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On the Box

3rd March 2008 • Dave

Some personal blogs are more occasional than others. Certainly has been less frequent of late. Like many floggers, I do not always have the inclination to blog. Either, nothing blogworthy happens, I am too busy, get out of the blogging routine or I just can’t be bothered! I’m not going to promise to blog more. If I’m not blogging it is probably because I’m zonked in front of the TV rather than blogging! That said, I have a few minutes to share a couple of TV related bits and pieces.

I was recently prevented from paying my licence fee online as apparently the TV licensing database cannot cope with the fact that some blind people receive correspondence in Braille and the address for the Braille transcription is different from one’s home address. Ah well half an hour on the phone later and I’m all set to pick up the remote.

For the record, I am not opposed to the licence fee, although the criteria for who should pay it seems somewhat arbitrary when one considers the volume of BBC content available online free from outside the UK. Moreover, the advent of the very excellent BBC iPlayer allowing one to catch up with programs for the past 7 days would seem to indicate that anyone in the UK with an internet connection (not just a television) would also be liable for the licence fee?

Incidentally, 3 years ago, Geoff Shang, Jeff Haris and I came up with something slightly similar to the iPlayer for ACB Radio. Great to see that the ACB Radio Replay service is still going strong:

ACB Radio Replay.

Anyway, When I inadvertently stumble across a a wrist slittingly depressing episode of BBC One’s primetime soap EastEnders, the tacky tastic game show serving warm up for the National Lottery, or yet another episode of the Weakest Link, I am left wondering what the hell the BBC is playing at with our licence payers’ money?

That said, generally I am supportive of the licence fee. When one considers the breadth and depth of the BBC’s output. It is difficult to imagine any other broadcaster in the world commissioning a comparable range of content. And good on ya BBC for telling those greedy Ausies to stick it when Channel Ten hiked up the price for Neighbours. I’m sure the good folk of Erinsborough will be just fine along side Home and Away, on the UK’s Channel Five. Isn’t Five owned by RTL now anyway?

Back on the Beeb, lately I have been delighted by the return to our screens by the larger than life character DCI Gene Hunt in the Life on Mars spin-off Ashes to Ashes. Proceeded on Thursdays by the marvellously morose Grantly Budgen in that hopelessly optimistic of all school dramas Waterloo road.

I have recently enjoyed Tropic of Capricorn concluding this past weekend on BBC Two. Following Equator this is Simon Reeve’s second televised travel log circumnavigating the globe. He’s no Palin but that’s probably a good thing is it allows the audience to focus on the place rather than the presenter.

Moving away from the Beeb, if you like your TV travel a bit more gritty then Dave Gorman’s America Unchained is well worth a watch. Now available on DVD and being repeated on FilmFour and probably available on 4OD although I’ve not checked.

Speaking of grit. Channel 4’s Shameless is well into it’s fifth series and still well worth a giggle. Although for me Shameless has lost some of it’s original charm. Frank and the other characters on the Chatsworth Estate have gone a bit preachy, and they are making a bit too much use of fantasy reality sequences which always put me in mind of the movie version of Billy Liar.

Glad to report: Ashes to Ashes, Waterloo Road, Tropic of Capricorn and Shameless are all audio described. Which is more than can be said for any of the films playing at the Worcester Odian! And if the blogs are to be believed AD is coming soon to an iPlayer near you!

Next time on…

Hrrors of Hotpoint,

Nws from the Preston front,

My little sister’s getting married!

All the best.

Categories: Opinion, TV
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