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.

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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.