Friday, 1 August 2008

Who Needs Sleeping Pills?

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:

How it looked when I were a lad...

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...


catscratch said...

Even with 200+ channels, I can never find anything to watch over night.

And yes, that weather map thing is worse than a rollercoaster. Makes me sick zooming all over the place.

Dan said...

SO.....when you called in what was your guess?

Bee said...

The ladies are obsessed by the weather in my neck of the woods. I hear what's going to happen tomorrow but since I don't like umbrellas or I just use my hooded sweatshirt as my coat, I never pay much attention. Plus, if I need to know what the weather is like, I either look out the window or go outside.

for a different kind of girl said...

So I shouldn't start this comment by saying it's going to be 99 here in my tiny spot of the Midwest, with heat indexes well over 113, hmm?

Ok, here's my curious question about the BBC. Any idea why a show's season is so brief, like, what? Fourteen episodes or less? They seem to be so much longer here.

Brian o vretanos said...


They're in the process of switching to digital here - at some point we'll lose our 5 analogue channels. I could buy a digital receiver for £15 and get 30 channels, but I never watch 5, so why do I want 30?

It would take far too long to channel hop 200...


You don't need to actually guess, since most callers don't get picked, so you can just dial the number and pay the money. Much easier. White Rubble to think of something clever?


I tend to go by the weather as it is when I'm about to go out the door. Even when I watched a weather report for this region every evening, I found that I didn't actually take in what they were saying. And they're not always right, anyway.


How awful for you - that's too hot ;-)

Actually, it's been warm here, but I couldn't tell you the temperature. The last temperature prediction I heard was on Thursday night 23 - 31 Celsius (77 - 86 Farenheit), but that was for Thessaloniki...

Yes, series here are very short. I think they only made something like 6 episodes per season of Fawlty Towers in the late 70s, for example. I don't know why. You have to remember that we've only got a 5th of the population here, and no Hollywood, so maybe it's down to money?

I'm really getting out of touch with TV, but they used to have seasons which were like real seasons, i.e. Spring programmes, rather than the US six month season, so that would equate to 13 or 14 shows, I suppose.

Jean Knee said...

our weather never varies. Hot and dry.
high of 105 low of 80

burn ban

Brian o vretanos said...

Jean Knee:

Do they still have local weather reports? That must be an easy job...

Jean Knee said...

they still have reports


cool and clear
high 60 low 34

and then it snows once a year on Easter

Brian o vretanos said...

Jean Knee:

That snow thing is really impressive, given how much Easter moves about from year to year...

Jean Knee said...

true dat

Dan said...

I wonder what the big brother people are doing now?

Brian o vretanos said...


I expect they're not doing very much. Arguing, perhaps, but probably just sitting around.