UK in Canada 3 — Media

February 14, 2010

Here’s a shot of an addled American on the box to underline that another place you’ll see the UK in Canada is in the media. As the world continues to shrink and the 500-channel universe is upon us (500 used to sound like a huge number), cable and satellite companies are scrambling to find enough content to fill channels to satisfy an impatient market. In Canada, where we already have access to a large array of U.S. radio and TV stations (for good and for ill), media outlets are increasingly turning to other parts of the Anglosphere to pad their schedules — we’re hearing many more Australian and British accents on the box these days. Media outlets here have read the tea leaves and seen the opportunity for profit by recycling BBC programs (on BBC Canada, BBC World and BBC Kids… Baa…laa…mo…ry!) for an audience that associates the Beeb with quality programs. We’ve been watching the good stuff  filtered to us on PBS and TVO for years, after all.

The trouble is that the stuff we get on BBC Canada is often crap. Far too much of it is Canadian re-runs to meet “Canadian content” regulations (thanks, CRTC!) and the rest is a toss-up between Jonathan Ross (that’s Tom on his show, above), “Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps” and the fourth time we’ve seen the same bloody house in Hounslow cleaned, sold or renovated. It’s a terrific relief when something like “Life on Mars” or “Top Gear” (a guilty secret) comes along.

The answer to all this? The Internet. The 500-channel pre-packaged universe is on its way to becoming irrelevant in a world where we can dial up what we want, when we want it (I’m listening to BBC Scotland’s drive-time “Get it On” as I type this). Give us good UK programming, but spare us the dross with an accent.

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