Spoiling for a fight

The iPlayer mafia with its code of silence is ruining the fun of watching TV

So, you still don’t know who murdered Nanna Birk Larsen in The Killing? And you haven’t yet discovered the secret at the heart of The Shadow Line? What’s that, you are delightfully ignorant about who was fired in The Apprentice in last week’s episode?


Ah, I see, because you have yet to catch up on iPlayer, or you are still only up to episode four on your series link? Oh, right, you’re expecting the box sets for your birthday/anniversary/ Christmas. Oh, you’ve booked a mime troupe who are going to act it out in your living room. Aren’t you the lucky one.

So you expect the rest of us to keep schtum until you catch up, is that it, even though the original transmission, the one watched in huge numbers, is long ago and far away?

You don’t want me to ruin anything, did you say? If you are even within earshot of any conversation I might wish to have with anyone, about any of the above, you will make extravagant gestures involving sticking your fingers in your ears and humming loudly before subjecting me to an omertà to make John Gotti proud. So now that you’ve heard, you’re going to put a horse’s head in my bed, are you?

What’s more, you don’t want anyone, anywhere in the world, to mention anything online and particularly on Twitter about these gaps in your viewing (that’s YOUR viewing, not that of the vast majority). I wonder, how long would you like this bespoke news blackout to last? A month? A year? Until the last syllable of recorded time? And all because you don’t want to be spoiled.

Ah yes, that pesky word so beloved of the precious. People, it’s television, not the Manhattan Project. It’s public and it’s up for discussion. If you aren’t up to date, then hard luck, the onus is on you to do the avoiding, you have to take the chance that – oh no! – you’ll hear something you don’t like. The rest of us would like to chat about it, if you don’t mind.

I object to arch, finger-wagging whingers sucking the fun out of television and diluting that so-important communal experience aspect of telly-watching. Talking about TV’s moments used to be a joy. If we wanted to know who shot JR then we had to watch Dallas THAT NIGHT. Not a week later. And we talked about it THE DAY AFTER. There was none of this hand-flapping and behaving like a Victorian matron who’s seen a copy of Playboy.


It’s particularly irritating online: come on, it’s called social networking, not anti-social networking. The minority imposing silence on the majority is fascistic and, at the very least, rude. I’ve had enough of it. So, here goes: Nanna Birk Larsen’s killer is…