I sometimes wonder whether TV producers think that we all have the memory spans of goldfish.
Actually that is unfair on goldfish.
People have been led to believe that goldfish can only remember things for three seconds – which they say means it’s okay to have them in small bowls because by the time they’ve swum round once they have forgotten where they started from. Of course scientists have proved that goldfish do in fact have quite good memories and tests show that they can learn what time of day they will be fed.
Hence why my mother-in-law’s goldfish congregate at 4pm every day in the left corner of the tank – 16 wide eyes and gaping mouths silently saying, “Come on then”.
Back to the TV producers who treat us as if we can’t retain memories for longer than a few minutes.
The next time you watch a programme about someone swapping their wife, or how to look good with their kit off, or how to completely screw up an easy business task before being humiliated in a board room; just look at the narrative flow of the programme.
The intro will go something along these lines. “This week we meet Jane. She has no self-confidence. Over the next hour we are going to completely change her life. First thing we are going to do is give her a make over.
Then 10 minutes later as we approach the first commercial break they’ll say, “So now Jane has had a full make over and although she started out the programme with no self confidence she is well on her way to completely changing her life. Join us after the break when we move into stage two and revamp her wardrobe.
After nipping off to make a cup of tea during the adverts you return to the sofa to be reminded, “Before the break we met Jane who has no self confidence but we have made a great start in completely changing her life by giving her a complete make over. Now it is time to have a look at her wardrobe.
And so it goes on. Even the BBC with no commercial break to fit this structure round are increasingly guilty of such recaps and “coming up” spots every ten minutes or so.
I have always been an advocate of the “Tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them, then tell them what you have told them” approach. But do the TV programmes take it too far? They tell you what they are going to tell you then tell you a bit of it. Next they remind you of what they are going to tell you and the bit they?ve already told you, and so on, so you are never in any doubt.
It’s enough to make you want and go and do something relaxing like swimming round and round in a pool.