My first memories of television will show my age .... but here goes.
'Andy Pandy' and 'The Wooden Tops' - early kids programmes featuring puppets and all in glorious black and white. The programmes, I believe, were part of something called 'Watch With Mother' although whether my mum sat down with us kids to watch I can't recall. I do also remember seeing a funeral service on TV - very solemn - and I think that was probably the funeral of Winston Churchill, former British Prime Minister.
In those days and for many years, UK TV watchers only had a couple of channels to chose from - the BBC (1+2), then ITV (Independent Television) and eventually two other commercial stations Channel 4 and 5 .... and all on the 'terrestrial' channels which came to us on an 'analogue' signal via our TV aerials.
Zip forward forty odd years and we're now in a digital world when we have access to literally hundreds of TV (and radio) stations via 'digital platforms' galore. It no longer matters if a programme is transmitted on one of the 'main' BBC or commercial channels. Now space can be found on a digital channel and we can 'surf' away to our hearts content and find many new programmes, and many many many repeats!
By the end of this year or thereabouts the 'analogue' signal in the UK will be switched off for the final time, everyone will have 'switched' to digital and we'll all be in the new world where it will matter not if a programme is transmitted on BBC 1 or BBC 2 or indeed any other channel.
Already the BBC is making changes based on this new world. They've already announced that Children's Programmes will come off the 'main' BBC (1+2) channels and in future will only be found on the existing BBC Kids channels. We already also have a BBC News channel with the majority of news carried there, and a BBC Parliament channel which carries politics live or 'as live'.
So, if we're going down the 'ghettoising' of programming route there's an idea I'd like to float.
To any BBC executives reading this - If you're intent of putting programmes into a virtual alcove on separate channels, PLEASE START WITH SPORT! AND PARTICULARLY FOOTBALL!
Right now, during the European Cup Football Tournament, our 'main' BBC channels are dominated by hours and hours of 'live' coverage. It's not just the matches, but all the chitter chatter and so called 'expert' comment that preceeds each match and chews up hours of TV time during 'half time breaks' and then again at the end of each match. Before the match they try to predict what is likely to happen. At the end of the match they spend precious time trying to explain why what they said would/might happen didn't happen. It's SO tedious and uninteresting for people like me and it sort of makes me want to scream.
I don't so much mind the matches themselves but it's all the drivel that is the commentary that really bores me rigid. Tonight, for instance BBC 1 started it's coverage of the Sweden-England match at 7pm and it's not expected to end until 10pm....and it'll probably over run the schedule because the start of the match was delayed due to bad weather.
On the flip side, there are sporting tournaments which I would rather watch uninterrupted by other programmes - the Olympics this summer from London may turn out to be one example and I would love to be able to watch the tennis from Wimbledon this summer without having to stop watching because it's time for a programme about DIY or even a news programme.
In the digital world of television WHY does sport need to be on the 'main channels'? We have quite a number of BBC Channels already so why not just shift things around a bit ... why not put sport on just one, and not mix sport with other interests at all?
Before you start clamouring about my philistine attitude towards sport ... yes I know that ITV (the main UK commercial station) is also carrying lengthy hours of football from the same tournament, but the commercial channels aren't solely funded by MY money.
The BBC is wholly funded by people like me who have to pay an annual (rather expensive) licence fee, so I feel I have a right to a say in how they spend my money.
So here it is Mr and/or Ms BBC - here's that idea again, and I won't even charge you for it.
Put sport on JUST ONE BBC CHANNEL and then I'll know which one to avoid when there's a tournament which I can't bear and I'll also know which channel I need to flick to for the tennis.