Last night I thought I’d watch some TV. So I picked up the TV guide and thumbed through it with the express intention of finding something to watch. My head exploded with despair. After I picked up the pieces of skull and brain I had splattered all over the living room I analysed the scheduled programmes I had missed.
For the benefit of our Merrycan and European cousins let me explain how TV works in the UK. If you want a television receiver in your house you must have a licence. You can have a black and white CCTV monitor without a licence as long as the equipment is not capable of receiving a television signal. To have video recorders, TV’s or even a Computer with a TV card, regardless of whether they are connected to an aerial or not, in the UK you must have a TV licence.
The proceeds of which go to fund the BBC who make great TV programmes when they try. Furthermore, the BBC are also allowed to raise revenue by selling their programming to other networks worldwide. However, they are unable to make revenue by advertising so unlike in Merrycar where…
Buy this car, it will make you seem more financially buoyant than your friends. Encourage your partner to buy one too that way you can feel more superior to your neighbour who never seem to invite you their kinky sex parties
you get adverts every two minutes and the programmes are really just advertising space fillers
Have no life? Text “Mugme” to 833434 and get a free ringtone every 20 minutes (The ringtone is free but the text will cost you £4305 a letter) Go on! Your life will seem pointless and might as well end unless you have these ringtones!
which can get a bit annoying after a while. Anyway because I pay just over £100 a year to the government BBC I get to watch a handful of advertisement free channels. Further more, if I feel I want to be sold to or have every intricate moment of a drama explained to me as though I am a thicko with no clue whatsoever then I can watch ITV who gain their revenue mostly from the sale of advertising space, or I can enjoy the relative “I’m immune to advertising but I’ll watch this interestingly subversive factual current affairs programme aimed at the 20-45 age bracket” chinstrokery of Channel 4 (when they are not showing Big Pervert or something). Indeed, if I feel that I haven’t had enough Americanisation I can tune into Channel 5 and get a fix of syrupy slush whenever I feel like it.
That is until recently. When the powers that be decided that 5 channels isn’t enough and we needed to fall inline with the rest of the world and have Digital TV. Behold Freeview. A multi channel sewer of creativity, behold several other BBC channels (for free) such as BBC3, BBC4, BBC News 24, CBBC (for kiddies), CBeebies (for kiddies that don’t know they are kiddies yet), ITV2, ITV 3 and ITV-somewhere-near-the-bottom-of-the-list-so-you-never-remember-its-there-4, More4, E4 (for yoofs that do EEE’s man), Film Four, UKTV Hitler Coast Alan Titchmarsh’s Natural History History, Q-PVC, Bid up, Bid down, Bid sideways all manner of shite and dirge.
All for free.
Because I pay just over £140 a year.
Good that isn’t it?
What’s more is some people pay a further £400 a year for the privilege of watching everything that has been shown on the free channels in the past again and again, more American TV and the experience of being sold to every 15 minutes (yet more adverts).
I dont agree with paying twice for something I’ve already paid for so instead I tend to download illegally programmes I really want to watch (ie reruns of old Dr Who and Lost) or rent and rip via LOVEFilm. But each to their own I suppose.
Anyway I read the TV schedule and this is some of the “quality” televisual treats available for the general British public:-
Fat people and their fat dogs. Gripping reality TV.
– Fat? Watching telly? Hell you’ll never eat again after watching this (Though you’ll still watch telly…wont you?)
Celebrity Dog Superstars
– the public vote for their favourite celebrity so that the rescued dog they are looking after doesn’t get put down
The public vote on their favourite celebrities knitting patterns. This week Imoelda Staunton knits a spectacle case out of her own navel fluff
Something without that annoying prick Patrick Keilty –
A programme, possibly the news, without Patrick Keilty. His mum will be disappointed
Something with Ben Fogel in it
He’s not on telly enough these days so slap a repeat on and nobody will notice.
I was a Celebrity But I Bummed Some Rabbits in Michael Barrymore’s Swimming Pool While off my face on Crystal Meth Make Me Famous Again (Please)
Washed up has-beens vie to be famous once more for 15 weeks while they try to rebuild their career by doing things they wouldn’t normally lower themselves to do had they still had some self respect left.
Don’t Poke Me with a Spoon –
Situation comedy, probably about a married couple who secretly hate each other and the trials and tribulations of everyday life with teenagers. With canned laughter in case you don’t know where to laugh.
Holidays you’ll never afford
– Watch dreamily as a washed up public school ponce that used to be an interior designer shows you “holidays you’ll never afford unless you sell your children for medical experiments and maybe burn your house down for the insurance” in far off countries you’ve never heard of and are probably made up anyway.
IF…The World Still Had Protozoan Sludge
– Popular science scientists and people crying out for research grants discuss what 21st century life might be like if the world was still covered in Protozoan sludge in an effort to justify the millions of pounds already wasted on them by popular Universities.
My Mother was Adolf Hitler –
Someone like Adam Hart-Davies bumbles about the countryside on a unicycle interviewing friends of Nelly Bainbridge of Stithians who always claimed to be Adolf Hitler who escaped occupied Germany in a shoe box and had a sex change to disguise his identity.
Old King Coal
Soap Opera set in Yorkshire following the fortunes and struggles of a typical family during the Arthur Scargill era. Cunningly set at a time where if the soap isn’t popular they can end the series by closing darn t’pit. Starring Dr Who’s David Tennant as Arthur Scargill.
Dead Hicks –
Science fiction drama for thirty-somethings filmed in and around Solihull where every week parts of which are substitute for far off places such as Delhi, New York and Birmingham. This week the team are visited by their arch-nemesis, the sinister Tax Inspector (played by Patrick Keilty)
I’m so grateful I spend £142 a year on this quality programming. Its like Waitrose selling Kwiksave No Frills Bread. After all it must be good if Waitrose sell it!
This post was originally posted on my Livejournal in 2007