I recently had the pleasure of speaking to my Mum a couple of days ago about her experiences with television when she was younger, living in England. In comparison to my viewing habits and experiences, and talking to students in class, there are a number of similarities and ‘traditions’ when it comes to family time around the television.
Growing up in Southwick, West Sussex in England, my mother lived almost literally on ‘other side of the world’, but through the conversation, experiences seemed to be quite similar to that of today, roughly 35 years ago, in Australia. In fact, the idea of wanting to stay up past bedtime to watch on more show was an experience that continued to when I was a child. Just like her parents said to her, she said no to me, especially on school nights.
The rise of technology and mobile devises as a source for entertainment in the present day is unable to remove the notion of family time, in my house at least. Just like when she was young, my mum would sit around the television with her mum, dad and three brothers and watch shows such as George and Mildred, The Magic Roundabout, The Benny Hill Show, and specifically ‘Match of the Day’ (the weekly English Premier League review show) with her father and brothers while her Mum would cook dinner. I found this especially interesting as the EPL review show is watched in my house, but Mum isn’t interested at all, and the cooking roles are more so shared.
Another interesting similarity surrounding the television (in my family at least) is the presence of ‘nick-knacks’ and photos on and surrounding the television. Being the communal living room in the house, it is mum’s favourite place to place her souvenirs and family photos, just like her mum did when she was younger.
One major difference with television I found after speaking to my mum was the nature of programs on the television. Her most watched and remembered programs are quite unique to each other, but the lack of ‘reality tv’ programs was noted. Today we are surrounded by programs focused on singing talent, cooking and renovation contests with highly annoying traits to keep the viewer watching which were never seen when my mum was a child. The lack of advertisements when she was a child was also something she noted. The tired topic of sensationalism and reality style television programs doesn’t need an introduction. It’s clear that the program style has changed, but the habits surrounding television haven’t.
I’ve never actually thought this much into the physical act of watching television, but it seems the traditions have stayed the same for my mum. It was interesting hearing about her childhood, and she seemed quite happy to talk about it, I’m thinking because of a sense of nostalgia was felt. With that in mind, I wonder what I’d say and how I feel if anyone in 25 years asks me the same questions, especially in regards to my current attitudes towards television.