Leading Article: Turn off and tune out

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The Independent Online

One of the great British annual rites, along with the August bank holiday and the Oxford and Cambridge University boat race, is the post-Christmas festival of moaning about the lousy telly.

Why don't they ever put anything decent on, except for Wallace and Gromit? So goes the refrain, as repetitive as a football fan's chant. Perhaps an impish spirit of sadism does indeed enter the hearts of television programmers, inspiring them to save the very worst for the very end of the year, precisely because they know they hold the nation effectively captive for days in a row. A form of collective punishment for our failure to watch worthier programmes, then. Well, true to this newspaper's tradition of viewing the glass as half full rather than half empty, we are happy to point out a little mentioned benefit of boring Christmas television: the duller it gets, the more people will turn it off. The art of conversation will revive and reading will boom. A cheering thought for the last days of the year.