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Review of 2001 Monday, 24 December, 2001, 12:21 GMT
Entertainment: A sad, bad year?
Survivor reality TV show participants
Survival: reality TV shows fought to the death
By the BBC's Robert Nisbet

In 2001 big books hit the big screen, teen pop hit the wall and reality TV proved hit and miss. It was an unexceptional year in entertainment where genuine originality took a backseat to imitation and adaptation. And of course the glittering superficiality of showbusiness seemed somewhat inappropriate after 11 September.


If you listened closely you could hear the British pop balloon slowly deflating throughout 2001. The Spice Girls imploded while Scary, Baby and Posh saw their solo warblings foundering in the face of mass teen indifference.

George Harrison
Millions mourned George Harrison
The boyband 5ive became 4our, 3hree and then 0blivion, while Hear'Say found their sales sliding as the tabloid momentum that took them to number one shuddered to a halt.

On the musical plus side: the R'n'B licks of Destiny's Child (and our homegrown 'homage' group MisTeeq), the tatooed posturing of Eminem, the guitars of British singer-songwriters like Turin Brakes and the engines in Britain's UK garage scene, such as Craig David, So Solid Crew and Artful Dodger all found industry acceptance and chart reward.

But sadly, the general paucity of imagination in our current music scene was accentuated by the death of George Harrison in November.


In the multiplex, the year started with Russell Crowe still basking in the glow of Gladiatorial triumph, while March brought another victory for the combative actor, when he was crowned by Oscar.

Potter-mania hit the box office
Throughout 2001 we embraced our past - both fictional and factional - at the cinema.

Captain Corelli's Mandolin, Pearl Harbor and Enigma fought for screen space with the fantastic worlds of Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, The Mummy Returns and Planet of the Apes.

Records were broken, but the same cannot be said for the hearts of the critics. Many looked towards Europe to be inspired: Amelie, Brotherhood of the Wolf and Together took plaudits but for many it was a year where computer-generated special effects sat alongside computer-generated scripts.

At the Oscars, expect the Tolkien adaptation, Bridget Jones' Diary, Oceans 11 (still to open in the UK) and the curious Kubrick/Speilberg hybrid AI to score statue success.


As for TV, reality shows bit back. Big Brother 2 more than fulfilled the promise of the original series, giving celebrity party throwers a new clutch of extroverts to hog the canapes.

The Weakest Link
Not weak - success for Anne Robinson's show
The concept also provided the year's most interesting deconstruction of celebrity, when Vanessa Feltz and Anthea Turner went into the house - and seemingly out of their minds - for charity.

Popstars and Pop Idol proved there is ratings platinum in public humiliation, while ITV's flop Survivor seemed to suggest we like our victims to scratch each other's eyes out with lower production values.

The Weakest Link wasn't, Top of the Pops was and everyone on the blue planet apparently tuned in to watch The Blue Planet.

Perhaps the most surprising success was in 'histomentaries', with The Vikings, The History of Britain and The Six Wives of Henry VIII all coaxing us back to the past.

But despite these televisual encouragements, for this reporter much of the entertainment on offer in 2001 was a waste of space odyssey.

Links to more Review of 2001 stories are at the foot of the page.

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Links to more Review of 2001 stories

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