Friday 2 March 2018

Rip off television packages.

Cast your mind back, those of you who are old enough to the days when there was only Her Majesty's, British Broadcasting Corporation who had the monopoly of wireless and television broadcasting. Men, for it was virtually 100% male in the early days, would read the news wearing dinner jackets and using nothing but received pronunciation.

The British Broadcasting Corporation, now commonly known as the BBC lost it's monopoly in 1955 when the Television Act of 1954 created the Independent Television Authority and put six Independent Television Network franchises out to tender.

The first of these to broadcast was Associated-Rediffusion, which had won the London franchise and started on the night of the 22nd of September 1955, at 7.15pm with a four minute trailer announcing "Commercial television is here!"

After the initial preamble  the evening kicked off with an hour of drama starring Sir John Gielgud and Alec Guiness, a variety show with Hughie Green and Harry Secombe, a boxing match and news broadcasts. Finally at the end of this scintillating evenings entertainment came a five minute religious programme called the Epilogue, followed by the playing of the National Anthem which brought the night to a close at 11pm. The playing of the National Anthem caused all of those watching to stand in due deference to Her Majesty the Queen which meant when the last few notes were ringing in our ears, we were ready to walk over to the television and switch it off and head to our beds.

Hard to believe in this day and age that the thing most people were interested in seeing was the adverts, which had never happened before on television, the first of which was an commercial for Gibbs SR toothpaste. The other wondrous thing about the commercials from a viewers perspective was the fact that this was the means with which the television channel was funded, one didn't have to purchase a package as we do today, it was free.

We have moved on from those days when television was transmitted in black and white, through to colour and HD and all sorts of stunning formats but the one constant has been the commercials, ever more of them on ever more channels bringing millions and millions of pounds into the coffers of the television companies.

I am rather forced therefore to wonder why when they are getting enormous revenue from the adverts do we have to pay to view the basic programmes and yet more if one has the audacity to want to watch anything special, although quite how football, for example can be termed as special, I have no idea. Personally I rather prefer the Formula One motor racing, but I'm dammed if I'm going to pay for it, I shall watch whatever I am given for free, as I'm not made of money and will use my money for the upkeep of my own small fleet of classic cars, rather than subsidise Formula One cars.

You may say I am an old codger and that this is the modern way and you would be right, the problem does indeed arise because I am an old codger, for in the days of the British Broadcasting Corporation, which made it's money from the licence fee and then by commercial television, who made their money from advertisements, we used to see the football and Formula One etc for nothing. Because I am an old codger I can remember these things.

Whilst not wishing to go back to the days of Alvar Lidell  reading the news in a dinner jacket, I shall forego buying a package and then adding a bundle for the football or films or Formula One and then perhaps the box set, as I don't have a fourteen foot long, stereo, HD super dooper television on which to watch it all. Although you can now watch hundreds of different channels from a multiplicity of suppliers I'm afraid to my mind the vast majority of it is absolute rubbish and I can't understand, nor want to listen to American.

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