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 Alan Gandy

Spain is buzzing….

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Expat Spain is buzzing with the news! No, not the news of (probably fudged) record tourist numbers, or the news of (blatantly fudged) falling unemployment figures and economic growth. It’s the important news that’s flooding Facebook, Twitter and dominating the conversation in bars and cafés throughout Spain. The news that’s spilling like a flooded river in the south of England. The day nobody seemed to think would ever arrive. Yes you guessed it, BBC, ITV and Channel 4 have disappeared from everyone’s Sky box.

RIP BBCI sat this morning listening to a gaggle of expats outside a local bar discussing the future that remained unthinkable until a couple of days ago. The big question loudly permeating the terace was, “What now?”. “Eastenders buffered!”, “FilmOn” (cynically added affiliate link) doesn’t cut it for me”, “I don’t want to watch TV on a computer”. I’d like to say I am amazed at the scale of the reaction, sadly I’m not. Welcome to expat world!

Don’t get me wrong we’ve enjoyed being able to watch (illegally) BBC, and the other channels in real time, especially having spent 6 years on Lanzarote with no British TV to speak of. But seriously, is it the end of life as we know it? No, it’s not! Not in the slightest. As we only cherry pick our viewing, it’s simple enough to find an alternative – given our line of business, we’re up to the task of finding a technological workaround we can live with.

My heart goes out (I said that for effect rather than meaning it) to the plethora of expats who can’t live without 357 episodes (including repeats and omnibus editions) a week of Eastenders, Coronation Street and Emmerdale, not to mention the likes of Downton, Broadchurch and a whole other bunch of second rate dramas with the same old faces in them.

Really people, is that what life consists of? Watching that junk, talking about it, and now crying into your coffee/beer about its loss.

The whole thing is comical really… There’s no other word for it. You knew it was coming, you knew it would happen one day – there has been a stay of execution for quite some time.

The whole thing is like being given six months to live and then being surprised to find yourself on your death bed five years later….

That’s it. Get over it. Go and buy a kindle (another cynical affiliate link) and read a book or watch an Oscar winning movie, why not stimulate your brain instead of dumbing it down. Or, you could just get out more…

If you just can’t manage life without junk TV there are other alternatives, as well as a bunch of expats keen to rip you off .

No, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to watch Judge Judy on CBS Reality.

Link: This article from Puntomatica describes well some of the alternatives and the scam being inflicted on Bits by Brits (Surprise, surprise!)

14 Responses to Spain is buzzing….

  1. Karen S February 11, 2014 at 4:37 pm

    Still got access to all the rubbish where we are! Not one channel lost. Yet!
    Does that mean I’ll have to start watching it………
    There is always Spanish TV to explore…… :D

  2. Brian McLean February 11, 2014 at 4:53 pm

    NEVER watched British TV here nor have I ever wanted to, except for those shows broadcast (in dual) on Spanish TV. I have ever felt the need to keep that umbilical cord. I also don’t classify myself as an ex-pat. From day one I came to live in Catalunya and maybe this is the difference between “living here” and an ex-pat skating on the surface. Not that I watch much TV in general and must admit to using the original version option offered by 90% of channels here when airing foreign shows, films and series.

  3. Karen Young February 11, 2014 at 5:03 pm

    Hmm…you old cynic! Actually we’re not overly bothered about losing channels and if there’s anything we really want to see we can watch it online anyway. I stopped watching soaps when I moved here 6 years ago, and although I could watch them if I want, I don’t bother because we always seem to have more interesting things to do. However, you need to remember that there are quite a lot of fairly elderly people here who just love their soaps, so I’m not too surprised if some of them are a bit distraught at losing them! They are not the most active of people and those TV programmes are important to them. Look at it the other way round – if there were elderly Spanish people living in the UK would you be as harsh with them wanting to watch Spanish TV programmes?! As for the rest of the “ah-lah-ow dawleen!” brigade…..they have such little lives anyway and maybe aren’t very literate!

  4. Phil Burch February 11, 2014 at 5:20 pm

    So even with a 3m dish you can’t watch coronation street any more — enough to make you move back to the UK …

  5. Carol Byrne February 11, 2014 at 6:01 pm

    Love Judge Judy. Hope Alan never stands before her…. ;) ouch.

  6. Claire Fuelling Wilkings February 11, 2014 at 6:16 pm

    It’s amazing how many people who didn’t watch UK TV seem to have an opinion on it. I for one will miss it and those who want to judge me for that are wasting their energy. I don’t drink but if alcohol was suddenly outlawed I certainly wouldn’t go round being very smug saying well I don’t see what the problem is.
    By the way I checked with the TV License people some time ago – it is not illegal for us to watch Uk TV, however it may be contravention of their broadcasting licence to broadcast to Spain.

  7. Alan Gandy
    Alan Gandy February 11, 2014 at 6:16 pm

    Sorry, no, no sympathy. Legalities aside. It’s a simple commercial fact that has been coming for a long time. I’d be lying if I said I haven’t enjoyed having the choice, but hey, it’s not the end of the world. I’ll get on with it, you won’t hear me whining about in on a terrace any time soon.

  8. Alan Gandy
    Alan Gandy February 11, 2014 at 6:22 pm

    Moved to a different satellite Phil, with a much smaller footprint over the UK (http://skyinmadrid.com/pages/news.html)

  9. Alan Gandy
    Alan Gandy February 11, 2014 at 6:22 pm

    It would end up with Burt throwing me out ;)

  10. Alan Gandy
    Alan Gandy February 11, 2014 at 6:44 pm

    Are you talking about me Claire? Nowhere did I say I don’t (or should I say didn’t) watch terrestrial British TV (though I did point out I don’t watch soaps or trash). There are aspects I’ll miss. The point is – it really isn’t the end of the world!

  11. M Andrews February 11, 2014 at 7:11 pm

    How patronising. Why is Alan Gandy the arbiter of good taste? Why does he assume that most ex-pats watch nothing but soaps and what he deems to be trash? He overlooks the fact that there are a lot of single people in Spain and their TV is a good companion on these cold winter evenings.

  12. Alan Gandy
    Alan Gandy February 11, 2014 at 7:25 pm

    Read between the lines and you might find a smattering of humour in there… Still, I stand by my point. Perhaps I may not be the arbiter of good taste. I certainly do not purport to be such. Though I will not apologise my high base standard and reserve the right to say whatever I feel. ;)

  13. Brian McLean February 11, 2014 at 8:56 pm

    Anybody thinking of watching Spanish TV and not in Catalunya should be very wary. There is a LOT of crap on. Two things that ARE VERY recommendable on La Sexta are: El Intermedio (Government bashing satire) and Salvados (very well researched interviews and reports on modern-day Spain). Apart from that the two main private groups (Tele-5 and Antena 3 are the flagships) are in a very nasty battle for the lead and, as a consequence, are showing a large number of headline films and series most nights at about 10 pm but also throughout the day. Here is a link to the programme of channels which, for the most part, are free-to-air and should be available to most of Spain. http://parrilla-tv.lavanguardia.com/. The vast majority are broadcast in dual which means you can watch them in English (American) in most cases. Hope this helps.

  14. zone8zpsBrian February 13, 2014 at 5:13 pm

    Simple. Just connect a laptop or netbook and use filmon.com (they have HDi app’s for both Android and Windows systems) for hundreds of TV channels from around the World, including all BBC and ITV channels – and the channels that disappeared from the satellite system like Channel 5, 5 USA and so forth. Better still, invest less than €70 for a good Android box (Quad-core processor, 2 GB RAM and a 1.6Ghz CPU speed), with WiFi keyboard that has mouse touchpad and remote controls for TV – gives excellent high quality via internet – so fine for anyone with WiFi at home of around (min) 2MB or higher speed for downloads. Or, of course, get a life outdoors! :-)

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