I have never had the Dutch down as being particularly inventive or imaginative.
Not that I have anything against them, of course, but for most of my life it seemed to me their principal contribution to the UK was that unfathomably popular of cheeses, Edam – rubbery, bland to the point of tastelessness and inexplicably wrapped in red wax.
Of course, they also supplied us with daffodil and tulip bulbs and tomatoes – which seemingly had many of the same attributes as their cheese.
But it seems I have been doing the nation a severe disservice. Holland’s contribution to British popular culture takes some beating.
Big Brother – the daddy of reality TV shows is part of the huge Endemol empire of television franchises, which also includes Deal or No Deal, Ready Steady Cook, Groundforce and Changing Rooms.
How our lives would have been impoverished over the past 20 years had Messrs van de Ende and de Mol not got together.
There are many, many more shows from the Endemol stable which have passed me by: Fear Factor, Estate of Panic and Gay Straight or Taken, to name just three.
Now there is a new Dutch export about to land on these shores courtesy of a multi-million pound deal between the licence-payer funded BBC and, as it happens, Endemol’s competitors in Holland, the Talpa Media Group.
The Voice is yet another musical ‘talent’ show. Its X-factor apparently is that the judges – rumoured to be Cheryl Cole, George Michael and Robbie Williams – will not see the contestants, so must vote on their voice alone. Brilliant. The contract is said to have emptied £22m out of the BBC’s coffers and will cost upwards of £500,000 per episode.
Am I alone in thinking that this kind of money we deserve better than what amounts to little more than Opportunity Knocks for the digital generation?
By Scott Freeman