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Bad news, I’m afraid 17, October 2008

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Random.
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I apologise. There is no easy way of saying this. We’ve just all got to stick together at a time like this. Rely on each other for company, support and an emotional shoulder to lean on. So here goes…Noor has aired its last episode. How we’ll cope, I just don’t know right now. But struggle on we must…

So anyway…for those of you that don’t know, Noor is a Turkish soap opera. However, this is not some run-of-the-mill soap, but one that has captured the heart of the Arab world, from Saudi Arabia to Egypt to Oman, people have been utterly hooked. It is difficult, however, to see what they are hooked on. Noor is a lamentably terrible programme. Risibly pathetic plots meet some form of “acting” unbeknownst to me in a set knocked-up in a shed ten minutes before airing. Honestly, it makes the old Crossroads look like some kind of uber-slick Spielberg epic. And that’s not even mentioning the dubbing. Obviously, the original is in Turkish and gets dubbed into Arabic for the Middle East. Well…where to begin? One wonders if they use a script at all. That may sound like a ridiculous thing to say, but as they manifestly have no conception of timing, intonation that doesn’t clearly stem from some kind of a 1950’s Hong Kong martial arts dubbing-homage, and a plain disregard for who is actually speaking; anything is possible.

Noor has hit the headlines consistently in recent months because of its wickedly salacious plots. There are men…and women. Honestly, what next? The religious standard bearers of morality, truth and dodgy money to dodgy charities have slammed Noor, and many a jihad, fawta and no doubt the odd hex has been foisted upon the unrepentant Turkish import.

Violence on TV is, obviously, never an issue. From bloody car-chases to gory films to grainy videos of people’s heads being lopped off in Iraq, there is, it seems, something of a deafening silence from these religious folk when it comes to these latter examples. However, see a woman’s shoulder and well, that’s just plain haram. Imagine the social destruciton and free flow of depraved and wanton lust were the average Jordanian to see Queen Rania’s shoulder? Thank god for the censors.

Do these dogmatic censors not ever feel that they are the proverbial King Canute sitting on a beach? I mean really? Apparently over half the Arab population watched the end of Noor. Half. A in 50%. 1/2. That’s a lot of people. Around 85 million Arabs. Surely there has never ever been, in the history of television – in the history of human existence – such a turn out by one ethnic group for a programme episode? I’m sure that the ending of Dallas was popular, maybe even to the tune of 85 million people, but it certainly was no where near half of the American population, never mind half the ‘ethnic’ white Anglo-Saxon American group, or however else you define it.

Alas, logic is often something of a stranger in these parts of the world and so using a logically constructed argument is just plain unfair. But at least half that Arab world had a taste of good, old fashioned trash TV. Being as many in the Middle East appear to be emerging from the depths of Western 80’s style TV (hamdulillah…), I fully expect them to graduate to an appreciation of the Krytpon Factor, Mr Motivator and that other great of late 1980’s, early 1990’s TV, Blind Date with our Cilla. Though on reflection, maybe the Muftis saw the future and had the right idea all along.