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.

  1. Pamela says:

    You are absolutely right and Spainish TV is worse even than you describe. The lack of decent scheduling is way beyond frustrating. I hate to break it to you, however, but I reckon things must have changed drastically in 6 years, ‘coz the crap here is so bad (and so soon and so frequently repeated) that I actually miss Spanish TV.

  2. dragojac says:

    Okay, Pamela I think you’ve completely lost the plot, LOL. Missing Spanish TV – POR FAVOOOOOOR!

  3. Nikki says:

    Don’t watch it then, There are loads of better things to do than watch TV.

  4. Leslie says:

    Hook your TV to your PC and get in control! There’s no need to be fed TV at the whim of a programme guide. The net is overflowing with content. Life’s to short!

  5. Pamela says:

    Jack, you KNOW I lost the plot a long time ago! 🙂

    Leslie, actually, I don’t even have a TV, so all I do see is what’s online.

    Nevertheless, from amongst the usual UK channels, once I’ve eliminated all the reality crap, game shows, re-runs of Dad’s Army, WWII in Colour and “propaganda” about how great Britain is, some days I struggle to find an hour’s worth of viewing to veg out to and put me to sleep at the end of the day.

    So I guess what I really want is something mind-numbing that doesn’t require me to think and Spanish TV provides that wall-to-wall, but at the same time I can kid myself that I get some benefit out of it by “practicing” understanding Spanish. Indeed I did, because even the most banal programs and – heaven forbid – quiz programs taught me new words or facts.

    Oh and the UK news infotainment crap these days is the moving picture version of the Daily Wail and makes TVCanaria (as was) look smart, in-depth and very comprehensive!

  6. dragojac says:

    Jeez Pamela, things are bad…

    …and thanks for tip Leslie.

    As for Nikki – you don’t work for TVE do you? Why else so touchy about Spanish TV LOL?

    At the end of my working day (about 10pm) when my brain is tired and my limbs weary from doing all the better things than watching TV, I sometimes, just sometimes, would like to recline on a sofa, slip off my shoes and, to paraphrase the great Edward R. Merril, hope that the goggle box, ‘teaches, illuminates and inspires’ and not, in the words of Paul Calf this time, be fed a bag of shite.

  7. Watch some thing positive on TV and go even bother to watch these things….

  8. Anonymous says:

    Good thing you base your 6 years of “hell” on what’s on Spanish tv. Did you even go outside your house?

  9. alinbex1 says:

    what SAD SAD people you are. there is more to life then tv. why not try an educate your self with a book? you have a beautiful island to explore OUT THERE.
    if spanish tv is as bad as you say then why switch it on at all, let alone watch it for six years?
    its a little something called the internet?

    • dragojac says:

      Thanks for the comment alinbex.

      ‘if spanish tv is as bad as you say then why switch it on at all, let alone watch it for six years?’ Sometimes truly awful things hold a morbid fascination 🙂

      P.S. Humour doesn’t always translate well… especially mine apparently 🙂

  10. Eugene says:

    Speaking of Books : can you get all the English books you want? French? Italian? German? Does Amazon deliver there without any problems? I can’t live without books. What about peace? Can you purchase a finca and be sure no idiot is going to bombard you with his stereo system and parties, his garden power tools? His loud Harley?

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