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Can this country still make intelligent, involving TV?


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Old 18-06-2013, 16:17
theonlyweeman
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I agree to some extent, but if in reality the BBC acts no differently to the commerical channels they why the **** should it be funded by a licence fee?
The BBC still produces stuff other commercial networks wouldn't have the balls to. From Top Gear to war based comedies like Bluestone 42. Perhaps they aren't public service content, but they're still content other networks probably wouldn't air (or would have dropped after the first diplomatic crisis).

So it's just a coincidence that a romantic/pseudo-historical costume drama is shown right after the BBC's series of documentaries about the Tudors has finished?
No, it was promotion for the White Queen, but as far as I know The White Queen was never promoted directly within the same trailers as the documentaries within Tudor season. And the trailers I saw for the White Queen didn't exactly suggest it was 100% factually accurate, and the fact it's based on series of fiction novels (from an author known for factual inaccuracy), might have been a big clue...

Also, it's 9PM on Sunday, the BBC's traditional drama slot, are they really going to stick a hardcore documentary in that slot?

They might not have explicitly said it was a "historical fantasy", but it was fairly obvious...
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Old 19-06-2013, 20:43
davey_wavey
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I completely disagree. The Fall on BBC2 that ended last week was intelligent, involving TV. As was Line of Duty which is coming back for a second series. BBC2 is really strong on the drama front. There was also Twenty Twelve on BBC4 which was brilliant.

Really though, TV can't be intelligent all the time. Imagine wall to wall intelligent programming... sometimes people come home from work and just want to relax in front of the telly and watch something easy. Intelligent programming is brilliant and we still make it, but not all the time. It's all about striking the right balance.
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Old 19-06-2013, 20:50
Itsallaboutyou
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I saw my first episode of Here Comes Honey Boo-Boo, and still can't believe it gets shown on the Educational Chanel in America.
Well Americans are dumb anyway.

Isn't their syllabus for a degree the same as a GCSE?
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Old 19-06-2013, 20:58
Glenn A
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Even Watchdog, once an excellent consumer show, has turned into some dumbed down load of rubbish with flashing graphics, loud music and the presenters being bigger than the show. I really do struggle to find much to watch nowadays as I can't afford Sky and anyway I don't watch football.
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Old 19-06-2013, 21:57
MoreTears
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I saw my first episode of Here Comes Honey Boo-Boo, and still can't believe it gets shown on the Educational Chanel in America.
There is no channel called the "Educational Channel" in America. Honey Boo Boo airs on TLC. Some people seem to think that TLC stands for "The Learning Channel." It doesn't. TLC used to be The Learning Channel, and back then they aired educational programming exclusively. Of course the ratings were bad, so they changed their name to TLC and jettisoned all of their educational shows and replaced them with trashy reality shows. Now the thing about the new name TLC is that it was made clear at the time that the letters were NOT abbreviations for real words, least of all the words The Learning Channel. "TLC" is the full, formal name. It is like the oil company British Petroleum re-branding as BP. The BP does not stand for British Petroleum or anything else. It is just BP.
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Old 19-06-2013, 21:59
MoreTears
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Well Americans are dumb anyway.
Not nearly as dumb as somebody who would write what you did.
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Old 19-06-2013, 23:11
Glenn A
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There is no channel called the "Educational Channel" in America. Honey Boo Boo airs on TLC. Some people seem to think that TLC stands for "The Learning Channel." It doesn't. TLC used to be The Learning Channel, and back then they aired educational programming exclusively. Of course the ratings were bad, so they changed their name to TLC and jettisoned all of their educational shows and replaced them with trashy reality shows. Now the thing about the new name TLC is that it was made clear at the time that the letters were NOT abbreviations for real words, least of all the words The Learning Channel. "TLC" is the full, formal name. It is like the oil company British Petroleum re-branding as BP. The BP does not stand for British Petroleum or anything else. It is just BP.
Same as MTV means music television, but the bulk of their programming has nothing to do with music and has become a dumping ground for reality shows too bad to be shown anywhere else, but which they know some under 25s will enjoy.
There are a few good programmes, but they are hard to find. Also I don't do team sports so Sky Sports a lot of the time isn't worth it, though I do enjoy British Eurosport for two wheeled sports.
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Old 20-06-2013, 06:21
niceguy1966
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There are still lots of intelligent programs, but you need to search for them. If you are intelligent, you will find them!
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Old 20-06-2013, 07:29
petely
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Really though, TV can't be intelligent all the time. Imagine wall to wall intelligent programming... sometimes people come home from work and just want to relax in front of the telly and watch something easy. Intelligent programming is brilliant and we still make it, but not all the time. It's all about striking the right balance.
I don't think the OP was suggesting that every programme on every channel should be aimed at viewers with PhD's - there will always be ITV

The point was that there's precious little intelligent and involving content on the box these days - despite there being (or, more likely, because there are) so many more channels that *should* be offering a wider range of programming between them - but aren't.

The problem seems to be that everything's aimed at the lowest common denominator and that programme makers shy away from anything that's perceived to be too "intellectual" for fear of excluding people who don't understand long words or abstract concepts╣. They seem to really dislike abstract thought: even the "science" documentaries are firmly grounded in the here-and-now. They don't seem to realise that there are people who are similarly put off watching programmes because they are shallow, shouty and simplistic.
Yes it is nice to veg-out in front of the box sometimes. It's also nice to get some intellectual stimulation and engagement sometimes, too.

[1] You can understand why. It's much easier to sell products to people who don't have much in the way of critical faculties or who don't understand that the pseudo-science in adverts is just that.
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Old 20-06-2013, 08:01
anotherlongers
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TV is made for women these days, there's hardly a programme worth watching if you're a male heterosexual. Virtually all UK TV drama centres around the same thing, strong female characters, idiot men, all men are cheats, rapists and/or killers.

All I watch is American imports these days, at least they still deliver interesting stuff.
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Old 20-06-2013, 08:27
Abriel
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I know this is a long-running theme, but yesterday I read this piece in the Guardian by Brian Sewell.

I have to agree with him. I've just watched a programme called Heathrow on the BBC, a behind-the-scenes look at the running of... a certain airport.

What hit me was the complete lack of depth. Now I know this is BBC1 at 8 on a Monday evening, not the Learning Zone, but this trait is symptomatic of virtually all programmes on TV today. Rather than a narrative or telling insights, we are presented with a series of glib images - mere surface. If we are lucky, we might be told what to think in a few short cliches.

"Oh, wow!" hoots the daffy Kate Humble. "I didn't know planes could fly on just one engine!"

We weren't told how aircraft designers build in such redundancy, or what other systems are redundant, we were just presented with an intelligent woman pretending to be ignorant, keeping the discussion on the surface rather than enabling us to learn anything at all.

All that is left of intelligent British TV is Storyville and the occasional wildlife or science documentary on BBC4. Aside from that one channel, it's a wasteland. The drama too is gone. We're lucky to have one good hour of TV a month.

Who would have thought the US would become noted for slow-burning, in-depth, innovative and brilliantly acted drama? And that the UK would lose that reputation?

What happened?
is it not called Airport live?

And i believe Kate was a lastt minute stand-in, so we can cut her a bit of slack, surely?
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Old 20-06-2013, 10:12
Granny McSmith
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I sometimes find a programme that I think is intelligent and involving, whether a documentary or a drama, then I come on here to read peoples' comments, and find endless posts saying "I didn't understand, what did this mean, why did that happen?" etc, or complaining about the presenter's outfit, or hairstyle, or just saying the show was rubbish.

It makes me realise why programme makers don't bother much with quality.
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Old 20-06-2013, 15:31
niceguy1966
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I sometimes find a programme that I think is intelligent and involving, whether a documentary or a drama, then I come on here to read peoples' comments, and find endless posts saying "I didn't understand, what did this mean, why did that happen?" etc, or complaining about the presenter's outfit, or hairstyle, or just saying the show was rubbish.

It makes me realise why programme makers don't bother much with quality.
Those people were probably surfing Digital Spy during the program and missed important plot clues!
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Old 20-06-2013, 16:29
Matt Sanger
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I sometimes find a programme that I think is intelligent and involving, whether a documentary or a drama, then I come on here to read peoples' comments, and find endless posts saying "I didn't understand, what did this mean, why did that happen?" etc, or complaining about the presenter's outfit, or hairstyle, or just saying the show was rubbish.

It makes me realise why programme makers don't bother much with quality.
That's the vicious cycle unfortunately. Same goes for anything creative that gets made, if someone doesn't understand a joke or concept then most of the time they feel the need to complain (resulting in more 'relatable' topics) rather than just, you know, not watch anymore.
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Old 20-06-2013, 18:30
mikw
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I think that Sewell is guilty of "rose tinted spectacles" syndrome.

Programmes like "Africa" and the recent "Michael Woods' Story of England" are excellent. Lots of documentaries on various channels too.

ok, i'm cherry picking, but so are those that say "it can't" and then list programmes of yesterday.

TV's always been a mixture, and it still is.
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Old 20-06-2013, 18:33
mikw
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is it not called Airport live?

And i believe Kate was a lastt minute stand-in, so we can cut her a bit of slack, surely?
Indeed. I think she's done quite well. And the programme is interesting, and educational.
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Old 20-06-2013, 19:15
owl61uk
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there are good intelligent and excellent dramas out there you just have to look.

BBC4 and Sky Arts consistently have good programmes even the occasional Ch4 and Ch 5 documentaries are excellent

The problem is cost and audience figures particularly on the commercial channels. Just about everything seems to be based on cost. Xfactor as bad as it may be pulls in around 9 million viewers and ITV can then sell considerable advertising and make a sack load of cash. The programme if fairly cheap to produce I would imagine and viewing figures are good. keeps the shareholders happy

Now if a channel were to put on a documentary about say the building of the Titanic. Sure it may b great but almost certainly it would not pull in viewing figures of 9 million like X factor.

Viewing figures rule the roost
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Old 20-06-2013, 21:27
jo2015
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I sometimes find a programme that I think is intelligent and involving, whether a documentary or a drama, then I come on here to read peoples' comments, and find endless posts saying "I didn't understand, what did this mean, why did that happen?" etc, or complaining about the presenter's outfit, or hairstyle, or just saying the show was rubbish.

It makes me realise why programme makers don't bother much with quality.
Yet if people are capable of complaining on the web about a TV programme, then they're equally capable of using the web to learn about something in a TV doc they didn't understand.

Watch an old 'Horizon' on Youtube and compare it to more recent ones. Even an Horizon from 02 on Parallel Universes - that probably wouldn't be made today.
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