Tuesday, December 13, 2016

trashing tradition with the Radio Times 2016 Christmas edition

hello there

or, if you like, and as might well be more appropriate, bah humbug. whereas this is, look you see, another Christmas themed post of sorts, it is one which delves into the dark side of the festive season. this side is the one that you go to expecting a joy of familiarity but instead get greeted with contempt and disappointment in fairly equal measure.

what could be so dark, despondent and depressing at this stage of the year? why, ladies and gentlemen, for that i give you the crime that is the Christmas 2016 edition of the Radio Times.

as those of you who have persevered with this blog over the years shall know one of the most exciting, to me, things about being home was the excitement of the Christmas edition of the Radio Times being available. i fondly recall in those years gone by eagerly getting it and seeing what treats and joys awaited us over the staggering four channels we had available.

in the time that has gone by, however, we now hat many hundreds - if not thousands - of channels to choose from, and all sorts of ways in which we can make our tv entertain us. you still expect the main, or if you like traditional, channels to do the flagship thing and entertain us with that which is special. but, yes, the actual tv listings are now a mere secondary thing. for better or worse.

i could say something outlandish here along the lines of how, due to what a massive disappointment this year's edition has been i simply won't bother to do it again. we know, though, that impulse, tradition and instinct will see me get it. but hey, that can wait - let me get on with complaining about this edition.

what's wrong with the 2016 edition of the Radio Times? much. for a start, the price. £4.50 is significant for a tv guide. most newspapers give them away free, virtually every television set in the land allows you to look at a guide electronically and there is such a thing as "the internet", on which you can get such information.

and oh, how so very depressing some of the tv listing information is. up above you can see the one page of listings for Christmas Day. yes, that is the listing for Channel 5. and no, controversially and disappointingly, now they are not showing, as has been normal, the celebrated Chas & Dave Christmas Cockney Knees Up 1981 this year. that's a major disappointment.

evidently there is a shift of focus at Channel 5. it seems they are being less purveyors of the English way of doing things, more focused on a global view of world matters. that would explain Dallas Buyers Club being the main Christmas film on the channel, then. i'm not disputing that it is an outstanding film on an important subject, but really? is Christmas really the time for us in England to abandon Chas & Dave in favour of the story of trying to smuggle in help to those affected by HIV in America during the 80s?

so, with limited value in listings of what exactly is on the tele, and news of what isn't being broadcast bringing only distinct displeasure (i don't consider the BBC showing Frozen as a suitable replacement for Chas & Dave, thank you), how does Radio Times justify the cost of this edition? content. 292 pages it claims it has. yes, ok, great. let's have a look at them pages.

yes, quite. it would have been a good deal more honest for them to have said on the front that the magazine contains, hang on let me count on my fingers, 284 pages + 8 pages dedicated to "travel".

no, these travel pages are not for general interest or applicable to most people. a lot of the holidays suggested cost north of £1,000 per person. and they are destinations that people who could afford to go to them would go to them for reasons other than what they saw in a tv guide.

of the remaining 284 pages, or 280 if we for the moment take the cover out of the equation, there are more than a few adverts within. i'm not quite sure it clocks the point of being half the magazine, but it sure does feel like it.

yes, this is the 2016 edition of the Radio Times of Christmas and not the 1986 one. and yet there they are, still going strong, the likes of Cliff Richard, Shakin' Stevens, The Beach Boys and him off of Canada, all advertising gigs. also, in that Quiz of the Year thing i am quite confident that it is a 1986 portrait image what they have used off of Barry Norman. and why not.

i understand that magazines must have adverts - in dwindling days of readership it is basically that what keeps magazines going. it does, however, all seem rather excessive in this edition, and makes false the idea that you're actually getting 292 pages that you would be interested in. although, granted, the Shakey concert might be something i consider attending.

but wait, you say. for your £4.50, the cover says you get a FREE* copy of a Christmas book off of Raymond Briggs, a man who i think was in that boss snooker show Give Us A Break. well, yes. it's free with an asterisk, and everyone loves an asterisk. it's free so long as you send them a cheque for £2 to cover "postage and packaging". and of course all have a chequebook. i suppose we should at the least be very grateful that they are not referring to it as "shipping".

anything else upsetting in the magazine? but of course.

no, sadly, i am not making this up for the humour value or to give me something else to whine about. the Radio Times, in an interesting move, went right ahead and elected to run an interview with the most dangerous and possibly most despised woman in the UK right now, Theresa May, as but of course that's what people want to see at Christmas.

i understand that the old way of doing "celebrity" content is gone. once the Christmas edition would have featured a popular light entertainer dressed as Father Christmas, and a more risqué alternative comedian or grown up entertainer being presented nudies bar some tinsel and baubles placed in strategic ways. they can't do that any more on the off chance that the entertainer, at some point down the road, turns out to be some sort of sex case or other form of deplorable criminal. but, really? Theresa May is the best they have?

everything about this Christmas edition of Radio Times smacks of "we are doing this because we know lots of people buy it and it doesn't matter what rubbish we fill it with". me is being one of the ones that do indeed do this, for i only get the Christmas one. call it a radical way of thinking, but if perhaps they made it a decent edition once again, then maybe people like us would go right ahead and buy it at other times of the year?

maybe next year i will just get the TV Times edition at Christmas. we shall see, i am not so sure i am ready to do that but we will see.

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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