Last night, I woke up at around 1.30 am, and I couldn't get back to sleep. This isn't unusual. Sometimes I get up, lie on the sofa in the lounge, and turn on the TV, usually without the sound. This is about the only time that I see any British television, and by the looks of things I'm not missing much.
We have five terrestrial channels. Two of them are run by the BBC, the state broadcaster, and the other three are commercial channels.
So what did my viewing choice look like? On BBC1, they had the weather. Because the only weather reports I normally see are about Cyprus, this should be of interest, right?
If it was any other channel, then maybe, but unfortunately the BBC weather report is (in my opinion) really awful. Once upon a time, the weather used to look like this:
They've made various enhancements over the years, generally involving computer graphics, but the basic idea of a map with symbols hasn't changed. Until recently. Now, in a desperate effort to waste licence-payer's money, they've got some 3 dimensional thing that whizzes over areas of the country. This means that instead of seeing a map of the country which you can look at to find out what's going to happen where you live, most of the time you're watching the display zoom over places you couldn't care less about.
On BBC2 late at night they go to the BBC's 24 hour news channel. At the particular time I tuned in, they had, wait for it, the weather. Being presented by someone else.
I watched a bit of both, but still didn't see what they were predicting for here. Consequently, I spent the day carrying around a coat I didn't need.
On ITV they had some kind of track racing. Cars going round and round and round and round and... This is real edge-of-the-seat stuff. Lots of cars, pretty much going at the same speed driving round a track, with about 0.000004 of a second between the leader and the guy taking up the rear. And with only 149 laps to go! I'm glad I don't bite my nails - I'd have probably chewed my fingers off...
Channel Four had Big Brother. It's one of these reality shows. They take some of the most self-centred non-entities to be found outside of the Political arena, and imprison them in a large "house" wired up with cameras. And then show it live. I don't know if this reality is the same as the reality of your life, but personally, mine isn't that interesting. Anyway, at 1.30 am most of them are asleep.
Channel Five had one of those so-called "phone in" competition things, which the powers that be haven't quite got round to banning. There is some kind of impossible question. In this case "What comes after White". For example, White House, White wash, White rye, or whatever. There are a number of answers with cash values, and if you guess one of them you win the money.
There are always a couple that go early on, and for the rest of the night you can watch and they won't have any right answers, so they're probably really unlikely or obscure.
Even if you guess one, only a small proportion of those who phone in actually get picked to go on air, and all phone calls cost £1, or something. So it's just a way to get money out of stupid people. Most of whom can't afford it.
Anyway, I couldn't bear to watch it even without sound, since the "presenters" are basically salesmen/women, who are persuading the weak, gullible, incredibly drunk, or whoever to phone in.
All this TV viewing did the trick, and I was asleep within minutes...