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Does anyone NOT watch UK TV?


5-element

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I know that many of you have one foot in the UK, and another in France. It seems that the foot in the UK is the one getting a lot of airing at the moment[:)]

But surely, I can't be the only one (2 feet in France, end of story!) who DOES NOT HAVE ACCESS TO UK TV. I watch French TV, although I can't say it's that great, and have not seen any UK TV programme since 2001. Some of you might think I am just being jealous and feeling excluded[6]

I wonder if there are any other forum members who can identify with that. For those odd ones who, on this Living France forum, watch French TV, maybe we could start a thread about Star Ac(which I don't watch), or, my favourite, Koh-Lanta - (Koh-Lanta being the tropical island/fend for yourself/sixteen wannabes to start, one to remain etc., answer to BB I believe). We might have to wait for the Koh-Lanta season though, as it's not on at present[:(].

 

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We have only ever had CanalSat for nearly six years now.  Although, when they stopped airing BBC Prime, I am now looking into getting a dish for BBC channels.  I don't mind CanalSat, but it would be a real treat to get to watch a few programs in English.

Simon Monceau's Ca Va Se Savoir (the Jerry Springer of France) does get old after a while.

 

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It's your choice, just as long as you are not like one of those secret watchers (I am sure you are not) who says they don't watch television (but has one so that the kids can see the educational programmes, or some other excuse). There are plenty of them in Britain too of course - by coming to France (and they do seem to be of a type that has an overseas holiday home) they think that saying they watch only French TV gives them some sort of cachet over the rest of us. They feel superior - I think they are just sad and dishonest with themselves.

I've lived with French progammes only, for short periods - and for me even short periods of that are far too long. I could not contemplate doing that when there is such an excellent alternative, in my native language, so easily available. Of course, I do watch some French TV, listen to French radio stations, read the local papers - those who cut themselves off from those are guilty of an even bigger sin.

There are a couple of the tropical island things on British telly, I think one is something like Love Island, the other Shipwrecked? Believe me, they make the Big Brother contestants look like genuine celebs. The French BB was Loft Story, but it isn't popular. There are Big Brothers all over the world, it's not a British thing at all. It is very big in the Netherlands, where I think it began. The French have their own reality progs of course, there was the one with the celebs on the farm, which was VERY popular and even sparked a rush of Parisians to cheap gites on farms do they could play at being contestants. And several of the Star Academy (i.e. Pop Idol) type. Yes, I have watched them, and found them even more dire than the Brit equivalent.

Sorry to hijack the thread - I am sure you will find some like minded souls, though whether or not they are telling the truth I will leave up to you. I do know several for whom any TV is a low priority, and they just haven't got round to getting their Sky box yet, so I suppose they are genuine enough.

I suppose I enjoy TV now because I never really saw any until I was about 16, living in the sort of rural and poor part of England that survives in some areas of France, though the French have TVs whatever other comforts they lack. I can relate to the 'excluded' word, when all my school mates were talking about Juke Box Jury, Six Five Special, Quatermass, and a brand new scary thing called Doctor Who, I hadn't a clue, other than what I managed to get from a sneak peek at the TV Times outside a friend's house (wasn't allowed in from what I remember) on the way home from cubs. The good(?) old days?

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Just French TV for me. 

I never had digiboxes or Sky in the UK and couldn't get Channel 5 either. I was never a big tv fan and have done without one for long periods of time. I do miss some BBC2 programmes but not enough to have UK tv set up in France .

Moreover, watching tv progs in English would not help improve my French [:(] so I probably do watch more TV since I have been in France.

 

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Phil, totally agree with you. It's a plot within a plot.

Will, you must have realised that I started this thread with my tongue in my cheek! I thought it was quite ironic that here we are, on a French Forum, and pages and pages of discussion about what goes on on UK TV. Thank you for reminding us of all the other reality shows, I had forgotten about some. I also agree with you about how dire much of French TV is - especially the variety shows, and the "reality" shows. Star Academy and Co are downright embarrassing, poor things do not even have a voice.

But what I watch mainly is the news - especially TF1 at 1pm, this is what we call "the good news" as it seems to involve mainly showing this village or that old craft, or some regional dishes, and is like some advertising for "the way things used to be" in France. In the evening I watch TF2 news at 8pm. AND I always watch the Meteo, am quite obsessional with it. I also watch "Qui veut gagner des millions?" but I used to watch "Who wants to be a millionnaire" in England...As for watching French TV only, I draw the line at watching British or American movies - I really don't enjoy them dubbed in French, it is too odd...

The issue I was hoping to raise was not whether it is good or bad to watch TV (French or British!), and you are right, I am no closet watcher... of all things to be in the closet about!!! - I didn't think about the issue of moral superiority in watching French TV only, for me it is a matter of both economics, and priorities. Having said that, we do have a satellite dish, (two in fact), but that is because OH could not bear to be without Eurosports...[:)]

 I would have thought that even bad French TV would be an excellent way to improve one's language skills for those who live here permanently -  but it is true that I found many expats who have only British TV, read only British papers, and yet claim they want to learn French. (This of course does not apply to those who live in the UK and spend their French time in their holiday home). I also know those who have both, and don't watch much of either!

 

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We had just French TV for 4 years. I think the only realy useful prog for improving our French was the news with PPDA. Otherwise the poor copies of who wants to be a millionaire, weakest link etc didn't help. I like Arthur hosting a strange guessing game which is called deal/no deal in English and hosted by Noel Edmunds. Arthur is much prettier! The dramas were OK but not great and the humour required to enjoy Louis le Brocante was beyond us. So we have just recently given in and got English freeview.
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Have always only watched French TV, having always lived here as a French person (until I got on here !   [6]   [:P] ).

Wouldn't mind being able to get English TV, but haven't bothered about it as we don't watch all that much anyway.

You seem to eat so early in the evening, so I can understand you have a long evening with plenty of time to watch television.  Have you noticed how, in the country at least, all the French households have the television in the kitchen at the end of the table and it is often on whatever else is going on?  Ours is always turned off and is in the living room.

One of my favourite programmes is Taratata, but it's only on once a month.

 

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5-E’s thread was light-hearted but I actually think it’s quite an important issue.

Like  Beryl and 5-E, I don’t watch (or have) UK TV either.  I think I would feel a little cut off from certain aspects of French life if I didn’t watch some of the nonsense on these channels (see 5-E’s post). 

Since the mass availability of Satellite TV, one can see how certain communities in the UK are wired virtually 100% to TV from their home countries.  I didn’t really feel it helped these communities’ integration because, whether we hate TV or not, I believe there is a certain amount of ‘modernity and socialisation’ that exists via this medium. One can turn one’s nose up at it but it’s a reflection of our society up to a point and many foreign originated communities in the UK are cut off from this to their detriment, as I feel are many Brits in France.

Of course, not every native French or British home has a TV but these people are usually avid readers and are fully aware of what is going on in their country due to family and social networks. However, most foreigners lack these elements when they settle in a foreign country so TV takes on greater significance.

I don’t feel cut off from what is going on in the UK because there are news channels such as TVE, CNN, SKY NEWS (rubbish), AL Jazeera and CNBC Europe etc  Also, in terms of keeping up with what is going on in the UK, there is the internet and newspapers but this is hors thread.

I certainly don’t feel superior but it’s a bit of a philosophy with me. Having grown up in a Multicultural Britain where communities were so out of touch with local culture: knew exactly what was happening ‘back home’ but not in the next town, has convinced me that this is a good philosophy. I’m not at all suggesting that TV is the only way to integrate, however, I put TV relatively high on the list of things to help with language and integration when you first move to a country. 

I don’t understand the usefulness of being glued to the TV of ones home country when settled on a permanent basis elsewhere.

French TV is terrible but there are occasional quality products, as with TV of most countries. In any case, surely, no one moves to this beautiful country to be a couch potato[:(].

I would, however, recommend ‘’some’’ UK TV for British children growing up in France to help them maintain fluency and awareness of cultural developments.

 

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Have only got French TV.  I hardly watch at all, but do like Thalassa and some of the dramas.  OH is addicted to Nouvelle Star and something about cars on M6 (you can tell how interested I am) which I think is the French equivalent of Top Gear.  We were quite looking forward to watching a bit of English tele when we went back to UK for Xmas and New Year. That was our first Xmas in UK for 5 years.  Had to say we were really disappointed - does anyone really find Little Britain funny? - we had thought we might get UK TV but decided after 3 weeks there not to bother.

One of the reasons I don't watch much French TV is the length of the programmes.  I was thinking of watching Bones this week as I like Kathy Reichs books.  However when I realised I'd have to watch 3 episodes one after the other (nearly 3 hours) I couldn't be bothered.  Why do they do tht, does anybody French or otherwise know?

I was brought up without TV and my parents still don't have one, so I have always been a selective viewer only switching on to watch and then switching off at the end of the programme.  I hate being in a room with a TV on without the sound (which seems to happen a lot round here).  Interestingly I have 2 brothers and one sister, one  brother is a TV addict and the other watches occasionally like me, but my sister -in UK - still doesn't have TV even though she has 4 children aged between 9 and 16.  She has always said she would get a TV if any of the children insisted as she did not want them to be 'weirdos' at school.  None of them has ever wanted one, although they did request (and got) a large screen for the computer so they can watch DVDs as they like films.

 

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Being a "foot in both camps" person, we have a digibox in France, and it's a good thing we do, because although we have an aerial on the roof for French terrestrial TV we can't get a proper picture, nor any sound most of the time. As I'm currently (and probably permanently[:@]) the only person in the family for whom French TV would be of any use, and I seldom watch TV when in France anyway, it's not a particularly high priority. Anyway, I can listen to French radio and find out what I need to know, and my exposure to French TV doesn't really enthuse or encourage me to want more...........

I'm wondering what it says about me that I grew up watching Coronation Street, switched my allegiance to Eastenders for about the first 10 years of its existence, have never watched any reality TV programmes, and these days rarely watch any programme with undivided attention. Actually, does it say something about me, or about the quality of TV programmes in general?

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LOL 5 element, we had 15 years or so of exclusively french tv. It used to have close down at around 11pm and little flat men floating across the screen on one of the channels and the picture on our tele then went to a 'point' too.

Our ariel  moved in a gale and we couldn't get a picture and as we had got the UK stuff, my husband didn't fancy going on the roof. We bought a dish for french tv and found that there was a mountain in the way, so still didn't get it. We sometimes watch TV5.

In spite of an awful lot of that first 15 years having some pretty terrible stuff on it, I am glad that we had it. For anyone learning french it is a great medium. One can watch and it helps understanding. One gets the music of another language too.And the best thing is that one doesn't have to answer back. I thoroughly recommend it.

 

ps We had 5 years of no tv in the UK. Radio 4 addicts though at the time. I would go mad without a tv now. I mean mad. I don't always have it on, but need the option of having it. Now if we weren't in the sticks and could go out a lot lot more, I probably wouldn't be so bothered.

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We've got both - the licenced "freeview" French channels and the freeview British channels . We watch the lunchtime and sometimes the evening news in French but do occasionally choose to watch UK Channel 4 news at 8pm local - I've always thought it a quality news presentation and not excessively parochial. We usually "sit down" to watch around 9pm in the evening and at that point, whatever I'm watching will usually send me to sleep. I'm coming to the conclusion that I like watching news and "non-fiction" tv in French because it does relate to the culture I'm in but if I'm going to watch American or British shows I am not going to watch them in their dubbed version on French tv. I hate dubbing from English... I seem to be able to lip-read some English and watching English being spoken but hearing French is simply confusing. I have to look away... and watching the tv is rather the point. [:D] At this stage, after 2.5 years here, I'm happy with this compromise. It works for us.

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[quote user="Lori"]

We have only ever had CanalSat for nearly six years now.  Although, when they stopped airing BBC Prime, I am now looking into getting a dish for BBC channels. 

[/quote]

Same as Lori!

I watch a lot of films in V.O. but I do like to watch a series or two from Britian.  Since losing BBC Prime I miss Catherine Tate and French & Saunders so much.  Oh and Eastenders.  I can live without it of course but it's a nice treat for me to have them. 

I never watch the french reality shows - I find them very bland and structured and scripted.  Maybe you'll all say that it's the same with the British ones. 

I'd like to have the X - Factor. I was home in December and EVERYONE  I spoke to on the Friday said "It's the X - Factor final tomorrow night" or on the Sunday the big question was "Do you know who won last night?"  You just don't get that here in France for ANY programme. 

The closest we got to this sort of mass interest where everyone is talking about the same topic was when Zidane put the 'ead in last Summer.[:D]

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[quote user="Will "]

I suppose I enjoy TV now because I never really saw any until I was about 16, living in the sort of rural and poor part of England that survives in some areas of France, though the French have TVs whatever other comforts they lack. I can relate to the 'excluded' word, when all my school mates were talking about Juke Box Jury, Six Five Special, Quatermass, and a brand new scary thing called Doctor Who, I hadn't a clue, other than what I managed to get from a sneak peek at the TV Times outside a friend's house (wasn't allowed in from what I remember) on the way home from cubs. The good(?) old days?

[/quote]

I was 14 when my parents purchased their first television in 1962. So I can relate to what you have said.

Here in France, about four years ago, we started off by watching French TV only but found that the language didn't enable us to get real value out of the programs. After a year of trying we installed a digibox and now mainly watch UK TV with the odd French program. The French TV did give us a kick start at understanding the language but I feel that is just as important to maintain a link to English and the UK.

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Catalpa, I prefer most american things dubbed into french. I don't know why, I just do. I have even been known to watch the odd episode of Buffy in french, whereas I wouldn't watch it at all in english. LOL and I used to love to watch Taggart every summer when it was on french tv. In the beginning it was always on in July/August. Never got away with it in scottish.

I have to say that there are some superb french documentaries. I have seen some amazing things over the years and I'm sure if these things were done by a brit team they wouldn't be quite the same.

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Having expressed my views on the quality of Sky News, I have to own up that I did appreciate it one day last year.  This was the day the Whale came to London and Sky showed the images live virtually all day. I was riveted and sad when the whale died later. I know that in the scheme of things, this is of little importance but I found it very moving.  Still, had I not had Sky, I would simply have read about it and not wasted an afternoon of my life like a zombie. 

I also miss British Comedy and try to get hold of DVD’s of French and Saunders, Vicar of Dibley and others. I can well understand those who are fully integrated into French society and lived here for years having British TV, as that could be a plus after years away.  However, for those yet to integrate and needing to learn the ins and outs of their new country, I fail to see it's usefulness even if it's entertaining.

Though terrible overall, French TV offers a few good comedy ‘shorts’ like Kaamelott, Camera Café, un gars, une fille and a few others.  There are also a number of interesting series such as Question Maison, les Racines et les Ailes, Thalassa, Zone Interdite etc. 

I’ve got used to watching the odd American and UK series in French but that’s more a linguistic exercise. 

As for cinema: I never watch English language films in VF, as that would be sacrilege.

 

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I have both French and UK TV, but very rarely watch the UK shows, as Mr Cat is French, and doesn't speak much English.  So it's a bit of a guilty pleasure for me to watch UK TV, and something I only justify if it's a very good film or documentary, with subtitles.

Consequently my viewing habits have really changed since I moved to France.  In the UK I could watch what I liked, be it ever so trashy, without worrying about the "worthiness" of the program.  I can now only justify watching UK TV if it is something top-notch, perhaps just once a week. Often, especially after 9pm, we're just as likely to hit the off button, as neither of us if overly keen on the American cop shows/TV films/reality shows/celebrity specials that seem to abound here in France.  Maybe we've reached the Sanatogen and comfy slippers age, but sometimes you can't beat snuggling up in bed with a good book.

In the UK I was never terribly interested in political shows, the news, or current affairs, but now I find myself glued to the set when serious discussion sets in about France. I feel the need to understand the way things work here, in a way that I never did in the UK.

But don't get me wrong, given the chance I still wallow in Eastenders, Big Brother, Never mind the Buzzcocks etc.  It's just that nowadays these things are a rare treat for me, but also a bit of a puzzle too, as I've lost the plot as to just who is who, and why.

Re-reading this I've realised that I can love UK trash TV in small doses, but not their French equivalents.  Perhaps you can take the girl from England, but you can't take ... [:$]

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[quote user="Teamedup"]

Catalpa, I prefer most american things dubbed into french. I don't know why, I just do.[/quote]

That's easy! That is probably to do with our relative competence in French, TU! [:D] I know you've said before that the language wasn't easy for you but after the length of time you've been here, I am sure you are so fluent in French you scarcely even think about it. You understand French better than American English. Whereas I'm still working at it so have to really concentrate if I'm to thoroughly understand what's going on... hence, watching English being spoken while hearing French is disorienting. French Buffy would be... interesting! How on earth has Buffy-speak translated into French? [blink]

Maybe also relevant to the British tv or not discussion is that, in the time you - and others - have been away, world media and communications has undergone enormous changes providing options not available 20 years ago. As well as satellite broadcasting, so much is either streamed live via the internet or download-able to a pc / dvd / ipod that I take for granted the easy accessibility of more or less anything I want. Including live commentary via the internet for 12 hours a day from a relatively minority-interest event which takes place in Wiltshire each year. Or I would if Manche were capable of giving me reliable Haut débit. [ritual snarl].

And thinking about it (and probably taking the question a whole lot more seriously than the OP ever intended [:$]) I think age will be some sort of guideline as to the degree of immersion in French tv. Someone who moves here at retirement age, for eg, is - I would guess - more likely to find British television indispensible. And why not? Shutting out one's own culture of 50 or 60 years is unnecessary and absurd.

It would be interesting if the Forum Frenchies* [:D] would comment: if you moved permanently to the UK and French tv and radio was still easily available to you, would you feel that you should only watch / listen to British tv and radio?

* just call me Jade [:-))]

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When we moved here in July 2005 we didn't have any form of tv, just videos and dvds.  The kids and I were very content and our first winter we read and reread every book we had.

This winter though as I'm here with the kdis by myself, I really felt I needed something to imersre myself into once the kids were in bed.  This is often not until 10pm as my kids are young teenagers, but just for an hour is a nice way to wind down.

Funnily enough the kids aren't interested in tv in English, but keep bugging me to get French tv as well.

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I am finding all this really fascinating - and, Catalpa, you are in no way taking the question a lot more seriously than I originally intended, on the contrary, the more seriously the better!!!

You mention Forum Frenchies. I suppose I could call myself one, but since I was 20 when I moved to England (where I was to remain for decades), it's hardly relevant that I totally renegaded on French language and culture, immersed myself so whole-heartedly into British and London life, refusing to consort with anyone or anything French, and wanted to become more British than the British (identity problems, most likely!). Anyone of "a certain age" moving to a different country would of course, want to retain their links to their roots. But surely, not exclusively?

I was struck by what someone said about Taggart. Although I became a Brit (and now I can hear some of you say, how can anyone become a Brit?),  clearly I was never quite British enough as I could not, for the life of me, understand Taggart. Now in France, I understand all of it!!! (since it's in French)...

 I like to rent DVDs  to be able to watch films in English or American... I was glad to go and see "The Wind that Shakes the Barley" in v.o. with French subtitles as again, I could not understand the accent. Same with heavy American accents except NY.

Having said all this, I can't watch much of  French TV, some of it being really pretty bad!

Comedy, sorry but I often find it decidedly un-funny, but then again, I was never completely enthralled by British comedy - except for all the Monty Pythons and for Fawlty Towers of course. The French are supposed to love Benny Hill, and that says it all. One thing I cannot stand on many French programmes is the sexism, and the women pandering to the men like mad... France is so behind on that score!

I too, like the Arte documentaries - some of them are just brilliant. And the more serious programmes like "Zone Interdite" and "Envoye Special", but also current affairs discussion like "Forum des Europeens" (tonight at 7 on Arte), and "C'est dans l'Air" also Arte at 6pm most days. In the past 2 weeks I have become riveted to the Canadian (dubbed into French, alas!) "Re-Genesis" - and earlier, don't ask me why, "Lost - Les Disparus" - very badly dubbed. 

As for Mr 5-E (who is definitely not French), except when there is unmissable sports on, he lets me pick and choose what "we" watch - and I think it has done wonders for his French, his vocabulary at least is very impressive.

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[quote user="5-element"]

You mention Forum Frenchies. I suppose I could call myself one, but

since I was 20 when I moved to England (where I was to remain for

decades), it's hardly relevant that I totally renegaded on French

language and culture, immersed myself so whole-heartedly into British

and London life, refusing to consort with anyone or anything

French, and wanted to become more British than the British (identity

problems, most likely!). Anyone of "a certain age" moving to a

different country would of course, want to retain their links to their

roots. But surely, not exclusively?

[/quote]

Oh trust me, if I’d gone to live in Paris

in my 20s (I too lived

in London in my 20s) I’d have been doing my utmost to be chic-ly Parisienne

(though my hips would probably have given me away [:P]) and

would totally have eschewed anything Brit! I’d have probably smoked

Gauloises. Or maybe Sobranie. And certainly, when I was in my 20s, I had far better things

to do with my

evenings than watch tv. Partly because most of the places I lived were

bl**dy

cold so cinemas, bars and pubs were warmer.

Location

does add itself quite well to the age point I mentioned earlier. Most

British people move to small towns or rural villages so unless you’re a

card

fiend (belote, anyone??) the long winter evenings in rural France don’t

lend

themselves to an exclusive diet of French tv. Nor do the Basse

Normandie winters of grey skies, rain and evenings that start at 4pm.

But. I would never argue that a

diet of only British tv is a good choice either.

[quote user="5-element"]

I too, like the Arte documentaries - some of them are just

brilliant. And the more serious programmes like "Zone Interdite" and

"Envoye Special", but also current affairs discussion like "Forum des

Europeens" (tonight at 7 on Arte), and "C'est dans l'Air" also Arte at

6pm most days. In the past 2 weeks I have become riveted to the

Canadian (dubbed into French, alas!) "Re-Genesis" - and earlier, don't

ask me why, "Lost - Les Disparus" - very badly dubbed.

[/quote]

Arte is the one other channel I’d like to have – I sometimes read

about programs that appeal to me and they are invariably on Arte. We researched

it a couple of years ago and didn’t find a cheap subscription package that

included Arte, they were all more than I wanted to pay. Maybe I should look

again.

Re-Genesis – is that the scifi-y biological research thing –

an organisation called Norbac (or similar)? If so, I’ve read about it and I’d

definitely watch that. Is that Arte too? BTW, I assume the name 5-Element refers

to the ether as opposed to the movie of the same name?? Lost is impenetrable in any language!

[quote user="Dotty"]

Funnily enough the kids aren't interested in tv in English, but keep bugging me to get French tv as well.

[/quote]

Because they don't have contemporaries at school who get English

tv so for tv to be socially relevant to them, it would need to be French?

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