Tuesday 26 October 2021

Little Guide To Pet Peeves: Part 5 (On TV)

I began this 'little guide' for fun regarding some of my personal bête-noires and so here I am again, bothering you with another! 

This one will probably only apply to a certain age group who still watch TV in a traditional fashion as opposed to live-streaming or catchup) but then adverts and usual irritants may still apply. 

Playing favourite or nostalgic songs in adverts 

I’m very careful to play my songs sparingly because overplaying can kill that nostalgia. Intros or select phrases of Johnny Cash’s This Thing Called Love, Boston’s More Than A Feeling, Boo Radley’s Wake Up Boo and Stevie Wonder’s For Once In My Life have all been subjected to prime time endless repeats at some point it the past few years or so. So much so, in fact, that I feared it would give me less than a feeling, or would feel this thing called hate whenever hearing Johnny Cash or Stevie Wonder for one too many times in my life. So wake up you advertisers, please, and pick on songs that we all hate already or perhaps some anodyne frothy tune that can lend life to your product.


For the last few years I have called it The Beast (short for Beastenders). It is the worst kind of sound pollution. The number of beasts that populate it several times a week are many and frequent. But the one who epitomises it most has to be Phil Mitchell: white, male, round red face, thuggy, speaking in husky threatening tones in words of one syllable. But the female version is just as grating. She is epitomised by Kat Slater. She shrieks in impossible decibel levels at anything and anybody in TV cockney. In fact, they all prefer to bellow at each other. Peggy Mitchell was one such screecher (pictured below). So why am I even writing about it? Surely I can just give the horror show of dark depressing themes and characters the widest berth imaginable? Not so easy if you share a house with a loved one who is hooked. And my computer just happens to be in the same room as our TV. 

Update: then we chanced upon these problem-solvers called headphones and now peace reigns supreme once more - at least in my earholes anyway. 

Second update: the old TV has been relegated upstairs so now no need even for headphones!

Mrs Brown’s Boys

When I first saw the trailer to this whenever it was I thought ‘that looks funny’ in the manner of Father Ted being funny. Wrong! It very quickly disappointed. A guy dressed as an old washer woman, come on! It’s hardly fresh, is it? It’s so 1970s. I can’t stand that cringy little laugh that comes just after all the credits go up either - just to remind you it’s not quite finished.


Wrong lingo

It does really irk me if slang and colloquialisms in retro TV dramas use the wrong expressions for the time. For instance, 'Call The Midwife', have done it a lot.

In the dramatization 'Des’ about Dennis Nielson, aired in autumn 2020 but set in the 1980s, the expression ‘in case all goes pear-shaped’ really jarred. 

As I write this, 'Ridley Road' has just aired on BBC1 (October 2021). It's supposed to be set in the early 1960s and for the most part the scenery, clothes and backdrop have been very authentic.  But then it let itself down with the postchronistic expressions. In the first episode one of the characters said ‘twenty minutes max’. In the second episode we were given ‘can you share where he is?’ (‘share’ in this context is very transatlantic and millennial) ‘having a right mare’ and ‘why don’t you just do one’. In the third episode we were treated to 'wowsers', 'grow a pair', 'I'm blagging it' and many more, and in the final episode 'bog standard'.   

It's not difficult nowadays to do your research and while we can all forgive the odd bum note, so many of the expressions weren't just a few years out of date, but decades. 

This triggers the same feelings that prompted the first blog (words and phrases) and is shared my many others, judging by the conversations I've had on social media.

Fictional new year ahead of its real life counterpart

I’m not a lover of new year at the best of times. I’ve always been more of a Christmas person and when I was younger it was because I was either always ill or there wasn’t anywhere to go. Now of course it means one year older. Why celebrate the all too swift passage of time? But just homing in on the rituals for a moment, there is something edgy and thrilling about counting out the last ten seconds of the old year in real time - before Big Ben bongs in the new. The operative words here are ‘in real time’. I do not want to see the cast of Beastenders (another pet hate we’ve already visited) or even my favourite Corrie characters singing in the new year with Auld Lang’s Syne a few hours before me. It makes it seem passé and stale by the time me and mine get to do it. So a note to makers of soaps - can you not schedule those scenes to go out on New Year’s Day instead? At least then we can be ahead in real time.

Well, that's all for now. I'll have another - hopefully this side of new year! In the meantime, please do share your own TV bugbears.

Update:  I've remembered another but more to do with films. I hate anything to do with vampires or skeletons jumping out in horror movies. They're so unscary and hackneyed. Many a good horror movie has been spoilt by OTT endings and ridiculous gory faces!


  1. Excellent. Totally agree about the nostalgic songs being ruined. Cockney Rebel's, Come Up And See Me! is another one.
    Despite the shouting cockney sounds, Eastenders does have some very good storylines and on the whole, doesn't go OTT with plots like Corrie. Phil Mitchell is a bit of a joke and a caricature.
    Mrs Brown's Boys (Arrrgh), totally agree and also about the wrong lingo witnessed in Ridley Road, and Call the Midwife.

  2. Using Sweet Caroline in a gambling ad because footie fans popularised last summer is a current bugbear.

    1. Yes! That annoys me too Asterick and spoilsport my original memories of that song