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TV – I was born in the middle of the 1980s, a period of time where TV was limited to 4 channels and children’s TV was limited to a small slot in the afternoon; sick days were not fun. If you managed to persuade your parents that you were genuinely ill and shouldn’t be sent to school (hands up if you ever threw up in school as Mum said you’re fine), then you genuinely weren’t in for a good day of entertainment.

Children now have the option of 24/7 entertainment be it Digital Television, Streaming Services or even YouTube – something that many of us could have only dreamed of. If I was poorly then we would have our trust four television channels or a selection of VHS tapes (mostly self recorded Dad’s Army and Frank Spencer). I can’t help feel that kids now have more of a treat than we did when growing up.

Bitterness aside, let me run you through the life (my experiences) of an 80s / 90s kid on a genuine sick day.

07:00

Wake up and feel awful, attempt to reason with Mum that I am too poorly for school. Tears ensue and finally, Mum agrees ‘You don’t look right’.

A bed is made on the sofa, a bowl that stinks of Dettol left next to you and the TV is switched off; ‘You’ll feel much better if you try and sleep’.

The unmistakable smell of someone being ill at home.

08:00

TV right now is pretty pants, we’ve got the news and that’s about it going on. Someone (Dads typically) tells me that ‘brushing your teeth will make you feel better’.

Pyjamas are staying on and back to the bed on the sofa. Looking at the TV guide doesn’t fill me with much hope.

09:00 to 11:30

On a good day I get to watch various baby shows like Play Days, Greenclaws or if I’m really lucky Penny Crayon / Family Ness / Bertha. On a bad day, I’m stuck with BBC 2 educational shows including Look & Read and Open University.

Something, Something Pigeons.

This Morning starts over on ITV (notice how the theme tune is still the same to this day – we need more sax intros to shows now). It’s not exactly something enjoyable but there is always the hope that Fred will fall off the weather island and drown in the quay.

11:30 – 13:00

Things are starting to get better now, BBC wheels out quiz shows like Going for Gold. Flipping through the other channels to avoid the news, Channel 4 might be showing Sesame Street.

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 – 11, 12!

Lunchtime and it’s toast, it’s always bloody toast with a light coating of butter so as not to be too greasy.

13:00

Neighbours doo do doo, Everyone needs good neighbours!

This is all I care about now.

She’s dead Jim

13:30 – 15:00

Time for a nap, pop a VHS in of some poorly recorded TV with adverts and close my eyes on the sofa. Find a bottle of Lucozade Original provided by Dad as a way to cure all that ills you.

Mmm, Flavour

15:00 –

Children’s TV, finally. Something to watch that matters to me.

Everything that follows this is a normal night so I won’t bore you with Dad coming home from work, taking over the TV and waiting for Dinner with everyone else. But, I think you can all agree that actually, kids are pretty damn lucky nowadays.

Daytime TV might still stink but at least there’s a hundred more digital channels showing inoffensive repeats like Nothing to Declare, Motorway Cops and Can’t Pay, We’ll take it away. I do wonder what would happen if I forced my kids to watch daytime TV (no kids TV) rather than let them have all the stuff they love now!

More ‘TV’ posts can be found here.

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By Tom

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