Entertainment

Royal Variety Performance viewers irritated by ‘overused’ canned laughter and ‘miserable’ audience

Like many TV broadcasts this year, The Royal Variety Performance utilised a virtual audience in place of a real one, thanks to the effects of the COVID-19 crisis.

But viewers of the annual event were left unmoved on Tuesday night, as it aired on ITV.

While the seats of the Blackpool Opera House contained screens showing people watching via Zoom, there was an obvious use of canned laughter and applause during the pre-recorded show – which viewers felt was added to excess.

Sea of screens: Viewers were left irritated at the ‘overused’ canned laughter at The Royal Variety Performance this year… and noted that the virtual audience looked ‘miserable as sin’

Often, it failed to sync up with what was going on on screen.

While applause could be heard at time, the screens showed the audience sitting still.

During other moments, riotous laughter could be heard, yet those at home were in fact shown looking stony-faced.

Viewers took to Twitter to point this out.

Les Miserables? Like many TV broadcasts this year, The Royal Variety Performance utilised a virtual audience in place of a real one, thanks to the effects of the COVID-19 crisis

Les Miserables? Like many TV broadcasts this year, The Royal Variety Performance utilised a virtual audience in place of a real one, thanks to the effects of the COVID-19 crisis

High street-humour: The evening was hosted by Jason Manford, who commented on the virtual audience. 'It's like looking in the Dixon's window!' he said, referencing the electronics chain

High street-humour: The evening was hosted by Jason Manford, who commented on the virtual audience. ‘It’s like looking in the Dixon’s window!’ he said, referencing the electronics chain

Fuming: Viewers took to Twitter to comment on the show

Fuming: Viewers took to Twitter to comment on the show

‘Don’t cut to the screens as you’re pumping the canned laughter!’ one person tweeted.

‘Love how when the camera pans back to the “laughing” audience they’re all sat there looking miserable as sin!’ another particularly miserly viewer pointed out.  

A third posted: ‘The canned laughter really adds to the s**t experience!’

Others branded the canned effects as ‘cringe-worthy’, ‘a bit much,’ and, ‘overused’.

Can it: While the seats of the Blackpool Opera House contained screens showing people watching via Zoom, there was an obvious use of canned laughter and applause during the pre-recorded show - which viewers felt was added to excess

Can it: While the seats of the Blackpool Opera House contained screens showing people watching via Zoom, there was an obvious use of canned laughter and applause during the pre-recorded show – which viewers felt was added to excess

Out-sync: While applause could be heard at time, the screens showed the audience sitting still. During other moments, riotous laughter could be heard, yet those at home were in fact shown looking stony-faced

Out-sync: While applause could be heard at time, the screens showed the audience sitting still. During other moments, riotous laughter could be heard, yet those at home were in fact shown looking stony-faced

Someone else typed: ‘Sorry is it just me or is anybody finding the canned laughter and TV boxes a bit weird?’

Another person was particulary livid: ‘I swear to God if you don’t break the fourth wall and at least acknowledge the canned laughter – then there’s no hope. Absolute disgrace.’

The evening was hosted by Jason Manford, who commented on the virtual audience.

‘It’s like looking in the Dixon’s window!’ he said, referencing the high street electronics chain.

One viewer penned: 'Love how when the camera pans back to the "laughing" audience they're all sat there looking miserable as sin!'

One viewer penned: ‘Love how when the camera pans back to the “laughing” audience they’re all sat there looking miserable as sin!’

Bringing the Spice: Melanie C performed her latest track Blame It On Me

Bringing the Spice: Melanie C performed her latest track Blame It On Me

The Prince Of Wales delivered a special message to the charity and those performing in the show as it kicked off, with the line-up including performances from Melanie C, Gary Barlow, Sheridan Smith and Steps.

Captain Sir Thomas Moore joined forces from his home with Michael Ball.

Michael was on stage at the Opera House with the NHS choir and performed You’ll Never Walk Alone, alongside Tom, who raised a massive £32 million for the UK’s health service during the first lockdown.

Take (That) to the stage: Gary Barlow belted a track out from his new album

Take (That) to the stage: Gary Barlow belted a track out from his new album

Stomping ground: Steps also performed a song from their new album

Stomping ground: Steps also performed a song from their new album

There was also magic from Stephen Mulhern, a performance from West End sensation Marisha Wallace and a high octane performance from Kenyan acrobats The Black Blues Brothers.

Also taking to the stage with a specially composed tune was musical comedian and Britain’s Got Talent 2020 winner Jon Courtenay. Comedy from stand-ups Jo Caulfield and Daliso Chaponda also featured.

The money raised from the show helps those people from the world of entertainment in need of care and assistance.


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