Last weekend, I opened our copy of the Sun-Herald (yes, they still persist with a Queensland edition of the Sydney paper) and there was a half-page ad for the TV series Heartbeat on DVD. I was never a huge fan of this particular show, but box-set collecting has become something of a hobby – unlike media files, you can touch DVDs, admire them, lend them to friends – so the ad jumped out at me.
But seeing nine complete seasons
of the classic Yorkshire police drama so
prominently and lovingly advertised did rub
salt in a long-standing wound in my DVD
You see, there’s one series I would
purchase in an instant and that’s The Goodies.
Yes, I know there are best-of DVDs but never
has the entire run been released.
As Bill Oddie is in Brisbane this week (at
the Tivoli on Thursday 20 June) I couldn’t
help myself. I had to know why.
Oddie told me: “It’s been a mystery to us.
I have to say the BBC has not been terribly
co-operative and on the brink of childishness
at one point.”
He adopts a posh voice and quotes from a
reply sent by the BBC to fans asking if a major
Goodies anniversary would be marked: “'No,
we have no plans. And I think we should
remind you that the final season was actually
done for ITV'. It was almost like they were
saying we never forgive, we never forget!”
I express my personal enthusiasm for
sitting down and watching every episode
of The Goodies to which Bill Oddie replies:
“There are a lot you know. There are nearly
100 programs!” I know and would still buy the
Whether it be box-sets, downloading all the
episodes or setting the PVR to record a whole
series, it seems we are increasingly choosing
to watch every episode of our favourite TV
shows. Ten or 20 years ago you would curse
yourself for missing an episode but you
wouldn’t go looking for it. Now you can, and
so people do. But because we still have the
same number of hours in the day, we each
follow a smaller number of TV shows.
Realising this shift is American’s TOLN,
The Online Network, the new home of former
ABC soaps All My Children and One Life to
Live. TOLN says viewers now choose one
series or the other – and then watch every
episode – instead of catching what they can of
In response to this, TOLN has reduced
the number of episodes of each show to just
two per week, saying in a statement: “We are
making it far too challenging for viewers to
“Most of us are just trying to find time to
watch series of 13 to 22 episodes a season
so asking viewers to assign time for over 100
episodes is a daunting task.”
I wonder what this will mean for Australian
TV in the future.
Last month (bmag, 21 May), I wrote about the
analogue television switch-off in Brisbane.
It turns out there was a contingency plan
to switch analogue back on if there was a huge
number of complaints. I’m told that happened
in regional Victoria, one of the first areas to
move from analogue to digital, but it wasn’t
That’s not to say 100 per cent of us were
digital-ready by the 28 May deadline. At 612
ABC we received the first “why doesn’t my TV
work?” call at 9.12am, 12 minutes after the
plug was pulled.
bmag reader Susan Barnes wasn’t ready
either. But, in a lovely email, she explains why
it was “a kind of epiphany”.
“I have lived without TV before so I went
out and bought a basic reading lamp instead.
I have turned on the radio and am finding
time to listen to my CDs and delve into the
unopened novels on my bookshelves. I will
also be investigating the local library’s DVD
collection. And if the ABC comes up with
something I feel I really must see I can watch
it on my computer.
“So far it is wonderful – I am getting
more done, eating better, getting to bed
earlier, getting more exercise and feeling
much happier. I can thoroughly recommend
this course of action to anyone who is still
struggling with the switch.”