Monday, February 11, 2013

Captive Audience

The past few years I have grown more fond of BBC television programs that are purchased by our public television stations and then re-broadcast here in the USA.  Most of the programs are mysteries or detective stories.  Others are humorous stories taking place in small towns in the country side.  There is one series Masterpiece that re-broadcasts some fun costume dramas.  I have wondered why I find these shows so appealing.  The stories in small towns are simple and old fashioned, nothing that leaves me in deep thought after watching.  The mysteries are pretty traditional and usually have just enough red herrings that I can resolve them only in the last fifteen minutes.  But that doesn't mean anything because I even re-watch them the very next season!  The costume dramas are a guilty pleasure but not as fulfilling perhaps as reading an historical novel of several hundred pages.  So once again I ponder what it is that I like about these shows from "across the pond."  ( I do watch too much TV, but I try to do something like folding clothes or sorting files or straightening the living room while watching so that my guilt in this addiction is not so bad.)

I think the reason I like these shows is that:
  1. All ages are represented and not just in token small roles. Ruggedly handsome includes gray hair and a paunch sometimes.
  2. All ages are not usually stereotyped but presented as interesting faceted characters
  3. People look real with wrinkles, weight issues, and non-model proportioned faces. (NO Barbies)
  4. If someone has an idiosyncrasy that they were born with, it fits gently into the role they play (right now I am thinking of Chummy Browne in "Call the Midwife.")
  5. They can be edgy but still keep some sense of decorum and humanity.
The one thing that is difficult in watching is translating, on a regular basis, when I watch with hubby.


  1. I never have to translate for my husband...he just goes into another room when I am watching British TV.

  2. We love BBC. I guess that makes us odd ducks. Glad to find you are a kindred odd duck spirit too, Tabor.

  3. We also like them and my husband as much as I do. We don't watch many on television but have bought a lot of them to see whenever the mood strikes. I think it's the more relaxing pace of life. If you haven't seen those based on Elizabeth Gaskell's books, they are great. One of Thomas Hardy's is a big favorite of mine-- Under the Greenwood Tree, and of course, all the versions of Jane Austen. A&E has some wonderful ones which we got in a collection. There are days that only one of them will do.

  4. I do love watching Masterpiece theater. I love the way people talk--an art this is quickly being lost.

  5. So true - I love the BBC!

  6. Love, love, love the BBC. AS TIME GOES BY, KEEPING UP APPEARANCES, THE VICAR OF DIBLEY, DOWNTON ABBEY, CALL THE MIDWIFE, UPSTAIRS DOWNSTAIRS, etc. My spouse refuses to watch American television fiction/sitcoms, but will watch a lot of BBC favorites. However I do have to translate for him. I think we are a big group of viewers and will agree that the actors on the BBC look like real people, warts and all. Maybe Hollywood will take a clue.

  7. Our PBS's funding is so reduced that many of the shows I loved to watch are now gone. We do have Downton Abby and a Saturday evening of Brit Coms still with us.

  8. If Mitt had had his way, you'd be on your way to a gulag for supporting PBS....

  9. Call The Midwife is one of my favorite shows. I'm wondering when it will come back on again. LOVE that show.
    Just started watching Downton Abbey too. Love it.


  10. big fan of downton abbey. not happy that this season will be over this week already.

  11. What I am enjoying right now is the Swedish language production of Wallender. With subtitles, of course. After watching a dozen episodes we are starting to understand some Swedish, at least "tack" and "ja." That is how they are spelled, but to my ear they sound like "tock" and "jo.' I love languages, even those I don't understand, which would be all but two!
    One blessing in my life is my Sony transmitter earphones, which are wonderful, giving me clear stereo sound. My normal hearing husband and I can companionably enjoy television shows, whereas before I had to turn the sound up and still could not hear things clearly. Being unable to make out conversation and accents were the first symptoms of hearing loss I noticed. This is such a common condition and one that elders may be in denial about (hint hint).


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