11 3 mins 11 yrs

Anyone watch the first episode of the second Downton Abbey saga? Watch, that is, as it was broadcast?

Seems as though there were two different sets of outcries from viewers, annoyed not with the broadcast itself, but with the number and length of the adverts which accompanied the story. The first set of attacks centred around the number and length of the adverts, which ITV chose to air for a total of 23 minutes out of a total programme time of 90 minutes. As the Daily Mail cartoon observed “They spoil the adverts by having little bits of drama in between”.

The second set of complaints were founded in the insurance company Aviva’s broadcasting of life insurance ‘stories’ whilst images of trench warfare, death and violence were showing, as part of their blitz upon the viewing public.

As for the first complaint, there does seem to be a case for ITV to answer, mainly because they did over-run, in strict terms, the usual time allotted to advertising. The episode was billed as being 90 minutes long, but the viewer only gets 67-odd minutes of drama. They might reply that the show was broadcast in Prime Time, 9.00 p.m. on a Sunday, they are a commercial broadcaster and they have sold the slots to maximise exposure to their clients’ products and services.

The second series of complaints is perhaps a little more tenuous in origin, based on the Aviva adverts for a ‘story’ of a injured motorcyclist who presumably gets all the support he needs because he signed up with Aviva.

We are ‘blitzed’ on an daily basis by the advertising profession, and I defy anyone to state that their behaviour has not been modified by one advert or another. The adverts which I remember best are the ones which make me laugh, but doubt whether I have ever actually purchased a product based upon my rather twisted sense of humour! The fact that we can, at the ‘click’ of a mouse determine whether others have had a good or lousy experience with any item or service says at least that most adverts have to be at least honest in their claims. I wrote a novel once which had ‘subliminal advertising’ as a theme or rather a sub-plot. It is because of my own limited knowledge of psychology that I know that the ‘subliminal message’ just could not work, a fact for which we should all be truly thankful!

As for Downton Abbey, I enjoyed the whole of the first broadcast without watching a single advert. How? Simple, I recorded the whole thing, watched it later; and fast-forwarded my Sky box whenever the dreaded ‘advertising breaks’ commenced.


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11 thoughts on “Signed….Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells

  1. Am I wrong or has not OFCOM recently increased the amount of time in one hour that can be devoted to screening adverts? I remember thinking at the time that OFCOM seemed to think more of their responsibilities to TV companies than of their responsibilities to viwers.

  2. Sky+ is the only answer. I haven’t watched an advert in years. Then of course, there is the goo old BBC!

  3. Sky+ is the only answer. I haven’t watched an advert in years. Then of course, there is the good old BBC!

  4. Yes it’s annoying when settling down to a good drama like Downton to find the flow interrupted by numerous ad breaks if you wnat to watch it live , but then we do get the commercial channels ‘free’ so we have to be prepared to deal with that annoyance as the price we pay for our entertainment.

  5. I agree about the commercials lasting longer and longer and this I think has only become noticeable over the last few months. Watching live is no longer the pleasure it once was. Recording is the only answer for those of us on ‘Welfare TV’ as my hairdresser likes to call it!

  6. The Aviva ads thing is baffling, but a minor distraction. My long suffering wife and I
    (both thankfully free of piles ;)) use the ad breaks as a chance to comment on the story line, and in my case allow my wife to fill in the words her deaf idiot of a husband missed..
    Downton Abbey is a great piece of TV. Well drawn characters that you actually can care about.
    Oh! that there was some serial of this calibre to replace “Dead Enders”.
    As fine an example of George Orwell’s 1984 telly viewing as you’ll find anywhere.

  7. Agit8ed

    Eastenders only lasts half an hour. Even at your age, I am sure you and your better half could turn the TV off and er, entertain yourselves for those 30 minutes 😉

  8. Colm,
    So good to see you coming back on form. I for one have missed your gentle innuendos!
    You are right about the programme time differences, but it takes at least 40 minutes to read through the “Age Concern Sex Manual for the Toothless and Limp”.
    And by the time you’ve read through the instructions, one has forgotten why one started reading that instead of Gardeners World…..

    You are such a cheeky lad! 😉

  9. I watch all TV programmes using my personal Video recorder (PVR) whatever channel. If the phone rings, I just push pause and continue later, no missed bits. Ads can be fast forwarded by pressing buttons in one or two minute steps.
    Of course the ads used to give me a chance for me to go and get another can of beer out of the fridge, or to put the kettle on, but now I’ve got the PVR I can pause at any time I choose.
    The strange thing about the ads, is that even if I watch them, I don’t understand what they’re on about most of the time as clearly they’re far to clever for me! The only one I like is the lady with her lap-top interviewing ancestors in the “Find my Past” advert.

  10. Agit8ed

    I’m shocked! shocked!

    When I said entertain yourselves, I was of course referring to something like a game of dominos or doing the crossword. Hanky panky at 7.30pm is just too too bohemian 😉

  11. Colm,
    Dominoes is pants, played only by the terminally boring,
    Crosswords are very very rare in our house -geddit?
    HankyPanky is now more of a cerebal rather than a practical exercise..
    Bohemians are banned..
    As are Hawkers and Circulars. 😉

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