What’s on Wayne: Help, I’ve become a daytime TV addict
My name’s Wayne and I’m a daytime and late-night TV addict. It’s been one week since I last watched Homes Under The Hammer.
Working from home one morning, I switched on a repeat of this year’s Celebrity Big Brother launch. That’s when I knew I’d hit rock bottom.
Weeks of lying listlessly on the living room sofa bed (we only have the one telly in the house), recovering from surgery, had made me powerless to resist TV and my viewing habits had become unmanageable.
Something needed to change, but I knew it’d take a stronger resolve than mine to restore my sanity. Confessing to my wife what I’d been doing while she was at work was hard. I told her everything: what I’d watched, how I’d removed it from planner and then from deleted to desperately cover my tracks.
I think part of her knew. Occasionally I’d forgotten to get rid of a re-run of Take Me Out here or an episode of Tattoo Fixers there. I’d told her it must’ve been a Sky glitch or I’d series-linked the wrong thing; stupid old me, she knows I can’t resist pushing buttons.
Seeing the disappointment on her face, I made the decision to turn control of what I was watching over to her. Resolutely, I handed her the remotes, the Radio Times and my special marker reserved for highlighting my “must watch” picks. The whole magazine was virtually pink.
If I was to beat this problem, I knew I had to take stock of what I’d done. Honesty is an important part of recovery. I could leave no lid unlifted. Literally. Those of a sensitive disposition should skip the next few paragraphs.
An unfortunate side-effect of my op is the need to pass water. A lot. And no, I don’t mean take regular lake-side walks. I can be some time, so every now and then I take my phone. It beats having to read the back of shampoo bottles.
In my defence, a survey I received a while back shows I’m not alone, with almost one in five of us admitting to watching videos on our smartphones while using the loo.
Some 9,500 people in 17 countries were questioned, revealing 16% use them in the bathroom, while 10% of them watch shows on a tablet on the toilet.
Perhaps not surprisingly, America led the way, with people spending around 29 hours watching programmes and movies a week on their smartphones and tablets. Hopefully, most of that outside the bathroom. UK mobile viewers spent just over 24 hours a week glued to video action on their handsets.
As for what they’re watching... Rising Damp? Bottom? Flushed Away? Game of Thrones? Who knows. It’ll certainly make me think twice about asking to borrow somebody’s mobile.
Admitting my wrongdoings to myself and others was difficult.
I’d been in too much pain to watch any TV before being admitted to Ipswich Hospital for what turned out to be a large, infected, obstructive kidney stone.
Missing Penguin A&E with Lorraine Kelly wasn’t first and foremost on my mind as I clutched the dashboard during the dash down the A12 in the middle of the night. I definitely didn’t feel like watching anything during my four-day stay on Lavenham Ward, waiting to have a stent inserted to ease my plight. Then I came home. Unable to concentrate on the books and boxsets littering the lounge, I reached for the shelter of mother’s modern-day little helper – the TV remote.
It started innocently enough. Sky Cinema was showing all seven Star Wars movies back to back. Every day.
Then one or two episodes of Storage Hunters turned into whole morning-swallowing binges. I found myself watching every version of Say Yes to the Dress going. Mermaid, fit and flare, A-line, sweetheart necklines, what’s the perfect outfit for a beach wedding; I could work in a boutique.
Soon I was setting reminders for Judge Judy, Judge Rinder, Tipping Point. Unable to walk further than my front door, I relied on Grand Designs and George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces for fresh air.
Unable to sleep, it got worse. I started exploring some of the stranger Sky channels. No, not those sort; ones about painting watercolours of the Irish countryside. I’ve also been sucked into the dreadfully-dubbed Spanish telenovela Beautiful But Unlucky on ABN, about outcast Lola, whose return to her superstitious hometown sparks a series of freakish and tragic events.
It was followed by 90 Day Fiancé (why Jorge, why), Love at First Kiss (TLC was my main enabler) and repeats of Gordon Ramsey shouting abuse at confused cooks in Kitchen Nightmares USA. My most recent slip was Celebrity Apprentice USA. I lay awake, wondering that when President Trump launches the States’ nuclear arsenal at CNN’s headquarters, will he yell “you’re fired”? Will he appoint former Hollywood star Gary Busey as vice president?
Finally ready to address my flaws, it was important to accept this wasn’t the first time I’d succumbed to TV’s lure. I’ve series-linked Masterchef Australia and Snog, Marry, Avoid US before now.
I started to consider boxing up the TV and maybe cutting off the plug. Perhaps my wife could use the family setting option to block shows and channels unless our PIN number was entered.
A lot of people have been hurt by my actions. My increasingly distracted wife finds herself peering over the top of her book to cast an opinion or two on some bride-to-be’s fashion faux pas. It’s now obvious why at the age of 43 she’s only been a bridesmaid three times.
I owe my dad, who I blamed for turning me onto Jeremy Kyle, a big apology. My remote, my responsibility. I still say he needs an intervention to cure him of his addiction to DNA-testing the entire country and lie detector tests.
To make amends, I’m letting my wife watch whatever she wants: boxsets of Poirot, Frost, Agatha Christie’s Marple and re-runs of the Great British Bake Off on Good Food. Meanwhile, I’ve made lists of all the books I’d always meant to get around to but hadn’t.
I’m also finding other, better, ways to make use of my time. Like finally subscribing to Netflix and Amazon Prime...