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WARD'S WORLD: TV offering is so awful

Just when I thought I was going paranoid – now, now please – about the current crop of what passes for television programmes, I gather I am not alone.

Indeed so much so that it’s been noticed even more during this latest dollop of lockdown that has a captive audience but nothing of quality for said audience to watch in theory.

Discounting excuses like programmes can’t be made currently due to the virus and the restrictions imposed, what is actually there on screen is often dire.

Columnist John Ward (44165871)
Columnist John Ward (44165871)

One person said he wouldn’t mind people appearing on screen wearing masks as it would afford some comfort to the performer/presenter as it would give them some anonymity as they could deny all knowledge of them as being involved.

However there does seem to be a glut in recent times of imported, foreign language programmes – oddly usually involving murders and suchlike – but with the added joy of subtitles but helpfully in English.

So the knack is learning to cope with hearing the gunshot, then trying to keep up with the titles that tell you, well, somebody has been shot.

So far there seems to be no subtitles for near misses as it’s either a bullseye ornothing so it’s perhaps a case of ‘shot or bust’ in production terminology.

It’s amazing to hear – or see – somebody rambling on in their own tongue for about a minute or so and the subtitle appears on the bottom of the screen: “Are you sure he’s dead?”

His assistant replies, but his subtitle reads thus: “He was laid there for three days without breathing so we assume he is dead.”

It must be said that while all this rambling is going on, the actor has also gone through to Level Five in the vacant staring into space malarkey plus a Level Three in frowning.

Also a lot of chin stroking goes on but usually by the owner of the chin as opposed to assistants or total strangers doing it for him or her.

Next up is the revelation that the person they are looking for is armed with a gun although oddly the subtitles don’t mention how this theory was arrived at as the victim was stabbed with either a dagger or knife.

Although the possibility it was perpetrated by somebody using a very thin, sharp pointed barrel on a revolver can’t be ruled out of course as the murderer could have run out of bullets.

Moving swiftly on then to other possible targets for entertainment purposes as nothing is left to chance, more so if cheap to make.

I do feel sorry for the Royal family (ours, that is) as there are assorted faction (fact and fiction interwoven) efforts as it seems at times there must be a production line seemingly churning out assorted stories or series based on the Royal family.

Perhaps even the Royals themselves might stare and wonder, if not already – who knows? – but if anybody did know, they would make it into another, well, series.

As my mum, of the people for the people, would say about such things when they arose: “They have managed to turn a perfectly good load of rubbish into a right bucket of twaddle.”

Then there are assorted series thatspecialise in more ‘flashbacks’ than a cheap box of fireworks on November 5 that give a whole new meaning to the expression: ‘Losing the plot.’

However, everything is photographed with possibly a football sock seemingly stretched over the camera lens as it’s all so dim to give it ‘atmosphere’.

The sound is on the same abysmal lines , the irony being there is an advert for hearing aids in one of the many commercial breaks.

The plots, such as they are, seem to imply after a few minutes of wondering what is happening that you could kick yourself for not keeping up that Open University course about becoming a psychiatrist so you could understand what passes for the plot.

The end result usually being that somebody you never saw on screen had died in suspicious circumstancesduring the middle of the assumed plot but was mentioned in passing.

Other actors who cling on to the very end, usually to honour their contracts mainly, found that they were related to each other by doing the same newspaper crossword.

These were twins separated at birth by a badly fitting pram but met up at feeding times to share their memories over a rusk or two.

They said it was a shame the pram was of the design that it was – they facing each other, north to south – as opposed to sitting side by side as they would have been able to talk to one another without shouting, if only to find out what page of the script they appeared on next.

Period stuff fares no better. Cruel, hard hearted Sir Jasper turns out to be deeply in love with himself, then leaves the family stately home to go and live in South America.

Lady Jasmine, his daughter by his marriage to Lady Gwendolyn, who has spent three episodes staring out windows, into fields or waterfalls, has fallen in love.

Sadly it’s with a person who is considered by her family to be ‘beneath her station’ (this being St. Pancras where her heart-throb, Alwyn, is employed as a tunnel polisher beneath the platforms, day shift, evening and weekends by arrangement).

Her brother Harold has decided that the family seat is not for him and decides to go off to seek his fortune.

He was advised of this by a fortune teller at a fair and he has sold part of the family silver collection to get the price of an admission ticket.

The fortune teller had told him: “Your future is written in the cards, young master, with great amounts of money changing hands.”

Harold is seen in the last episode as he opens his scratch card boutique on Crewe railway station.

Then the ‘warnings’ at the beginning of some programmes, much along the lines of: “Some viewers may find (if they really look hard enough) some scenes distressing or upsetting in the following programme.”

That’s just for the news and the weather forecasts.

So until further notice, carry on staring.

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