Mechannibals reviews

The overnight figures for Mechannibals were, apparently, something like 1.5 million viewers, which is bang in that grey area between ‘sinking without trace’ (around 1 million) and ‘recommission this now!’ (around 2 million). However, it was up against Frost which evidently cleaned up, and the audience was skewed young, which is apparently causing some excitement since BBC2 engineering shows usually attract an older audience. Mind you, BBC2 engineering shows are usually fronted by Adam Hart-Davis, so…

The audience had dipped from 2 million watching Top Gear, but matched that of Bremner, Bird and Fortune over on Channel 4.

I’m not at all surprised the assorted forum and messageboard posts are so negative, incidentally (see comments to this post for links), in part since the average position of Points of View in particular has always been on the lambasting side of negative. And to be fair, I’m not sure the reviews are entirely wrong. I’ll be interested to see how the rest of the series turns out, since the Bognor shoot that went out first was unusual in being so emotionally divisive during shooting.

As I think I wrote months back, the assumption of the format as sold was that Wife Swap-style angst was vicariously enjoyable, but as the production developed it felt like it was turning more towards telling the stories of the machines. However, I don’t know how it panned out in the edit, which is where the series is really made – it could have gone in several different directions.

To be clear – I do believe the emotions on display last Sunday were an honest depiction of what happened. Building something like a shed-destroying machine, in two days, is an emotional journey, and a process that I think only Science Shack has tried to capture previously (maybe Now Get Out of That too, back in the 1980s). So there should always be moments of horror and struggle and disagreement. Equally, the families all wanted to win: some more than others, true, but they certainly weren’t duped into the show. Indeed, some were rather alarmingly up for ripping their houses apart, and certainly most did so with rather more readiness than we wanted – one needs a certain amount of reticence for the story to make sense!

I’m fascinated to see how the rest of the series pans out. I was there, but I’ve seen none of the other finished shows.

13 thoughts on “Mechannibals reviews”

  1. Wow! Some people really do get wound up about it, don’t they! Reminds me of the Monty Python skit, “Dear BBC, Why, oh why, oh why, oh why, oh why, oh why, oh why, oh why. Yours Mr Whinge, Plodon Regis”
    Least the viewing figures seem to suggest it’s getting viewers, against the thoughts and views on some of the forums!!

  2. Speaking as someone whose show came number one in the “TV’s Most Shameful Moments” programme…
    I thought there were some quite interesting ideas in Mechannibals, and it’s always interesting to see people make things. And as has already been mentioned, the graphics were excellent.
    For me the problem was that it seemed mean-spirited, and I think that’s a turn off. When Scrapheap made a season where teams were encouraged to steal each other’s bits and so on, the response was overwhelmingly negative.
    The other problem with Mechannibals was that it was too fast – there was no breathing space. So I found I didn’t care about any of the characters.
    Sp really all problems that spring from the edit. Anyway that’s my two cents!
    Patrick

  3. Imagine the shock, when me and Nige were watching Points of View on Sunday, and the comment, “So, we asked the series producer for his views…”
    Didn’t realise there’s a producer, and then there’s a series producer!
    You managed to miss that one, then!

  4. Hmmm, those other reviews must be dodgy, both sites are banned from work!
    Lots of publicity mind, only good news I guess for future work 😉

  5. We were on Points of View? Really? Uh-oh…
    Yeah, for these sorts of things the ‘Series Producer’ runs the whole caboodle, then the individual shows are looked after by producers or – more commonly – producer/directors. Mechannibals was unusual in having me as ‘Content Producer’; most of the stuff I’ve done in children’s has been more-or-less ‘series producing,’ but we don’t use that term in children’s very often.

  6. Rado Times has Mechannibals featured on Sunday page with a picture of yours truly and team. Second week was better than first, and probably should have been first shown IMHO
    Mike

  7. Hi Jonathon, knew we’d meet again.
    I would just like to add my views on Mechannibals.
    I thoroughly enjoyed partaking in the making of this series. It was by no means done for fame and fortune, although I believe Jodie Marsh’s success is down to her appearing on a reality TV show.
    I would hardly describe myself or my family as Mr and Mrs Average, but just the chance to do something a bit wacky appealed to us.
    As for the editing, I agree with Patrick, it was a bit too impersonal, erring on the side of fast paced, I think it could have stretched to an hour, to show the human side and the laughs and the endless frustrations that were encountered during the making of said contraptions, and a little more of the machines backfiring on the acutal shoot out. But hey ho, there you go.
    I hope the general public watch the rest of the series and think to themselves, there but for the grace of god go I, cos I will be looking at the general public and thinking the same

  8. Where’s it gone? Is there some big late night Sunday sporting event moving it to some other slot. Or have we lost it for ever?

  9. Last Sunday featured some ridiculous new show involving ludicrously-dressed chaps poking two-inch balls around with pointy sticks on a desperately poor model of a field. Thankfully, decent television will return next week.

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