Channel 4 and its one-time big brother ITV have their critical successes from time to time but, boy, don’t they milk them for all their worth.
Last night’s episode of Homeland, the topical thriller starring Damian Lewis and Claire Danes (apparently it’s Barack Obama’s favourite programme – hope he’s learning some useful counter-terrorism lessons) was stuffed full of ads, 16 minutes’ worth by my count and that’s not including the breaks before and after.
What made it worse was that the fact that these spots were obviously sold at a considerable premium so tended to attract the advertisers with budgets to match – raucous and garish ‘blockbuster’ movies and video games for the most part – thereby making the extended breaks even more intrusive. There was even an appearance by the unspeakable Moneysupermarket.com
There have already been moans and groans from UK TV viewers about this and it’s hardly a surprise. It’s exactly what ITV did when its period drama Downton Abbey began to bring in a classier-than-usual audience to the channel.
Which is what exactly? Proceed to drive them away by spoiling the programme entirely with a surfeit of advertising.