Archive for September, 2011


I just came across this Radio Times blog post about Spooks and Downton Abbey, which both start again a week on Sunday.  Near the bottom it reads: “most people still like their TV on a plate…”, in reference to the fact that Downton will almost certainly get higher ratings due to its post X Factor slot.  My first thought was, ‘if only I could somehow link that one phrase to this blog!’  My second was that actually, as I wrote in my first How I Watch TV post, iPlayer and other on demand services do give us our TV on a plate, as and when we want it.  Yes, sometimes we’ll end up watching something because we couldn’t summon the energy to change channel, but (and I apologise if this is extending the metaphor painfully) this is the equivalent of having a meal served that you may not like, but end up eating anyway.  Sure, you may end up sampling a tasty dish that you’ll subsequently order every week, but with iPlayer et al. you can pick your favourites and consume them at your convenience.

<end metaphor>

In short, I don’t believe that being part of an ‘inherited audience’ is the only way in which viewers get telly on a plate.  I will certainly be tuning in to Downton Abbey on the 18th, but this is due to Maggie Smith rather than Gary Barlow.

The End of an Era for E4

Just over an hour ago I sat in front of the TV and watched Friends for the very last time on E4.  It’s the end of an era, as Channel 4 has held the broadcasting rights to the sitcom ever since it first aired to the British public in the mid 1990s.  Although it’s common knowledge that Rachel got off the plane and Monica and Chandler had twins, it’s still strange to think that Friends won’t automatically be that easy tea-time viewing choice any more.

Part of me wonders why I’m bothered; after all, I do own the DVD box set.  Maybe it’s because from now on I’ll probably only watch it on my own, instead of three or four of us congregating round the telly and pre-empting the one-liners. At the end of second year, my ex-housemate and I decided that we would watch, in order, all 236 episodes of Friends.  By the end of our degrees we’d made it to the end of Season 5, but then he went to China to coach tennis, thus Season 6 remains the only box in my set that’s still in its protective cellophane.  I’ve dipped in and out of episodes on E4 and gradually made my way through the later seasons on DVD, but I’ve yet to watch Season 6 in its entirety.  It would seem a shame not to complete the Friends quest, albeit alone, so perhaps in a month or two I’ll unwrap that last box.

You see, familiar as the jokes are, I’ll miss chuckling at Ross, Rachel, Monica, Chandler, Phoebe and Joey on a regular basis.  Friends has had a huge impact on popular culture, birthing catchphrases, coffee shops and even haircuts, but ultimately it’s great, light-hearted entertainment
with six memorable characters.   Why say goodbye to that?