HOW DOES TV INFLUENCE YOUR LIFE?
Recently I was asked if I’d like to contribute to a feature for one of the writing magazines about TV and how it affected my writing. Unfortunately it didn’t work out but it got me thinking about how big an impact television has had on everybody’s lives over the last half century.
When the children were growing up, for several years we were that unusual family who, horrors of horrors, didn’t have a television. But we did of course give in eventually. It took a long time though, for me to shake off the guilty feelings about watching daytime TV instilled in me by my grandmother. Along with most of the population we did get hooked into a routine of watching TV every evening for a few years. And then we came to France where for a few years TV simply didn’t exist in our world. It does now though - can’t believe the size of the television we now have, mainly for watching dvds on!
Living in France I barely watch TV for entertainment these days - the language is still something of a problem for me and French TV has a certain reputation. Anyone who has ever watched French TV will know that it lags a long way behind what is on offer just the other side of the Channel. Although to be fair, these days shows like Downton Abbey and The Collection are being shown here - dubbed in French, which is just a step too far for me! And ‘Friends’ seems to be on a continual repeat loop on some channel or other. Somehow it misses the mark completely with the language dubbed. The French too, love all the American police series - the more violent the better.
Entertainment programmes on the three terrestrial channels here start at nine o’clock in the evening. The hours six thirty to nine are filled with news programmes. And there is no watershed in French producers lives. Violent programmes are just as likely as the latest edition of Oui Oui (Noddy to you and me) to be advertised at ten o’clock on a Sunday morning - in between the cartoons designed to keep the little darlings occupied while Mum and Dad have a lie in.
These days I watch the BBC news via my computer and watch UK entertainment / documentary programmes via iPlayer. I write contemporary women’s fiction for an English language based readership, so watching TV programs like this enables me to keep up to date with all the social and cultural activities going on across the channel.
One of the questions the feature was going to look at was: Are there any ways in which watching TV/dvds has improved your writing? Not sure about directly improving but Youtube has lots of writing related videos and I’ve watched a number of them and I’ve invariably come away with a new tip or a writing exercise to try. The Ted interviews are particularly good for motivation.
And finally for all of you who have ever wondered about what happens to old TV and computer screens a fun picture!