When Big Brother Steals Your Remote, Kicks You Off the Sofa, and Makes You Watch the News…

When I saw the Facebook messages being exchanged among my Gulf Coast friends about getting ready for “Gustav’s visit”, I assumed they were talking about some (forgotten) member of my college class…

You know, that international student who’s apparently headed to New Orleans to party with everyone (???)

Yeah, duh! I eventually figured it out thankyouverymuch, so please don’t send me news stories or photos of the destruction.

Realizing that Facebook, although entertaining and addictive, is probably NOT a reliable news source, I decided that it’s about time we get a TV after all.

We held off on buying one until our house in the States sold. It’s under contract right now, which to me is close enough. Then, it became a matter of just getting around to making the actual purchase…

We put it off until we tried to watch The Daily Show online and received this message:

Yeah… The very next day we got our telly, and more importantly, a TELLY LICENSE. One per household is required in the UK if you plan to own and/or operate a TV and they are taken very seriously!

A few weeks ago, we received an angry little letter from the “TV Licensing Enforcement Division”. It stated that…

[Their] database lists this address as UNLICENSED. It is important [we] realize that it is now ILLEGAL to use television receiving equipment…

Please respond by 19th of August to avoid investigation… the consequences of such an investigation CAN BE SERIOUS…

Regional officers will be SCHEDULED to visit your address. If they find evidence of television receiving equipment, you may be CAUTIONED.

I didn’t contact them on the 19th because A) we didn’t have a TV yet and B) I really wanted to see what would happen…

Would they ever come by? Will they have shiny badges and brandish a warrant? Or, will they simply trick me into letting them in like on Law and Order?

I find it so amusing (and so very British) that we received a proper letter informing us that someone will be scheduling a time to give us a warning.

Okay, so there was also a tiny blurb about fines and possible imprisonment under such and such act and criminal law, but that’s not really that interesting now is it…

However, they do have other ways of weeding out such reckless behavior. There’s much hype about TV detector vans roaming neighborhoods and using “super spy technology”  to find offenders. According to the official TV Licensing website:

Some aspects of the equipment have been developed in such secrecy that engineers working on specific detection methods work in isolation, so not even they know how the other detection methods work.

Officers use these devices to check for signals and match them against a list of who’s paid and who hasn’t.

If they find you, they won’t bust you right then and there. They will still call and schedule a time with the homeowner to investigate further…

However, a lot of people think that’s all just a PR hoax to scare people into submission. I don’t know though…

The idea of some mad scientist engineer locked away in a lab developing spy gear is kind of fun. Very 007 (which is also a British invention… hmmm…)

Anyway, the license isn’t actually that expensive when you consider that it funds the BBC, and thereby “allowing it to be independent of advertisers, shareholders or political interests”… supposedly. The license is free of charge for the elderly (75 or older) and disabled, but they still have to register.

Once our TV arrived this week, all I had to do was apply and pay for it online. Easy-peasy pie!

Well, now that we’re licensed to veg, I’m on to my next project…

Figuring out what the heck this show is all about…

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “in the night garden – Google Video“, posted with vodpod

It’s called “In the Night Garden” and it’s marketed like crazy here, but then again, toddler crack usually is…



Filed under Rantings, The Telly

7 responses to “When Big Brother Steals Your Remote, Kicks You Off the Sofa, and Makes You Watch the News…

  1. That video kinda makes Telly Tubbies less scary. I’m still trying to comprehend being required to have a license to use a TV.

  2. Girl, you are witty hilarious. I have to admit, the word ‘telly’ gives me permasmirk. EVERY TIME. HA! I know, so easily amused.

  3. Paul Hayes

    It’s also important to remind you American readers that the television licence doesn’t just fund the BBC’s four general interest, two children’s, one political and one news television channels. It also funds five national radio stations available to all, covering various genres of music, documentaries, comedy, drama, discussion, news and sport; forty-odd local radio stations providing dedicated programming for smaller areas; and of course the online behemoth that is the bbc.co.uk website.

    Yes, as you may have guessed, I work for the BBC. But I wanted to work for them because I have always loved them.

  4. Paul Hayes

    That’s supposed to be a “your” in the first sentence there. That “you” makes it sound horribly confrontational, which it certainly isn’t meant to! Apologies!

  5. LIfe without the Daily show?

    Seems the Brits are taking TV a little too seriously….

  6. Paul Hayes

    It’ll be the American website itself that is blocked to viewers outside the States. This is quote common, for video content to be blocked outside of its home country to protect rights issues.

    The Daily Show, although I have not seen it myself, as I believe shown here daily on the digital channel More4.

  7. Herbert Smith

    The BBC is what you Americans call communist television, in the way that you refer to the NHS as communist medicine. The Americans have a hatred of anykind of collectivism done for the common good. We all pay for the BBC and we all get something from it – five TV channels and seven radio stations completely commercial free. TV & Radio for the people not big rich corporations peddling their propaganda.You Americans are a lot happier with television by the rich for the rich.Good news – you can now get Fox television in the UK.

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