Thursday, November 9

When Will I See Freeview Again?

Helen Parton is now all by herself with terrestrial after a brief dalliance with a set top box

As flings go, it’s had its moments in the past ten days I have to admit, but really, dear reader, it hasn’t left me satisfied, and I now feel slightly…unclean.

I speak not, regrettably, of a passionate affair with the hunky friend of my flatmate of his temporary tenure here, but of my relationship with his Freeview box, which came to stay too.

Oh for the novelty value of the early days of hour after happy hour of old CSI or endlessly repeated Razorlight videos on The Hits. But familiarity does indeed breed contempt and soon enough I was lampooning E4 for always having Hollyoaks on and cruelly dubbing ITV3 ‘The Poirot Channel’. Don’t think we didn’t have our moments…that afternoon spent on the sofa under a duvet with a Lemsip and a low-brow highpoint (lowpoint?) of the OC followed by Jeremy Kyle and dating tips from Sky Three was pure square-eyed nirvana.

It was when I found myself rolling around the floor last night, a remote in each hand caterwauling “why isn’t it working” when I had indiscriminately pressed the mute button then the install button, that I knew that our relationship had hit the rocks. Now I realise how Su Ellen or Carrie Bradshaw felt when JR and Mr Big had been respective bastards. Fortunately a friend whisked me out to dinner and when I returned, we made up. Well, by that I mean I found a good film on Film Four that I hadn’t actually seen. But the honeymoon period was over and I couldn’t even concentrate on proper telly for more than five minutes without thinking there might be something better on, oooh I don’t know, the History Channel or something.

Perfect Day: The Funeral (9pm, Five) looked good in a Four Weddings/Cold Feet hybrid kind of a way but my concentration span was spent. I knew there was goodness, well so bad it’s goodness to be had with Goldplated (Channel 4, 9pm, and also E4 for about three hours after it seems) but again I could only get through a couple of scenes of Cheshire melodrama.

There was only one thing for it: gorge myself on as many mad channels as I could while I had the chance – QVC and its enticing-after-as-much-red-wine-as-I’d-had ‘Illuminated Music Box’ for just £14.77. A pair of middle-aged women somewhere were offering Ladies Fly Flot Leather One Touch Clogs for £24.99 (not sure I quite scribbled that down correctly in case you want to order them). Or there was always Master of Chavs (I suspect Master of Charades, but I can’t read my writing here either) (Five US, Christ Only Knows What Time) where a woman was performing a move she’d never done before with burning candles. And finally, whatever the opposite of a plethora is, of TV quiz channels – a lime-shirted buffoon on The Hits, a kind of pikey, Brookside-handsome man on ITV Play, a low rent Nikki from Big Brother on Quiz Call asking people to call in to answer the other half to the phrase ‘Water____ ‘(one wonders how many dirty old pervs were restrained from getting through and answering ‘Sports' before requesting a live performance). Now, dear reader, it’s over. I know terrestrial won’t let me down – at least not while there’s double bills of This Life on BBC2 every night.

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