The Weekend We Lost The Web (and turned to the telly)

I broke our broadband on Friday; the service provider only works weekdays – and I don’t blame them – so for two evenings we turned to the telly for entertainment.

It’s amazing how memory works; we remembered exactly what to do. You hold a slim, black device with buttons on the top; you point this in the general direction of the telly and repeatedly press a button while saying, “there’s absolutely nothing on”.

Remember in Britain – before we were called the UK – when we had three channels and you could find a film, a play, a sit-com, a comedy sketch show, or a documentary to watch? How did they do that?

And you’d go to bed – early, because they all closed down at half past eleven – feeling thoroughly entertained and informed. And I think those two words were in the TV charter; if not a guarantee then at least a firm promise.

We watched Gogglebox. If you don’t know Gogglebox, it’s a collection of “ordinary members of the public” filmed in their home, watching and commenting on the same programmes. The big advantage for the rest of us watching Gogglebox must be that we don’t have to watch the programmes they’re watching. They’ll be the worst of programmes which always elicit the best comments. Or if they’re not too bad, you’ll get to watch the highlights, which elicit the best reactions. And that’s all you need.

But the best and ironic thing about Gogglebox is when the “ordinary members” go off script and get up to things which have nothing to do with watching the programmes.

I don’t know how much the “ordinaries” get paid but the whole thing confirms the ridiculousness of what might be termed “The Gary Lineker Factor”. This is where the BBC insist they have to pay a celebrity near to, or in excess of, a million pounds per annum for evermore, out of taxpayers money.

But Gogglebox clearly shows there are no shortage of “ordinaries” who are willing to go in front of camera and do an adequate job.

Mind you, if that’s how The One Show’s Alex Jones was recruited, I’ll eat my words.

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