#9 (Don’t) watch daytime TV

In Down and Out, Homeworking on November 9, 2009 at 11:17 pm


There are certain things that should only be done after dark, and watching TV is one of them. Yet when I left full time employment to go freelance (it seemed like a good idea at the time), the most freque

nt comment was how much Daytime TV I’d be watching.

To date, I’ve never actually watched daytime TV, except at Christmas. There seems something slightly sordid and shameful about it. But in the interests of bloggery, I decide to give it a try, hunkering down in the sitting room after school drop off, but closing the shutters first in case passers by look in and see me.

[The following experiment would obviously have worked better as a live blog or some Twittering, but as the only person following me is someone I don’t know, I’m sticking to old technology. If we’re all still unemployed in the Spring, perhaps we could meet up virtually for a mass daytime TV session with live blogging.]

In the mean time…

9.20am Blimey, it’s an On the Buses double bill! (ITV3). The shaky black and white camerawork, and clumsy sexual advances makes it all feel charmingly innocent. Lots of comically tight sweaters but sadly no Routemasters. [bonus OTB trivia: Reg Varney opened London’s first ATM in Enfield, 1967.]

9.50am More classic comedy of yore. Bread (Gold +1, or, rather G.O.L.D. +1). Fifteen years later and TV has lost its innocence. Three women are getting hysterical in someone’s kitchen over fairycakes and instant coffee. The one with big ear rings is dressed in shocking pink  (I’m sure OTB‘s Olive never wore shocking pink). I have no idea what is going on. Or why. I’m aware this was a classic, but sense Jean Boht, who plays the Catholic matriarch, may have been far too good for this. Lots of great shots of Pre-Tate Liverpool, but the Liver Birds is wasn’t.

10.05am Perhaps a film would be more culturally enriching. Babe, Last of the Mohicans, High Fidelity, and the Andy McDowell classic Green Card
Remember I cancelled the movies package months ago to save money.

10.07am Accidentally light  on Mums-to-be Yoga on Fitness TV. Fitness TV? I’m really plumbing the darkest areas of my Sky box now. Where do all these channels come from?

10.25am Head back up the dial to the security of terrestrial for some daytime TV stalwarts. So that’s what Jeremy Kyle looks like – shorter and balder than I’d expected. Oh, I see, that’s the TV psychotherapist. The camera closes in on the contorted face of a young man who is struggling with heroin addiction. His mum and sister are sitting in the studio armchairs next to him trying to persuade him to give it up. If only it were that easy. His anguish is painful to watch. It’s a far cry from QVC shopping, and feels uncomfortably voyeuristic. Why do people go on TV to do this? I suppose if my son was addicted to heroin, I’d probably try anything too.

10.30am Lightening up with the property strands:  Homes under the Hammer (BBC1). Great sea view, but what were they thinking with the salmon pink? And that kitchen would have to go straight away. Oooh, now there’s a bidding war at the auction (well, it was filmed back in 2004). The bloke who finally buys it for half a million is going to bulldoze the lot! Let’s hope he managed to sell the apartments he was planning to build before the economy went tits up. Oh dear, he didn’t.

10.40am Confuse Vocation, Vocation, Vocation (ITV1) with the Kirstie Allsopp vehicle. Which is probably how it gets most of its audience. As my problem is not so much finding my vocation as getting people to pay me to do it, I move on. But not without wanting to give those whiny teenagers a slap first.

10.45am This Morning. Middle aged men with novelty socks. Alison Steadman coming up after the break.

10.47am Trisha (Five) is doing Karen Matthews, the woman who faked the kidnap of her own daughter. Half the audience look like Matthews. Matthews’ neighbours are on defending her. Yes, they would still let her babysit their children, because in spite of everything, they say she was a ‘good mum’. They seem like remarkable women, actually, but the show quickly descends into yet more C2DEs shouting at each other. Bread was better.

10.50am G.O,L.D. (what a channel!)’s got Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads. Like Liverpool, Newcastle’s come a long way too.
Rodney Bewes is about to marry Thelma, who he’s been courting since the original black and white series. Most of the episode is just the camera on Bob and Terry waiting at the front of the church. Unexpectedly interesting dramatic device.

11am Elsewhere, programme naming is a dying art:
Take Away my Takeaway
teaches people to cook for themselves (by sending them to an exotic location)
Ten Years Younger US
– Americans try to look ten years younger
Vets on Call
– vets… you get the idea
Most shocking high speed chases

Hollywood’s baddest boyfriends
(but what a pity I don’t get Really channel which is showing Spa of Embarrassing Illnesses…3!)


11.05am There’s a Poirot just starting on ITV3! It’s Murder on the Links. I read this one years ago. Can’t remember who did it, but Mme Renault is clearly lying.
Steam trains, old Citroens, cocked eyebrows and waxed moustaches, blackmail, stabbings, and more red herrings than Moxons. This is the sort of soothing background I can work to. Excuse me while I multi task…

12.55pm Great stuff! But is David Suchet on casters?

I’ve just missed Diagonosis Murder on Alibi. This is the one everyone goes on about. It has Dick Van Dyke! And Scott Baio! But disappointingly little in the way of country houses or period costumes.

1pm News. Climate. Rugby. Sesame Street (a grown man is interviewing a puppet)

1.45am Doctors (BBC1) Seems to be a home-grown daytime soap type thing. I think. Involving medical people. It’s multi-award-winning. And has some funny bits. Bloody hell, Mike Balwin’s in the next one.

Not sure I can take any more. I could have my pick of the US comedy classics (Seinfeld, Friends, Scrubs are all on somewhere, pretty much all the time) but I feel sluggish, sick, and in need of fresh air and daylight. Plus I’ve kids to pick up, a wash to get on, letters to post, a house to clean, supper to buy, a life to get…

What to watch this week:

Butterflies every day at 10am on G.O.L.D.

The Good Life every day at 2pm on G.O.L.D.

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (2008) Sky Movies Premiere, 10am Wed

Agatha Christie A different feature film Mon-Thurs at 11.15am, ITV3

Sarah Jane Adventures Thur, Fri BBC1/CBBC 4.35pm. Regarded by many to be a superior Doctor Who spinoff to Torchwood. Even had David Tennant in last month

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