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Ode to Telly

July 1, 2008

Imagine not liking TV. I know, it’s not a nice concept, but it’s OK, I’m here – hold my hand if you like and we’ll get through it together. And breathe. It helps if you breathe. Now, I understand people who have those hobby things like reading stuff and playing musical instrument type things. But even those people tend to watch The Apprentice, the news, the odd documentary or even a soap or reality show (usually because their girlfriend watches it or something).

Well, I’ve just been having a very interesting conflab with someone who *actually hates all TV shows*. Even the news (probably). “I don’t hate TV, just the programmes on it,” he says. How can this be? Can there really be people in the world who don’t watch any television – not because they don’t have a telly, but because they choose not to? I’m talking an outright conscious decision not to watch anything. At all.

What joys they’re missing out on! The thrills of wondering who’ll be next to be booted out of BB for gangsta threats / spitting at a fellow housemate / urinating on someone’s pillow / rape… The glee at watching Gordon Ramsey strip off into nowt but his stupid blue contact lenses for yet another cookery show where he flirts embarrassingly with Janet Street Porter, while bullying a ‘family’ of Z-list celebs. The absolute hysterics at Celebrity Mr and Mrs, 100-1, Jeremy Kyle, yet another After You’ve Gone / Vicar of Dibley / Keeping Up Appearances repeat…

Hmmm… I fear he may have a point. But for the record, here are my top reasons to love TV:

I might have poked fun at their stooped ads a while back, but developments like Sky+ (other PVR units are available) have revolutionised the way we watch TV. Too busy for Gok’s How To Look Good Naked? No worries! Just set it up to ‘record’ on Sky+ (or other) and watch it at your convenience. Wondrous. You have no idea how much our PVR unit saved me when I was commuting. I’d record everything and watch it back over the weekend. Perfect. PVRs have put the viewer in control and given them the decision of what to watch and when.

Nowadays there’s always something on. BBC3, ITV2, E4, Dave… What great new comedy – and Top Gear / Grand Designs repeats – awaits of a boring Saturday avo. But really, it’s a chance for channels to test out new shows, making sure that what gets to us terrestrial lot is the best. Hmmm… Shame they didn’t test After You’ve Gone, then, eh?

Soap boxes
Thanks to the likes of Jamie Feckin Oliver and Hugh Fernley-Wittingstall, people like me (who are shallow and don’t care about the evil in the world) are made aware of such important social issues as crap school dinners (as if we didn’t know already) and battery farming. Thanks to TV, these issues have reached people who wouldn’t usually think about how their food gets on their plate, and this can only be a Very Good Thing (even if you do have to take out a second mortgage to buy a free range chicken that has less meat on it than Nicole Richie).

Like most of my generation (and many others before and after) I more or less learned to read and count with Sesame St. Its neon colours and fast-paced counting (who remembers the “Onetwothree four five, sixseveneight nine ten, eleven tweeeelve” song? Classic) are to blame for my lack of numeracy skills and my love of all things fluffy and grouchy. And with fewer parents reading to their kids these days (or even talking to them properly, for that matter) such broadcasting is vital for the development of literacy and social skills in our younguns.
*climbs off soap box*

Period dramas
Ah you can’t beat a bit of Bleak House or Cranford for fabulously cosy Sunday evening viewing. Cranford had me crying buckets by the end of the series – if you non-TV watchers out there watch anything this year, get your hands on the Cranford box set. Heart-wrenching stuff.

Yes they’re shit. But that’s the point. If I didn’t have Eastenders to rant and rave about, this blog probably wouldn’t exist, born as it was over the ex-Mr Badger’s frustrations at my screaming at the TV of an evening. I haven’t yelled at the TV since starting BMTV just over three years ago. The exception to the ‘soaps are shit’ rule has to be Hollyoaks (bear with me). Some amazing and brave storylines of late, some good acting from its young cast (the kid playing 7-year-old Tom Cunningham deserves some kind of young actor awards) and innovation a plenty (Oaks was the first soap to go HD).

Gavin & Stacey and Peep Show are unmissable. Hilarious, cringe inducing and tear-jerking in equal measure, they’re worth the license fee alone (yes, I know Ch4 doesn’t get it but hey). Similarly, Mock the Week, Have I Got News For You and Buzzcocks are all comedy TV staples.

No matter what my mood, I can always rely on TV to cheer me up, make me laugh, cry or rant. It’s always there in the corner of the living room, ready go at the flick of a switch. Thanks to my TV, there’s never silence in the flat (something I still haven’t been able to deal with yet), there’s always company and I never get bored. I’m not saying it takes over the role played by my real (and wondrous) friends – nothing beats a good gossip and heart-to-heart with the Lady Rachel over a glass of rose, but if people are busy, or they’re not in the mood or skint, my lovely telly is always ready to keep me company (and it doesn’t argue back or leave wet towels on the bed).

Last ditch attempt
How can you argue with:
Inspector Gadget
Grange Hill
Biker Grove
Knight Rider
The A Team
The Avengers
Red Dwarf
24 (early seasons)
Mary Portas
Gok Wan


Come on TV fans, let’s show the love – anyone got any more reasons to love telly?

3 Comments leave one →
  1. July 1, 2008 12:43 pm

    Very interesting post Badger Madge — I agree with most of it especially the soap boxes / documentary programmes which bring us another world or make us think about things.

    I don’t watch a huge amount (she says) except The Apprentice (when it’s on), a few bits of BB (not all of it) and a few documentaries. Skip the soaps and skip the vast swathe of rubbish on BBC1 and ITV most evenings.

    Only Channel 4 and 5 with their documentaries (Dispatches, Extraordinary People, etc) seem to be producing much of note recently.

  2. July 5, 2008 7:51 am

    A woamn replied to my blog the other week who only listens to Radio4, what a freak! (only joking about the freak bit)
    More reasons to love:
    The Mighty Boosh
    The magic of the ‘red button’
    Mad Men
    Crap ads -gives me something to blog about

  3. Unspecified male. May or may not be said "he". permalink
    July 5, 2008 1:07 pm

    Firstly, I think it’s unfair to assume said male doesn’t like the news – you’ve taken his comment and minced it.

    Secondly, I agree with the above comment. Mainly because it means I don’t have to directly agree with you, which frankly, would feck me reet oof. Instead, I’ll choose to passively nod in your direction. Only a half nod, though, ok?

    Thirdly. And I have no idea why I splitting this up into points. In fact, lets bin the points thing.

    Anyway. Look. Right. Ok, so… I understand that it’s down to the viewer to find the decent programmes on TV – if you pick up poo and complain that you just picked up poo, then you only have yourself to blame for picking up poo in the first place and maybe you should be asking yourself, “why did I just pick up poo when I knew there was an alternative?” Screening your own poo-touching will ultimately help in the long-run.
    I digress. Forget the poo.

    Yes, there’s some decent stuff on tv if you’re willing to look, but given that fact – the fact that I have to make an effort to look for shows is already several levels of effort I’d rather put into producing or writing music.

    However, I am aware there are shows out there – even ones I love (an yes, I know that I could find others I love as much, but please see above), so just for you, here what I think of your list:

    Dangermouse – Ok, yes. Dangermouse was awesome.
    Inspector Gadget – Yes, I loved this too.
    Grange Hill – I could take it or leave it as a kid.
    Biker Grove – I watched it, but again – take it or leave it. It wasn’t the same when PJ and Duncan left. That’s a joke. But actually, it wasn’t.
    Knightmare – Classic, yes. A friend of mine went on Knightmare and made a dick of himself. Worth it just for that.
    Knight Rider – Ok, yes. But These I all love for nostalgic reasons.
    The A Team – See above.
    Thundercats – And again.
    The Avengers – Never watched it.
    Red Dwarf – Yes, I used to love this too. I hate this list.
    Lost – Never watched it. Looks too twatty.
    Heroes – Only seen a few of these – I’d have to watch all of them to get it, at which point it will have taken my life from me.
    24 (early seasons) – Never watched it.
    Mary Portas – Eh?
    Gok Wan – Never watched it.
    Sralan – EH??
    Palin – Ok, but only because he was a Python
    Attenborough – Ok, yes everything he does it awesome, but… Ok, there’s no ‘but’. Dammit.

    Ok, so that list didn’t help me much, but that’s because you picked loads of great oldies. And you did that deliberately. Give me that many from that last decade and I’ll give in. A bit. More.

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