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HOT TV: The King is dead - just let him be.

Byline: SHANE DONAGHEY

ELVIS HAS LEFT THE BUILDING (BBCNI Digital)

PROBABLY because he was forced to watch this atrocity.

This is an attempt at an Ulster Never Mind the Buzzcocks.

Merciful Zeus. Why? We're not finished with the old one yet.

Mind you, if aliens took that show's Phil Jupitus to a faraway planet and performed painful experiments on him I for one wouldn't call in Mulder and Scully.

Some bloke Murphy - I didn't catch his first name and five minutes in I was already losing the will to keep my eyes open - is the presenter.

There are then two teams of two people.

This week there was comedian Jason Byrne from the south, a camp Geordie with a mullet, a Canadian and some Australian woman.

It was as if someone had visited a students' bar in Belfast and press ganged the first four backpackers they could find.

Byrne has dyed his hair a comic shade of red, which is always a bad sign with a comic. (Exhibits A-Z: Billy Connolly's beard and the Lotto adverts.)

The Geordie once had his own show on Channel 5, apparently, while the moose worrier was probably on because of his laconic, laidback sense of humour.

Sadly, cadavers on ER show more animation.

The Aussie, meanwhile, sounded like Germaine Greer without a titter of the wit, sophistication and beauty.

If this is the digital revolution it would appear that we aren't finished with lining people up against the wall yet.

What is the point of local produce for the digital channel if it's going to consist of pale imitations of shows that weren't all that good to begin with?

OK, there may be some merit in letting someone loose on a digital channel before letting them loose on the real thing.

Even Tom Cruise, for example, paid his dues by being third extra on the left in some woeful nonsense with someone who used to be married to Andre Agassi.

Between this and the new BBC3, this week wasn't a good advert for licence fee investment in the digital platform.

It's nearly pounds 96 million into the new channel and so far, the only thing that has been worth the watch was the Dom Joly chat show.

His dancing bearsuits playing air guitar to the Cure will live with me for a long time.

But if I'm the only one going to be watching - and I've never heard anyone else talk about it - then put something on that will be worth the investment of time.

After all, the competition is fierce.

Why watch Elvis has left the Building when a dozen music channels are showing Kylie videos on heavy rotation?

The Boss - Mr Springsteen - once sang a song about having 57 channels and nothing on.

Watching this you can only agree with him.

Elvis has left the building?

You couldn't have got him into it with the offer of a free cheese burger if he knew he was going to have to endure this?

CAPTION(S):

JASON BYRNE: Star of Elvis has left the building
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:Feb 16, 2003
Words:511
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