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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…’ – 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’s the annoyance of filling most of the screen with what’s on next or worse, an announcement before the current programme has even finished – 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. 


Adverts and music annoy me most. Unless it’s something I really want to see, I give commercial TV a miss and have done for years. Does anyone actually want music on news programmes. I know other people that find it annoying.

Like John Ward I find Watchdog irritating. I’m sure they are doing a good job but the presentation would have to be changed completely to get me to watch it.

“Unless it’s something I really want to see” sums up to my mind how we should watch all TV. But how many do – very few I suspect. Just put something on – the least bad – for lazy “entertainment” of, for some, company.

I find that, when changing commercial channels to see what a programme is about, I invariably seem to do so when adverts are on, and waste time waiting for the programme to return. Does anyone else (it’s a bit like joining a choice of queues – mine then always seems to be the slowest!).

I sincerely hope the BBC is never forced to adopt adverts. It is such a bonus to watch a programme or film all the way through without interruption. Leave a choice please and do not give in to Rupert Murdoch.

Stephen Hackett says:
31 December 2014

Documentaries are plagued by repetitive recapping, reminding us of what we were told five minutes earlier. They are also ruined by superfluous ‘recreations’ (usually in slow-motion) which are played to ‘illustrate’ (sic) the points being made. Arguments are never sustained, simply repeated.
In short, even a supposedly serious channel like BBC2 (or am I mistaken?) treats its viewers as though they had the attention spans of gnats, and the intelligence of organisms even lower down the evolutionary scale.

End of grumble.

Good grumble! Keep it up!

I agree with most of what has been said above.

My annoyance is SOME cookery programmes. The filming is so bad that I have to stop watching the programme within 10 minutes because I am feeling dizzy and nauseas and cannot concentrate. I cannot tolerate unnecessary zooming, panning, and even slightly out of focus sequences. .

And yet I can watch back to back hours of “Come dine with me” without any problems.

“I cannot tolerate unnecessary zooming, panning” When Martin Lewis launched his new show, the very 1st episode was full of nonsense like that. Luckily he’s on facebook and asked for feedback. The overwhelming negative comment was exactly that. The next program was alot better as he had by then persuaded the production team to abandon those unnecessary gimmicks.

Why they felt the need to do it in the first is beyond me.

. . . it’s because juveniles think we want dumb. In many cases the small cameras used for these programmes are operated remotely from a desk that has all sorts of whacky features available to ‘enhance our viewing experience’ and the controllers want to show off. Good on Martin Lewis for listening and correcting the presentation.

Alan Roberts says:
13 January 2015

YES, absolutely….and it’s not only the fireworks – just too many good programmes are ruined by cameras whizzing around all over the place. PLEASE, cameramen/women just slow down a bit and give us a chance to see what is going on.

Interesting comments; I agree with them all. I could fill this slot with loads more, but I’ll confine it to bad language from ‘comedians’. I’m not offended by it, I’m offended that this is passed off as entertainment. Kathy Burke on 8 out of 10 the other night just blurted out two profanities when she realized what she was saying wasn’t getting a laugh. Such a talentless ‘celebrity’ needs such crutches I suppose. And there are way too many so called comedy panel shows showing the same ‘comedians’. Turn over from one and the same people are on a similar but different offering with the same format. Jobs and lots of money for these talentless people. If you take the trouble to look online at clips from 50’s and 60’s comedy shows, it makes you realise how shabby things have got. Swearing in the street from both sexes is common place now-I suspect there’s a link.

Vanessa says:
1 January 2015

I couldn’t agree more Captain Hector. We wonder why people have no respect for others these days when you’ve only got to look at the type of brainless rubbish on TV to see a major influence on peoples’ behaviour. Society has become very cruel and judgmental and this is both influenced and reflected by TV programming eg programmes like ‘The X Factor’, ‘I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here’ and ‘Celebrity Juice’ – they are programmes that have helped to create a callous, ‘Anything for a laugh’, bullying culture that seems to be based on survival of the nastiest. These programmes appeal to the lowest common denominator of human behaviour ie the bad side that is in all of us but which certainly doesn’t need to be encouraged, and we can see the direct results of this in society with the rise in bullying in schools and workplaces and so many people being on anti-depressants. TV seems to have practically no sense of having a public duty to inform and improve society any more.

Keith says:
3 January 2015

Absolutly Correct, Rubbish is passed of as “Entertainment” when it is really garbage.

I often feel that many TV producers don’t understand the meaning of ‘background’ when it applies to background music. All too often it seems that the music is actually the most important part of the sound picture with all other aspects, such as the actors’ voices, being of secondary importance.

Another annoying tendency is to superimpose a frenetic percussive noise (I refuse to refer to it as music) every time a car is shown travelling at speeds above a walking pace. It is particularly annoying in the case of replays of motor racing. Quite why they think that this noise is preferable to the actual sounds of the event baffles me.

Perhaps the producers have been recruited from the ranks of pop music programme staff where it seems that it is a sackable offence to have breaks in the stream of music. Certainly they seem not to have the wit or intelligence to realise that, quite often, silence is more powerful than continual noise or that the natural sound of an event is preferable to a superimposed unnatural noise.

From the Garden of England says:
3 January 2015

British television has lost its way, we have too many channels under the guise of “choice” but are there any watchable channels out there anymore. I have Freeview and Freesat boxes and just looking through the programme guides they are littered with channels repeating programmes day in and day out E.G. Judge Judy, is currently broadcast on ITV3, CBS Drama and CBS Reality at least 5 days a week. Why the duplication? and many other channels are doing it. A new channel is about to start broadcasting this spring 2015 from the USA on freeview, Freesat & Sky called Spike TV, looking at the proposed programmes to be broadcast are a number of ex Channels 5 shows and editions of Cops. Cops is already being broadcast of TRUtv & CBS Action now, why can’t a new broadcaster be a bit more inventive, in my view don’t bother to launch – your “new” programme are on already.

Also, I have a problem with BBC News, Its seems to have given up reporting the news and now tells us what to think. E.G every time the Government make an announcement, The BBC reports it and then a BBC Political reporter then launches into “speculation mode” informing us of his opinions. The BBC should stop this practice, just report the news and let the public decide.

Good points from “Garden of England” and especially the comment on “news”. It is a dead give-away when we hear “that So and So from the Labour (or other) Party will say today bla bla bla”, all they are doing is reading some advance summary of some more drivel about to be delivered by some politico and prepared by some over-paid Public Relations outfit. This is not Jornalism nor news. It is just another bone-lazy way of filling a slot.

I very much agree with the comments on BBC News delivery. The purpose of expert commentary is to add breadth and depth to a news fragment – not to engage in speculative analysis and thought provocation. Of course, the problem is that deprived of this cheap material from within the studio [or outside 10 Downing Street in the pouring rain as if it adds gravity] the news programmes could be half as long and the oh-so-expensive newsroom would be under-employed. Another irritation is the use of foreign correspondents to transmit any old waffle when the emergency for which they were posted to some obscure territory has expired – or got too boring to broadcast – a week before their room bookings or their scheduled interview with a harrassed head of state.

RogerM says:
3 January 2015

So, it’s not just me who is fed up with endless adverts and constant recaps. The “alternative” Freeview channels are particularly bad for this. Take out the adverts and recaps from an hour long programme and you are left with only about half an hour of stuff you want to watch.

Phil says:
3 January 2015

DOGS (Digital Onscreen GraphicS) especially ones that are bright and don’t get me started on the animated ones. I don’t need a constant reminder of what channel I’m watching floating about in the corner of the screen, “coming up next”, “previously”, too loud background music, DOGS, deliberately shaky camera work, repetitive re-enacments on history documentaries, squeezed credits, DOGS, in programme promotions, idiot presenters, Katie Humble, Fiona Bruce and that fool woman who cancelled Time Team.

Did I mention DOGS?

The garden of England says:
3 January 2015

The worst DOGS on tv has to be Film on Channel and CBBC as they are large and move around the screen which is very irritating and totally unnecessary

I’m glad you mentioned shaky camera work Phil – this really annoys me when it is patently so unnecessary. Deliberately shaking the camera around in a false attempt to make the pictures look more immediate and exciting is so old-hat. It is obvious from so many excellent dynamic action programmes that good steady pictures can be obtained with cameras mounted on the operator’s body using a Steadicam motion stabilising device. The sudden sideways or up-down camera movements that directors seem to love during a scene involving two people sitting at a table look so stupid they detract from the drama. The odd thing is that the following scene usually involves a car crash or some such where every bit of the action is recorded with perfectly steady control.

For the same reason that Classic FM has to tell its listeners that they’re listening to Classic FM one hundred times each hour. They’re petrified of being mistaken for something else . . . or completely ignored which is worse. It’s about as pathetic as the “Thank You for Shopping at Tesco” signs you hit as you try to trundle your trolley to your car – it’s full of Tesco bags for heaven’s sake!

i find the amount of breaks that are being used is over the top in a hour programme you get a break about every 8 mins
also do we need so many programmes like x factor ,get me out of here,big brother, britain got talent(by the way what ive seen of the entries we clearly have NONE and then the winners are not english or dont live in uk)
all i say is thank good for dvd’s and i can see why netflix and others are doing well

You could wrap The X Factor and BGT up in two or three episodes if our critical faculties had any bearing on it but that wouldn’t bring in much advertising because, by a large margin, they are the biggest money-spinners on the ITV network. There has always been a curious characteristic with independent television: what the programme makers produce at enormous expense they give us for nothing [so we shouldn’t complain, perhaps] but what they get for virtually nothing – airtime – they sell to cornflakes and cosmetics companies for phenomenal sums [which ultimately goes onto our housekeeping bills]. They also make a big buck on the phoney voting process where idiots can out-vote experts.

David Pittman says:
3 January 2015

After many months of complaints the BBC finally found a solution to the “credits squeeze” but it’s a pity the other channels have not taken the hint. Worse still is the problem of programmes starting a minute ot two earlier than the time advertised (ITV Emmerdale is particularly bad) when you are trying to watch the end of another programme on another channel and which has yet to finish, or even over-runs. Time, perhaps, for them all to learn how to tell the time, and make sure their clocks and watches are synchronised.

Brian says:
3 January 2015

Top moans – unnecessary background music and actors who mumble their words – usually both problems together so that all the dialogue is totally lost. Also the number of endings that are lost when watching a recorded programme due to earlier overruns – a particular problem at the BBC. When a programme has overrun why can’t they catch up by taking out all the ‘coming soon’ adverts to get back on track. Also a gripe against Question Time which we used to enjoy. Why doesn’t the Chairman fulfil his position by stopping dissidents from having a long, often offensive, personal rant?
And does anybody know a phone number for the BBC where one can make a personal protest?

It’s not only programme overruns that can cause the loss of recorded content. In the case of the BBC it is not unusual for programmes to start before the advertised time. If recording a BBC programme I now usually set the start time 2 minutes before the advertised time. Although it is not a programme that I watch, I have noticed that the One Show invariably starts earlier than the advertised time so why not give the correct starting time in the listings?

Brian D says:
3 January 2015

the one thing that does really annoy me is trailers for future episodes/programmes. They only seem to show the best bits and by the time the episode/programme is transmitted you have nearly seen the damn thing.
I realise and accept that they have to advertise their programmes but in most cases they are OTT with it.
I also agree with the comments already posted.

Noddy Foster says:
3 January 2015

Couldn’t agree more!

Daphne Hanson says:
3 January 2015

I am becoming increasingly fed up with TV where the adverts are too loud and the endless reminders of what is coming up and also what is being featured later in the week. This comes on again and again…..AH! I also agree that a storyline should run completely through and not keep going back to another story and then jump back again to the original one. This is a ploy to make you keep watching but it is becoming so annoying I may not watch at all!

Flowerpower says:
3 January 2015

Programmes such as Watchdog and Country file that have several topics going, then split them, mix them around and show you small chunks at a time, and documentaries with repetitive recapping, reminding us of what we were told five minutes earlier as if we had the attention span of a goldfish. (Even goldfish are said to have a better attention span than they are often given credit for!)

THE SAME long introductory sequence eg The Great Interior Design Challenge

I find a lot of background music is annoying and unnecessary especially when it competes with the narrative or natural background sounds

The ad break gets me to the mute button and recording ahead plus fast forwarding wins for me over catch up TV for channels with ads.

Alan C says:
3 January 2015

I agree with ‘Flowerpower’s’ comments and wish that the BBC would take notice. Can the many comments from others, most of which I agree with, be conveyed to the BBC or are they not interested in what their viewers think of their programmes?

Flowerpower says:
3 January 2015

…and interrupting the end of a programme to tell you about the next one.

Adverts. Worse on sky than itv. You are trying to watch tv and the adverts are nearly as long as the programme and you just can’t enjoy what you are watching so I now record all itv, channel 4, 5 and sky so I don’t have to watch them.

Keith says:
3 January 2015

Cheap TV and rubbish TV like any “Celebrity” show, Britains got Talent, The Voice, Strictly Come Prancing and a host of others, what happened to quality programming, more is definatly WORSE.

Pete says:
3 January 2015

My, haven’t you opened up a hornet’s nest – and I thought it was only me who got annoyed by these things! I can easily avoid programmes that don’t interest me, such as reality shows, but ones I would like to watch are being unnecessarily spoiled. I agree completely with most of the points raised, especially the dumbing down of programmes, including those raising serious issues (such as Watchdog, which is now virtually unwatchable), squeezing of credits to give space for “what happens next week”, lengthy repeat introductions (Michael Portillo is a good presenter but I now record his programmes so as to cut out the long introductions), jumping between stories so you get the conclusions later in the programme, etc. One of my big bugbears is the inappropriate/unnecessary use of “celebrities” as presenters, when they have no knowledge or expertise in the particular field. An example is the recent BBC programme on weather – why get Richard Hammond to front this, when they have expert weather presenters who could do an equally good – if not better – job, John Hammond being an obvious choice from the BBC’s own stable.

I agree with the complaints made above regarding excessive background music, too long and unduly noisy adverts etc., etc., and, may I add one other complaint, the rushing through and gabbling of the weather forecast preceding the adverts spoken in a much slower rate of delivery.

Yes, DG – you’d think after all this time and multiplicity of digital channels there would be one devoted to the weather where we could see beautiful cloud formations forming over Formby, the raindrops keep falling on Headingley, and the sun-drenched coasts of Cornwall, all from the peace and comfort of our sitting rooms [and on the red button you could watch the waters rising on a flood plain near you with a list of insurance company numbers stripping along the bottom of the screen].