Is yesterday tomorrow's today?
A few weeks ago I was discussing on Twitter (follow me @ayla_iskender) with a friend (@jackalexturner) about how silly some channels names are. So much so, Jack needed to have a good old rant about it. For our readers based in the US, the 'digital switchover' is basically UK TV switching from analog to digital signals. Here is what he had to say...
The imminent completion of the digital switchover has left me feeling rather concerned for those as easily confused as myself. Not a large percentage of the population, I'd wager. You see, there seems to be an abundance of quirkily named television channels on Freeview these days. You have Dave, Really, Watch and Yesterday, to name but a few.
Forgive me for sounding nostalgic, however I must admit I miss the numeric system of days gone by. When the channels were innocently known as 1-5, it was simple, there were no pretention in the days prior to the executive spoon-feeding we're subjected to nowadays. It was comforting: 1) for Eastenders, 2) for the dulcet tones of John Virgo describing the snooker, 3) for Mandy Dingle laughing at people falling over at weddings, 4) for 'subversive' documentaries, or Hollyoaks, if that's how you chose to live your life, and 5) for grainy images of Czech ice hockey at prime time.
I, for one, would prefer the new digital channels to be known simply by numbers. Choosing your evening's viewing could be a lucky dip, like storming into your local Chinese takeaway and bellowing "Number 64" at the confused vendor. Sure, you'd end up with your fair share of repulsive jellied sea urchins, but occasionally you'd stumble upon a thoroughly enjoyable chow mein.
I guess the controllers are attempting to capture the entire content of the channel listings in one word, in the same vein my GCSE maths teacher once summed up my entire homework project as "CONFUSED." It can work well - in the case of 'Really' it is entirely fitting - as it's precisely what I turn to my girlfriend and ask as she settles down to indulge in the seventh consecutive Ten Years Younger episode. If this technique were to be used for television shows as well, I can only assume that Take Me Out would be renamed 'You'll Recoil in Disdain'.
Another curious channel name is Dave, formerly known as UKTV G2, which was much catchier in my opinion. It sounded like an explosive. It was said at the time of the change that everybody knows a bloke called Dave, people can relate to him, and I guess Dave is blokey, full of banter and warm, all of which indicated a wise choice of moniker. Well let me inform you something. I have a friend called Dave (doesn't everyone?) And he certainly isn't the the type of character you'd let on telly.
Last week, without the assistance of Marty McFly, I miraculously managed to flick over on time for a documentary on Yesterday, which was brilliantly advertised as: "Jack the Ripper: Prime Suspect, on tomorrow at 9, on Yesterday." Now that's just ridiculously baffling. I believe that if we brought back the 90's numeric system, the advert would have been: "Tune in to channel 12 tomorrow at 9pm to watch 'FBI trained experts' squander valuable time and resources attempting to solve a 120 year old case - in which all involved parties are long dead - by consulting a semi-interested man from Hull and a group of educated individuals called 'Ripperologists'. Thinking about it, had that been the 30 second sales pitch, I wouldn't watched it at all. I would have sat with my questionable Chinese meal and Googled undergraduate degree courses in Ripperology.
I guess we can chalk that one up as a victory for the digital TV Executives.