TV today? It’s all cooking and cops

John Ward
John Ward
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WARD’s WORLD: By loveable eccentric John Ward

I am often stopped – okay, it’s happened more than once then – and asked why I scribble away and refer to events or happenings in the past and there is one very simple answer to that but until it comes to mind, mine to be precise, I offer the following by way of recompense.

I can refer to things in the past, both recent and further afield as I lived through it or heard word from those as to what went on as opposed to scribbling away about the future as not being into crystal ball gazing and such like, the future is both uncharted and uncertain unless you want me to bluff my way through it and charge a fiver on the door for admission and then I can predict that you will have at least one birthday a year (with one member of the Royal family excluded), 99% sure any or all taxes will rise and although I am roughly the same age as one well known ‘celebrity’, it’s a safe bet she will be ‘celebrating’ her birthday but minus about ten to twelve years but I put this down to either her not reading the washing instructions carefully or bad accountancy.

I was chatting to Brian, head wrangler at a local ‘moggie motel’ that cares and looks after cats of the feline variety, recently and we both agreed that the television thing is nothing compared to what it used to be – nowadays the screen may be getting bigger by the day with assorted technical breakthroughs or more things we can’t see but we are lead to believe it has within its thin bodywork but sadly there does not seem to be much there to watch anymore unless you like to see folk cook or boil an egg etc. (cheaper option is turn the chair round and gaze into your own kitchen and view, plus you can advise as to how you wish the item prepared and cooked, then once that’s sorted how to scrape it off the wall assuming you ducked in time and as a friend once explained, spaghetti and woodchip wallpaper are not recommended together).

Then there is how to bake a cake, traffic police chasing a villain and letting he/she off with a ‘Now be good and mind how you go’ after a five hundred mile plus chase through five counties using an helicopter, submarine, police dogs plus sometimes learning about the officer’s choice of ‘dream car’ they would like to own and/or their favourite films. Next is how to have a tattoo applied/removed/swapped or ‘reality’ shows that show us people at their basic best or worse, depending on how the viewing figures are shaping up, if badly then Plan B: a national Sunday newspaper informs us that one of them (allegedly) had an intimate relationship with a tree in Epping Forrest to get more viewers watching, but the tree cannot be identified for personal reasons as it’s ‘entitled to a family life’ among the shrubbery.

First off I refer to the ‘terrestrial’ viewing side of life as in having an aerial thing mounted on the roof as opposed to having a dish or cable service/whatever connected as I feel shelling out for a telly licence is bad enough without having vast amounts of ‘packages’ to pay for each month should your little heart desire them as to take advantage of such things on offer as in my case, I would have to be awake 24/7 to get any benefit from it.

So to the terrestrial side of viewing then. I prefer, when possible, to view the Bhee Bhee Chee when they have something to offer of substance for at least it is continuous as such as opposed to the independent sides that has now turn the old joke of ‘they have interrupted the adverts to show a programme in between’ that is now a reality. The other week while watching a police detective mystery thing, the first batch of adverts came on within eight – yes, 8 – minutes from the start before the first stiff, sorry, body had bit the dust or been found in the library shot through the heart with a loaded dagger to get the viewer’s attention and prepare for the next four or five others to also bite the dust in either bizarre or outlandish situations.

The new wonder of the age that is Freeview now that we have gorn ‘digital’, means that in some cases if you missed a programme at, say, nine o’clock of the evening, fear not you can see it again at ten o’clock on another channel later – I can recall when years ago you had to wait a couple of years for a ‘repeat’ but now it’s there before you can cook a kipper for your supper, although you could cook said kipper in the time the adverts were running and have a bath and shampoo your fetlocks as well and still be in time for Part 2.

Oddly, programmes an hour long when shown on the BBC mutate on to the assorted Freeview commercial channels and still are scheduled for an hour but have four (minimum) advert breaks, so where doe the fifteen to twenty minutes’ worth of story line go to? – if it was the same as buying vegetables, you would complain about being ‘short changed’ but nobody seems to bother at such minor points it seems when it’s the telly.

You will note that so far, it’s mainly about people doing their jobs or vocations, with the odd programme about wildlife in the raw slung in, as say, in assorted nightspots or discos as they are known.

In recent times there has been a spate of talent shows that oddly finds talent such like singers, dancers, comedians whatever but sadly the very medium that finds this talent does not follow it through in any great degree with programmes that can utilise this new found talent as there are few, if any, shows or programmes where they can be seen to entertain within.

In the not too distant past, no Saturday evening would be complete without wholesome family entertainment that entertained and where you could sit down as a family and laugh and be amazed at the talent before you, but today it’s mostly squirming with embarrassment as you may have missed the ‘warning’ (?) that ‘some viewers might be offended’ by the content, usually ‘comedians’ who feel their act is about shock and awe as to who can shout, rant or swear the most.

It does make one wonder how Morecambe and Wise, the Two Ronnies etc. managed to bring laughter to thousands, nay millions, without resorting to bad language – or did they have that rare thing called natural talent?