Proper Gander: A Load of Crystal Balls

Psychic Today (Sky 886, Freeview 32) must be on to something with its Tarot card readings and crystal energies. There has to be some kind of supernatural force which bewitches the viewer into watching such a brain-atrophyingly inane show.

A shiny presenter and her psychic sidekick sit in their flimsy, tacky studio waiting for your questions about your life. Callers to the show receive a ‘reading’ via the programme’s medium, and also the medium of premium-rate phone lines. Just send a text or leave a voicemail message, and one of a team of psychics will use cards, pendulums or ‘working with energies’ to interpret your situation or see what your future will bring.

Here are some chunks plucked out from their verbal vomit. Asked about a relationship between an Aries and a Cancer, one psychic ‘explains’ that “it’s fire and water, isn’t it? And sometimes fire can put the water out”. Another one ‘informs’ us that “the psychic ability is very much I feel surrounded within the body of the sixth sense”. Supposed psychic powers aren’t discussed in any more detail than that, forbidden by the set of guidelines the psychics must follow. This is presumably so they don’t risk dabbling with forces beyond their control, such as trading standards legislation. These rules also prevent the psychics making lawsuit-attracting readings about health, pregnancy, money and legal matters. So, most of the readings relate to the callers’ careers and relationships and are usually, as you’d expect, vague enough to apply to anyone.

These psychics aren’t as clear as a crystal ball. Despite their fuzziness, specific details about someone’s life can apparently sometimes be gleaned from only a date of birth, star sign, or – amazingly – even just a name. Tellingly, you never get to hear the punters say what they thought of their readings. Perhaps any criticism of their accuracy is avoided by the programme’s policy of only giving reassuring or empowering readings, such as “if the energies are right, he’ll come back. But remember you’ve done nothing wrong, and you’re the better person”. So, at least the show offers some kind of service to the lonely or confused, at a price. Sadly, the message: ‘Hopeful Piscean wants to know if there’ll be a revolution in his life’ was left unanswered by the psychics.

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