Is it me?

By Anita Jaynes on 4 June, 2021

Over the years, John Davies’ Is it me? has become a favourite of The Business Exchange for its wit and camaraderie. Last time out, John debated what’s straight-laced in the world of workplace fashion and this time he’s talking TV.

I suspect I’m in the minority here but I’m not going to apologise for it: I’m struggling with TV output at the moment. 

Rather than being entertained I’m finding myself increasingly exhausted. It feels like every time you turn on the TV the content is hard going and depressing. If programmes don’t include some element of death, murder or war, you can be sure the protagonists will have some sort of special powers or will be fighting zombies. It’s either completely draining or mentally tiring. 

Why does the plot always involve murder or corruption? Why is someone always cheating, romantically or financially? Why is somebody always being hurt or abused? Why do Jesus, Mary, Joseph and the wee donkey all have such dour lives?

If we want miserable television we’ve got 24-hour news to get stuck into. Real life can be testing enough so why can’t producers make programmes based on sunnier, happier and fluffier themes? Not all of them, of course, but some would be nice. 

When I was growing up, I don’t remember anyone being murdered or abused in the Dukes of Hazzard. There was unlicensed alcohol production and petty crimes against Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane and his corrupt commissioner Boss Hogg, but it was gentle. We knew the world was right because them good ’ol boys got into their car through the windows. 

The Fall Guy – Colt Seavers – also got himself into a few scrapes but he did it using a fantastic pick-up truck, doing his own stunts and even singing the theme tune himself. No one died – and he made cowboy hats and baseball caps cool.

Even the mighty A-Team, as far as I recall, avoided death and uber-misery. B.A. wasn’t getting in no plane until he was drugged… with milk. Face always charmed his way into wherever he needed to go and Murdock provided the comedy capers while flying anything from a helicopter to a hot air balloon. What’s more, every episode was educational: teaching kids how to make a rocket launcher / bulldozer / jet ski out of the contents of a greenhouse, a hammer and some sticky tape. I love it when a plan comes together.

And before you say it, America didn’t have the monopoly on these happier programmes (I’m thinking Darling Buds of May, Yes Minister and Father Ted). I don’t mind the odd death or murder – it’s acceptable in Death in Paradise because the sea is beautiful and the local bar is where I want to be – but aside from that it’s tough going. 

Come on TV execs, please stop the killing, digging people up and breaking up marriages and inject a little more sunshine, humour and general loveliness. I just want to watch some telly without a raised heart rate and my eyes behind a cushion. 

So there it is. I suspect most of you will disagree with me because the viewing figures don’t back my opinions up – people like the misery.

Which is why I’m devising a new TV show concept. The hero is a lawyer who drives a talking pick-up truck (it has to be a truck because our hero is too big to climb through car windows), with a Welsh dragon painted on the roof. He’s accompanied by his legal sidekicks: one who refuses to travel by boat, the other an ex-wrestler. He takes on tough cases and completes most of his transactions by shouting ‘yee-haw’ and going to the pub. I wonder if it’ll catch on?

John Davies, Senior Corporate Partner, Thrings


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