April 1st brings the realisation that one thing I’ve really missed since leaving Britain for Canada is good quality, advert-free TV. Here, you can’t go ten minutes without someone fooling with your concentration and trying to sell you something.
The BBC gets a lot of stick back home for over-paying its presenters and over-charging its audience (it’s the only network in the UK to charge a licence fee – you can’t buy a TV without handing over your details so the TV Licensing Authority can track you down) and don’t even mention repeats; nothing gets people grumbling more than the knowledge they’ve just paid again for something they already paid for in a previous year. Whole column inches are given to comparing how the number of repeats has risen over the years.
That said, some things are more repeatable than others. One thing the BBC excels in is a well-researched, thorough documentary. Anything featuring David Attenborough on the subject of the Natural World is a valuable reference resource – educative and entertaining in equal measure. Who hasn’t sat enthralled, along with the rest of the family, as the Serengeti is brought to life through Sir David’s engaging dialogue? Who hasn’t swiftly offered to go and make the tea when the wildebeest mating behaviour finally moved from third base to home run?
Today seems like the perfect time to treat you to a clip from a classic British documentary series, Panorama. First broadcast during 1953, it’s the world’s longest-running public affairs programme, and it’s just as compelling now as it was back then, although the cut-glass accent has diminished somewhat. Is this why many Canadians say a British accent makes a person sound so intelligent?
I’m off to welcome April with some homemade Blueberry Fool left over from the Easter celebrations. If the weather’s been kind we’ll have pasta for dinner…