Imagine if the UK Workplace Health and Safety Awards were televised. Hosted by Sue Crispbread, BBC Hereford and Worcester’s third most popular presenter, it begins with the Most Days Without a Reportable Accident category. The nominees are Heattech International (Grimsby), Knaresborough Fasteners and Elastics, Stevenage Stone Cladding Solutions and WTF Joinery of East Grinstead. And the award goes to… KNARESBOROUGH FASTENERS AND ELASTICS! [Repeat for two and a half interminable hours.]
Sounds boring, doesn’t it? But I would argue that it’s really not that much of a leap from there to the Brits, the Grammys, the Baftas or the Oscars. Yes, the red carpet might feature Sam Smith in an alarming bin bag full of polyps, Dame Judi Dench might be sitting in the audience trying to find a tissue in her handbag, and there may be behind-the-scenes gossip galore. But when you watch awards shows on TV they’re always about as eventful as a 10-hour YouTube video of a roaring fire.
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At least when you actually attend the Oscars or the Baftas you get a goody bag – whose contents range from Fabergé eggs and holidays in the Maldives to bottles of gin and champagne truffles, depending on how important you are. You might even be invited to an afterparty or meet someone influential who can further your career.
But what do we, the audience, get from awards shows? Awkward jokes, technical issues, tedious red carpet interactions and a bunch of faceless people picking up awards for Best Key Grip for 14 hours – followed by two weeks of ‘cultural discourse’ about the one thing that actually happened (Kim Kardashian wore a dress).
Or, if it’s the Brits, you get the bonus of deep embarrassment and shame at how terrible we are at live events, which usually lasts until the following year’s awards.