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Ward's World: Now you see it, then you don't

By Spalding Today Columnist

Two letters arrived within a week of each other to somebody I know – with one to bring good news, but the other not so sooper-dooper.

The first contained a free television licence because, being the survivor of all 75 years in the country of battling away, paying taxes, working for decades, bringing a family up, paying taxes, being told ‘Brexit means something entirely different that you don’t really/cannot understand as you’re not bright enough’, etc, but by paying the aforementioned taxes without complaining had now become ‘entitled’, by hanging on and ‘coffin dodging’, to get to be 75 years of age and get this supposed ‘free’ television licence – in theory anyway.

John Ward (13733535)
John Ward (13733535)

The second letter arrived just over a week later pointing out that, as from next year, this ‘free’ licence was now being taken away.

The reason I mention this is I have been asked to source the right size frame in order to display this ‘free’ licence to hang over their fireplace to show that such a piece of paper did indeed exist – not quite up there with Neville Chamberlain’s famous bit of paper from one A. Hitler – that permits copious amounts of repeat programmes to be shown on a daily basis but importantly, legally.

Suggestions about the news featured at various points could also be repeats but no, it just feels like it.

Next is applying for planning permission to the relevant body to get the right size nail banged into the wall, once the wall has been inspected, in order to keep abreast of building regulations as we don’t want to end up like Stonehenge, where the poor souls are still waiting for permission to get a roof fitted before the structure deteriorates any further. Although to be fair they have had three quotes for replacement windows already, two quotes for wall cladding with the threat of a wind turbine subject to space – but that should go straight through with no probs.

On checking a television programme guide recently, across five of the supposed ‘mainstream’ channels on terrestrial telly (the sort you need an aerial thing for) on one day alone it amounted to 37 repeats from early morning to past midnight, so anybody thinking they are suffering from memory problems in assorted forms, they might well question ‘had they seen that before?’ as the answer would probably be yes – perhaps about an hour before as assorted channels now repeat the same programme an hour later, on another channel or, if really unlucky, the next evening as well, as the problem is basically too many channels but not enough real, quality programmes to fill them.

These ‘quiz programmes’ are just about every other hour in one form or another, with most perhaps forgettable, but the risk/threat that the ‘host’ will be switching the Christmas lights on in your town/shopping compound at the given time before their show is cancelled, but hopefully not before they do the switching on as the posters have already been printed.

I note in recent times the latest thing or ‘cheap and cheerful’ (no rehearsals involved, just a film crew and plane tickets) form of programme is to get a supposed high-flying personality – be it actor, actress, chef, politician, supposed ‘national treasure’ or a Climate Change Facilitator – to go to some exotic location, be filmed talking to/at/stroking animals or dolphins in their natural habitat that can fill an hour up that comes over as a ‘feelgood’ factor when it’s shown later.

The usual script varies from: ‘such graceful creatures’, to ‘how wonderful to see these animals in their own habitat’, to ‘they must be feeling very proud that I have been chosen to be filmed with them’, etc. Two others were on the short list had either passed away plus another having their teeth fixed abroad on the cheap, which off the back of this will include the book of the programme/series plus the DVD boxed set, both doomed to be appearing in charity shops after Christmas and car boot sales during the summer months.

In the case of the dolphin, he or she will get a BAFTA award for performing under duress and is signed up for their own six-week show on afternoon telly showing how to swim in sea water, with the book/DVD boxed set following on etc, etc.

Cheapo Telly – Plan B: a well-known person is put on an obscure rail network somewhere in the world with a camera crew to show how/why their railways run but compared to ours they can do it better, more reliably – and cheaper.

Even if you succumb to other forms of television ‘packages’ via satellite or whatever, you still need a licence to receive programmes as it’s a television innit, but in a lot of cases there are sports/football elements that seem to be the bait for some (sports/football: a process where people sit and shout, suggest opticians for the referee’s wellbeing plus also supermarkets off-load crates of beer, alcoholic drinks as seen stacked up in or near to their shop doorways).

The players have their outfits plastered in adverts from electrical companies to car makers to perfume, playing in some obscure Western Hemisphere Cup Final, Thursday League, to make the ‘package’ up with teams you have never heard of – you then get an atlas out to see where their country/village/cul-de-sac actually is.

Then the interviews with some players suggesting that they only want to work in potato crisp factories as that is ‘where the bigga da money is, Amigo’ as they talk about football tin-tacks after seeing a recording of a match in a television studio with other similarly blessed folk of the same disposition – it’s much the same experience as being a witness to a parking ticket being applied to a car windscreen – ‘He could have played it better I thought’.

The next insult is being told the high wages being obtained – earned is not the right word in these cases – is the ‘going market rate’ is being paid.

Meanwhile I am at the ready with the hammer, plus nail, just as soon as the Planning Wotsit comes through.


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