A Journey To Where Clickbait Is Born

I was visited by the looming spectre of insomnia last night. I was blessed with above average staying awake skills which left me seeing in the sunrise, and all the noisy bastard birds that like to have a sing.

Which is joyful and life affirming, but not when you’re hoping to drop off. Sleep eventually took me, and I was woken a couple of hours later by nice next door’s gentleman caller destroying our fence to put in a new one.

At 7.30 in the morning.

During my slumberless period I watched most of YouTube, I thought about reading. And then I thought about watching Antiques Road Trip on iPlayer.

It’s a nice distraction, okay.

Don’t judge me.

I searched iPlayer, which threw up 20 episodes – who needs sleep. But I was confused – there was series 12, last broadcast in February, and series 8 which I deduced must have been shown prior to February.

I took to Google to find out.

Which is how I discovered that the Daily Express website is the birthplace of click bait.

They employ – I assume – someone (or someones) to write actual articles based on things that have happened in TV shows like Antiques Road Trip, or Pointless. They use CAPITAL LETTERS to pick OUT a few words and drum up interest for what is such a non-story that a word hasn’t even been invented for that level of non-story.

And there are hundreds of them.

I read loads of them.

And, on some, the comments. One concerned a sale, on Antiques Road Trip, of an item which cost £50 for £3800. One of the comments asked if the antiques expert in question could be charged with theft for clearly obtaining the item for a fraudulently low price, hiding the true value of it. Which, if nothing else, explains how we live in a world where Brexit and President Trump are both actual things.

I was hooked.

I found articles from this week proclaiming that the filming of Antiques Road Trip was in CHAOS after one of the experts stormed off. Or that there was TENSION as the experts pushed each other – neglecting the fact that the two experts in question work together.

I read on.

I started to assume that there must be a robot that writes these stories. Or, at the very least, someone who hasn’t been allowed outside for quite some time and doesn’t understand that things left in pre-recorded television shows are generally meant to be there.

The absolute beauty of the stories – a different one for each episode, acting like a match report you used to have to sit through in school assembly – was that they were for episodes of the show recorded three years ago, but shown on BBC 2 this week. That must have been some filming CHAOS… oh no, wait. Repeats.

Series 8, you see.

Not that I needed to watch any of them now…