Digging Up The Past

I just love watching Time Team.

I can’t really explain why a show about archaeological digs in Great Britain should hold my attention as I’ve never had any real interest in that particular field. What I can say is that I’ve always been interested in history.

Perhaps it’s because the host is Tony Robinson, a bloke who can make any subject interesting and someone I loved watching as Baldrick in Blackadder. Or maybe it’s because its presenters are a crusty old bunch of English archaeologists and support crew who appear just as they are, without any sign of pretense or obvious ego.

Whatever the reason I watch it often, and I have no compunction admitting this fact.

Of late I’ve let fly with some stinging criticism of the stuff the Pay TV programmers would have us watch. I’ve had Pay TV for a few years now but more and more my evenings have descended into the mind-numbing torment of remote control abuse.

It just seems difficult to find something worth watching.

You’d think that with over 140 channels I’d be in some kind of televisual nirvana but I’m not. Most of the programming is, in my humble opinion, crap; contrived tripe derived from the reject pile of life.

Allow me to break it down.

In my TV package there are three commercial channels, plus the National Broadcaster, and its multilingual sidekick. These are the same channels I grew up with all those years ago, and they still show reruns of the same shows I grew up with all those years ago. The commercial channels function only because they have paid advertising to support them, but it’s become a challenge to find any show that has more content than advert.

Then there are the forty-six “entertainment” channels, fourteen of which are simply two-hour time-delayed repeat programmes. In Pay TV speak I think “entertainment” is an anagram of “shit”, and although this brace of channels does include some that are watchable they are, in the main, bereft of intelligence.

I have thirty-one movie channels available for viewing but again this includes a number that are two-hour time-delayed. There are also fourteen channels that require you to pay extra for “on demand” viewing. I will admit to being able to lose myself in the odd movie or two but I find I need to wait a long time to see anything that takes my fancy. I usually own the dvd long before the movie hits the airwaves.

Australians are big on sport. Unfortunately I’m not. Of the eighteen sports channels I can view I usually only bother with the one or two that show motorcycle racing. I’m so pathetic it’s embarrassing.

We’re offered twenty-nine news and documentary channels, but once again, half are just the same stuff delayed by two hours. This is where my remote seems to settle most nights, on science shows and documentaries. At least I can verify everything they tell me.

If I had small children then I’d no doubt use the electronic child-minding facilities available via the nine kids channels. But I don’t, so these go completely unused. Watching adults dressed up as fluffy animals is not my idea of fun.

Seven special interest channels lurk right at the top of the channel list but you won’t see me tuning in any time soon. Porn doesn’t figure highly in my viewing needs.

The last twenty-six channels are for high definition programming, but since I don’t feel I’m getting much out of the standard definition stations I can’t see the point in paying extra to watch the same stuff only a bit clearer.

I have been known to make use of some of the forty-eight music and radio channels, especially as background noise when I’m writing. There’s a lot of familiar stuff being played – much of which I actually remember hearing in my youth. Perhaps I’m just missing the simplicity and honesty of those early days. Perhaps I should just buy a radio.

And maybe that’s why I watch Time Team.

It’s funny, but despite all the modern shows on offer it’s digging up the past that really turns me on.


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