One Nation, Divided By Two TVs

It's a very long time since I did my degrees in Radio, Film & Television and Educational Broadcasting. But, there are times when the quasi-academic in me begins to analyse the state of content on today's TV - and internet TV.

In the US in the late eighties and nineties there was a major move away from a staple diet of quiz shows to action drama and soap operas. The reason ? An explosion in the population who did not understand English.

In the UK it's been a sorry decline into the cesspit of reality TV, which in an abstract way bears little difference from the barbarity of gladiatorial battle in the age of the Roman 'civilization'.

But the same era has seen the inexorable rise of DIY and home buying TV. If I'd gone to a commissioning editor in the late eighties with an idea for a programme watching somebody buying a new semi-detached in suburbia I would have been laughed out of the building. Now it is their staple content.

But lately, something strange has happened on British TV. There has been a perceptible move towards what I term 'pastoral' programming. 'Mountain', 'Wainwright's Walks', 'Coast' and ITV's 'Britain's Best Views' shows that television seems to be mellowing in its old age. Almost as a reaction to the happy slappy, racist and degrading content posted as a matter of course on the likes of YouTube.

However, it is alarming, since it points to the fact that there are a lot of middle aged people watching pastoral TV in the living room whilst their kids are up in the bedroom uploading video of the bullying and vandalism they perpetrated on their community with their mates the previous day.