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Had a brilliant time - Talin's great!
It seems odd that we all now accept without question that credits on TV are scrunched into a tiny box,
and talked over by a continuity announcer, even though that's something that absolutely no-one
apart from the people who pay the announcer actually wants to happen.
Surely if the people who make Mars bars started making the last mouthful taste like shit
in order to encourage us to buy another Mars bar to take the taste away,
people would pretty quickly go a) crazy and b) off Mars bars,
no matter how sound the financial reasoning behind the decision.
But when the people whose job it is to show TV programmes
start doing that pointedly more shitly than they need,
we just shrug and take it as punishment for some terrible deed
we doubtless committed in the past and have now forgotten.
And we're right to think that because it only happens because some sort of research has persuaded the broadcaster
that it makes us more likely to watch the next show and less likely to change channel,
or horror of horrors, turn off the telly and get on with our lives.
I don't know if that's true but some of us, either by our viewing behaviour
or our answers to questions in focus groups; - grrr focus groups:
"Do you like being given more choice?"
(STROKING CHIN) "Hmm, yes I think I like being given more choice"
- have given the broadcasters that impression.
That is the great sin for which our punishment is having the matiness of local radio
crash in on the end of 'The Nazis: a Warning from History'
to tell us that Mass Murder season continues next with a look at Stalin's wackiest purges.
Alright, obviously this isn't a big deal. But it is a small deal.
Credits are there out of respect for the people who made the programme
and I think viewers quite like them.
It's nice to be able to find out that that guy playing that guy was, as you suspected,
the same guy that plays that other guy in that thing,
only older now, and doing a different voice, because aren't actors clever?
And sometimes there are jokes in the credits, or nice music,
or simply a pleasant lull in which to ease yourself out of the story you've just been told.
All of which are ruined by being shrunk into a tiny corner of the screen,
while an excited voice informs you that further programmes are scheduled!
It's not just this one! We do loads! All in a row! One after another!
There's been this one, but soon there'll be another one! Isn't it great?
And now that it's accepted that the credits aren't the programme's time
or the viewers' thinking time any more, but are a billboard that must be filled,
continuity announcers now crash in at the end of a show even when there's nothing on next!
This happened to me the other day when I was watching something
that my TV recording machine had taped -or rather 'disced' -
in the middle of the night on a repeats channel, just before it gave up repeating things
and started to pretend to be shopping for a few hours.
It was an old episode of Inspector Morse because that is the sort of rock and roll lifestyle I lead.
Live slow, die eventually, leave an indifferently attractive corpse - that's my motto.
But if you're going to leave it anywhere, leave it in an ornamental fish pond in St Matthew's College,
and make a grumpy man in a Jag work out why.
Anyway, I like Inspector Morse. It's well paced, and it tends to end, after a couple of hours,
on a melancholy note, generally with Morse wandering off all drunk and alone,
then the beep beep beep starts... and the inevitable voice pops up trying to sell me stuff.
But specifically, on this occasion, trying to sell me the Inspector Morse boxset!
This is crazy, surely?
The people that particular advert really needs to appeal to are people who really like Inspector Morse.
And granted, the end of an Inspector Morse rerun is a happy hunting ground for such people.
But one thing people who like Inspector Morse will hate
is people who talk over the end of Inspector Morse!
Do they think Inspector Morse watchers are only interested until the case is solved?
That once they've internalised the important fact of who killed who in this particular episode of Morse,
they will, unless immediately button-holed, want to leap out of their chair,
all eager to get on with the next important item on their packed agenda?
Well, we don't! We want to sit there through the credits, listening to the nice music,
enjoying feeling a bit pretend-miserable,
and noting that it was Michael Aldridge playing the bursar, just like we thought.
And if you let us do that for a bit, you're much more likely to find us in a mood to buy a box set
of the programme we like than if you talk over it, telling us to buy it!
Unless that's the point, of course. Is it actually extortion?
Are they saying 'Annoyed by me saying this over the end of that show you like?
Well, if you buy your own copy, I won't be able to!
Unless you live with me, and that's not very likely, because how is someone who's prepared
to talk over the end of Morse ever going to find a partner?
So buy it, and stop having to listen to me!
Give me money, and I'll go!'