TV announcers, please stop spoiling our emotional screen moments

Let viewers enjoy emotional moments in peace, begs Radio Times' television editor Alison Graham

Hugh Grant (Getty)

Imagine you’ve reached the last lines of a book you’ve treasured, a book that’s led you to steal away at every available minute just to read a few more paragraphs.

Advertisement

There’s a lovely, poignant moment at the end and you are swept away by your thoughts and reactions. It’s one of the great things about being human, about loving words and appreciating the emotions of others.

Then someone you don’t know leans right into your face and barks, “WASN’T THAT FANTASTIC?! I REALLY ENJOYED IT AND I WAS VERY MOVED. CAN I RECOMMEND SOMETHING ELSE YOU MIGHT LIKE TO START READING STRAIGHTAWAY?”

Eh, what? Who the hell are you?

“No one you know,” comes the reply. “Just a complete stranger who’s paid to pop up and scatter inane comments into the air like a stale breeze dispersing the remains of yesterday’s barbecue tray.”

That, ladies and gentlemen, is how I feel about the announcers, presentation people, call them what you will, who hijack special moments at the end of programmes precisely when I need a bit of space.

Oh lord, I hear you cry, not this again. Yes, sorry, it is this again. Everyone hates it, no one’s life is enriched by someone unseen and unknown popping into our heads to offer unsolicited inanities at the end of shows – particularly dramas, where it’s as unwelcome as a seagull on a rotary dryer.

Dear announcer/presentation person. Please believe me when I say that we have shared nothing, I don’t know you and you don’t know me. We haven’t sat on the sofa together getting chocolate on the cushions through an entire series of Poldark. Neither have we spilt wine on the rug because we were laughing so hard during A Very English Scandal.

And yet here you are, being all chummy. It happened at the end of the movie Florence Foster Jenkins on BBC1 the other week. What a great film. I’d seen it before and enjoyed it thoroughly again (how do I love thee, Hugh Grant, let me count the ways).

Meryl Streep walks a red carpet for Florence Foster Jenkins (Getty, EH)
Meryl Streep walks a red carpet for Florence Foster Jenkins (Getty, EH)

It has a sad, but beautifully tender ending, thanks to Grant, Meryl Streep as the tineared Florence, and director Stephen Frears. I knew what was coming, and I was braced. When it happened, I was just as sad as when I saw it the first time, and I needed to gather myself a bit as the final credits unfurled.

But, hey ho, what do you know, a presentation/announcer person gatecrashed my special moment with something so unmemorable that I have, unsurprisingly, forgotten it. Though I think it was some tat about “dreams can come true”. You don’t say.

It couldn’t have been more annoying if she’d burst through the patio doors bearing a pot of tea and a copy of The Little Book of Mindfulness, and stroking a cat.

I don’t need your trite observations, I have more than enough of my own, thank you. You add nothing and you take me nowhere. If you really must pipe up, then wait, use some judgement, you know what’s gone before so you must know when viewers would welcome a bit of quiet.

Advertisement

And don’t leap in to tell me that there’s another film on somewhere else later in the evening. We are a nation of TV planners, we do our own scheduling (of course with the invaluable help of RT) so we know this already. Please, for once, just button it.