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.