One thing I am definitely not missing about the UK is television. It’s not just the fact that I am, thankfully, away during the early skirmishes between Boris Johnson and Jeremy C…er…Hunt as they wave handbags at each other in order to be the next person to attempt to take the country off a cliff. It’s just telly itself.
It is my experience that the older you get, the more TV you watch. And, by extension, the more crap you watch. This applies mainly, though by no means solely, to those who, by age or infirmity or perhaps both, can do little else. For those of us who are able to do anything else, I am coming to the conclusion that we should do it.
Lord Reith, the man who came up with the concept of public service broadcasting in the UK, explained t whole the entire purpose of the BBC: it was to inform, educate and entertain. Much that has followed has come under the ‘entertain’ header, although I am at a loss to understand how much of today’s output can honestly be seen as entertainment.
The obsession these days is talent shows as mainstream, popular TV; essentially karaoke for the masses. It is ‘reality TV’, where usually Class C celebrities and ‘normal’ members of the public perform for the camera in my ways which are hardly normal. I’d put reality TV in the same category as voyeurism. Yet it is all highly popular. Except that actually it isn’t.
A top-rated show attracts many millions of viewers, say up to ten million. That represents something like a sixth of the actual population. A large number, yes, and whilst many of the rest are also watching the crystal bucket, many aren’t.
I read social network pages and it seems that all some people do is to watch television. In truth, that’s not actually right.
People do other stuff. They play sports, they go to the cinema, they read books, they go for walks, they visit pubs. Not everyone, far from it, spends an inordinate amount of time obsessing about semi-famous people gorging themselves with animal testicles and insects.
There is a lot of great TV out there and I am trying hard not to be a slave of the TV. I’m trying to let the TV be my slave, in the nicest possible way. If I reach old age, there will be plenty of time for watching the daytime diet of antiques shows, house renovations and dreary middle class people fretting about which luxury home to buy. It will give me something to do in between having my underwear changed, feeding me a ready meal and emptying my catheter.
Until that day comes, I intend to watch as little TV as possible. There’s too much else to do.