WE’D just sat down to Death in Paradise with our TV dinners (or was it Midsummer Murders? We’re a morbid lot in our house) when our world went black.
No signal! Not on ITV and its sibling channels, nor on all the Channel 4s! Vanished into the ether! Migrated to a satellite system in another galaxy far beyond the reach of our hulking great roof dish.
No more Chief Inspector Barnaby! No more Mr Selfridge! It’s worse than a lover walking out on you. Now I’ll never get to see if raunchy Ray Quinn wins Dancing on Ice. (Oops, didn’t mean to admit that one!)
When Channel 5 took itself off last year, it was no great loss. Having had to watch Gibraltar: Britain in the Sun online for research purposes, you know what I’m saying! Then nothing else happened for ages. Had we cheated The Big Switch Off?
When BBC went, the writing was on the wall … that’s if you’re rich enough to have a wall-mounted plasma screen, now about as useful as boobs on a nun.
But the earth-shattering, what-the-hell-do-we-do-to-unwind-on-a-weekday-night-now reality of the situation didn’t hit home until this month, when everything went blank. Blankety-Blank. Because now we’ll be fated to watching a ridiculously youthful Terry Wogan and other ancient game show reruns on Challenge TV, one of the few channels still on air in our corner of Spain. (Although Jeremy Irons in a rerun of The Borgias on Pick TV every Sunday night was quite a find!)
Where will we eat our TV dinners now? How else will we tune out from the sh*t day we just had? What will we do for affordable entertainment on a Saturday night?
It’s a little worrying that what starts off as a mild diversion turns into a can’t-function-without-it addiction, like chewing your nails or picking your scabs. (Not me, but according to a TV show called Strange Addictions, it’s quite common.)
We’ll either be forced to develop a taste for True Romance Movies and Teleshopping. Or go back to the days before Logie Baird’s mother bought the hat that came in the hatbox he used to create the world’s first working TV:
Play charades. Dust off your Scrabble set. Read a best-selling novel. Write one. Take up painting. Paint the house. Make marmalade with the oranges from the trees in your street. Sell the sofa.
Thinking about the 1001 things we could do instead is quite exhausting. Some of my friends have never had TV and I’ve always thought them a bit alternative and weird. Now it looks like I’ll be joining them, crocheting my own macrobiotic yogurt.
Of course, as you can’t help notice in the Olive Press, there are diverse ways to bring British telly back into your living room. But I’m not buying any of it (for the moment). I’m treating this as a wake-up call to get off the couch and get a life.
So, to quote 1950s TV journalist Edward R. Murrow’s famous sign-off line, it’s ‘Goodnight and Good Luck!’