parody:
Compare and contrast with Radio 4’s Feedback, a thoughtful, incisive and intelligent programme.
* it isn’t: it started in 1961.
Now, when you were at school, did you ever do this when playing a game: cross your fingers and shout something like vainlits? It could be vainlights or fainlights, but it turns out both OH and I, who grew up in different parts of the country, were familiar with this expression. It means you can’t be ‘got’, so if you’re playing tig or something you’re immune from being touched. I’ll have to find out where it comes from. Coincidentally, crossing your fingers and shouting vainlits! is also President Trump’s latest advice on how to avoid the coronavirus.
This wikipedia article cites The Lore and Language of Schoolchildren where the term is listed as fainites. I think OH has the book somewhere… I’ll keep you posted.