Two easy ways for a quick insight into a country you’re unfamiliar with are to visit the local supermarket and to watch its national TV.
I know I bitch and moan a lot about Spanish TV, but: -
- I believe I’m performing an important public service for anyone thinking of moving to Tenerife or Spain and…
- It really deserves all the bitchin’ it gets.
The World Cup is an ideal example and national TV coverage is quite illuminating.
Firstly, whilst most of Europe is able to watch every game on free-to-air TV, Spanish TV are only screening 24 matches. 16 on Cuatro and 8 on Telecinco.
During the qualifying groups Telecinco are only screening football matches which involve Spain.
For football lovers like me and Andy, the internet is a gift from a technologically advanced god. But as well as actually being able to see all the games we want to see, comparing coverage between British and Spanish TV has been fascinating.
For a start, until Spain kicked a ball in the tournament, Spanish TV’s coverage had consisted of broadcasting the game just as it was about to kick-off and stopping within seconds of the final whistle.
When the first game of the tournament was about to kick-off and the host country’s national anthem was being played, Spanish TV in a display of rudeness, ignorance, disrespect or stupidity, switched to the adverts.
Yesterday was Spain’s first match and the World Cup started for Spanish TV. Suddenly, nearly a week into the competition, there were World Cup programmes featuring third rate celebrities wearing the Spanish strip and even highlight shows.
As I watched a group of eejits pretending they were interested in football just to get their mugs on the telly, I turned up the sound on the computer to listen to the British coverage at half time.
I was quite overcome with emotion as I listened to black South Africans recount stories about Soweta and the atrocities carried out under apartheid, and watched footballers visiting orphanages they’d help sponsor. In the studio, groups of ex footballers mainly from Britain, but also from France, Holland, Germany and Africa spoke not only about football, but about what hosting the World Cup meant to South Africa. Other former footballers reported on games from poor townships, bantering with local children who clearly were delighted to be visited by their heroes.
And therein lies a difference which speaks volumes.
The coverage I’ve watched on the BBC is about more than just a game, it’s about an event which captures the imagination of the World and is evidence of the realisation of a nation’s dream. It makes you realise that the World Cup is something very, very special.
On Spanish TV, the World Cup is simply about Spain.
I’ve got a message for Spanish TV programmers nicked from Bono, Geldoff et al:
“There’s a world outside your window…”
Go look at it from time to time.