Please Don’t Hate Me, But I Don’t Watch Television.

I don’t watch television. It’s a recent thing, this non-telly lark. It happened in January. Over Christmas we watched hardly any of the repeats and thin dramas dished up, resorting instead to DVD boxsets, playing records and reading.

It was good.

When January made an appearance I switched the telly on one day because Columbo was on. Everybody loves Columbo. My mum fancied Peter Faulk, she liked the fact he only had one eye (am still not sure what all that was about) so the programme always reminds me of her, in a good way.

So I start watching Columbo on this January afternoon and really get into it, Mrs Columbo bakes the felon a cake, Faulk really getting under the killer’s skin, winding him up; then an advertising break starts. (Bear in mind that by January I hadn’t really watched live telly for weeks, commercial TV none at all, so this is all a bit of a shock – I’ve been deprogrammed by this point). Instead of getting up and making myself a brew like I should have done I sat through the break, and they start trying to sell me loads of crap I don’t need. A diet powders ad was the one that got me the most, the advert shouted at me I need to sort myself out, NOW. How bloody rude. Ok, I did need to sort myself out but not by buying their stupid powder. I watch a bit more of Columbo and every fifteen minutes they’re trying to flog me rubbish and the diet powder AGAIN, so I turn it off. I know who the killer is, but it still wrecks my afternoon.

I haven’t watched live TV since. I have one exception to the rule – Only Connect, my Monday night bliss on BBC2.  I watched the leaders debate on ITV too, but that’s been my only one off.

The Guardian is not happy that Labour Party leader Ed Miliband admits he does not watch television:

“We’ve all met people who don’t watch television, and we’ve all been immediately creeped out by them. It’s a generally accepted fact that the only people worse than people who don’t watch television are people who don’t own televisions, and the only people worse than those people are people who use internet comment sections to tell other people that they don’t own televisions.” 

I know people who can’t afford the TV licence anymore, or have had to sell their own sets to make a few bob. Are they “creepy”? I reckon not.  I call them sensible. The Guardian should try it on for size, eschewing the box. It’s good, a life with no TV interrupting you. Our TV set still lives in the corner, we just don’t switch it on. It’s taking up room if I’m being honest. To me life is calmer and quieter if I don’t watch telly, it frees up time. I find chat and panel shows sneery and competitive, the news channel and bulletins as biased as hell, and advertising breaks keep telling you that you need x y and z and sachets of diet powder, or else…

With telly watching, I just don’t enjoy it anymore. Maybe one day I’ll go back to it, who knows? But for now, friends are slowly realising that “did you watch…” is mostly replied to with a “no”.  To be honest it makes for more interesting conversations, once telly talk is dispensed with. Wasting time watching crap telly is bad enough, wasting time talking about it, just as bad.

(If you love the telly, please don’t hate me).

If I had a splendid vintage  telly like this, I might be persuaded to watch it, a little...
PS If I had a splendid vintage telly like this, I might be persuaded to watch it, a little…



7 thoughts on “Please Don’t Hate Me, But I Don’t Watch Television.

  1. I’ve always had the ‘rule’ no TV before six, which is when I watch the news, but then I tend to find the next thing is Newsnight. I don’t like soaps, and I don’t like game shows or reality TV. That doesn’t leave much else. As such when you walk into my house, it’s the books you notice, not a six foot wide TV!
    Being strange is something I’ve had to get used to, after a while you see it as a badge of honour!

  2. I also don’t watch any live TV and very. very rarely see any adverts at all these days, unless I’m round at someone else’s house. This has the added bonus that you don’t have to pay for a TV licence. Although they are trying to change that, I hear. Grrr.

  3. Apart from last weekend when I was at my brother’s and the TV was on, I haven’t watched TV for five years. I’d started to watch less of it when I was diagnosed with chronic insomnia in 2007 but when I moved into a house where the aerial didn’t work properly in 2010 and I couldn’t have satellite or cable TV, I just stopped watching it. I watch box sets now and then but we go days in our house without switching the television on at all. People always seem amazed at how much I do but there’s loads of time when you don’t watch TV. Now I just need to dispense of my smartphone…!

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