What five things would you ban from TV if you could?

by Lynn Connolly


As TV viewers, we’ve got more choices and options than at any time in the history of TV watching, but nonetheless, there are still TV things that are thrust upon us whether we want them or not; a bit like fairy cakes when you go to your mother in law’s.

So what we want to know is, if you were appointed fairy godmother or godfather – see, we’re politically correct here at Primetime – and were given a magic TV wand to wave, what five things would you banish from TV land?

Here’s what I’d wave my magic telly wand at and make disappear into a cloud of pixellated dust…

fairy waving wand

Being forced to pay a TV license

I utterly begrudge it and it really gets on my nerves that for example with Sky, you pay about the same yearly to have access to a gazillion channels without the fear of some anoraked and power mad little Hitler turning up at your door threatening to fine you if you don’t pay.

And I wouldn’t even begrudge it as much if the BBC never, ever had an advert on, but they do! Granted they aren’t third-party commercial ads but they’re still ads; BBC DVDs, books, how to pay your license fee… it’s still advertising something but as long as it’s BBC orientated, that’s ok. Not!

Currently a colour TV licence will set you back £139.50 or £47 for a black & white one and courtesy of Moneysavingexpert.com, here’s a break down of how our money’s spent…

licence fee

I’d rather have a few third-party commercials on than pay this fee. It really, really gets my goat, and my goat is a pretty bad tempered one with a lot of opinions so I’d better move on or this entire piece will turn into a rant about this one point!

Party Political Broadcasts

I live in mortal dread of these because “in the interests of exhibiting no political bias”, both BBC and ITV show them and of course, all three parties have to have their little say.

It bugs me no end to be sitting there waiting for Emmerdale to come on and have some droning politician trying to tell me why he/she is better than those other tossers in the other parties. Then the next night it’s another party’s turn and he/she tells us what tossers the other party is… blah blah blah.

I seriously do not know even one person who listens to them. I personally usually take the opportunity to make a coffee, go for a pee or failing those options, watch some paint dry while PPB’s are on. I hate them.


There are many programmes on TV where you’ll find fairly large chunks of it get edited out for reasons of ‘avoiding profanity’ or just to fit into a time slot too small for the original item.

For instance, in Friends, they cut out stupid things such as the word Goddamn but leave in references to lesbian sex or something. And they do the same in films. I noticed the other day on a re-run of Back To The Future II, great chunks were missing from it for, I assume, the purpose of tailoring it to fit the allotted time slot. Well why not just extend the damn time slot??

They also cut out one of the very first bits where Marty says to the Doc, “What happens to us in the future? Do we become as*holes or something?”

Well ok, if it had been on early on a very popular channel I could understand it but it was on one of the more obscure Sky channels at about 11pm!

‘Canned’ laughter

This exceptionally annoying TV habit – that’s usually dubbed onto some pants sitcom – drives me nuts because it’s always obvious when it’s ‘canned’ laughter; the same man or woman guffaws in the exact same place each time and it fades out at exactly the same time, and whoever recorded it chose audience members with laughs that are the equivalent of nails down a chalkboard.

There’s a loud laugh, a high pitched laugh, a “BAH!” laugh and then there’s the ‘continual giggler’… not full blown laughing but just background tittering that sounds a bit like I imagine a small box containing mice who’d just smoked a joint might sound.

Sound levels altering

My last pet peeve and thing I’d wave my wand at is the unevenness of sound levels.  For instance, you can be sitting listening to a TV show at a normal volume and then the ads come on and it’s like the booming voice of God addressing a meeting of the Hard of Hearing Society, so then it’s a mad scramble down the side of the sofa for the remote before you have the neighbours round complaining about how loud your telly is.

But it most especially bugs me in films and more specifically, action films. Because I live in a house where there can be up to three males at one time, action films are on fairly often and the volume control on our remote no longer has the printed + and – on it simply because of the continual attempts to even out the noise level during these films.

One minute the dialogue’s so quiet, you’ve got the volume up full whack, then the next, a gun fight ensues or a car chase or an explosion and the assault to the ears could well render you deaf.

These sudden noise explosions often used to send our dog hurtling out of her basket – which was positioned next to the telly – and right onto me. She was a big fat Labrador who hated loud noise and I was her comfort blanket… a very squashed one when she put her full weight on me.

Why can’t they just even it out?? How hard can it be? The filmmakers clearly spend millions on the film but almost never even out the sound… it drives me up the pole!

Ahhh.. I feel so much better now I’ve had my little morning rant about pet TV peeves, but now I’d like to hear yours, so please use the comment box below to let me know what five things you’d wave your telly wand at and banish, never to return to our screens again!

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Lynn is an editor and writer here at Unreality TV and is trained psychotherapist and the author of two books. She's addicted to soaps, period drama and reality TV shows such as X Factor, I'm A Celeb and Big Brother.