Heron Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Saturday 21 December 2013

Not just me, then

Interesting piece in the Guardian a few days ago comparing the TV schedules for Christmas week 1978 with the current fodder - interesting particularly that so much was crammed into just the two BBC channels (why he omits ITV, I don't know).

However, he's not really comparing like with like. Christmas week was special, after all, and he doesn't mention the deadening effect of repeats on the usual weekly schedules in those days. One thing about the multiplicity of digital channels, catch-up and PVR services these days is that the repeats are available elsewhere (if and when you choose to have them, and frequently I do, since there was so much I've missed in the past or forgotten about). I can remember that for every moan of "It's just repeats" there was one of "Why can't we have X back?".  And now we can.

The technological advance of digital TV would have happened anyway, Thatcherism or no, whether through some farcical period of "pirate" satellite broadcasting or in the way that it has developed. We might be sorry that public service may seem to have diminished in terms of the diversity and variety in any one channel's offerings: but the increase in channels has allowed the recent success of foreign language series, available almost all year round, rather than the occasional worthy movie.

And when I think of the times we used to joke "Just get them to hold it there for a minute" while we popped out to the loo or to make a cup of tea - well, with the pause button, now we can.

But I think he's right about the dumbing-down effect of endless copycat formats, property shows, and the apparent sheer terror among producers of just allowing someone to talk, uninterrupted, without people in the background acting out what they're talking about, irrelevant background music tinkling away to no great purpose, and so on (imagine if we couldn't have a real-life conversation without all that).

1 comment:

  1. Golly, it’s getting harder and harder to comment here.

    I actually saw one or two good programmes over the ‘festive season’; 'Last Tango In Halifax’ springs to mind.

    Happy New Year, Autolycus;