All year I look forward to what the TV schedulers have planned for us over Christmas and the New Year. Programmes are usually very exciting, with lots of film premieres and specially commissioned comedies and dramas.
Not this year!
It’s been absolutely dismal so far: nothing but repeats repeats repeats. Films one has seen so many times one can quote huge chunks of dialogue from; old comedies that weren’t even funny the first time round. Nothing, but nothing worth staying home for.
A few years ago I sent the Christmas TV listings to a friend of mine in Paris, who’s a real movie buff. I think there were something like 25 new films being shown over the period. She was suitably impressed and from then on always believed me when I assured her we had the best TV in the world.
I suspect we owe this new state of affairs to the advent of satellite and digital TV. We who rely solely on the five terrestrial channels for our entertainment are left high and dry. We only get the dregs. Subscribing to those new channels is getting more tempting by the day, but I know that too much choice can also be disheartening. (Actually, I’ve just looked at what was on offer on those channels and it wasn’t that good either.)
I adore films, but rarely go to the cinema. I used to go all the time when I lived in France, but got out of the habit when I moved to London: smoking was still allowed at the time and I found it unbearable to watch films through a haze and come out reeking of cigarette. Also, London cinemas didn't show the wide range of films I was accustomed to being able to watch. These days I’m usually in no hurry to see the new releases and until now I hadn’t felt the need to rent out films since I knew that more or less everything that had come out in the previous two years was bound to be shown at some point over the holidays.
I suppose I shouldn’t complain too much: the wonderful BBC adaptation of Bleak House ended just last week and we’ve been able to see several recent films in the past few months, but this is the time I want to see them, not earlier in the year.
I’m slapping the TV schedulers! Very hard! Slap!!!!