harry Hill paid a million quid to write gags for X factor musical
harry Hill paid a million quid to write gags for X factor musical

This is a story that is so ridiculous you would think that someone must have made it up.

harry Hill to write gags for X factor musical
harry Hill paid a million quid to write gags for X factor musical

Simon Cowell has got Harry Hill to come and write gags for X Factor the musical and Hill’s show, TV Burp is no more.

TV Burp was one of those rare moments when the mainstream went wonky, it was surreal, off the wall and clever, it was also funny as fuck and it answered back to the avalanche of TV boredom. Attacking from within Harry Hill was deceptively funny, gentle yet barbed, cuddly yet venomous.

No wonder Simon Cowell has bought him out.

The story is that Cowell has got Harry Hill to be his gag writer on some ego monstrosity called ‘X Factor The musical’. Not content with paving the world over in the concrete of the pretend talent show that is all about pumping up his own brand and not the singers, Cowell has moved into the money spinning world of the musical and also perhaps shut down one of the few competitors on Saturday night TV and taken out one of the very few programmes that woke you up from the endless sludge of Cowell TV.

We can put up with Cowell world but like we have said a million times we are bored of him getting 99 per cent of all the media and with this cynical bit of business another tiny speck of resistance has been bought out.

Even last night on the radio I was called a snob for not liking X Factor, but why do I have to pretend ironically that it’s, ooooh, wonderful and great? people assume if you are into music that you should like it but it’s not a music show, it’s a celebrity show, it’s selling the Cheryl ‘tears as fake as her tan ‘ Cole brand, it’s selling the Simon Cowell brand and no-one is allowed to stand in their way.

The juggernaut owns the media – buying up anything in their path.

Modern media has little to do with musical culture; mainstream TV puffs up the bank balances of the Cowell mafia, local radio is full of dismal nodding dog DJ’s and their playlists handed to them on a plate thinking that playing Scouting For Girls is edgy – bigger radio is full of late forties media operatives burned out by years of chemicals chasing the fictional teenage audience.

You get the culture that you deserve: don’t blame us just give us a million quid.

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Award winning journalist and boss of Louder Than War. In a 30 year music writing career, John was the first to write about bands such as Stone Roses and Nirvana and has several best selling music books to his name. He constantly tours the world with Goldblade and the Membranes playing gigs or doing spoken word and speaking at music conferences.


  1. how can you say TV Burp was competition for the X factor? they are both on ITV and at different time slots. There’s no competition at all. Also… Cheryl Cole and Simon Cowell don’t appear on it anymore.

  2. TV Burp stands out on its own merely because its not a primetime entertainment show that involves dancing,singing, a quiz show with a panel of celebrities or another lousy quiz show vehicle for Ant and Dec.

    Dan – The competitor John means here is that of a show that happens that isn’t under control of Lord Hightrousers Cowell not a rival channel.


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