When I first arrived in the UK, well, when I first arrived, I didn’t have a television at all, then, when I got a television I was, like many Americans, slightly flummoxed by the programming.
I’m sorry, what do you mean Autumn Watch is prime-time television? You mean people seriously sit around in the evening and watch a television programme about people watching (watching ‘for’ actually, sometimes not even seeing) animals do their thing? THAT’s television here?
Then, one quiet late-winter/early-spring evening I stumbled across Crufts. Yep, hours and days of prime-time dog show.
PRIME TIME DOG SHOW.
And not hidden on some weird high-number cable station. This was (at that time) on the BBC.
PRIME TIME DOG SHOW on the BBC!
Good grief. What sort of national programming was this? In the US, television is about ENTERTAINMENT. And that’s ENTERTAINMENT – ALL CAPS, ALL SHOUTING, NO DOWN TIME ENTERTAINMENT!!!!
This was a DOG SHOW!
An hour or so after my discovering this oddity of television programming, I finally convinced the man to go out for a take-away because there was no way I was going to miss a minute of this stuff. It seems, you see, that Crufts was the beginning of my conversion. . . .
Now. . .now, I admit, I like my programming quiet, understated, British. And few things do that better than The Great British Bake Off. I mean, seriously, how can you beat an hour of watching a group of strangers bake?
GBBO has it all: drama, comedy, tension, a villain, teachers’ pets, underdogs, rain, and, possibly best of all, Mel and Sue.
Oh how I love Wednesday nights!
(I’m telling you, my life is EXCITING!)