Where Turkey leads we follow

W hen I was a BBC Studio Manager I had to spend quite a lot of time just sitting around in studios waiting for something to happen. As we had a feed of various foreign TV stations I spent some of this time watching them (this was quite some years back, and the Russian one really did send reporters out into fields to interview people about their tractors... and there was an inordinate amount of folk dancing).

The slickest station was Turkish, though its programming was a bit limited - early every evening they had a game show called Amiral Batti - 'Battleships' with an electronic display - and you haven't lived until you've watched a James Bond film dubbed into Turkish.

However what I noticed most was their habit of overlaying trails on programs - right in the middle of films they would run a banner showing FM radio frequencies, for example. At that time British TV stations were keeping trails and adverts separate from programmes, but I suspected that where Turkey led we would eventually follow.

All too true. Not content with placing shouty (and often facetious) voiceovers over the end credits of films, several channels, the BBC ones included, now shrink the credits to run a trailer in a separate frame, thus rendering the cast list unreadable (but finishing it time to let you read all the obscure technical credits). Recently Virgin 1 has taken to having a little cartoon character appear in the bottom of the screen with a placard trailing a future program; this does nothing for any dramatic tension being built up in the program. And 'five' recently polluted a film with a pop-up banner and a miniature actress posturing on top of it.

All this is in addition to the on-screen logos which have been spoiling films and serious programmes for years, BBC3 included; in many cases these are brightly coloured and sometimes animated. TV channels claim that viewers like them.

It's plain that the TV executives have the attention span of moths and no respect whatever for the programmes they transmit. Now I'm retired I no longer see Turkish TV; I don't feel I'm missing anything but it might be an interesting pointer into what irritating and intelligence-insulting techniques are likely to be added in future to undermine the effect of the relatively few intelligent TV programmes transmitted these days.

Posted: Thu - August 20, 2009 at 08:37 AM by Roger Wilmut          



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Published On: Mar 11, 2016 05:00 PM