Television – Declining Choice

When I was a boy there were two television channels (BBC and ITV). When I reached the grand old age of 12 a third channel (BBC 2) was added. A lot later, when I was 30, Channel 4 was born. Now I am 64 and I have a choice of an enormous number of channels (I have lost count but I think it may be something like 70 – and I am not rich enough to subscribe to Sky or BT). Apparently there are also television broadcasts only available on computers (Netfix and Amazon?) which I am not bright enough to be able to find. In 2017, even if you don’t pay for Sky etc., you can get almost a hundred television channels.

Why is it, therefore, that the choice of watchable programmes seems to have declined horribly?

I confess that, apart from the news, I watch practically no television. I have tried, but most of the programmes seem to be very poor (or have dialogue which one can’t hear). But my wife and children still watch the box and I hear the drivel being churned out. The children are particularly fond of programmes about bailiffs collecting debts, policemen stopping drunk drivers, TV comperes shouting abuse at inadequate people with “issues” and Jeremy Clarkson bellowing about motor cars. When my wife watches she chooses a programme, which seems to be on almost twenty four hours a day, in which Michael Portillo takes train journeys.

I know I am being unfair. Hidden amongst all the rubbish there are still a few good programmes. I did watch Decline and Fall and thought it very good. I am sure there must have been some other good stuff on the telly which I have missed. But I missed those good programmes because they were concealed in a morass of bilge.

Increased choice has actually led to the opposite. When there were only two channels one could easily work out what might be worth watching. That remained the case when BBC 2 and Channel 4 were added, But now we can choose between 70 channels there is no hope of finding anything remotely watchable (the original channels are still there but they think it necessary to compete with the others in producing rubbish – presumably to appeal to my children).

What a grumpy old man I am.



6 thoughts on “Television – Declining Choice

  1. got rid of our telly ten years ago when we realised we weren’t watching it anyway. Ironically about the only thing we miss is the general election coverage as the votes are coming in on election night.
    And I used to bale out and go to bed before midnight anyway 🙂


    • I am an addict when it comes to general elections. I swear, every time, that I will go to bed at midnight, but, every time, I am still glued to the telly at 5.00 a.m.


      Liked by 1 person

  2. Agree absolutely Charles. We’re a hour ahead of you, so my wife and I have our first drink of the evening, whilst waiting for the Seven O’Clock News (6.00pm over there).
    After that we watch an episode of our latest box-set (if there’s any left) and then we embark upon the swift shuffle through the garbage, usually ending up with a programme about animals, vets, etc.
    What we find stunning, is the re-runs of stuff like ‘On the Buses’. That really is taking the mickey. I’m afraid the media is not a patch on what it was 40 years ago.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Totally agree – and the less one watches, the more one gets out of the habit. I used to get the Radio Times (then the Telegraph TV guide), circle what looked interesting and record anything good on while I wasn’t there for later viewing. I probably watched an hour/hour and a half a night. Now I feel I’ve lost the plot.

    I no longer have a television (I really like the look of the living room without it) and watch less than one programme a week on my laptop. I’m thinking of not renewing my licence next year.

    Liked by 1 person

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