Watchdog has been ruined by the BBC

Those who know me will know that I love a good complaint. I’m renowned for it. Because of this, I’m a fan of BBC Watchdog. I often watch the show and get irate at the companies they’re exposing for their unethical practices and poor customer service.

Indeed, I like to perform my own exposes of companies, such as those that have often annoyed me like the CSA, BT and Direct Line, or companies that have the misfortune of having annoyed me just the once and lived to regret it forever, such as Home Delivery Network and Chester Council.

I’m a fan of Watchdog’s work, so much so that I even aided them with their quest to investigate Providence Properties (a company that didn’t annoy me, but I picked up the torch nonetheless).

However, this new series of Watchdog, which started last night, will have companies like Providence Properties popping the champagne corks. What was once a hard hitting consumer affairs show has been diluted into nothing more than a BBC version of Loose Women.

Did we need to see Anne Robinson and Gabby Roslin harping on about pushchairs? Did we have to watch a 10 minute video showing how many bags you can hang on the back of them before they topple over, despite even the voiceover admitting that the manufacturers tell you not to do it? And what purpose did strapping the buggies onto a bucking bronco and seeing how long it took to launch the doll from them actually serve?

None, none whatsoever.

They then complained about Virgin Media. Excellent, as a customer of Virgin Media I’ve had my share of complaints with them. However, complaining that Virgin Media make it difficult to sort out someone’s account after they’d died isn’t really anything to complain about. People would soon complain if it were made easy, then anyone could phone up and claim to be a relative, stating the account holder had died and they wanted all of the documents and account credit transferred to them.

Virgin Media acted responsibly.

I can’t believe I’m saying all of this, but it gets worse.

The report on sunbeds was completely redundant. It’s not illegal for under 18s to use them, so none of the health clubs were breaking the law. What’s the problem?

Just why has the show been merged with Rogue Traders? I’m not a fan of Rogue Traders because I believe the guy hosting it, Matt Allwright, is out of his depth, as he showed again. He’s in the perfect position to really get people’s back up yet seems to act like a petulant clown. If you want to see how to annoy people, read this website, it’s all there.

Matt Allwright followed some salesman from Craftmatic beds, claiming his technique of making three phone calls to the office was hard sell, and his claiming that the bed will make you look twenty years younger was unscrupulous. OK, if you believe that using a bed makes you look twenty years younger you deserve to be conned, and making several calls to the office to get ‘discounts’ for the client is a sales technique. It might not be pleasant, but salesman generally aren’t.

He hadn’t done anything wrong. Then when the Matt Allwright tried to crash the sales conference and was barred from entry he started acting like a child, ordering the man behind not to trap him in the door or it would be assault.

You’re not supposed to be getting worked up mate, they are!

He’s rubbish and the show has been ruined. Bring back Nicky Campbell and the decent format. If you want someone to do Rogue Traders properly, I’ll do it!

Darren Jamieson, aka MrDaz, is the Technical Director and co-founder of Engage Web and has been working online in a career spanning two decades. His first website was built in 1998 and is still live today.

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6 thoughts on “Watchdog has been ruined by the BBC”

  1. Totally agree, they made a mockery of what was once a good tv show… the new set is a shadow of the old one-

    I like both watchdog and rogue traders but why merge them together? to save money I reckon.

    This new programme just reeks of CHEAP.

  2. Yeah, they’re definitely in it to save money, that’s why Nicky Campbell and Julia Bradbury left last season. I also emailed my contact at Watchdog today and his email bounced back with a ‘user unknown’ response. Seems he’s gone too.

    No more hard hitting investigations, just idle chat and complaints about dolls falling out of prams. It was like breakfast TV or, dare I say it, the One Show!

  3. I completely disagree, Matt Allwright is a brilliant host, he’s a very likeable person (not a rogue) and I think it’s hilarious when he carries out his confrontations, it’s liberating to watch! If Nicky Campbell tried to replicate this, it just somehow would not have the same impact. Nicky is too subdued, but Matt is representative of a guy who appeals to everyone of all social classes and background.

  4. I also disagree. Watchdog is very informative and the rogue traders add-on is a welcome short informative escape from mostly depressing news regarding companies and customers. At least this program is making a difference.

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