It just isn’t what it used to be. There, I’ve said it.
It says a lot that I seem to spend more time in front of my computer for entertainment these days than I do in front of the television. Indeed, I have probably found more entertaining and interesting stuff on the internet recently – whether it be on YouTube, on someone’s blog or even on twitter. And yet, I love television. I’ve grown up with it. I’ve been entertained, informed and educated by it. My degree was in Film, TV and Radio. I wanted to work in TV as a scriptwriter, and dreamt of one day seeing something I’d written on the TV screen. I still would love to, but I can’t ever see it happening. Even at 30, you’re made to feel as if your best chance of making it has passed you by and they wouldn’t be interested in anything you did anymore – or at least, it seems that way.
There are still plenty of things that I like to watch on TV, but at the same time there are plenty of things that I would rather not. I am grateful that I am in employment and thus not in the house on a regular basis at the time that This Morning or Loose Women are on (actually I am at home when the latter’s on, I just don’t watch it). I used to tolerate soaps, but now I find that most of them irritate me because their writers seem to want to make certain storylines stretch out over years rather than a few weeks to the point that they are completely unbelievable. Not to mention the fact that producers of such shows seem to want to make us all slit our wrists rather than be entertained, such is the emphasis on miserable stories.
What depresses me the most though, is the state of kids TV. When I was a kid, we had shows like Danger Mouse, Button Moon, The Trap Door, Pigeon Street, Inspector Gadget, Rainbow, Knightmare and Count Duckula. We had the original series of Postman Pat and Thomas The Tank Engine (the new ones are alright, but not a patch on the old), and I saw reruns of Bagpuss and Camberwick Green. Disney meanwhile, were actually making cartoon shows and not stupid series about youngsters who lead double lives as popstars. These days,there is very little for children on the main channels, as most of it gets shifted to dedicated channels on digital. What there is of it on those dedicated channels, isn’t up to much. There are a few honourable exceptions – the Ben 10 cartoons and Spongebob Squarepants are all winners, and CBBC’s Horrible Histories is exactly the sort of thing that would have been a huge hit when I was a kid. Indeed, the success of the last two lies in the fact that they are both popular with children and adults – which in my view is what truly great kids shows are. You would never have thought that a CBBC show could beat the primetime likes of Armstrong and Miller to a British Comedy Award, but Horrible Histories did just that. Still, it is, as I said, an exception. I hope that one day, there is a return to shows that are more like Duck Tales and He Man and less like Hannah Montana and whatever Power Rangers series they’re on now. I want my nephew to have mostly good memories of the TV he grew up watching.