It's time to change this tepid dishwater

Share
Related Topics
Curious what makes news on a thin bank holiday Monday. The papers have been greatly exercised by my column in the Radio Times. I wrote that I thought daytime television was mainly old-fashioned tepid dishwater and patronising to its viewers. So what's new?

I called it Stupidvision because presenters, who must be reasonably intelligent people, pretend not to be so on daytime television. You can tell what they think of viewers by the way they strain to keep their own brains in constant, grinding first gear. Schedulers target the lowest common denominator, trying to scrape up every last meagre viewer with a cheap mish-mash designed to offend no-one, but probably delight no-one either.

The departure of both Good Morning with Anne and Nick, and the Pebble Mill lunchtime chat show gives the BBC a chance to think again about how to treat their daytime viewers - though the BBC is by no means the worst offender. Channel 5 will be launched next January, earmarking daytime as one of its target zones. Will they all fight one another down lower and lower in the clueless stakes? Or is it time for a clever broadcaster - like the BBC - to lift its game?

Daytime audiences are scarce - Richard and Judy saw off Anne and Nick with a mere 1.9 million viewers. That could be liberating, offering a chance to experiment, since there is less to lose if a show flops. Instead of trying to attract viewers like flies with a thin layer of cheap jam, daytime television should use the freedom for new dangerous formats and risky try-outs. Now it is a graveyard for used producers, low in prestige. Why shouldn't it be a testing ground for new talent, where anyone with a good idea gets a go?

There are some very good quirky shows. But most of the weary mornings and afternoons have a musty fly-blown aura that goes along with the dread word "housewife". At a time when even the mighty Unilever has dropped the housewife as a symbol for its washing products, the television schedulers are 20 years out of date.

Daytime television matters - the audience is diverse. There are large numbers of the early-retired who are definitely not old. There are many who work shifts, odd hours, work from home or have no work at all. But even if they are old that doesn't make them senile cabbages, nor are women at home with children imbecilic. The assumption that everyone at home is either an underclass no-hoper or a daft brush with Fairy Liquid for brains is insulting. The quality of daytime programming matters, even if it isn't the prestige end of the market. Is any of this really news?

P T

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Recruitment Consultant

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We have an excellent role for a...

Recruitment Genius: IT Support Analyst - Bristol

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An IT Support Analyst is required to join the ...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Private Client Solicitor

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: SURREY - An outstanding high level opportunity...

Austen Lloyd: Construction Solicitor - London

Very Competitive Salary : Austen Lloyd: NICHE CITY FIRM - We are making a disc...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

For once, Kerry Katona had the right idea

Dom Joly
Should parents be allowed to take pictures at nativity plays?  

Ghosts of Christmas past: What effect could posting pictures of nativity plays have on the next generation?

Ellen E Jones
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick