I wonder sometimes whether I could live without TV altogether. Well of course I could, but would I want to? Would I miss it if it wasn't there?
I put it on in the evenings for the company and then switch it off again because it has nothing interesting to say. I like watching programmes about antique dealers while I'm eating my lunch and I follow the news (though I know I'm being lied to and misled). Last night I watched an old episode of Dad's Army (Has nobody noticed how predictable and relentlessly unfunny it is?) and part of a dreary, self-congratulatory tribute to the producer Bill Cotton (who brought us a slew of much loved, predictable and relentlessly unfunny shows but didn't understand Monty Python). I noticed there was going to be a tribute afterwards to Ken Russell and- suspecting it would be more of the same- a mix of clips and anecdotes about what a boozy old devil he was- decided I'd be better off curling up in my chair with Charlotte Bronte. I already know more about Ken Russell than any TV documentary is likely to be able to tell me because I've watched the movies. How can you know an artist except by engaging with the art? TV has nurtured one or two bona fide geniuses in its day. Russell was one, Denis Potter was another.The BBC ought to have a channel dedicated to streaming their work. Is there anyone who matches them today? Suggestions please.
What about appointment TV? At the moment the only thing I'm excited about is Sherlock. I'm looking forward to the screening of the final episode tonight. I caught the second part of the much-praised dramatisation of Edwin Drood and thought it perfunctory. Is there anything else I'm looking forward to? The return of Dr Who? Not as much as before. I see there's a big deal dramatisation of Sebastian Faulks' Birdsong in the pipeline. Hated the book, expect to hate the TV version. We're also promised a dramatisation of Parade's End- written by Tom Stoppard, no less. Loved the book, might quite like the TV version. But, actually, I'm getting a little tired of the trenches. Been there, done that, bought the poppy. Tell me something I don't know. Please.
I have friends who have the TV running all day long. That's awful. I have other friends who don't even own a set. Given the choice- TV all the time and TV never- I'd plump unhesitatingly for the later.
I have lived without TV. It was when I was at my lowest ebb- divorced, broke, living just this side of squalor. Instead of sitting in front of the box I sat at the kitchen table and painted little pictures. I got a TV in the end because my ex-wife told me I was blighting my children's lives and they didn't want to spend their weekends with me. After I got one she said I was letting them watch it too much.
No, I wouldn't want to be without. I do seriously want to catch Sherlock while its still warm from the oven. Every so often I'll watch a documentary that tells me interesting things. I'd miss the antique dealers. Otherwise TV's a pacifier. There are times when I'm too tired for Bronte and only the life and times of Bill Cotton will do.