Although I was supposed to be interviewing the cream of Britain’s travel writers during their stay on Tenerife for the British Guild of Travel Writer’s AGM, one question that a few of them asked of me was ‘why did you move to Tenerife?’
The answer is partly that we wanted to experience life in a different culture, especially in a place with a warm climate.
After six years of living, laughing and occasionally screaming with frustration, I can honestly say that we’ve experienced more of a ‘different culture’ than we ever could have imagined.
One aspect of this is something as simple as the television. We endured Spanish TV for the last 6 years and I can’t lie to you, sometimes it makes me want to cry…and that’s not because of hard-hitting dramas (I wish).
People in the UK might moan about the ‘dumbing down’ of British TV, but it’s got a hell of a mine shaft to fall down before it plunges to the depths of Spanish TV.
To give you an idea, the Spanish Big Brother has dominated the airwaves of a number of channels for the last couple of months and shows last for hours during primetime TV each night. This is a generalisation for sure, but it’s an observation that I’ve noticed about Spanish writing as well – they don’t know how to edit. A show that would last an hour in the UK lasts 3 or 4 hours here. So Spanish BB features endless footage of the contestants doing absolutely nothing…and then is followed by another show with a group of nobody’s sitting around discussing the BB contestants doing nothing.
The Spanish mock the Canarios as being backward, but having watched Spanish TV for six years, it’s a pot and kettle scenario.
The other night we were hypnotised by an appalling talent show, again lasting about 3 hours, which featured amongst other oddities, a 70 year old midget female acrobat and a performing dog (not in the same act unfortunately). I mean Sunday Night at the London Palladium would still look cutting edge TV compared to this.
Just before Christmas we finally cracked and bought a TDT box so that we could watch some imported shows in their original language. This has been a revelation, but after the initial honeymoon period where everything was shiny and new, it revealed another issue with Spanish TV.
Having been hooked into various TV shows, we’ve tuned in again the following week to find that some shows have mysteriously disappeared. There is an online programming schedule, but that doesn’t match the programming info on the TDT box.
It took us a while to figure out that there is no pattern to Spanish TV – not for imported shows anyway. So a programme may be aired on a Wednesday night at 10pm for a few weeks, then without warning it shifts to midday and then moves to a different day altogether.
This happened with a show we got completely hooked on. At first it was on at around 11pm on a Tuesday night, then because of BB it was moved back to 1am and last night, as it reached its ultimate episode, it disappeared completely.
We were gutted. I’ve no idea if we’ve missed the programme, or whether it’s going to turn up at some other time. But it begs the question, what is up with Spanish TV programmers? Are they stupid, lazy, or just couldn’t give a hoot about their viewers?
The saddest thing of all is the actual programme which had us on the brink of writing an ‘outraged of Puerto de la Cruz’ letter.
It was American Princess – this is what six years of Spanish TV has reduced us to.