Whisper it softly, but just recently I have been watching rather a lot of daytime television. There I’ve said it. You see, someone like me shouldn’t be watching television during the day, as only candidates for social exclusion orders and former Jeremy Kyle fans are supposed to enter a darkened room during daylight hours.
Nevertheless, because my writing regime necessitates that I work from home during the day, if I go blank or get bored, I have started to flick on the TV set in my office. Big mistake!
As I am a total snob, I tend to avoid the more virulent of the daytime genre and settle for something ‘improving’ on the History Channel or Yesterday and have discovered that PBS America is also rather good. Nevertheless, it’s during the commercial breaks that you get to realise who else might be watching the box during the daytime.
The advert breaks are totally dominated by old people trying to flog something to you; now how do I put this? Yes, that’s it, you guessed it - old people seeking to sell stuff to other old people.
Sleek and expensive river cruises, where kids are rightly banned, a rather snazzy advert that sells unctions, ointments, and pills that will keep you regular and all manner of chair-lifts and the like to help a person upstairs.
To be honest not all the programmes when you get above number 500 on your television zappers are necessarily daytime television per-se, but I don’t suppose that many folk actually watch Ice Truckers in the Arctic or A Place In The Sun, during the evening when the full gamut of tiresome soaps are being aired and Zoe Ball and Rylan Clarke Neal regularly hyperventilate on ‘Strictly - It Takes Two’.
Personally, I find it less than invigorating flicking about on some of the religious channels watching a Donald Trump lookalike attempting to guarantee the lonely and deluded a place in heaven for $1,000. Whilst just four channels away, a clearly bored and blank-eyed young lady beckons you into her daytime boudoir on an industrial estate somewhere in Reading so that she can ‘talk dirty’ to you at a price. That’s what some might call diverse broadcasting I suppose.
Anyway, on the more traditional terrestrial channels, I suppose television executives have convinced themselves that the only people who actually watch their daytime programs are slightly dim women obsessed by celebrity; I know that’s not particularly fair, but have you watched Phil and Holly or Lorraine lately?
Another programme that I occasionally watch during a welcome break from thinking up things to write for you lot, is Loose Women. Most of the time I don’t know what to make of it, as it can be on occasions crass and puerile and at other times sharp, funny, and challenging. It might be something to do with who is on the panel on any given day, but when the stroppy journalist, Janet Street Porter is in full flow, she beats all-comers by a country mile in terms of being controversial, contrary, irritating, and absolutely spot-on most of the time.
Perhaps, it is not a good idea for a middle-aged chap to become too immersed in this sort of daytime television as you can find yourself becoming an expert in such things as HRT - the current self-obsessed gripes of the Sussex’s and alas, the latest episode in Katie Price’s lurid love life. Don’t tell anyone, but I never miss it.
However, my absolute favourite daytime telly treat, is to sit down of an afternoon and watch Time Team presented by Baldrick himself, aka Sir Tony Robinson and his garrulous mate and archeologist, Dr Phil Harding.
Yes, he of that wonderfully fruity west country accent, ludicrous hair and permanently dirty fingernails. I really do love this programme, although it does get a tad wearisome when for the umpteenth time we are told that the ‘team’ have only 36 hours to complete the job and it is the finest discovery of Roman artefacts since - er, er, last week.
However, I cannot deny the fact that the best Time Team programmes are when a certain lady archeologist i.e. Mary-Ann Ochota, is brought onto the team to annoy Phil Harding.
She is brainy and really nice, with long tanned legs and you can tell that all the chaps wish that she would just go way ‘cos she’s absolutely marvellous….Oh dear, where was I?
Anyway, as I mentioned earlier, it is the adverts that really define daytime television right across the spectrum. We have those “Over 50’s” pension plan thingies - on at every single break. You know the one, it’s where that oldish bloke gets visited on a regular basis by that irritating woman neighbour and he’s trying to flog her some awful funeral plan; please, enough already.
Recently, I’ve noticed a new (oldie!) advert that waxes lyrical about ‘natural’ cremations where no funeral director is involved - mind you, quite what is done to the deceased is anyone’s guess, which is a bit of a worry in itself I reckon.
What about Mr & Mrs Smug? It’s the one about them wanting to go on a cruise but she wants her ghastly mother to go as well she get on the phone to the old bag and he looks into the camera as if to say - “What can I do?”
Finally, while I’m at it, why do people of a certain age, as portrayed on television adverts, have to constantly smile wanly at each other as if they have been lobotomised? It has to be said that too much daytime telly has much the same effect.