Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Telly Surveillance

The trouble with our wonderful new World of digital Television with its 115 channels is that the really good stuff is lost in a sea of shite and it becomes almost impossible to pan through the torrent of listings to pick up those few gold nuggets. Exciting, fresh and innovative documentaries and repeats of Rock Family Trees are submerged below a sea of Flog It!, Come Dine With Me! and I'm a Masterchef on Ice Get Me out of Here! (Never watch a programme with an exclamation mark on the end of it!)

Fortunately technology fixes its own problem with the amazing watch-on-demand of BBC Iplayer, and this came to my rescue this week when I discovered I'd missed two of the best documentaries of the season from the BBC Imagine series with Alan Botney.

The Harmony Game delved into the making of Bridge over Troubled Water and was quite sublime. Interviewed separately and intercut with archive film, Simon & Garfunkel came over really well and it was fascinating to see how the iconic tracks developed.

Then there was Greetings from Scarborough, an interview into the normally retiring Alan Ayckbourn which went some way to explaining how he became Britain's most successful playwright of all time, at one point having five plays on in the West End. Wonderfully watchable stuff.

When there was a flashback to Ayckbourn being "adopted" by Sir Peter Hall to do a season at the National Theatre, the young Sir Peter looked vaguely familiar.....





18 comments:

Nota Bene said...

Yep. We find we watch now that we have access to more...

Soaring said...

Did you see the Songs of America 1969 that was on BBC4 later on the same night as (& referred to in) the excellent Harmony Game. I didn't take in that it was on & it's typical that whilst many BBC4 programmes air several times, this one didn't. And of course not on iPlayer now.

Rog said...

Nota: You mean less is more. More or less true.

Soaring: Yep, missed it. I need a Radio Times search app which sends me an email when anything in my search terms gets scheduled. There isn't one I can find.

Z said...

It's a pity that they don't keep programmes longer on iPlayer. If we didn't have a free licence because of the Sage's great age, I'd probably have given up the television by now.

Martin said...

Watched both of these 'Imagine' programmes. Thoroughly enjoyable TV. Like you and Soaring, I missed 'Songs of America'.

Tim said...

Totally agree about the search app; but it's not in their interests, is it? I use iPlayer occasionally, but I really don't like watching TV on the laptop on my lap, and can't find a way of hooking the computer up to the proper TV (apart from buying a new network-enabled telly).

Liz said...

I've missed repeats of Rock Family Trees? Drat, when was that on?

Sir Bruin is currently watching a film from among the sea of shite as there is bugger all else on. Apart from The Big Bang Theory on E4, most of our TV viewing is still on the BBC.

moreidlethoughts said...

I expect they'll still have Morcombe and Wise at Christmas?

Martin said...

Tim, if you have such a thing as a Wii, you can, oddly enough, channel iPlayer through your TV. We gave up playing games, when I got tennis elbow (seriously) but we've kept the Wii just for the iPlayer.

letouttoplay said...

I'm thinking of applying for a course on the Radio Times before the final date comes when we start losing programmes. Or gaining them or whatever it is that's going to happpen.

Macy said...

Finding out I could get iplayer through the wii was my best discovery of 2011,
Still trying to get 4 on demand and STV again though.

Rog said...

Z: I bet you couldn't do without CBB's!

Martin: We've almost got enough people to trigger an e- debate in Parliament!

Tim: Wii are the champions it transpires.

Liz: They haven't but I'm sure we'd miss it if they did. E4 is a mystery planet in this house.

Dina: It's on just after High Noon this year.

Martin: Are you sure that using the "wii" doesn't give you "piss poor" programmes?

Mig: Two re-tunes within a month is foxing everyone round here.

Macy: I must get a wii - I didn't know you could play tennis and get Frozen Planet on it.

Scarlet Blue said...

Kojak!!! It had to be said... only taken two days to cotton on...
Sx

Rog said...

Who loves ya baby!!!

Nana Jo said...

I don't know anything about the current status of British TV, but I simply had to drop in because I enjoyed the comment you left on Martin's blog so much.

Over here (Canada), besides having all the 'reality' shows imported from the US, we have one of our own. It's called 'Battle of the Blades'. (the exclamation mark is mine). It's premise; retired rough/tough ice hockey players perform couples choreographed skating routines with retired professional figure skaters. Each week one couple is voted off. This show has become hugely popular despite the fact that Wayne Gretzky is yet to be convinced to appear as a contestant. The ! is all mine.

Nana Jo
http://ananasjourney.blogspot.com/

Rog said...

Hi Nan Jo and welcome!
Battle of the Blades sounds very much like our "Dancing on Ice" which was "Strictly Come Dancing" with an ice skating twist. It's all very watchable in a schadenfreude sort of way.
You'll be amazed to learn that I had to look up Wayne Gretzky!

Soaring said...

For UK schedules try digiguide.tv
It has lots of options, including alerts.
I've had it for several years & it can be very helpful. But of course you need to know there's a programme you want to watch to get an alert.

Pat said...

The likeness is really amazing - I never noticed it before.
I last saw Sir Peter a couple of years ago looking rather like Dr Fu Man Choo (spelling approximate)
Alan Ayckbourn is a great favourite here