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Tuesday, 6 March 2018

My time is precious

Hello. Is it really worth buying a TV licence any more? Is there anything on the box worth watching? I got rid of mine years ago, and what a relief that was, no more planning my life around what I wanted to watch. Buying a programme magazine, spending an hour marking off what I might be interested in, keeping an eye on the time so I wouldn't miss anything. It was almost compulsory for the television to dictate my daily routine.

Later on I got a video recorder so I was able to set it before I went out, and watch my favourite programmes when I came back. I remember coming home from a week away in the truck, and watching a weeks worth of Brookside, my favourite soap, at one sitting. Remember when they had the omnibus edition. Then I found I was glued to the television over the whole weekend to watch everything I had recorded. Jeez, the amount of time I wasted. Mind you, I needed a rest after driving up and down the country for five days, so I suppose sitting in front of the TV was the easiest thing to do.

It eventually dawned on me that I didn't need a television set, and when the licence came up for renewal I didn't pay it. I stopped, just like that. Enough's enough, I went cold turkey. Of course I got the letters telling me I needed to pay, I told them I didn't have a tele, so no, I wasn't going to pay. They hounded me for a few months, some of the letters were a tad threatening, but I sent them back and said I don't have a TV set. They did send someone round to my house, I invited him in so he could see for himself I didn't have one. He said he didn't need to and scribbled a few notes on his board. Eventually the letters got less and less. Now I get one every two years asking if the situation has changed, I send it back and declare no, still the same, still no TV.

I have almost lost touch with what is on the TV these days, I haven't a clue who the so called celebrities are, can't put names to faces, I have no idea what their job is, actor, singer, presenter, or what. I pick up snippets of information from the newspapers I read online, but I skim through a lot of it because I haven't any idea who they are talking about. I see their faces and think 'who is that'.

I think I must be getting old, because from what I see of the current offerings so loosely called 'entertainment', my first reaction is, how can anyone sit through that drivel. What a waste of precious time. From what I can tell, daytime television is dire, littered by people airing their dirty washing in front of a jeering audience. Most of the programmes rely on ordinary people wanting their five minutes of fame. Quiz programmes, holiday programmes, lets move to Australia, let's move to the country, let's make some money buying antiques, etc etc. And don't get me started on the storylines in soaps, what the heck has happened to Coronation Street!

There is such a lot of cheap tele, make a programme for very little outlay. And blimey, don't they stretch it out, in a one hour slot there will be recap after recap, it could be whittled down to 30 minutes or less. I sometimes have a wind down hour where I pick one out on the catchup channels, but have to give up after ten minutes. They do drag on in the most boring fashion.

I've just been reading about the latest idea. Following on from the programme where people get married when they haven't even met each other, now they are working on the idea to throw two couples together who haven't got a particularly stable marriage, fly them to some exotic location, and encourage them to swap partners. If that isn't the height of tackiness I don't know what is. Big Brother has got a lot to answer for, it all started going downhill from there.

As you know I have dabbled in a bit of tele myself, it was something fun to do at the time. Shed of the Year was great fun, but some filming is hard work. Do it just one more time, again and again. I remember some years ago I had a film crew out on the lorry with me, my friend Carol came with me because it was a large load which needed two people. After filming all day on the road, we were filming in a pub on an overnight stay. I was talking to the landlady over the bar, and noticed that the camera had moved away from us and was pointing at the scantily clad barmaid. I blew my top, caused a big stink, and stormed out. We were five days on that job, and after all that they only got 20 minutes worth of film. It didn't get on the tele.

I had a half hour phone conversation last week with a researcher, working on a new frugal/simple living programme. It was fun talking to her about a subject I am passionate about. She wanted to take it further with a skype hook up, and some filming at my house, to see if I was the person they want to work with. I could see that this was going to take up more of my time, with no guarantee that anything would come of it, so I asked her how much they would be able to pay me. Yep, you've guessed it, no payment for my time. She did however say they would pay for my expenses if I had to travel to a different location, but that was dependent on whether I got that far down the line in the selection process. I decided not to proceed. I don't actually need to earn money, I have enough with my pension, but if any payment does come my way, I give it to charity.

Television is becoming more of the same. There are no new ideas coming through, same old same old with a different format. Send rich people to swap houses with poor people, pick through each others lifestyle, I wonder how many of them are being paid for their time?

My time is precious, so I'm going now to do something else. Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

54 comments:

  1. Yes, I totally agree with you that TV is just the biggest waste of time and fosters unhealthy feelings of personal inadequacy. It's a celebrity obsessed marketing tool. Keep watching; keep wanting; keep buying. I gave ours away sometime in the early 2000s. I found it mostly inane drivel. Nothing in-depth to challenge; everything dumbed down - even the news got like Blue Peter. They keep us doped up on TV soaps and sex and shopping. Meanwhile we have one of the lowest standards of living in the west. I am now struggling to get off the computer. Too much searching on the internet - I can feel my attention levels changing / agitation levels rising. I would love a more outdoors, natural life and that's what I'm going to work on now.

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  2. This would have made an interesting video too as it raises some very important points and illustrates just how easy it is to get sucked into watching TV when there is so much else to fill one's time with: the trick is finding something (as Meanqueen demonstrates in her vlogs) that you enjoy, can afford and absorbs you to the extent that time flies by. I had to ration my TV watching when I found I was planning my day around the afternoon film on Channel 5 (then remember I own a recordable DVD player so needn't have sat there for two hours after all). I now watch TV between 8-10 pm if there's a good film on and have walked more these last few months than I ever did (7 hours yesterday alone). But I'm in two minds about cutting oneself off completely as my friend did (no TV for 18 years) as it's getting increasingly more difficult to find a subject she can talk about (she doesn't read the paper either - says it has too much bad news). What worries me the most is that technology is moving at such a fast pace (some smartphones now already have AI (Artificial Intelligence) and Apple's technology is revolutionising the industry) that I sometimes feel if I don't at least attempt to keep up, society will leave me behind. In the next 5 years or so, most of what we do 'in person' will be done electronically (a lot of it already is) and if people don't learn how to use a smartphone or a computer (I know many who still can't), their lives will grind to a halt as technology advances. I guess it's a balance as Meanqueen advocates - she doesn't have a TV BUT she does keep up with things via the internet. That's definitely the way to go.

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  3. we've always watched on i player...now you have to have a tv licence for that! Luckily the Pirate is old enough to get a free licence

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  4. Last year we went on a three month trip to Australasia didn’t watch any tv for the whole trip came home not watched any since. I completely agree absolute rubbish although we do still have our tv and do watch a few Netflix dramas we now no longer pay exorbitant amounts for BT and sky etc. The next step will be to get rid of the tv completely and you’re right about the time it frees up. I too have no idea who anyone is and I certainly don’t feel I’m missing out on anything.

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  5. yorkshire lass6 March 2018 at 13:37

    I have lived without tv for many years in my life but I have it now. I agree with a lot of what you say but I think there are some good films on tv, for £12+ a month fee it is a lot cheaper than £10 to go to the cinema. There is a new channel now 81 talking pictures which is a tribute to the history of film, showing really interesting short documentaries especially post war years and 60's when I was growing up. I think social media is dire and people waste a lot of time on I.T. It's not just telly, it's contemporary culture. You have to be selective.

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    1. Totally agree with you about Ch.81 'Talking Pictures. I only found it last week when I retuned my TV and have recorded a few films already, to be watched next time I fancy a 'me day'. Did you watch the B&W movie last week with Edward G Robinson? It was fab! I can highly recommend 'Amos Burke' Private Detective' series starring the wonderful Gene Barry - it's on at 5 am so I record it to watch later.

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  6. I do have a television and pay my licence. Agree there is a lot of dross, so I don’t watch that, but series like Endeavour, Vera, Insp,Linley and H. F.W. with his nature series of the SW are thought provoking and informative. Gardeners Workd start again this week as well, don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. Margaret.

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  7. We got rid of our TV in 1994 and have never replaced it. We had realised that all we actually WANTED to watch were two programmes a week - the rest was just moving wallpaper that we regretted watching afterwards (but were too idle to turn off at the time).If you say you don't have a TV , it seems to make people feel guilty they do because the immediate comment is always "oh well I don't watch much". In reality it's your time and you can choose how to spend it. I think the problem comes when it becomes automatic and a habit. I used to be hooked on all the soaps - then after the telly had gone I found myself thinking "how many murders could there be in a small close in Liverpool anyway?" - and then it seemed daft. If we're away in a cottage or hotel we do watch some TV - but the tolerance threshold is very low. Besides - there are too many books to be read, walks to be taken, good discussions to be had and time with loved ones. East Yorkshire Debs.

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  8. I think I am getting old too, as I very rarely recognise any 'celebrities' that show up in trailers. From what I can make out most of them are strange plastic wannabes recycled from 'reality' shows. I can only assume that the makers of these programmes haven't got any idea of what a real celebrity or real life is like. But I do enjoy a classy drama, a good quiz show or an interesting wildlife programme. Tracy

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  9. Totally agree. We go throught the tv paper on a Saturday in case there is anything worth taking a look at. Generally speaking there are about six progs that we ring around but the rest are rubbish.
    I sew, I do scrabble, I read I do jigsaws and that keeps me going.
    Luckily Tom is of an age to get the tv licence free but that doesn't mean that we watch it.
    Briony
    x

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  10. I watch TV but not all day-I prefer the radio.I have free view & usually there is something I enjoy most evenings-bbc2 or number 9 x

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  11. I think what annoys me is the money these presenters earn. You only have to look around to see how much unrecognised talent there is and they will never get a look in as it is just the same faces - I would get rid of the telly if I could but the OH enjoys it but how right you are about wasting your time/life - no thank you. Sharon

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  12. In Canada you don't buy a license, if you want TV you subscribe to cable as you used to be able to get free tv using rabbit ears(antenna) but not any more. We have the most basic option because we are news junkies but you are right, there are very few programs we watch. I could do without and just go with the internet myself but hubby is not on board with that. We end up taping (PVR comes free with the basic subscription) the programs we actually want to see. I think that is why the world is going to hell in a handbasket, people see crap on tv and think it is perfectly acceptable to act like total morons in real life. In Canada intenet is what costs the most these days, cable tv can be had for as little as $20 a month. Internet between $50-80 a month depending on speed. We work from home so we have a high speed as a company requirement due to the type of online training we do (but we get to bill the company for a portion of it)

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  13. Afternoon Ilona.

    Your words, and those of others, are what I've been thinking for quite some time. I cannot abide the programmes where they have a live audience, as the mixture of the guests whooping & harring, the audience clapping and cheering AND THEN, the presenter talking!!!! gets my dander up. Who the heck can hear what's being said - who cares anyway?. It drives me to distraction, as the hearing problem I have (acoustic neuroma) makes it impossible for me to hear anything. I'm probably not missing much anyway!

    Talk about dumming down! I think I must be getting old! :-)

    All the best.

    Carol x


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  14. I agree with a lot you say Ilona. We have our t.v. programmed to record the things we do like, Vera etc. My partner loves all the wildlife programmes so we keep on with it. It certainly does not rule our lives. We also have grandchildren and occasionally a quiet break for the rest of us!

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  15. I completely disagree and think that this is the golden age of TV. There are so many good programmes to watch. Game of Thrones, The Young Pope, Endeavour to name three. last night I enjoyed Only Connect, University Challenge and thenMaster Chef.

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  16. Hello everyone. I agree that TV today is not worth watching. But I have a question; I'm from the US so can you explain what a TV license is? I'm not familiar with that. We don't pay a license fee but we pay a company of our choice to have cable, satellite, dish Amazon firestick,etc, to have reception. Thank you, Pat

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    1. In the UK to watch any TV on any channel you pay a licence fee of £147 every year. Its run by the BBC British broadcasting company. If you want satellite channels you pay for those separately Everyone has to pay the licence regardless of whether they watch BBC channels or not. Hth

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    2. The best thing about having a publicly funded BBC is that we can watch all BBC programmes uninterrupted by moronic advertising.

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  17. Anyone who hasn't watched 'Inspector Montalbano' (Italian crime drama based on the Andrea Camilleri novels) doesn't know what they're missing. Also BBC3 is one of the best channels I've ever come across - lots of Scandi noir that beats anything that satellite channels have to offer. Be selective and you won't go far wrong.

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  18. You are so right. TV is a big time-sucker. I don't watch current programs, but Dear Husband and I watch reruns on Netflix. Currently, we're working our way through Cheers. I have to keep aware of how much time I sit in front of the TV or else I'll get lost in it, like falling down a rabbit hole!

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  19. There is definitely a lot of rubbish on the TV, but there's also some stuff that I really enjoy. Like travel documentaries, Michael Pallin and Simon Reeve are particular favourites of mine. I think TV adds a bit of brightness to my world, I wouldn't dream of getting rid of it. Karen.

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  20. There are some extremely interesting programmes on TV, especially on BBC4. Fabulous documentaries and music programmes. You don't have to buy a Radio Times, they're listed in the newspapers, which you could consult for free at your local library.

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  21. Keep making your youtube videos Ilona, they're far more watchable than any program about frugal living any TV company could make!

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  22. I got rid of cable TV years ago. When my kids were school age, we would regularly shut the TV off (no cable) and not allow the kids to sit in front of it watching tripe. They were allowed to watch the same DVD movies over and over again, that was it. Now, we have Netflix and Amazon Prime plus DVDs and for us, that is plenty. I am finding that a lot of Netflix's so called original programming is krapp and so have found myself watching Netflix very selectively. We also watch YouTube. The big thing with us is to NOT allow advertising into our home by way of the goggle box. If I am paying for a service (which we were with cable) then I don't expect to be freely advertised to. We were paying over $100 a month to be relentlessly advertised to, via cable LOL No thanks. We enjoy watching our chosen TV programmes but we also try to keep an eye on how much time we spend sitting. I can't stand any type of talk show (more advertising only this time the entertainment industry is shoving their latest 'talent' down our throats), reality TV show or Jeremy Kyle type stuff.

    Sandy

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    1. Agree - the advertising is relentless and very depressing. Buy, buy, buy until you die - at which point you're no use to them.

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  23. If everyone refuses to pay their tv licences then we lose the BBC. No more news programmes we can rely on being impartial, no more David Attenborough incredible documentaries, no more childrens' programmes made for the UK rather than American mass-produced cartoons and hysterically voiced American children's programmes. I am happy for you to chose not to pay as you do not use the service, but please don't persuade everyone else not to pay; there is a lot of pressure, from the government especially, against the BBC! We really need to support it!

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    1. Well said littlegrebe.

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    2. I am not trying to persuade anyone, people can make their own minds up what to watch, whether to buy a licence or not.

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    3. Haha the days of bbc news being unbiased are long gone. It is also run with massive wastage and overpaid staff due to it being publicly funded. If it were a business it would not operate in the same way.
      I would much rather that they were forced to run as a business and secure their own funding, and i would happily give my licence fee towards funding a massive shake up and reform of the NHS and cutting all the wastage out of that institution.

      As for tv, there are many streaming services online now that allow you to stream live tv.

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    4. Sadly I totally agree with you that the BBC are no longer impartial. In the last couple of years they seem to have a more and more biased political leaning and now only seem to employ those with the same biased view. I never ever thought I would say this but I now feel the licence fee should be ditched and they should take their chances with every other company in the commercial arena.

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    5. littlegrebe - yes, I still buy my licence even though I haven't got a tv so that I could watch iplayer if I wanted to. I support the BBC as they still make intelligent programmes uninterrupted by relentless, moronic advertising. I tried to watch Wimbledon Tennis in Toronto once and had to give up as there were adverts between all the games and sometimes the adverts delayed our return to the actual game. Awful.

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  24. I agree with all the comments that you need to be selective. I love nature programmes, the cinematography these days is simply amazing. A lot of it is educational as well as beautiful too. David Attenborough has done so much good in highlighting the massive problem with plastic in our oceans through the wonderful Blue Planet programmes. As we choose which blogs to read we can choose what TV to watch.
    I love your blog Ilona, it's always educational and entertaining.
    Jacquie x

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  25. I think I would keep TV - I enjoy the travel programmes I’ve particularly enjoyed some of the cooking programmes from the Middle East with Nigel Slater and Yotam Ottolenghi as I’ve learnt a lot about ways to cook with some new vegetarian ingredients. I’ve enjoyed a lot of the wildlife documentaries and think I would miss TV if I didn’t have it.

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  26. I gave up TV. I gave up Facebook but oh dear, youtube has got me by the short and curlies. I've down sized, de-clurered. Now I really must try harder to down-screen. Rose x

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    1. Ha ha, that made me laugh. I like the pick and mix of yoootooob, you never know what you are going to get until it pops up. Their suggestions are based on what you have watched before. I like the way it's personalized to your specific tastes, sometimes you find little gems.

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  27. I would gladly and without a second thought give up the TV. Hubby on the other hand wouldn't have a clue how to fill his time if not staring at the box.

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  28. It's all about choice. The programmes you mention, Ilona, I wouldn't watch anyway, ever. Have always loathed soaps since they are usually about people being horrible to each other. I've always been saddened that East Enders was given such a catchy theme tune which in our house creates a race to change the channel. I love the TV programmes I do watch - I've learned so much from documentaries, historical dramas, wildlife programmes. I love whodunnits, especially those with quality acting and locations. I may never visit the recent gathering of Charles First's art collections but it fed my soul to discover new works I wasn't aware of and learn their history. Now I even analyse plot points and story arcs in dramas so I'm developing new skills for my own writing while I watch. You make a point of saying how TV wastes time but that again is a choice. For me, it's an opportunity to sit and relax with my knitting or embroidery. My husband will sit and watch while he does the ironing. I'm not going to complain. Admittedly we are both in control of our lives and are able to make choices. Not everyone is so lucky. I remember the last time I was in hospital and had to suffer my fellow patients watching all the programmes I hate without earphones when all I wanted was peace and quiet. It was wonderful to be come home and be able to watch or not watch what I wanted to see. We are so fortunate in the UK that we still have the BBC in its various guises. I'm very happy to pay my license fee so I can continue to watch their programmes and enjoy stimulating my mind curled up on my sofa in my own home. You have made your choice, please don't decry others who prefer to keep the baby and will decide in their own time how to dispose of the bathwater.

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    1. My grievances are about the so called trashy reality programmes, which all channels are increasingly moving over to. There are programmes worth watching, documentaries, historical drama, etc. I would watch these on a 'pay as you go tariff', but I am not paying a blanket fee to cover all the other dross. The BBC could do a hell of a lot better with their income if they stopped paying grossly inflated wages to the supreme few who stand in front of a camera and read from an auto cue.

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  29. There are so many alternatives, with apps, netflix, youtube or forgoing all of it. I don't miss any of it when I am being disciplined...and the love of reading is a good alternative. We don't have TV licenses here, I'm grateful for that.

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  30. I think you have to be selective; I enjoy BBC documentaries and travel programmes. There are currently 9 episodes of 'Civilisations' on BBC iplayer .. that is a MUST for me. x

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  31. Should you ever wish to watch a show/movie, chances are good you could find it online/on You Tube. Someone had told me about the huge number of shows on You Tube (she watches crocheting instructional videos/History Videos/much more, all on you tube. I had never checked, myself.. Just gave a look, for an example, Agatha Christie movies, and found scads of them.

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  32. I would quite happily live without a television,but my hubby wouldnt.I honestly dont know even how to put ours on!,I couldnt live without my laptop though...that I would miss.Ive learnt alot more from that than what Ive learnt in 62 years from the television.And dont even get me started on the reality shows!!! A load of idiots playing up to the camera for their 5 mins of fame!,Debi,xx

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  33. Oh I meant to mention,I love the new blog I spotted on your side bar..One Van and his Dog...so funny!!.One added to my favourites list that i write in my little notebook!,Debi,xx

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    1. Hi Debbi. John doesn't write every day, so he may slip down to the bottom sometimes.

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  34. I like tv - I agree, if you pick through it there are some great programmes. I like drama so enjoyed things like Wolf Hall, The Night Manager etc and currently I'm watching Victoria series 1 and 2 on catch up. Lots of interesting history and gardening programmes and some great films, works out cheaper than going to the cinema frequently if like me you don't yet qualify for any discounts. There's some terrible trash on it, but I just avoid that. I do think tv personalities/staff are obscenely overpaid for what they do and I do object to part of my licence fee having to support that. However I think I'd miss the tv if I didn't have it, I'm on the go all day and I like a couple of hours of wind down time in the evening, also as I live on my own I find seeing the faces and voices companionable. I'd love to be out more in the evenings, but without a car and most of my friends tied up with family stuff a night out is a rarity these days. I like youtube too, and spending time online, so I think I am everything in moderation really.

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  35. I have now realised my life has been planned out already by tv executives. Summer Britain’s go talent. Autumn celebrity jungle. Winter X Factor. Various big brothers.
    The soaps are made well in advance, and sometimes like the extreme weather we have just had won’t be mentioned. It’s just fantasy, they all go to the pub daily, marry each other, kill each other etc.
    I like Ben Fogle. I like any documentaries on social issues.
    But I am time filling from 5pm till 10pm with TV not good really.

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    1. I get what you are saying. I used to sit in front of the box every evening, waiting for bed time. Wasn't very selective, didn't matter what was on, the set stayed switched on. Almost like an addiction. I am better off without a TV set, cuts out the temptation.

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  36. I do think that the TV Licence needs a massive overhaul but would not like to be without a TV. There's no soap or celebrity prog watching done but hubby is a news junkie and we both enjoy the quality documentarys, dramas,anything animal related,travel etc. I enjoy craft related stuff too. Would never pay for extra such as Sky channels.... life is far too short, no one on their death bed ever said "I wished I'd watched more TV". Rae x



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  37. I live overseas but watch a lot of British TV shows on Netflix. It’s a case of pick and choose here, TV is for late evenings and wet weekends. Can’t do without BBC radio though, it’s on all day in our house via the internet. I’d gladly pay the license fee for BBC Radio 4 extra and Radio 2 alone!

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  38. As someone who works in television I just want to say a few words in its defence. Television can highlight issues better than any other medium - the 3 Girls drama on bbc 1 last year is a great example of that. It provided young girls parents and teachers an insight into the complex issues surrounding grooming and the opportunity for sexual abuse victims to speak out.

    Also one persons dross is another persons treasure. My Nan lived until the age of 82 but the last couple of years of her life were limited for her due to mobility issues and being almost blind. All of her other pleasures - driving bingo gardening had been taken away and although she couldn't see that well television provided entertainment and companionship to her when she needed it.

    Television provides many jobs in a lot of areas - admin finance legal etc - we are not all paid huge amounts of money but have been given an amazing opportunity to work in a vibrant creative industry. I have met fantastic people from all around the world in my job that I wouldn't ever have had the opportunity to meet otherwise.

    If you don't like what's on television fair enough don't watch it - but please consider it does have a place in society which is valuable.

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    1. Thank you Caroline, I like a balanced discussion.

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  39. I rarely watch TV except for PBS in the US. Our library has a huge collection of DVDs and in the past year I have watched all the Midsomer Murders, Vera, Agatha Christie (Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot) and now I've run out. Suggestions would be welcome. I've also watched all the Montalbanos, Don Matteos, and Manaras. I recommend all of them.

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