One of my little joys in life is to pick up a copy of Total TV Guide during the weekly shopping and – whilst waiting in the unmoving queue at Asda behind whichever person has decided that today (now that they’re over 50) would be the best day to try out one of those new fangled supermarket things and see what all the fuss is about and it’s nice to chat to new people and yes, they would like help with their bags and I can’t believe postal orders and stamps aren’t gladly accepted as payment any longer – flip open the television guide magazine straight to the inside back page. What’s inside the back page of Total TV Guide?
Letters from readers! Oh! I do like reading readers’ letters. My joy, my weekly jolt of ecstacy comes from shouting at the letters page. The people of Asda have grown to ignore me.
But this week there was an empty checkout and we sailed through (we did pay; we go to Asda for the savings but we’re Waitrose people at heart) and this means I didn’t get to vent.
If only I had a website.
Dear Mrs M Delicata-Bennett of London,
Firstly: congratulations on that name! You must wake up every morning and smile. If I had that name I would spend all day phoning places and leaving messages with my full name. “Is Sir Jimmy Saville there? No? Well, could you tell him I called? He doesn’t know me. The name, though; it’s Mrs M Delicata-Bennett. There’s a hyphen but you don’t pronounce it.”
Now, onto your gripe: I feel your pain. Not with Primeval, because that’s tripe, but it is irritating when a show suddenly shifts from one channel to another and you don’t have that other channel. It’s almost as if the channel that buys that show knows it’s popular and wants to encourage people to swap their viewing platform to continue watching it with them so that they can get a boost in viewing figures and then charge higher prices to advertisers. I say “it’s almost” like that but actually “it’s exactly” like that. This is because television is a business and this isn’t the Glorious Socialist Republic Of Englandia. I know you want free TV shows (I do too) and you want only the sort of TV shows you like (I like sci-fi) and you want them never to cancel your favourite shows (there’s a void in my innards where Firefly, Stargate Universe, Caprica, Blake’s 7, and U.F.O. once lived) and you hate it when TV channels poach the programmes you love (Sky TV: if you were a person you would not have long for this world were I nearby with a blunt instrument) but business is business and adults should be adult about it and stop whining and just sell a kidney and pay for the TV package upgrade. There.
Dear Dannii Minogue,
If you think for one second I’m going to abide by the superinjunction that prohibits people from knowing that you even have a secret identity or that your secret identity name is Harriet Johnson from Kent when you so brazenly self-promote yourself in this way then you’ve got another thing coming missy!
P.S. you’re my favourite Minogue.
Dear Gary K Waters of Blackpool,
I’m going to be brutally honest up front with you: I’ve never met a Gary I liked and I think Blackpool is a cesspit. Now, on with your letter…
Oh, boo hoo, you’re not going to watch a TV programme because an iron head of Hitler was sold in it! The makers of Four Rooms must be kicking themselves. They’ve lost Gary from Blackpool! Do you know what else makes money from Hitler? Anything with Hitler in it. War films? I guess you’re not watching them any more. The Blues Brothers? Great film! Oh, but wait… Illinois Nazis! You’re missing out on a cracker there. Half of all Discovery channel programmes… scrub them from your existence! Do you like the Olympic Games? You know that torch that gets carried and lights that big fiery thing at the start? I’ve got some bad news for you. The Blackpool Tower: designed by Goebbels. Donkey rides: torture invented by the Gestapo. Gay hotspots: von Ribbentrop’s greatest achievements. Shop after shop after shop selling utter tat to old people: Himmler’s idea of heaven!
Stay in bed, Gary. Don’t move, Gary. It’s an offensive world, Gary.
Dear Mr G J Hughes of Kent,
Your first name’s not Gary is it?
And do you know Harriet Johnson? Looks a lot like Kylie Minogue’s sister.
I remember when Doctor Who was a kids’ show too. Those adorable Dalek puppets with their squeaky voices: “Let’s play with a kite! Let’s play with a kite! We are the superior kite-players!” Good times.
Woah! Hang on a sec… now I think about it a bit more… I’ve got a vague recollection… that… you’re an imbecile making things up. Doctor Who was always scary. I really did hide behind a sofa when I was younger. Then my parents bought a sofa that fitted flush with the wall and I knocked myself out during an episode of The Masque of Mandragora but that’s another story. And, in addition to swearing like sailors and not respecting their elders, kids like scary things. That’s the beauty of Doctor Who; a bit of something for (nearly) everyone. Scary stuff for little kids; hot companions for slightly older kids (hello Sophie Aldred!); storylines with a bit of bite for adults. When you say “thrilling, clever, playful, and packed with humour and fun” I think you’re probably really referring to the recent Doctor Who Homosexual Agenda Period under Russell T. Davies. Well, Doctor Who existed before then. And when you say “complex” and “hard enough for an adult to fathom” I think the adult you’re making mention of there is just you. It’s a show with more fans than just you.
If you want science fiction writing that’s light, aimed at kids, clever but not intricate, packed with humour and fun, a joy, and not frightening then may I humbly suggest a Marvin the Martian episode of Bugs Bunny? He has an otherworldly voice, though. You may need a cushion to hug.