Television: Deciphering the daytime schedule (Part Two)

Daytime TV by Tom NashSo following on from my morning’s work and having recovered from Loose Women enough to force down something to eat, it was time to get into the afternoon’s viewing. And it was lucky I did; such treats were in store for me.

The news
So the BBC does the usual sitting on the fence (although that’s still too provocative for Daily Mail hacks and readers), as does the ITV coverage. Channels 4 and Five know who their audiences are and keep their daytime news bulletins to 5 minutes a pop, with Channel 4 coming out on top as they actually treat their viewers like they have a brain.

Basically, the news at the moment goes:

Yay, the Queen- reminder that Europe’s still got no money- bit about the Government changing their mind about something or doing something unethical and claiming ignorance- something about young people being scary or poor and unemployed (depending on how we feel about them that day)- brief mentioning of awful things happening somewhere abroad- if a soldier has died in Iraq or Afghanistan, something about that.

Then it’s back to the drivel.

The afternoon schedule
If anyone reading this has aspirations to write for the screen, or to act, watch Doctors on BBC One. There is hope.

After that there’s more fucking property shows; classy middle-class city-types look to Escape to the Country on the BBC, while over on ITV people from the north either judge each other’s shit houses or give a group of DIY ‘experts’ an hour to redecorate their home with as much MDF as they can get their hands on. Channel 4 shows Westerns and other old films- presumably to keep the Countdown audience quietly nostalgic until they can do their puzzles.

Does anyone still watch Neighbours or Home and Away now they’re on Five? I forgot they were still on… Fuck me- Alf Stewart’s still going strong!

Flick through the rest of the schedule and it’s repeats all the way. Apart from the music channels. Is it illegal to have any shots that last for more than a second in music videos now? And does anyone really believe that *insert Hollyoaks actor*’s favourite songs all happen to have videos and were released within the last year? Well, I’m not convinced…

ITV2 has more Jeremy Kyle! All afternoon! Fucking awesome- I love laughing at the poor and uneducated. HAHAHA. That’s it Jez, talk louder and slower- that’ll get through to ’em.

Not your cup of tea? Fear not- BBC Two has Ben Fogle and Kate Humble being jolly enthusiastic and British in Animal Park. No paternity tests or tracksuits here, just a good old fashioned programme about somewhere you could visit if you got off your arse and did something with your life. See, ‘exclusive behind the scenes footage of life at Longleat Safari Park’ seems great until you realise that the behind the scenes stuff mainly includes cleaning up shit and putting out food. Wow, animals in zoos shit and they also need feeding… You can’t get this sort of insider info from a book, you know.

Another one for aspiring screenwriters: if you can, try to catch the Five afternoon movie at least once. It will never be something you’ve heard of and you’ll be lucky to recognise any actors, but if you want a lesson of what not to do, you will find everything you need here; expositional dialogue, uneven pacing and non-existent character development. It is a wonder to behold.

Choice dialogue example: *Protagonist walks in to big, sparsely decorated office of dude who is only missing the red braces from his ‘generic banker’ costume* “Congratulations on your promotion to CEO of Omnicom last month.”

If you can’t figure out what’s wrong with that line, you must not have held a conversation with a real person before and you have my pity.

Seriously, watch one some time. If you make it to the end and don’t want to hit someone… Something is wrong with you.

Heartbeat seems to be on ITV3 a lot. A series about the 1960s that last lasted twice as long as the decade itself. You figure that one out.

If you can’t sit through Five’s awful film, check out the greed-fest that is Dickenson’s Real Deal. People bring their tat to be looked over by someone who knows the antiques trade. If they like it, they make the owner an offer. Then the owner tells them its not enough and demands more money. Sometimes, the expert offers them more. It’s still not enough. Then the Orange Duke sidles in and tells the person (politely) that they may be pushing it a bit and the item owner snatches it back, claiming they believe they’ll get more at an auction. The whole time, a narrator reminds us of what just happened a minute or so previous, as all the twists and turns of this highly complex format makes retaining any information physically impossible, or so the makers of this show believe…

Cue auction scene and the piece of tat is sold for less than the expert offered, plus factoring in the auction house’s commission, meaning that the greedy fucker goes home with even less. Good. There’s a moral in there somewhere.

Early evening
Once that was all over, I realised the only choice I had was game shows until the day’s news was repeated, or Come Dine With Me. I turned the telly off.

If I was unemployed, the prospect of having to watch that shite everyday would be all the impetus I’d need to get out and look for some work. Looking for engaging and informative television during the day that isn’t back to back WWII documentaries (looking at you, Yesterday)? Record something from BBC Four or read a book, your search will be fruitless and you’ll just end up shouting at the telly. Never a good look.

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