Orbell Communications

Communicating Your Message

A View on TV Programming

Posted by jorbell on December 24, 2008

The BBC Trust recently launched a website to ensure that the BBC is meeting the public’s expectations by providing quality TV, radio and online services for everyone in the UK. While this initiative was primarily aimed at younger audiences, it was great that people were given the opportunity to air their views especially as the BBC is a forced subscription service.

I am particularly interested in comedy having written sketches and a pilot sitcom so I would like more emphasis on the development of new writers and programs. Endlessly replaying what is termed as classic comedy will only kill the medium if it carries on in its present form. New shows won’t get so much of a look in and the old stuff will become so over familiar in won’t be liked (as much) any more.

In the 90s the repeats weren’t at saturation level which they are now and the were broadcast at just at the right intervals. Frequent enough to enjoy but not so regularly that they become boring. Now, I’m beginning to tire of certain shows purely because I’ve seen them so much. The odd thing is that if do watch them I still laugh but I’m less inclined to even turn the show on like I used to be. “Oh no, it’s that episode again.”

I think what I’d like to see was a pot-luck channel which didn’t publish it’s listings in full. Imagine if it was advertised in ways similar to as shown below:

12.00 – 2.00:  80s drama
2.00 – 4.00:  90s lifestyle
4.00 – 6.00:  00s documentary
6.00 – 8.00:  90s entertainment
8.00 – 10.00:  70s comedy
10.00 – 12.00:  60s film
12.00 – 2.00:  80s sport

It would feature obscure archive material which could be anything. It would add an element of surprise to viewing which would be heightened by unexpected, long thought forgotten shows. The decades could change after every six weeks or so but I’d imagine the program style timing would remain fairly static. That way you’d have some idea of what to expect at what time.

Ideally you would want what was almost second tier programming rather than the classics because it’s a kind of nostalgia that people enjoy. For instance, Fawlty Towers just ‘exists’ now because it is shown almost all the time rather than being of a certain period – the 70s. Sure, the fashion has dated but it’s just so familiar you more surprised if it isn’t in the listings.

I remember how excited I was when Hancock’s Half Hour was being broadcast for the first time in years. We sometimes want reminding of being in a place where we used to be.

Television has changed beyond all recognition in recent years so much so it has seen what were once essential items like video recorders phased out. Even in the digital age of DVDs you have to think that its time is coming to an end because we can now watch what we want, when we want using services such as Sky Plus.

It is probably for this reason that DVDs have come down in price so dramatically because the producers are trying to make money while they still can in selling a physical object. No-one needs a four disc special edition but that’s what they feel they have to do to make us buy. With the growth of the BBC’s iPlayer on demand services on the Internet, the time will come when even that isn’t enough.


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