Loch Awe in spring - Photo courtesy of Neil Donald Photography






Saturday, 21 January 2017



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!






















10 comments:

  1. Interesting topic, Jennie. For years when our children were small the only programmes I found time to watch were either the news or some sing-songy infant entertainment. Happy days! Now the boys are teens, we do try to sit as a family, perhaps three or four times a week, and enjoy the same shows. We appear to have quite a liking for violence over this side of the Channel too. Silent Witness and Taboo are two of our current favourites. Not sure that they affect my writing, other than the rolling credits are a great way of discovering unusual character names.

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    1. I'm not in to watching any sort of violence, I get too stressed! But like you I use the rolling credits on programmes too for character names.

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  2. Love the last photo. It reminds me of "the elephant in the room" and what a great way to depict a discussion about the major influence 24 hour television programming can have on us if we let it.

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    1. Thanks Victoria. I do think that a TV is exactly that 'an elephant' and we have to stay in control of it!

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  3. I just love that elephant photo! Ah yes,TV. It rarely goes on in the daytime ....the 6 o'clock news is the first thing we see ... as I can hear my mother's voice admonishing me 'not to waste time watching that thing!' if I go near it before 6 p.m. The exception is if my husband is having a down-in-the-dumps day when he will watch b&w movies ... me, I go for a long walk on those days, saint that I am!

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    1. Thanks Linda. Strange isn't it how voices admonishing us from our childhood still all these years later make us behave!

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  4. I find I don't enjoy tv nearly as much these days as I used to. I sometimes think I should watch more to get in with the national 'vibe' but then get bored and give up. I'll just have to count on social media to keep me in touch! Love the elephant photo too:)

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    1. Social media certainly seems to bring the national 'vibe' to the fore these days more than TV I think.

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  5. I never seem to have time to watch the TV. There are one or two shows that I watch but always on catch up. The kids love animal documentaries and we all sat down to watch Planet Earth 2. I would rather be out taking my photos.

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  6. Not seen or heard of PLanet Earth 2 here but it sounds worth watching. You keep out and about Neil taking your wonderful photos.

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