Recently I went to stay with friends who have a home in North Cornwall. Now, I have to confess that I am not a TV addict and when I am in our house in the Suffolk countryside I hardly ever switch on the television.
However, one afternoon I was taken for a walk to the delightful Cornish seaside village of Port Isaac. We leaned on a wall by the old school house and my friend pointed across to the other bank. ‘That’s Doc Martin’s House’ she said. ‘Who’s he’, I replied, ‘and how do you know him?’
Well, my ignorance was soon corrected and later that night we found on YouTube one of the first episodes of what I now know to be a really popular television series set in this little Cornish port. I learned that it had been running for about five years and was immensely popular even though some of the stereotypes portrayed annoyed some of the Cornish people.
What I liked about the programme was that Martin Clunes played a brilliant
part as the local GP renowned for his extremely brusque manner and if one appreciated the fact that the characters were extreme stereotypes, then it was all very enjoyable.
As I can’t stand the constant diet of violence that comes across our screens, Doc Martin was a delight but as TV and radio go, I have to say that we still have one of the best outputs of any country in the world. I am worried, however, about some of the recent changes proposed for BBC radio. I heard the Chairman of the BBC say recently that nothing would be changed until there had been a full public consultation, so let me start the ball rolling in this column.
My two favourite stations are Radio Four and Radio Three with an occasional dip into Radio Four Extra once called Radio Five. I assume that many listeners tune into Radio Four because they appreciate a thoughtful station largely devoted to speech, with occasional forays into music via Desert Island Discs and the like.
On Radio Four one can get all the news and commentary that any individual would require and for respite one turns to Radio Three. Now can the BBC please tell me why, oh why, do they consider it necessary to inflict short bursts of news and items from the newspapers on us on what I thought was mainly a music channel?
Many of us turn to Radio Three to get away from the news but the BBC seem insistent that we will listen and we will like it. If I was the Director of Programming I would have one fifteen minute news programme on Radio Three in the morning and that would be it! As for the Radio Three phone-ins! We all know that phone-ins are a cheap form of broadcasting but are they necessary on Radio Three? We can hear all the opinions from the public we want on Four and Five and on countless commercial stations. Why invade Radio Three?
It is often said that stations must attract younger people but does no one in the BBC recognizes that young people grow older! There was a time when my own children would not consider listening to Radio Four. Today, now they are much older, it’s a different story. I believe that in the past years the BBC has spread too widely, excellent though it is. It ought to concentrate on quality programming and stop worrying about ratings.
Perhaps some of the Doc Martin grumpiness has rubbed off on me in this column but I would be interested to know what readers think. Am I being too old fashioned in my views? I certainly would like to know and I guess the BBC might be interested also.
Man's inhumanity to animals - 10 February 2012
Campaigns & Issues
Woodland Court staff face secure future thanks to Brunelcare
Residents and staff at a retirement village in Downend have finally reached the end of two years of uncertainty, following the acquisition of Woodland Court by Brunelcare.
Previous owners of the 57 apartment village, Care Village Group, went into administration in June 2011, leaving the residents and staff with an uncertain future.
The top priority for the Bristol based charity has been to retain all 27 members of staff to ensure that the support services are maintained, whilst minimising any disruption to the residents.
Stamping their feet
THOUSANDS OF Post Office staff have taken part in strikes across the country following a dispute about closures, jobs and pay.
A staggering 88 per cent of Communication Workers Union members voted in favour of strike action, following a refusal from the Post Office to negotiate terms.
The 4,000 workers, from 373 offices, took part in the strikes in opposition to plans to close 76 offices.
They hope to protect jobs and services and secure a fair pay rise for Post Office staff - who have not had a wage increase since April 2011.
Competitions & Fun
Win a Doro PhoneEasy 515 handset!
We’ve teamed up with Doro to give four very lucky Mature Times readers the chance to win a Doro PhoneEasy 515 mobile phone.
The Doro PhoneEasy 515 has been designed to provide an easy-to-use mobile for people who might find mainstream handsets difficult or confusing to use. This beautifully stylish candybar phone features an easy-to-use camera enabling you to capture those spontaneous photos quickly and easily before sharing them with others.
The Doro PhoneEasy 515 has several user-friendly functions including a direct SMS key and a charging cradle to make charging hassle free. It also has a large keypad, enlarged text for easy dialing and messaging and a loud, clear sound.
Win a prize at home or away in this month's prize draw with Silver Travel Advisor!
Enter now and you could win a prize at home or away! How about a 7 night break for 2, with flights included, in beautiful Slovenia? Or a trip to London’s glitzy theatreland, staying in a 4* hotel? Both fabulous treats which must be won!
Silver Travel Advisor is a friendly website packed with advice, tips, information and honest reviews written by and for silver travellers (aged over 50). A team of advisors are on hand to answer queries (for free), and you can share your own experiences too.
Health & Wellbeing
Loneliness is a ‘ticking time bomb’
One in three people over the age of 50 struggles with loneliness – fuelled partly by a rise in later life divorces, according to an official study. Figures show almost seven million members of the baby-boomer generation and above admit to feeling lonely.
Research published as part of David Cameron’s plan to measure the nation’s ‘happiness’ said almost half of people over 80 feel lonely - many “much of the time”.
Campaigns groups say the study, by the Office for National Statistics, suggests the generation approaching retirement will be a “loneliness time bomb”.
Property & Finance
15 per cent of population claim financial worries are affecting their health
aspect of their lives
Leisure and Lifestyle
Singing you heart out
Music sensation Billy Ocean takes time out talk to Laura Heads about the release of his latest album and how making music has changed dramatically during his 40 year career.
The star has sold over 30 million records in his lifetime and has collected a pile of Gold and Platinum awards across the world. Billy’s unique reggae infused voice and musical style, representing his Trinidadian roots, are recognisable anywhere and it is that which has earned him his well-deserved number ones.
And the well-loved singer-song writer said that the way music is made has changed a lot since he first began in the 1970s. He said: “Music is now controlled by technology. New artists allow technology to control what they are doing.
New guide to travel insurance launched
THIS IS A handy to use and easy to read guide packed with tips aimed at helping older travellers when considering the purchase of travel insurance.
The guide came about as a result of the numerous enquiries we received here at the Mature Times’ offices regarding travel insurance for older people. MT Editor Andrew Young says ‘We receive many, many e-mails, letters and telephone calls from our readers regarding this subject. We know that as you get older travel insurance becomes more expensive, but there are ways that you can try to help offset some of these increases – and this guide can help you do that.’
I think you’ve got it! Well balanced, lots of variety – constant improvements. Fabulous