It’s the 80th anniversary of broadcast television! I can only assume the first 50 years were sketchy at best. Get this - the year I was born, in Yorkshire, was actually the very same year that ITV started to broadcast 24hrs a day, firstly in the region of (you guessed it!) Yorkshire. I mean... coincidence, much??
Regardless of how influential you believe my birth was in the start of 24hr broadcast...At the very least, I’ve been around for the best 30 years of TV, and I’ve watched a lot of it. So for arguments sake - let’s just call me an expert? (Arguably a hugely influential expert.)
So here’s this 30-year-old ‘expert’s’ timeline of momentous events in televisual memory.
1 ) SATURDAY MORNING GMTV (CIRCA 94-96)
Go downstairs, make a bowl of banana bubbles (or an equally shit-for-you cereal) and watch ‘Power Rangers’ and ‘Marvel Action Hour’ before your parents woke up and told you to do annoying things like clean yourself.
What. A. Life.
2 ) PRINCESS DIANA DIED (1997)
I don’t mean to sound insensitive. I was 11 and had no idea who Princess Diana was. But I remember that morning was a really shit one. 1) My mum was sad 2) There was no TV on any channel. Then they did it again on the day of the funeral. JESUS.
...Ok, that was insensitive.
3) BONUS CHANNEL (CIRCA 1997)
Channel 5 made it’s way onto our screens. BIG. DAY. GUYS.
My parents paid about £100 for someone to stick a special aerial on the roof to pick up a channel which only started doing good things about 19 years later. WORTH IT.
4) DARK SKY AHEAD (CIRCA 1998 >)
Sky TV launched in 1989. I was 3 and didn't much care.
When I was age 12-17 I did care. A lot. Wrestling, Nickelodeon, Disney, and about 200 other random channels all slipped through my fingertips. I had to pretend to my ‘Sky’ friends I knew what ‘Even Stevens’ was. First I’d heard of Shia LaBeouf was when he was in Transformers.
5) EUROTRASH (CIRCA 1998 - 2000)
Welcome to teenager-dom. Lolo Ferrari (RIP) destroyed all young boys realistic expectations of breast size.
Shh. Turn the volume down. Eurotrash is best watched in silence. Alone.
6) THE INTERNET (CIRCA 2001 -2004)
TV took a backseat in favour of MSN Messenger and Runescape.
7) PAYING A TV LICENSE (CIRCA 2004 > )
I’d started University! A big wide world for 18-year-old Jonny. Ready for independence, managing my finances… Wait, what?... You have to pay for this thing?!
Welcome to adulthood.
8) DOWNLOADING ILLEGALLY (CIRCA 2005 >)
Welcome to the decline of broadcast TV. With university halls came the fastest internet connection I'd ever experienced and conveniently, Limewire was peaking right about then too. Who needed TV? Torrent me up.
(Please don’t arrest me.)
9) DIGITAL TAKEOVER (2007)
A momentous day in television history. Old people everywhere starting royally kicking off because they had to buy a new TV.
10) FLAT SCREENS (2007 >)
By today’s standards they were still pretty damn fat, but back then. Wow. So much more room for activities.
Having it on your wall was a sign of affluence and bravery.
11) MEH. (CIRCA 2010 - 2015)
Not much really happened of note. Repeats, reboots, Ant and Dec, and a woman called Kinga put a wine bottle up her vagina on live TV.
12) FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, TURN IT OFF. (CIRCA NOW)
Our TV isn’t even plugged into the aerial socket.
Thank you, Netflix.
Well, there we have it. The highs and lows of the last 30 years of broadcast TV. The sad truth is we will probably witness its demise over the next 30, so let’s enjoy it while we can! ...I’m off to fix my aerial.