Family column: I'm too busy to binge watch TV boxsets like the kids do

Readers of a certain vintage will remember the television choices offered up to younger viewers in the 70s and 80s.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 5th March 2018, 1:04 pm
Updated Monday, 5th March 2018, 1:10 pm
Binge watching is not for me.
Binge watching is not for me.

Back then, telly for kids would be pretty much restricted to approximately two hours or so a day between about 4pm and 6pm with both BBC and ITV offering up their own bands of programming.

So you’d rush home from school to be treated to delights such as Grange Hill, Jackanory, Blue Peter, Beat The Teacher and Jossy’s Giants, all shoehorned in before things got serious again for the grown-ups with Nationwide or the 6pm news.

Apart from the marathon Saturday morning shows such as Swap Shop, Saturday Superstore, Going Live or Tiswas, the only other kids’ telly would be in the summer holidays when we could look forward to endless re-runs of Heidi, The Littlest Hobo and Why Don’t You?, although a TV programme telling its viewers ‘why don’t you switch off your television set and go out and do something less boring instead?’ doesn’t make a great deal of sense when you think about it.

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Back then, telly for tots was rationed and to add to the joy, you’d end up watching your favourite shows on one of those old black and white TV sets with the big hoop aerial and a reception which would fizzle and crackle if anyone within a two mile radius chose to do a spot of drilling.

Of course, nowadays, with the advent of Netflix and various catch-up services, youngsters, youths, whatever you want to call them, can watch TV whenever and wherever.

And that saddens me. Not because I’m against the march of technology, but because my kids, your kids, will never experience the thrill of a weekly fix of their favourite show.

If you weren’t eagerly plonked in front of the box on Thursday night for Top of The Pops, where were you?

Thirty gleeful minutes of your favourite songs and that would be it until you did the same again seven days later.

If the bus happened to be running late bringing you back from a trip to your gran’s, tough.

And children of this day and age will never know the excitement of having a video recorder to preserve your favourite shows, only to have it replaced with crushing despair to discover that the chart rundown ended abruptly before getting to the number one spot because the snooker beforehand had overrun meaning the end of your recording was missed.

My children love to binge watch shows on catch-up and on demand services. They can happily sit through four or five hour long episodes of their favourite show in one sitting without the blink of an eye.

Having been brought up on rationed shows, I just can’t manage it.

I have things to do and people to see - admittedly, on most occasions, that’s little more than examining the inside of my eyelids after a busy day at work and then being rudely jolted awake by my offspring, angry that I’m not enjoying the marathon slog of televisiual delights in their company.