Since I left home five years ago, I have lived quite happily without access to a TV. However, with the nights drawing in, and finally living somewhere with a living room, I've started to consider if now might be the time to give in. Sometimes internet streaming (as discussed here) just doesn't cut it. After a week of being exposed to TV in all its forms at my parents' while I recuperate, I can categorise TV into two very clear areas.
Frozen Planet. The Choir: Military Wives. Frozen Planet. Frozen Planet.
You've all seen Frozen Planet (unless you're a woolly bear caterpillar, obviously), so its place is secure. But have you seen 'The Choir: Military Wives'? You may have seen other projects by Gareth Malone, but this one in particular is the kind of great TV that should be shown far more often. In this three-part series, he is training a choir of wives and girlfriends at RAF Chivenor, while their husbands and boyfriends are deployed in Afghanistan. The movement that he has begun is so simple, yet so brilliant, and the fact that we get to follow its progress on TV is a treat for our ears and our sad and shrivelled hearts. And Gareth himself is bloody lovely. Also, you can see him on Never Mind The Buzzcocks (another contender for GOOD TV) here.
You can see the first two episodes of the programme on iPlayer here.
Again, everyone but the woolly bear caterpillar will know that we are currently experiencing extremely difficult economic times. Everyone will have even less money for Christmas this year. Of course, our attitude to Christmas has been growing steadily more commercial ever since the wise men and shepherds revealed they'd brought PRESENTS for the baby Jesus. But this year in particular, something is wrong. I'm talking about the Christmas TV adverts from the consumer giants.
They're a hot topic at the moment, as I'm sure they are BIGGER AND BETTER THAN EVER BEFORE. More celebrities! More fireworks! More classic songs covered by this Christmas's HOTTEST FACES! But all they are doing is heaping more and more pressure on families who are already going to find this Christmas incredibly difficult. Children should not be expecting piles of presents under the tree. John Lewis must think they've got it right, with their 'better to give than to receive' message (and their song is by The Smiths! The Smiths!); but it's still a whopping great box wrapped up in paper and ribbon. It's spending. That wee boy needs to start saving his pocket money for tuition fees.
Changing the entire western world's view of Christmas is a job too big for this blog, but I am going to put it out there by asking you to please not buy anything endorsed by a TV chef. Is that Gary Barlow's face on a turkey? Are M&S selling X Factor contestant crackers? Do you really need to know that Stacey Solomon off of years ago X Factor likes a strawberry and champagne gateaux for pudding? DO YOU NEED THIS CRAP? It's hysterical. I understand that we need to support our economy in order for things to improve, but something tells me that Tesco and co. would survive a slightly sub-standard Christmas trading period.
Anyway. This is one of my main problems with TV at the moment. That and the ugly man that shouts WONGA ninety times a day on the Envirophone adverts.