Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Electric Confusion

books080 A plague has invaded my television set. This comes as a natural side effect of enduring commercial daytime programming on “digital” channels. It is also something that is beginning to overflow into “peak time” on the “normal” channels.

I am, of course, referring to those God-awful sponsorship spots that appear three minutes into a television show at the first commercial break, then again three minutes later when the programme returns, and every three minutes thereafter until a final, double-length, in-your-face version at the end of the show just to remind you about the service if you happen to have forgotten (or ignored) the others. Like the recent trend in 90-second news updates, these spots are, to coin a phrase, televisual acne.

The latest channel to break out in such acne is Alibi, which shows police and crime television from days gone by. Daytime programming on this channel now appears to be sponsored by which has something to do with car insurance, so I’m not sure why this should be relevant to me when I’m watching repeats of The Bill and Shoestring (aside from the fact that I do not have, and never have had, a car).

It is the most irritating promotion I have ever witnessed on television and involves groups of supposedly “normal” people sitting in odd positions in their living rooms with even odder expressions on their faces. They try - and generally fail - to speak in unison, telling me they I should look for some car insurance at

They then do something which, if I hear it one more time, is likely to cause me (or anyone else for that matter) to shove a very large foot into the screen. It goes like this:
“Daytime on Alibi sponsored by Confused dot com. The choice is clear. Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeey!”
What is clear to me is that I actually have no choice but to witness these morons laughing hysterically at their own self delusion that they have now reached celebrity status, before being left to carry on enjoying the adverts in peace.

What is even more irritating about these spots is that the people in them aren’t particularly good looking. I am a firm believer that, when it comes to television, there should be a formalised industry equation which dictates the inverse ratio between annoyance and aesthetics. In other words, the least I expect from my television is for it to give me something pleasant to look at. I hear on the grapevine that someone’s intending to bring back Miss World to our screens. Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeey!

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