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Wednesday, October 09, 2002
Simultaneous plums on TV

Last Sunday, I was overwhelmed by the choice of quality TV programmes to watch at 8.00 p.m. There were three. I was pleased that I have two video recorders so I had no need to miss any of them.

Firstly, there was a repeat of the excellent Simon Schama series on English history. The particular programme was on the fight to keep England a Catholic country during Henry VIII's reign and immediately afterwards. There is some information about the series here.

The second was the final programme in the series 'Howard Goodall's dates'. In this case, it was 1937. It dealt with the problems musicians (e.g Prokofiev and Shostakovitch) had in dealing with totalitarian regimes. There is some information about the series here. (Just for interest: Howard Goodall wrote the music for 'Blackadder'.)

The third was a programme about the Harrier jump jet. I have been unable to find a suitable link.

This cornucopia of riches reminded me of a blog I found, and quickly lost, from an American on a study tour in England. The blog was addressed to his girlfriend at home. I was interested in some of his observations about the UK. They were mostly very belittling - he was clearly missing his girlfriend a great deal and this coloured his observations. One statement stuck in my mind: 'The TV here isn't very good.'

Whether this is a reflection on certain American cultural (cultural?) attitudes or plain ignorance, is a moot point. Having watched TV around the World, I can say with confidence that the UK still has the best TV anywhere, despite the diluent offered by that well-known US citizen Rupert Murdoch.

With offerings like those available last Sunday, one must conclude that Reithian standards are not yet totally overwhelmed.

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