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