It was somewhat ironic that, a few days after the Minister of Broadcasting Trevor Mallard had made some barbed comments about Television New Zealand not meeting 'Charter obligations', TVNZ unveiled Stars In Their Eyes (TV1, Tuesday, 8.30pm).

A carbon copy of the British version (TVNZ have bought the rights) it featured a group of Kiwi's imitating (I use the term loosely), among others, Shakira (the eventual winner of this episode), Freddie Mercury, Meatloaf and Robbie Williams.

It was quite stunning really: none of the contestants sounded - or even looked - like the pop artists they were pretending to be.

Meatloaf was a big guy in a frilly shirt and black trousers. He didn't look like Meatloaf and he certainly didn't sing like him.

Similarly 'Robbie Williams' was a guy in jeans and a t-shirt. He was singing a Robbie Williams song. He was a guy in jeans and a t-shirt singing a Robbie Williams song.

The host was fundamentalist Christian Simon Barnett, who seems to get wheeled out every so often for some TVNZ light entertainment fare. I was waiting for him to tell me why he thinks smacking his kids is okay.

Barnett, I think, will have some explaining to do to God for all the big fibs he kept telling throughout the show. To describe the awful acts as 'brilliant' and 'great' was certainly imaginative on his part.

Whose to blame for this rubbish?

I suppose you can blame the TVNZ decision-makers for giving a green light to Stars In Their Eyes, but the ultimate blame lies with Labour's broadcasting policy which has created an environment for shows like this to thrive while current affairs, documentaries, top class drama, etc have virtually disappeared off TVNZ's programming schedules.

The decision to create a TVNZ that has had to supposedly meet public service obligations while, at the same time, meeting commercial targets has created a wasteland on our screens of banal light entertainment, reality shows, quiz shows and a third rate news service.


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