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Posted by Jeni in Ad Infinitum | 10 December 2011

I look forward to 'Strictly Come Dancing', I really do. I was invited to go today to a recording of the show but family bits got in the way.

I like the judges, the music, the costumes and the dancing, I cry when they get it right and marvel at the speed of the improvement of their fleckles.

Two weeks ago I would have changed channels to watch The X Factor. But forgive me it is so crass and meaningless that I can't bear it any more. Not to mention the sadistic nature of the judging, and I was in love with Gary Barlow. Now he sounds like a smug, Mancunian millionaire with not a lot of compassion.

'You Tube' is full of little clips of American X Factor, Japanese X Factor. English X Factor, Mongolian X Factor. I hate it all. Sitting in front of a screen with nothing but the will to criticise poor wannabees without a thought in their heads accept their 15minutes of tawdry fame

I didn't watch Celebrities eating maggots in the jungle, I don't catch a lot of Corrie and I give every single antique programme a miss. I switch off House hunting programmes, can't be doing with most of the foodie shows, and give a wide birth to anything approaching drama on ITV. I havn't yet found anything that I will dedicate an evening to. I know lots of you watch Sky this and that but I haven't the staying power.

What is happening to me?

Is it me or the television scheduling.

Nothing makes me want to sit down with a cup of tea and a home made scone, although to be fare you could blame my scones which came out like shrivelled goats gonads that nearly broke my gold filling.

No raising agent you may say. Paul Hollywood would be able to give me the answer actually 'The Great British Bake Off' is one programme that I do bother to sit and watch. It makes me feel good and the judging is not done so harshly that the contributor is reduced to tears, dropping onto both knees and clawing the ground with hysterical pain.

Am I getting too old for vicarious living?.

Am I getting too picky for repeated moments.

DAVE, WATCH, COMEDY CLASSIC, repeat after repeat after repeat, I am seriously considering closing down my Sky account which costs me an arm and a leg so I can watch Victoria for the umpteenth time telling her dinner ladies about her gussets.

I'm not attacking Victoria I am concerned by the watching habits of the greater British neanderthal.

I can sit for hours watching films. I have just received a new batch for this years Bafta nominations, movies that have been thought through, films that have been slaved over with the intention of making a difference. I'm talking about sassy film making not cynical drivel that is created for manchandise and spin off video games. Films have starting arriving, plopping onto the kitchen mat in their puffed out envelopes, or signed at the door - film companies now send them in box sets. I can put my feet up without any interruption from the interminable Christmas ads telling me I can go to Greenland to buy cardboard tit-bits for my nuclear family of grannies, grandads and an assortment of middle English relatives.

I remember John Cleese saying he resented sleeping because he may miss something. I wonder whether that is how I now see telly. A time wasting exercise. I do worry about millions of us sitting comotose in front of a square screen watching cobblers.

Last night we went to the birthday party of an 80 year old friend of ours. It started at 8.00 and for two hours all the guests got up and spoke, or sung, made us laugh, and melted each others heart, even the birhday girl sung to her own guitar accompanyment.

Spontaneous entertainment, how many of us can do that now? Sit in a group and sing in harmony. Stand as a family round the piano and sing harmoniously. How many of us can even speak along with JayZ let singalong a la Beyonce.

For two hours we communicated with each other in a little caff in Kentish Town. Applauding each other as the mountain of coleslaw turned into a mole hill and the chicken legs tiptoed into the basket.

I wonder whether Tulisa Constantinopleopolous could do that....

It makes me sound like I am very, very old. I'm not I'm just very, very sad that home entertainment comprises of a whole family jumping round a room with a box in their hands pretending to play table tennis. Get a Goddamn table for Gods sake and play ping pong for real.

Steve Jobs gave us advanced technology did he ever wonder what his little apple would do to the rest of the fruit in the bowl. Because from where I'm sitting half the plums have gone bad and there's green mould on the clementines. No point in talking about family values if the advertisers and Multi Nationals dont value the family.

Jeni Barnett tells of her scrumptious time at Good Food Live in her first audiobook! Download NOW from iTunes

Comments

1. At December 13, 2011 4:12 AM Frank Loman wrote:

Dear Jeni.

Even on the risk of sounding ancient in my views but I have to agree with most of what you said about morning/mid-morning/daytime/evening/late-night television.

Not that I think your views are ancient, not at all!

But people like you are not around much anymore which is a shame.

I was glad to have missed most of X-Factor and Jungle-bug-fest. But then I like Eurovision - so don't take me too seriously..!I have turned into a serial insomniac and am STILL on New York time - maybe because of that but mainly because of mentioned lack of quality entertainment - I find myself watching more and more television either online or what sitcom's have been downloaded by friends from America.

Got totally addicted to Dancing with the Stars while I was there, by the way ;-)

There is a great sitcom - and I am very surprised it hasn't made it to the UK yet (unless it's on Sky which we don't have) - which is called "Hot in Cleveland" starring the glorious Betty White amongst others. FAB-U-LOUS.

Keep well and speak to you soon (how is your eye by the way?) There is a great company called Similasan - they produce fabulous homeopathic eye-drops!

Right... sorry about the rant but after all I can't sleep ;-)

Much love.

Frank. xxx

2. At December 13, 2011 10:20 AM June wrote:

Hi Jeni

I oh so agree with you! It's so sad, I really feel we had the best of TV. The dramas, where unknown writers were given a chance, the wonderful Jack Rosenthail, Dennis Potter, Alan Bleasdale and so many more. Cathy Come Home which broke our hearts and made a difference to society. Someone back in the sixties took a chance with "Corrie", would that happen now? All those wonderful documentaries that made us aware of injustices. The comedy that made us laugh out loud.
Yes Jeni I think you and I and many others had the golden days of TV and thats why it's so sad to see it's painful demise.
Thank goodness for Radio 4, it makes me laugh, cry, look at things in a different way, and informs me of what's happening in other countries around the world. I love the plays, Book at Bedtime, From Our Own Correspondant, and so much more.
And of course you darling Jeni on a Sunday morning, when I'm cleaning the kitchen and ironing. It's like a friend sitting at my kitchen table chatting to me while I get on with my chores, so thank you for that.
Well I've finished my rant so will take my leave.
Hope all is going well with Mum and she is a little bit settled, it must be a difficult time for her but at least she is safe at last.

Much love
June

3. At December 14, 2011 12:56 AM Ric wrote:

Hi Jeni

I used to watch you whilst eating my lunchtime sarnie (goodness that will be ten years ago now) when I was writing my PhD. I'm probably not in your usual demographic but having been weaned on a steady diet of Ready Steady Cook as well, it sure was a great bit of banter at midday, and whenever possible I had it on. TV has sure moved on in ten years, hasn't it, but this plays very well indeed.

You have a lovely personality and I have the impression you know how to throw quite the party -- live TV and live radio and all. Anyway Jeni, the network would do well to bring back thematic repeats of the programme, like you're doing now at midnight. They originally broadcast it -- surely it can't cost more than some of those insipid Australian shows bought for a song and the promise of a kiss.

Wish you and your mum all the best, and I hope you're doing well.

Warm wishes.

4. At December 14, 2011 3:31 PM June wrote:

Well Jeni!

Well done you and the girls!!
I've just watched Eggheads, you all did yourselves proud!!!

Love June

5. At December 15, 2011 10:19 PM Suzanne Pepper wrote:

I too despair of much on TV - I am a Strictly Fan but less so now it has become americanised and they have introduced dances that have no place in the Ballroom / Latin American World. However (significant pause) My comment is to thank you for supplying what will probably be the only laugh out loud moment of this ghastly year of mine - The sight of you munching into your bosom so that your viewers could hear the crunch of Pak Choi and ,later, Brandy Snaps was just priceless. I have been recording the reruns currently being shown and that is one recording that will not be subjected to the dreaded yellow button of delete!!
As a by the by - an earlier mention of walking being your drug - I walked by way out of the depths of clincal depression a year ago and to date - more walking means less medication even in the depths of winter. So my advice is walk,walk,walk and shout to the skies your frustrations and with every stamp upon the ground grind the miseries under your feet!
With thanks again
Suzanne

6. At December 17, 2011 6:42 PM Shelley Pedersen wrote:

I agree TV is pretty dire nowadays. I do love Strictly, pure escapism, plus I like that we are watching people trying to excel at something rather than watching them make a fool of themselves or throw up. I'm glad you have your mum settled, mine is struggling with the onslaught of vascular dementia and both my sisters live in England(she is in Scotland) and I am in the US. It is very hard to deal with and she hates that she is starting to forget things. She is very fortunate to have a lovely neighbour who emails us and helps her out a lot. Have a peaceful festive season Jeni.

7. At December 19, 2011 6:32 PM Sandra E Chubb wrote:

I couldn't sleep last night, switched on the television and there you were on a repeat of your Food Show. Brilliant - I used to enjoy them so much. From the comments before mine, it's good to find you are still doing stuff in the media.
Sandra

8. At December 20, 2011 11:11 PM LV wrote:

YOU'RE not going bananas Jeni, you just got right to the core of it!
And you don't have to be of an age to know when something is junk. Your young enough to be my moma (a thought that makes my heart smile# but i agree with every word and sentiment. I love the movies too. A great movie can create magic. Magic!
The tv stuff does seem to be an ever growing movement of rewarding the dross and pizz poor with guess what? ...Even more of it! Yes it is crass. And more than a bit nasty sometimes too.
You have to do more channel hopping and cherry picking than a fruit farmer to get any cream. And some of the best is the commercials more often.
I actually don't think there is enough healthy competition. Too many kingpin pit bosses - placing their bets on the hungry face of want and the naive face of ignorance. En masse we are a bit like Simon's sheep. Buying into whatever's on offer like it's the Emperor's new wrong thong. Oh yuk, there's a thought. And here is another. It's a similar thing with commercial talk/speech radio, isn't it? More competition please for breakfast prime time commercial radio. Which is dominated by dominating, aggressive, patronising Sun news radio. Stack'em high sell'em cheap, fast fast fast, to create the impression of important and popular. But hold on a minute, where is the competition to challenge this alleged popularity. Popular compared to what? Followed by one of the sharpest minds in speech radio but with the most irritating and patronizing voice vibrations. Constantly interrupting the voice and opinion of the public. More handbag highs in the voice than a discombobulated Christmas fairy. #presenter's favorite word - discombobulated, it's never been one of my favorites!) Having said all that, i couldn't do it, day in day out. It is a bit tricky to really tell it how it is and speak your truth, without sliding off gratuitous negativity.

So is it another morph of ole boys club, ghosting the decision making that keeps these iron posts in place, as with many organisations.
When other superb and articulate talented broadcasters are kept on the fringes.
Probably a combination of things. But definitely not enough competition to challenge it.

Anyway...it's nearly Christmas. Let's light the fire and put the tree up!
God Love and Bless you Jeni and Co. and Christmas and All the wonderful flocking bloggers that gather here regularly. Try getting Grandma to say that after a few sherrys! I don't drink alcohol, i'm a thorough lightweight - which is just fine by me. May the spirit of Christmas touch every one of us - even the aggressive and the discombobulated.
xx May your bells jingle - May your tinsel twinkle. And may your fairy stand her ground.xx
Love Light LV
...

9. At December 21, 2011 4:10 PM Rhianon wrote:

I know we've all been over this ground before, but I just caught a few minutes of you on the repeats. You are good, Mrs. You really are good. What have we lost, eh? Taking that show off the telly was stupid. I know we all have to move on, but to get rid of a quality show and replace it with 'Cooking for Toffs' or whatever it was, well, daft isn't the word.
It just serves to remind us all of what we throw aside in our haste to find the next fad.
Witless. Just witless.
Never mind. Whats done is done. T.V. executives come and go, but class, Mrs Bywater, shines on.
Have a peaceful and happy Christmas and a healthy, prosperous and joyful New Year.
Very best wishes always, Rhianon.

Copyright 2007, Jeni Barnett. Website produced by Chopstix.