I don’t like to be negative about the place I have decided to call home, it just doesn’t sit right with me but truth be told Canadian TV is pretty bad.
I suppose that’s a bit of an unfair statement in as much as a huge percentage of our TV shows and channels are actually from the States. We have a ridiculous amount of channels so a large amount of airtime is taken up with repeats. There are these bizarre infomercials; 30 minute adverts where people try to convince you that you cannot possibly live the rest of your life without some crazy gadget. Because we spend a large amount of time inside in the winter that’s when all the best TV are on which means the opposite is true in the summer. Summertime programming is awful at best and to top it off there are a constant stream of reality shows about people from every walk of life from Alaskan pilots to polygamists and pageant queens to swamp people.
It took me a few weeks living here before,to my utter horror, I discovered the ‘watershed’ that I was so reliant on in the UK does not exist here and TV and radio has no content censorship during the day. It is down to the individual channels to have their own policy about whether they ‘bleep’ out foul language or moderate their content. TV channels have a disclaimer after every ad break but if you tune in midway through a programme you will have no idea whether the content maybe appropriate family viewing or not. 19 months into living here and I’m still not entirely sure which channels are ‘safe viewing’. The radio is exactly the same, eldest son being a teenage rocker likes to retune the car radio to a rock station when I’m not looking, I was gob-smacked on the school run one day when I actually started listening to the conversation going on between presenters of the breakfast show, it was very adult to say the least and it was 8.20am.
Check out this snapshot I took the other day. The (R) alongside the title stands for Restricted which, according to the Ontario Film Review Board means this film is ‘restricted to persons 18 years of age and over. Content not suitable for minors. May contain: frequent use of sexual activity, brutal/graphic violence, intense horror and/or other disturbing content’. What you may also notice is that it’s on at 3.30 on a wednesday afternoon, nice…just in time for the kids to get home from school!
I now understand why parents have to be so strict about what channels they allow their children to watch. I thank my lucky stars my boys are old enough and I can trust them not to watch inappropriate TV shows even so I won’t be allowing youngest son to have a TV in his bedroom like he had in England.
One thing that is now blatantly obvious to me is how great British TV is and why the BBC in particular is held in high regard all over the world.