/ Technology

My view: we’ve never had it so good with TV

Community member Alfa’s guest post hit a home-run when you all shared your top TV annoyances. From adverts to credits, you want to see change. But is it really that bad? I think our TV is brilliant.

I, for one, didn’t have a clue people were so infuriated with British TV. With 215 comments so far, it seems most of you all think the same thing, which was nicely summed up by Mike Farmer:

‘At the risk of repetition (!) these are my recommended New Year Resolutions for TV Companies and the BBC:

  • Show film credits in full without splitting the screen,
  • Stop running trailers for upcoming programmes,
  • Tell us precisely at what times the weather forecast will be broadcast,
  • Maintain consistent sound volumes’

And it’s definitely the adverts that are the most consistent gripe. GW told us:

 ‘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’

Roger M was also at the end of his tether:

‘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.’

But is it really that bad? Do the adverts annoy you that much?

It’s not as bad as the States

I know I’m going against the grain here, but I personally quite like the TV ads. They’re interesting pieces of TV in themselves. Have any of you seen this Guinness ad? It certainly made me take notice the first time I watched it. Or what about using TV adverts to give campaigns the audience they wouldn’t otherwise get, like the ‘This girl can’ advert?

A few of were brave enough to argue how lucky we are. Lawrie told us:

‘If anyone has ever watched TV in the USA they will have realised how lucky we are.  A typical program begins as follows: Adverts, Intro, Adverts, Titles, Adverts, Main Body of program with ads at 10 minute intervals…. and so it goes on.’

Try watching the Superbowl – there are more ads than sport. Of course, if you don’t like adverts, you could always try Netflix. Netflix even remove the ‘In last week’s episode’ so you don’t have to waste time if you can remember what happened.

So do you really find TV that annoying? Have you tried watching TV in another country – was it any good? And, be honest, have you never seen an advert that sparked your interest?


Who cares that it is worse in the States?

We live here in the UK and what we get here isn’t good enough.


Ian, one problem here is that we have so many channels we import a great deal of American mindless rubbish just to fill air time. It is a great pity we have a need to do this. There are some excellent programmes produced here, in Australia, even some subtitled Continental dramas, but if you want to watch quality TV they take some weeding out.

I’m not interested in adverts and it is a relief when a good programme apears on a BBC channel that I can watch right through without interruption.


It’s a bit provocative to refer to ‘mindless rubbish’. That’s not going to help preserve the reputation that English people are polite and reserved. 🙁

Many years ago I remember chatting to a visitor from the States, who asked how many TV channels we have. I said we now have four, since Channel 4 had recently been launched. He said they had 44 back home but there was still nothing worth watching on a Friday evening. I have a lot of respect for self-deprecation.


Distasteful as it might appear to some I agree with Malcolm r because it is the truth. lying by omission is what censorship is all about. I loved the old black+white films by the UK from the thirties onward up to around 1970 .Also the BBC had a high standard worldwide in documentaries etc . How the mighty have fallen ! they are now down to high level of dumming down like other UK channels. The BBC,s place has now been taken from them to German programmes which I watch on Satellite their documentaries are vastly superior to the ones in this country. They dont treat viewers like fools to be manipulated as the UK advertising does ,just notice the difference in their adverts .Its very sad that England once known worldwide as the standard to base the media on has sunk so low.

Linterbug says:
27 January 2015

I agree with this comment 100%! We shouldn’t have to accept all these annoyances just because other countries are worse off!! What kind of measure is that! Moreover, the BBC used to have a worldwide reputation for excellence, which you’d have thought it would strive to maintain instead of letting things disintegrate into poor standards – particularly of the spoken word.

My main gripe now is that all those people (like me) who have consistently mentioned other major annoyances seem to have been ignored in Ian’s summing up. This includes such problems as presenters who mispronounce words and place names, overly loud background noise (ie drumming heartbeat noises and metallic scraping sounds as opposed to ‘music’) drowning out the speech, and the problems with subtitles when we resort to using them to try to find out what’s going on.


My favourite programme is on the French channel TV5. About once a month on a Saturday evening, La Plus Grande Cabaret du Monde! Two hours of variety performers. Apart from BGT, you don’t see any proper variety on British TV. Two hours, no adverts and subtitles for the conversation during each act! Brilliant acts from all over the world!


That sounds like a great programme, John. Gives me a good excuse to brush up on my French as well. Gracias. Oh, sorry, I meant merci (better start watching!)


I have seen trailers for an Amercian-style TV programme featuring the “real housewives” of Cheshire. I believe there is also a popular show set in Essex. This must have inspired Alex to ask the question in the Intro above “Have you tried watching TV in another county – was it any good?” Unfortunately I must have missed these out-of-county viewing oopportunities. I just hope nobody thinks of doing something along the lines of “The Normal Folk of Norfolk”. It wouldn’t grip. Norwich does have its own local TV station called, of course, Mustard TV. I haven’t caught up with it yet: it’s probably the entertainment equivalent of a poultice.


Alex must have been referring to the regional broadcasts of the BBC although Sky very kindly make them available to all of us.

Otherwise telly is much the same in Cornwall, Kent or Caithness.


Hi John, I’m not so sure, I think “The Normal Folk of Norfolk” could be a smash hit. But as much as I would love to see it come to life, I actually meant to write ‘country’ not ‘county’. You caught me out on an inexcusable typo 🙁 Either way, you should definitely put it forward to a TV broadcaster, I think you’re on to something..


Glad my convo hit a home run and that others shared my annoyances.

I left out adverts as they are how most TV companies get their income and without them we would not have the choice of the many channels on offer. But saying that, I would hate that our TV got as bad as the States where there are more adverts than programme content.

We record and fast-forward through most of the adverts but do quite like the meerkats and their on-going story line. Also waiting to see what happens to Brian the robot and how his friends are going to rescue him.


Both of which are for price comparison sites! 😉 Pity Moneysupermarket.com couldn’t take a leaf out of their book instead of that trash they keep putting on!


When you consider the production values and consequent costs of the comparison websites’ TV commercials and also the high-price prime-time screenings they get, and bear in mind the fact that these companies advertise heavily in other media, you realise what a colossal sum is being skimmed off the insurance, energy and other markets to support this parasitic industry. I can’t make my mind up on whether or not it is beneficial overall. There is no doubt that many consumers have been able to use these sites as a quick way of getting a better quote and they have enabled newer, and perhaps cheaper, providers to get a toe-hold in restricted markets thus improving competition, but against that is the cost to the providers of customer churning that results as well as the commission payable on switches. So while these amusing commercials give us some innocent pleasure, do we really need them at all?