Broadcasters should stop ruining TV with on-screen trails

Are you tired of having your viewing interrupted by trailers and captions?

On-screen trailers are bad – cluttering up the space between programmes, grabbing your lapels and yelling in your face like over-excited street drinkers.


Even worse are their pushy little cousins, the captions that suddenly appear over the closing scenes of Programme A reminding us to watch Programme B (see video, above). These are the devil’s work. These I would stash in my personal Room 101, along with beetroot, scented candles and the word “aplomb”.

Nobody needs them. Nobody has ever thought, “Thank heavens ITV2 has put a dayglo green banner across the screen during the touching climax of this film I’m watching, otherwise I might have missed The Only Way Is Essex at 10:15pm this evening.” But ITV2 does this a lot. It ruins whole films.

And that’s before the credits have been squashed up to accommodate a couple of shouty adverts for X Factor spin-off shows later that night. Still, if you watch ITV2, what do you expect? I realise this now and hope to learn from my mistakes.

But we don’t expect this sort of thing on the BBC. There we expect a posher, more devious kinds of cross promotion, whereby factual programmes piggy-back on news bulletins.

So a piece on Radio 4’s The World Tonight will précis a documentary about Pakistan that’s coming up on BBC2. You could argue that’s fair enough, though it devalues watching the programme.

Less forgivable is when, for instance, a very soft news story on the news at 10pm acts as a shameless plug for a Frank Gardner programme about Tintin several days later.


This kind of hawking feels slipshod and wrong. If BBC cuts mean that every corner of the schedule now has to be exploited to promote every other corner, the whole lot becomes devalued and, frankly, we might as well give up and watch ITV2. Where I think\tyou’ll find The Only Way Is Essex is on later.