Thursday, 7 May 2009

Television Rant


Are you one of those people, as Dennis Norden used to say, that defiantly sits through all ten minutes of the credit roll at the end of a cinema film? No, nor am I. I’m usually to be found with the scrabbling-for-the-exit crowd on such occasions but when it comes to television, I am the veritable leopard who changes his spots. There are two reasons for this.

First, whenever I am watching some drama or other there is always someone playing a bit part with a maddeningly familiar face that try as I might, I just can’t put a name to and spend most of the time ignoring the plot and having the following discussion:
‘Isn’t it someone from Eastenders?
‘No’
‘Well, weren’t they in that horror thing we watched last Christmas when we couldn’t get ITV2 and the sound was on the blink?’
‘Don’t think so.
‘Well it must be James Nesbitt’
‘NO!!’

Of course, we all know what happens. At the end of the programme you gear yourself up to examine the credits as they race by at breakneck speed thus relieving your rampant curiosity, but then the screen splits, the credits get squashed to one side and the text is reduced to a size only a barn owl could read. So inevitably you end up never knowing and it nags at you for the rest of the week.

Second only to this frustration is the desecration of the ‘let down’ period. Normally this short duration of time should occur when you’ve just been watching another re-run of ‘Morse’ or similar where the episode ends in an atmosphere of magnificent tragedy. At this point, all you want to do is wallow in the memory of it whilst the poignant theme tune plays for a minute or two, the credits roll and you sort out your emotions ready to face the world again. So what do you get? The millisecond the drama ends you get this:
‘STAY TUNED FOR DESERT ISLAND CELEBRITY FISH GUTTING – NEXT ON THIS CHANNEL’ in an irritatingly shouty voice entirely inappropriate to what has just preceded it (usually someone’s death).

Your tranquil reverie in the post programme ‘let down’ period is completely and utterly ruined. And for what? So that the TV company ensures that you don’t channel hop and miss their precious programmes. Well, I’ll channel hop whether they like it or not and especially when they treat viewers like lame-brained sheep who can’t make up their own mind.

So, TV companies, if you really want to keep me as a viewer, reinstate the credits at the end of programmes and don’t shout over them. It’s so much more civilized.

4 comments:

Alan said...

I must confess I am one of those people who does stay in the cinema to look at the credits: either to see the location where the film was shot or to look at the music credits. It's often a question of "I recognise the song but not the singer", only to discover when the credits finally arrive that it's someone I have never heard of. What irritates me is that they leave the credits for these items to the very end, usually just after the credit for the third sandwich maker for the second unit.

I agree with your view of the TV companies obscuring the credits to plug their own programmes. The thing that really annoys me is the showing of bits of next week's programme as a "teaser" - these extracts usually manage to destroy any suspense that the concluding episode has created. If there is one thing that is guaranteed to have me reaching for the remote control to change channels, it is the "exclusive" preview of next week's programme.

musicobsessive said...

Yes, you're right, I hate that as well and generally turn the set off in protest. It's almost an admission that the actual programme wasn't really good enough to warrant tuning in next week so here's a bit just to show you that it will get better. Hmm...dumbing down? Never.

Jayne said...

I stay for the credits in the X-Men movies, as I know they like to tack on a little 5 seconds of story right at the very end. I then get fascinated in the titles for some jobs - like Alan said above, 'third sandwich maker for the second unit'!

TV continuity presenters speaking over the credits are really annoying - as you say, it's that let down moment to just bask in the thoughts from the previous show. I think television companies these days think we all have the attention span of a gnat.

musicobsessive said...

Hi Jayne. Actually, that's another irritating thing - carrying on with the story after the credits. Why do they do that? I tell you, when it comes to TV, Victor Meldrew's got nothing on me. Aargh!