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Digitiser: The Show Preview

Digitiser: The Show Preview

You may recall back in March when we told you about Mr Biffo’s tremendous Kickstarter success for Digitiser: The Show. Less than nine months later and the series is in the cutting room, getting ready to delight YouTube viewers aplenty. I say cutting room, but it’s 2018 so it’s probably just Biffo sitting in front of a computer with a copy of Premiere Pro and a dozen Red Bull cans. That’s not the point though, the point is that the show is debuting at 9pm this evening (That's the 11th of November if you're reading this after initial publication), and I’ve been lucky enough to get a look at the first episode of the series.

There’s a lot of retro gaming content on YouTube, but from the outset, this was designed to bring something new to the table, with the tagline “the return of proper gaming TV” being featured heavily in the initial marketing for the show. With televisual gaming content being largely restricted to the occasional bit of eSport coverage on Ginx and that thing with Dara O’Brien on Dave, it’s no wonder that over a thousand backers did their best to make sure that this show became a reality.

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Biffo has pointed out that the episodes were filmed largely in broadcast order, so this first one isn’t as polished as some of the later ones. A few minor audio inconsistencies aside though, this is definitely one of the slickest looking productions that I’ve seen on YouTube. It’s well-written and informative, but it never takes itself too seriously. In fact, it rarely takes itself seriously at all. I defy anyone to show me another programme where the final outcome of a contest is decided partially by a conversation between the host and a plastic lobster for example.

Our five main hosts comprise of Mr Biffo himself and YouTubers Paul Gannon, Gameplay Jenny, Guru Larry, and Octavius Kitten. Although this is Biffo’s project, it’s never an ego trip. He might get a little bit more screen time as the main host, but all of the hosts add their own personality and uniqueness to the show. There’s a clear chemistry between them too, which is vital for a format like this, as we’ve seen with the disaster that is Top Gear post May, Hammond, and Clarkson. I’m using that analogy very intentionally too, as the anarchic irreverence of that particular presenting team isn’t entirely dissimilar to what we have in this program. Although I’m pretty sure that none of the presenters have punched anybody over a sandwich.

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There’s clear inspiration from shows like Gamesmaster and Bad Influence evident, but also from more modern formats like panel shows. There’s nothing derivative though, this is clearly and obviously Digitiser from the very outset. That randomness of humour and tangential absurdity that I remember from the 90s is here in abundance, and it’s made the transition perfectly. The random fake adverts between pages survive as little cutaway segments akin to Adult Swim’s bumps, and Mr T is back to warn us away from his bins. They’ve even managed to get “press reveal” moments in, which I hadn’t expected, but I was delighted to see. If you never actually read the original Teletext magazine, then you might not get some of the references, but even without, you’ll soon get the idea. It’s accessible to newcomers, but with a few nods and winks for veterans.

What we have here is ultimately something that has the potential to be very special indeed. It’s a gaming show that actually “gets” gaming culture, crafted and presented by someone who genuinely cares about it. Gaming TV has been phoning it in since Thumb Bandits got cancelled, could this finally be the show that we’ve been waiting for? The show launches on youtube this evening, so click here to subscribe to their YouTube channel.

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Gary “Dominoid” Sheppard

Gary “Dominoid” Sheppard

Video Editor

Gary maintains his belief that the Amstrad CPC is the greatest system ever and patiently awaits the sequel to "Rockstar ate my Hamster"

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Acelister - 04:19pm, 11th November 2018

Sounds fun. How long is the show? I don't get a ton of time to watch shows on YouTube, so want to allocate enough time.

dominoid - 04:32pm, 11th November 2018 Author

It's about 40 minutes. I thoroughly recommend it if you can make the time, I reckon it's the kind of thing you'd like

TGK - 07:12pm, 19th November 2018

"One of the slickest looking productions on YouTube" is a BIG stretch in my opinion. The first couple episodes are an absolute shambles but it does draw a few laughs for sure. Paul Gannon does his best to reign in the madness and is one of the best things about the show.

TheSphericalCat - 10:24pm, 19th November 2018

As sad as it is, I have to agree - I was really looking forward to the series but Biffo doesn't seem to want to be there, and he has little idea with what to do with the co-hosts. There are some moments where it all comes together, but they're brief and quickly replaced by a format as dated as the topics at hand. I know this was a Kickstarter, but the production quality is much lower than I expected, in comparison to similar style show Barshens.

dominoid - 06:58pm, 23rd November 2018 Author

It's a shame you didn't like it as much as I did, but we're all different I suppose. It's the madness and insanity that I love about it personally, It's like an adult version of Going Live!