/ Technology

What annoys you most about TV programmes?

Which? Convo regular Alfa is here to debate a new topic – TV annoyances. What winds you up about telly these days? Is it the volume of ads? What about excessive narration?

I was watching Eggheads the other evening and they have introduced an annoying background beep. That got me thinking of other TV annoyances.

Let me jog your memory

‘Earlier in the program we showed you‚Ķ’ – that is probably the one thing about TV programmes I hate the most.¬†¬†Sure, a brief ‘In this programme…’ introduction at the start of the programme is no problem. And even an ‘in the next programme…’ at the end can work.

But why do programme makers think we need reminding before and after every set of adverts? Can we really not remember what we saw 10 minutes ago? Do we really need another reminder of what we are about to see?

I find Border Patrol and¬†Nothing to Declare¬†interesting programmes but the format of splitting storylines into several parts, only to then keep reminding you what you have already seen drives me mad!¬†Why can’t they show a whole storyline then go on to the next one?

Even Countryfile has adopted this annoying format and I can’t be bothered to watch it anymore.¬†I might actually watch more programmes right to the end if the repetition stopped.

Can you hear me at the back?

Then there‚Äôs the annoyance of filling most of the screen with what’s on next or worse, an announcement before the current programme has even finished ‚Äď this completely ruins the end of a programme.¬†Plus, sometimes I like to read the credits but they are unreadable when squashed on one side of the screen to make room for what’s next.

Having to turn the volume down when the adverts come on used to be a big problem.  This was greatly improved a few years ago but seems to be sneaking back again.

I also think the BBC are very bad at running programmes late and not adjusting their timings so the end of recordings are missing. I once wrote to the BBC when they ran a series finale late. I had recorded it on Sky and the climax was missing even though the extra 2 minutes were added to the end of the recording; their reply was a bit of an anti-climax.

Arrgghh, coming next…it’s over to you!

So, are you like Alfa – are you getting annoyed by TV? What are your top annoyances and do you have any tips to get around them?

This is a guest post from Which? Conversation community member, Alfa. 


I get irritated when people who should know better speak of “nucular” instead of nuclear. How often now do you hear “would of” or “could of” instead of “… have”. Eyerag and Eyeran – why? Surely Iraq and Iran? Oh, and those who, in reply to question in an interview, begin their answer with “So……”. I suppose it supplants “Er…”. “Umm…” and “Well” but it so irritates me.

But life is too short to get upset (it is getting longer however as each day passes) and I’ll calm down in the workshop by hanging a new door.

@ Malcom….Couldn’t agree with you more, but you missed out the latest prevalent start to an answer: “I mean”….sometimes “Well, I mean”….which indicates the clarification of a previous statement, but just replaces an ‘umm’ or an ‘er’.

I can’t stand the modern abbreviation ‘uni’ for university but I suppose ‘varsity’ sounds a bit stilted these days.

JP poncin says:
2 April 2016

Excellent documentaries all round, but why have irritating music over the voices can hardly hear interesting information. .Which is what informative programs are about…furious I wish I could pull the plug on musos in these shows.I often have to switch to nonsence programes..Angry and frustrated by this.. Jon

(Edited by moderators: We have edited your comment as it was all written in
capital letters. Please read our commenting guidelines for more information).

To me the age of British TV occupying the top spot in documentaries-serious programmes is well over , Germany is now number one in this . Difference – no stupid “personalities ” – no music – real hard facts -no patronising “talking down ” to you , the way English documentaries of the 30,s /40,s/50,s-and into the 60,s once were and made them world renown . Now its more –I am a “personality ” so focus on me not the subject as many people now have short attention spans from watching soaps etc. Set up your sat dish for Astra 19 degrees East and watch it like it used to be here , deep scientific investigations , intense investigating of people in different countries with ZERO political bias. Worldwide subjects ,zero low brow. Try it and see.

Rosie Lake says:
28 September 2016

Why oh why are we given stage directions on so many programmes. It is getting to the stage where I am seriously thinking of stopping viewing of some of my favourite programmes. Doctors, Corrie are now totally spoiled for me with comments like ”Todd is looking over his shoulder” or on Michael Portillo’s train journey through Switzerland ”Michael is getting onto the train” —YES I can see that, thankyou!!
Is this for the use by the partially sighted or blind viewers?
Does anyone else find this an annoying intrusion

Rosie, in days gone by England had excellent documentaries by well known articulate and well loved commentators , also plays were presented -“as is ” taking it as granted you have the visual and vocal perspective to understand and even philosophize on the action taking place . This required an internal vision of life itself acquired by book reading or other physical means of acquiring intellect and a broad perspective of human actions by associating with the general public . Nowadays its down to playing with apps in your bedroom and “talking ” on social network websites which limits the mental range of young people , they now need to be “talked to ” to get the overall picture of a situation. Its restrictive and narrow and I blame the primary school teaching that doesnt expand in great detail the taught English in all its various aspects. Thats why I love the old English B+W films with great characters actors who ooze tradition and perspective showing up the modern so called “actors ” as pale imitations of how it used to be. I am in that aspect truly a “Romantic ” of , to me , the greatest era of English Film History.

I agree Alfa , the weight lifting was completely ruined by a commentator constantly commented on the techniques of the lifters so much so I re-tuned to German satellite TV and watched it there .

Rob North says:
29 September 2016

Well said Duncan, I think that you got it spot – on.
On the subject of old old films I feel that something like “Hobsons Choice” might be a bit of a mystery to young people, more’s the pity.

Funny you said that Rob , if you turn on your TV to – “Talking Pictures ” Hobsons Choice ” is playing as we speak.

Rob North says:
29 September 2016

Greed TV- it’s now on all day and night. Buy some tat for twenty pence in a charity shop having noticed that it has “Tiffany” stamped into the base and “Flog It” for two GRAND (i’m sure the presenters like Paul Martin the king of tautology are encouraged to use this awful term as part of the hype) or buy a house at auction for a BARGAIN price, throw a few tins of whitewash over it and sell it three weeks later for a profit of forty two and a half GRAND (even the lady presenters are now trained in the use of this term)
The “antique” shows are bad enough (the BBC admits to having 29 antique type shows on I player) but the whole business of the crafty buying and selling of STUFF and the often shamelessly rigged results is designed to appeal to people’s greed. This rubbish is expanding rapidly across all channels and now includes Steptoe characters out foraging in their vans, which after a few series have morphed from old bangers into the latest models, no doubt placed by Ford and Mercedes. The other dayI found myself watching a programme about two American!! ragmen at work……
I fear we are only a step away from showing real criminals at work as entertainment with the thrill of a pickpocket opening stolen wallets on camera and the presenter saying “you must have nearly a GRAND in there!”

I am with you there Rob , those two US “ragmen ” on TV look more like “rip-off merchants ” . My wife watches the series and is very happy when , mostly Texan owners of antique items tell them where to go. And yes spot on with whats happening over here , there are various antique shops in the next village to me and one was visited by an extremely well known antique “search program ” by an equably well known Scottish female antique dealer . This was a small one woman business owned by a local woman who was brow beaten constantly by the dealer to sell her item at a loss immediately after buying it the dealer boasted to the viewers how much of a bargain she had obtained , by implication making out the local was a “country bumpkin ” , this got round the whole village and that programme was hated from that moment . The same applied to the dealer who has a series on TV of going round the country buying bargains , refurbishing them ans selling at a vast profit. He visited a defunct RAF naval air base near me and bought certain light fittings dirt cheap selling them at 100,s of times the buying price. This is what I go on about when I talk of the changing face of society in this country , I usually get condemned for saying so but at least one person understands what I am getting at in the way of reduced and perverted social values ,imported , as far as I am concerned for “overseas ” as the “wise ” (sly ) way to live your life .

I tend to agree that the craze of trying to get something for nothing, striking a bargain, and haggling over prices is being fed by silly TV programmes – but they are not compulsory viewing and I see them as entertainment. It is unfortunate if an antique dealer is brow-beaten to sell at a loss, but that is quite a rare occurrence I would say; the price at auction will be the judge of that anyway.

The curious thing is that these tendencies can’t be linked to the recession or austerity because the articles in question are not essentials by any stretch of the imagination. I suppose society has always had its scavengers, and TV is now one of them – making rubbish viewing out of others’ discards.