BBC Watchdog - about as sharp and savage as a dying labrador

Picture 134Two weeks into its much-heralded return and things are going rapidly tits up for BBC1’s blockbusting Watchdog show. The show’s production team have been attacked by Sony and hordes of PS3 users after what they claim was an unfair and inaccurate section of last week’s show.

It was a lengthy report on the (supposed) scourge of all PS3 owners – the Yellow Light Of Death. The YLOD is a system fail which although not unheard of, has never become the epidemic that Watchdog sought to portray it as. So Watchdog covered it as though it was the gaming equivalent of The Swine Flu.

ps3In fact, the Xbox 360’s Red Ring Of Death is believed to be about five times more common than the Yellow Light Of Death on the PS3 – something which Microsoft eventually acknowledged when they extended the Xbox warranty length to three years. The PS3 warranty is still only for one year.

In their response to the programme, Sony said that: “Fewer than one half of one percent of [UK] units have been reported as failing in circumstances where the yellow indicator is illuminated.” Not an epidemic then.

In the show, Watchdog reported that Sony charge £128 to repair out-of-warranty PS3 consoles and then proceeded to park a van outside the Sony HQ where engineers would repair YLOD-suffering consoles for free. Well, free to the public – the engineers probably invoiced the Beeb afterwards. Sadly, a high proportion of those consoles later malfunctioned again.

To add to the pile of evidence against this hatchet job, the presenter of the piece was unfunny comedian Iain Lee – former host of the 11 O’Clock Show, singer of crap songs about cocks and er, occasional Microsoft Network (MSN) games writer. That’s not really helping Watchdog’s plight is it?


So, after just two high-profile shows with its new look and new host, Anne Robinson, Watchdog has had a boot up the arse and is sulking in the kennel in the corner of the back yard.

Oh, and as a postscript, reports are reaching us that Anne Robinson demanded a £550 haircut and makeover before she would make a seven-minute appearance on BBC Breakfast promoting Watchdog.

Call us old-fashioned but we’re feeling some contradiction between presenting a show based around exposing consumer rip-offs and then trying to squeeze £500 out of the licence-payer for a fucking haircut and a coating of slap.

The debate continues over at the HotUKDeals forums...


  • Matt. S.
    Since the yellow light is a general fault indicator. I would hope that it is illuminated in most cases where to console has failed. Oh and when are watchdog going to do an exposé on the "silent engine of death" problem that afflicts the whole range of Ford cars.
  • TV's B.
    Andy I really like your work usually, but this is mostly rubbish too. 1) Watchdog and Anne Robinson should both be put out of their misery - I agree 2) From a supposed xbox-fanboy - yes the article was utter rubbish 3) You seem to use the fact the PS3 only has a 1 year warranty as a benefit or good point? Why? 4) Iain Lee might not be your cup of tea, but having read some of the attempts at humour on this blog, are you really in a position to state who/what is funny/unfunny? 5) Iain Lee also hosts the MSN gaming podcast, and compared to other watchdog 'reports' I'd say he's better qualified than most. 5) Yes New Watchdog is a fucking disgrace of a programme.
  • Slightly A.
    To be fair though, for her age, Anne Robinson does look quite doable at the moment!!
  • TV's B.
    Sorry more points - Iain Lee also made it clear he's a xbox user at the start of the piece - Slightly Ashamed - should be more than slightly. - Pradeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep
  • Fanny a.
    Has anne still got ginga pubes ???, her mop tops blonde now so no matching 'collar and cuffs' ;)
  • deejayone
    The new Watchdog is bad beyond comprehension. The 'audience' of 'affected people' stand there like stooges with prompted questions, the 'walk down the stairs to terrifyingly un-intimidating incidental sting music' for a stood-up interview where Anne seems to forget she isn't hosting the weakest link, the packaging in of Rogue Traders, the awful 'banter' between the 'presenters', the getting a celebrity-of-the-week to do a poor report about nothingness, the horrific 'quiz' they do with said 'celebrity-of-the-week' that serves no purpose, the horrible, - HORRIBLE - title sequence with the 'biting w' on scary words that looks like it was done by a 12-year-old in his IT class. I can't find any positives about the new Watchdog whatsoever. Fook me, they've even made Nicky Campbell look like a nice guy presenter who was doing a competent job AND I THOUGHT THAT WAS AN IMPOSSIBLE TASK!
  • Gunn
    Good they deserve a kicking, really scraped the barrel with that one. I don't care much for the new format, a hour is too much as well, we do have more than 4 channels these days!
  • Alex W.
    Watchdog, almost single handedly responsible for consumers deciding that shouting and being rude to shop staff is acceptable. Yes, shops do stuff wrong but there's no need to get rude, it just lowers you to their level.
  • ElBuc
    @ Slightly Ashamed... Dotable? Brüno looks better than her...
  • David
    Beleive me, I was rude to shop staff long before Watchdog lol
  • Adam C.
    Iain Lee, the so called "unfunny comedian," have any of the editors ever actually watched an episode of the 11 0'clock show? This guy was and still is hilarious, shame on you bitter wallets. The point of the report was to acknowledge that some people no matter how few have had a problems with their PS3's which they paid good money for and to bring this to the attention of Sony. If you owned a brand new car and it went tits up a day after the warranty ran out you wouldn't really give a monkeys arse how many other people have had the same problem, you'd just want it fixed. I think Watchdog have succeeded in they're aim to bring these faults to Sony's attention, and consumers will benefit from this. Are you now going to have a go at them outing the cancer miracle worker due to believing that he as his trusty spaniel can cure cancer with a handshake and a wag of the tail!? I thought not!
    • Andy D.
      Adam, kindly point me in the direction of any part of Iain Lee's career and I'll explain to you who he's copying and why he's made it worse.
  • Mark (.
    Andy... Did you get my earlier posts? I think on one machine I've still got a 'banned' cookie - Posted around 3pm Anyway, I would argue with you about Iain Lee, but we're all entitled to our opinions, even if yours is very wrong. I'll just leave with a Praaaaaaaaadeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep
  • Mark (.
    Just in case my earlier post doesnt appear, the gist was that Iain Lee also hosts the MSN gamer podcast and has for quite a while, and made it clear at the start of the item he is generally an xbox bloke. I'd say hes better qualified than most "celebrity" reporters watchdog uses.
    • Andy D.
      Fuck me - Iain Lee apologists. I've seen it all now. Bet you've got all of Coldplay's albums as well have you?
  • Brian
    Posted by Fanny amock | September 21st, 2009 at 3:54 pm "her mop tops blonde now so no matching ‘collar and cuffs’ " Hi, my name is Brian. Can you please give a detailed explanation of this comment? Thanks
  • Mark (.
    Andy - We've just got taste :) I maintain that the 11 o clock show was funny. however, Iain Lee doesn't call himself anything other than a "failed" tv presenter. It doesn't stop him being funny though. My opinion of course :)
  • The B.
    Menage a une was filthy beyond comprehension.
  • James
    The 11 O Clock show was only funny when Ali G was on... It was the only reason I watched it and Iain Lee is the jumped up sort of guy everyone would hate at school, not funny, twatish and really pompous .
  • Marcus S.
    I can't believe people think Iain Lee is a good comedian - that is the biggest joke of all! Don't get me wrong, I sort've enjoyed the 11 o clock show (more for Daisy Donovan) but he's hardly what you'd call a good comedian.

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