My poor sense of taste when applied to watching TV is a source of constant embarrassment to my long-suffering partner. I barely watch anything new, except perhaps a series of Would I Lie To You?, Rick Stein, Michael Portillo and anything involving Steve Coogan and my TV diet is mainly sport. It is usually old programmes, too.
I will come to my favourite TV show in a moment, because it will come as a surprise to everyone except perhaps my therapist. I still watch and record every episode of Highway To Heaven, a completely mad show in which Michael Landon plays an angel, usually making bad people do good things. As a card-carrying atheist, the very idea a God character should send an angel to earth is absurd to me. Yet I watch it and, worse than that, love it. Perhaps it is the suggestion of people doing good things. I try to do good things and I don’t need the pretence of a supernatural dictator up in the clouds to convince me to do them.
Randall and Hopkirk (deceased) is also essential viewing, a series based around a pair of detectives, one of whom is a ghost. There are no ghosts anymore than there are Gods, as there is no such thing, or place, as the ‘spirit world’. Absolute tosh. But still I watch it, convincing myself that Marty Hopkirk really can be invisible to everyone except his detective partner, in the same way that I used to convince myself that professional wrestling was real.
Like my other favourite shows, my all-time favourite is defunct and, to my horror, became defunct some 25 years ago today: Eldorado. Says Wikipedia: “Set in the fictional town of Los Barcos on the Costa Eldorado in Spain and following the lives of British and European expatriates.” It was a soap and I absolutely loved it. The critics didn’t. The usual suspects like the Mail, Sun etc etc piled in on the show which had a less than stellar beginning with a mixture of good actors and duds. Initially, the storylines were not always the best, either, but as the weeks and months went by, the acting improved, the stories improved and so did the viewing figures. By the time the plug was finally pulled on 9 July 1993, some eight million people were watching.
Eldorado was pulled because the BBC lost its bottle. A show pilloried by an anti-BBC media, but loved by an increasingly large audience which loved the idea of 90 minutes a week set in the sunny Spanish Costas. The show was also ridiculed by people who had never seen it but based their piss poor arguments on the basis of how Rupert Murdoch’s lickspittles had described the show. Instead of backing its own invention, standing up for the increasing millions who had grown to love Eldorado, they scrapped it.
There is talk that the show might be revived, if not by the BBC then by someone else. Good. I do not care what the gutter press says. I like what I like and really don’t care if the TV snobs slag it off. Eight million of us would be right there from the start.
I do not watch Eastenders, I haven’t watched Coronation Street since Len Fairclough was arrested following activities at the local swimming baths (it may have been the actor who played him), I haven’t watched Neighbours since Natalie Imbruglia left; in short, I don’t watch soaps. But I would like to watch the one I liked best of all: Eldorado.