IPH and Television

I live alone, don't go out much, and I used to watch quite a lot of television. I was always fairly particular about what I watched. However I think I am now less interested in many things than I used to be. I rarely watch any dramas, even detective ones, or any sitcoms.

In March 2008, when I first wrote this page, I still only had BBC1, BBC2, ITV1 and Channel 4, the terrestrial UK channels. Channel 5 (the last terrestrial channel) was not available where I live; and the switchover to digital terrestrial TV (Freeview) was scheduled for 2012 at my transmitter. Well in 2017 when I update this page I have had Freeview for some years. I occasionally watch a movie on Film4, but only once every month or two. I find I cannot be bothered to watch most movies that are ever shown. I do check what is on their schedule, but I cannot summon any interest in most things


Probably the easiest way to give you an idea of what TV I like is to list them.


I absolutely never miss Doctor Who (new era), and back in 2008 I used to try to watch Torchwood, and some reruns of Star Trek TNG.

Apart from them, the only British drama series I was ever likely to look at were the detectives (but not the uniformed or general police soaps like The Bill or the new Holby City Blue. I used to watch original series reruns sometimes, but I lost interest in all of them. I used to watch out for Jonathan Creek and Lewis, and did at one time (two decades ago) catch a lot of Morse, Poirot, Miss Marple, the Jeremy Brett Sherlock Holmes series, and Midsomer Murders.

In slightly more recent times I sometimes watched New Tricks, Waking The Dead, some of the Inspector Linley series, a few Murder, She Wrote or Diagnosis Murder (early afternoon fodder) episodes, if having a late lunch at home, but not usually otherwise. Police Squad, in the early 1980s, I found very funny at least to begin with but I have not seen any reruns for many years. From across the Atlantic I watched a few Columbo way back when, and was a regular for Moonlighting and Medium and Without A Trace. I did not watch Rebus, Taggart, Prime Suspect, Cracker, Cadfael and only watched a few episodes of Frost.

I have rarely been caught up in costume drama. Dickens and the likes of Jane Austen (despite the proximity of her house at Chawton) almost always left me cold (and still do). But in Febnruary/March 2008 I never missed an episode of Lark Rise To Candleford. I think this was chiefly because Flora Thompson was writing not a novel but a memoir of village life a lot of which really happened, for hers were journals written as things happened. After "Candleford" Flora moved to a job in Grayshott, near where I live, and my friend Jo Smith has written a book about his researches for he has found out who were the real people corresponding to the characters in Flora’s stories. Many descendants (children and grandchildren) of people Flora (Laura in the stories) knew are still in the district, and some events have been identified.

One reviewer of this series on IMDb, davidsaxonjones, who clearly knows the books, did not like this series one little bit; but I was not bothered by what he complains about. In Hindhead at the time Flora lived there, again working in the Post Office, there were some famous people including Sir Arthur Conan Doyle who would come into the post office to buy their stamps. Grayshott is only 2 to 3 miles from me, and therefore I am looking forward to there being a dramatization of that era. At the end of March 2008 IMDb had no hint yet of adapter Bill Gallagher producing the next volume as another series. I do not know whether they ever did it.

Comedy Quizzes

I love, and try not to miss, Have I Got News For You? and QI, and Mock The Week, and I quite enjoy 8 Out Of 10 Cats and Would I Liw To You? although I dislike Rob Brydon and Lee Mack as people and as comics.

Sketch shows

I always sought out: Alas Smith and Jones, Hale and Pace, and (years ago) the young Emma Thompson’s one-girl series. At one stage I quite enjoyed That Mitchell and Webb Look but I did not remember much about it for long. I watched a couple of editions of Armstrong and Miller and was quite amused but did not seek them out.

Sketch shows that I could not abide at all included: The Fast Show, French and Saunders, Little Britain, and The Day Today or whatever it was called.


I like very few of the available comedy series. For some reason, I cannot bear to watch what I call “cringe comedy”; in these, the basic point is about embarrassment or disgust, not just Schadenfreude but a sort of pleasure in the stupidity and incompetence of others or the oblivious shamelessness of certain characters combined with the embarrassment of others who nevertheless never tell their embarrassing fellows to behave themselves, quite possibly because the way the characters are drawn, even though they continually try to get them to see the errors of their ways the misbehavers are totally incapable either of understanding or believing them or else of changing the way they are. I just have to turn these programmes off; I cannot bear to watch. They do not make me laugh at all, but instead almost make my skin crawl.

Sitcoms that I cannot abide: Friends, Seinfeld, Frasier and most of the following list, where numbers are positions in a bbc.co.uk popularity poll as best British sitcom:

  1  Only Fools and Horses
  2  Blackadder
  3  Vicar of Dibley
  4  Dad’s Army
  5  Fawlty Towers
  6  Yes Minister
  7  Porridge
  8  Open All Hours
  9  The Good Life
 10  One Foot in the Grave
 11  Father Ted
 12  Keeping Up Appearances
 13  ’Allo ’Allo!
 14  Last of the Summer Wine
 15  Steptoe and Son
 16  Men Behaving Badly
 17  Absolutely Fabulous
 18  Red Dwarf
 19  The Royle Family
 20  Are You Being Served?
 21  To the Manor Born
 22  Some Mothers Do ’Ave ’Em
 23  The Likely Lads
 24  My Family
 25  The Office
 26  Drop the Dead Donkey
 27  Rising Damp
 28  Dinnerladies
 29  As Time Goes By
 30  Hancock’s Half Hour
 31  The Young Ones
 32  Till Death Us Do Part
 33  Butterflies
 34  The Thin Blue Line
 35  Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin
 36  Peter Kay’s Phoenix Nights
 37  Waiting for God
 38  Birds of a Feather
 39  Bread
 40  Hi-De-Hi
 41  The League of Gentlemen
 42  I’m Alan Partridge
 43  Just Good Friends
 44  2.4 Children
 45  Bottom
 46  It Ain’t Half Hot Mum
 47  The Brittas Empire
 48  Gimme Gimme Gimme
 49  Rab C. Nesbitt
 50  Goodnight Sweetheart
 51  Up Pompeii
 52  Ever Decreasing Circles
 53  On the Buses
 54  Coupling
 55  George and Mildred
 56  A Fine Romance
 57  Citizen Smith
 58  Black Books
 59  The Liver Birds
 60  Two Pints of Lager and...
 61  The New Statesman
 62  Sykes
 63  Please, Sir!
 64  Dear John
 65  Barbara
 66  Spaced
 67  Bless this House
 68  Love Thy Neighbour
 69  Man About the House
 70  Desmonds
 71  Duty Free
 72  All Gas and Gaiters
 73  Happy Ever After/Terry & June
 74  Only When I Laugh
 75  Brass
 76  The Rag Trade
 77  Sorry
 78  Kiss Me Kate
 79  Doctor in the House
 80  I Didn’t Know You Cared
 81  Shelley
 82  Nearest and Dearest
 83  Fresh Fields
 84  The Army Game
 85  Robin’s Nest
 86  The Dustbinmen
 87  Whoops Apocalypse
 88  My Wife Next Door
 89  Never the Twain
 90  Nightingales
 91  Early Doors
 92  Agony
 93  The Lovers
 94  Father Dear Father
 95  Hot Metal
 96  And Mother Makes...
 97  Life With the Lyons
 98  Marriage Lines
 99  A Sharp Intake of Breath
100  No Problem