TVGoHome was a website which parodied the television listings style of the British magazine Radio Times. It was produced fortnightly from 1999 to 2001, and sporadically until 2003, by Charlie Brooker. The site now exists only in archive form. TVGoHome columns also appeared for a short time in Loaded magazine, sometimes edited from their original web version.
The website gained a cult following, partly due to its tie-up with the technology newsletter Need To Know, and its use of strong language, surreal imagery and savage satire reminiscent of the work of Chris Morris. Regular targets for abuse were the Daily Mail, Mick Hucknall of Simply Red, and the TV presenters Rowland Rivron and Nicky Campbell. TVGoHome’s most consistent target, however, was fictional. Nathan Barley, an ex-public-school media wannabe living off his parents’ wealth, had his life chronicled in a fly-on-the-wall documentary series (in the TVGoHome universe) entitled simply ‘Cunt’. Detailing Barley’s life in comfortably wealthy Westbourne Grove in west London, the programme essentially mocked the “new media” scene and its population of middle-class web designers, DJs and magazine producers, their obsessions with absurd fashions and gadgetry, their inevitably feeble attempts at creativity and their tireless and ludicrous efforts to embody the cutting edge of urban cool. A spinoff book of the same title was later released featuring old and new material.
Brooker has cited the increasing absurdity of reality television as one of the main reasons he stopped writing TVGoHome. The ideas for real life shows such as Touch the Truck, in which contestants must continually touch a truck for 24 hours in order to win the truck as a prize, were the kind of idea that at one point would only have existed as a satirical creation of Brooker’s website. Now that they were becoming a reality, Brooker felt it was time to stop.