Testing, Testing, 1, 2, 3

I’m not a TV blogger but often something I watch will inspire me to think of a blog post. If I was to graph my TV watching in hours over time there was a giant peak between 7 to 10 years of age with the early bird cartoon fanatic watching television as much as possible. This would have dropped and then plateaued for a time before rising up again once I was in a student flat. The lounge was the flat communal meeting point and the TV which was always on was at its centre – its focal point.

Coming to Europe was probably a good thing. It literally halved my TV watching hours and so a new lower plateau was formed. Come to think of it maybe only slightly lower since I was spending more time indoors. This all changed at some point in my 30’s strangely it coincides with when the children came along. All of a sudden sleep was this rare and beautiful commodity and the goggle box was ignored. TV on demand was now the best way to get my fix. People would recommend a series and the more people that recommended them normally the better they were. Couple that with the option to watch as many or as few episodes as you want and boom a leaner yet higher quality viewing experience. This made for a lower plateau again but there was one more shift that dropped the bar further – Moving to a new country.

TVNZ Test Pattern - The most watched late night TV program - ever!

TVNZ Test Pattern – The most watched late night TV program – ever!

To be honest I still don’t speak the language here in Germany. Just a rudimentary grasp so German TV doesn’t go on. I’m down to less than an hour of telly a day and it’s all on demand. How things have changed since I was a nipper. The latest series of interest is ‘Life on Mars’. I know, the whole world has already seen it. Whilst it’s not perfect, it is a lot of fun. One thing that struck me about this show was the way the TV features. The main character often leaves the TV on at night and is routinely haunted by the BBC test pattern girl (and her toy clown). Not being familiar with this freaky duo I asked my wife if she had seen this test pattern. She had and was similarly disturbed by it.

BBC - Test Card - Pretty disturbing!

BBC – Test Card – Pretty disturbing!

Where to begin. There is plenty to disturb but it is not so much the clown as the girl. Think of the scenario. Girl holding piece of chalk is about to take her turn in noughts and crosses. It can be seen that a nought and a cross is already on the blackboard. This would suggest that the toy clown has already taken a turn. However he has no real arms to speak of but more importantly he is a toy which is of course an inanimate object. Therefore the girl drew the nought and the cross on the board. Therefore she is a very disturbed human being. Q.E.D.

Seriously though, I do find it strange when comparing these two nations TV test patterns. Was Britain’s one modified from a much more plain original? And if so, were the girl and the clown placed into the test pattern to entertain late night viewers? That is probably the most disturbing thought of all.

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