One reason why we feel more guilty now is that there is more to watch. When Have I Got News For You featured an old BBC2 test card the other day it was surprising to be reminded, in this era of 24-hour TV, what it looked like.
Today's survey explodes the myth that poor people watch more rubbish than the better-off. The truth is that everyone watches rubbish sometimes, and that we all turn to the small screen as a comforter when we are fed up. Obviously, more old and unemployed people watch daytime programmes, because they have the time. But they feel just as guilty about it as anybody else. They shouldn't.
If television were abolished tomorrow, we would be quite capable of devising other mindless ways of occupying our time in an attempt to avoid reading great literature or attending to the needs of our less fortunate neighbours.
Although people talk of being "addicted" to TV, especially to soap operas (which men watch as keenly as women), it is a way of shutting down the cares of everyday life that is much easier to control than alcohol or other chemicals.
Enough of this negativism and snobbery. Let us admit that we watch television because we enjoy it, and that we cannot always be doing something improving and worthwhile with our time.Reuse content