Coming Up

Mrs M and I are committed telly watchers. We always have been but
especially so when our four daughters were younger and funds were limited.
Once the kids were fast asleep in bed we would hope and pray that there
would be something good to watch for the last hour of the evening before we
collapsed in to bed.

We are not just a family of TV ‘watchers’, we also try to be fully engaged
with the process; commenting on the storylines, arguing about which
contestant is our favourite, and occasionally shouting in the direction of
the screen if we find something to disagree with. This last one is usually
my practice and tends to annoy the other family members but at least I have
stopped throwing things at the TV these days.

Although we had the luxury of a video player back then most of our tapes
were either cartoons or compilations of home movies. Not like today when we
have so much technology available to aid us in our free time.

One of our most favourite of the new inventions is the ability to record
most of our favourite programmes using something called series link.

In addition to the fact that we very rarely miss episodes we are also able
to fast forward past the adverts. This has increasingly brought to our
attention the fact that an hour of TV only contains about forty minutes of
the actually programme.

If this is not bad enough there is the use of a phrase that I have come to
quite literally detest. It is employed in nearly every show and without any
sense of how it affects the viewer’s experience.

The phrase is ‘coming up’.

It is used just before the advert break and seems to suggest that TV
producers have very little confidence in either their product or their

They must assume that we will get distracted during the ad break and
forget what we were watching. So they try to tantalise us with snippets of
what is about to happen.

Well I would like to announce to these producers that I am not interested
in what is coming up until it arrives; so stop telling me what I am about
to see.

You might feel my annoyance coming through these words but don’t be too
concerned because my pain has been alleviated by the fact that we can now
fast forward past such nonsense.

Added to this ability to eliminate this TV chaff is the fact that I can
increase my engagement with programme by shouting at the screen ‘we are not
interested in what is coming up!’, before pressing the fast forward button
on the remote control.

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