IN OFFICES across the land a standard 9am conversation takes place.

I call it the: “What did you do last night?” ritual.

It amazes me how many people answer the nation’s customary question with: “Not much really, I watched that thing on TV.”

It could be Britain’s Got Talent, the football, The Runaway Bride, or James Bond repeats. Some can’t even remember what it was.

Ofcom reckons the average adult spends three hours and 45 minutes per day staring at the little black box. How depressing.

That’s more than a day each week. It adds up to 1,368 hours and 45 minutes a year.

It’s like the unrecognised drug of the nation, but I’m happy to say I’ve gone TV-total.

I quit when I was at university and never looked back. It has generated some telling conversations.: “So you don’t watch Eastenders OR Corrie?”


“Geez, what do you do all night?”

When I quit TV I suddenly gained hours of extra time. I painted, I read Canadian literature, I chatted more with my friends. I learned to cook with Udon noodles, I ran in the countryside.

Not all my time was productive. Sometimes when I was tired I lay on the floor of my bedroom and stretched my arms and legs out.

Admittedly, I messed around on my phone a lot, drank a ‘quantity’ of wine, and danced to Kelly Clarkson in Lancaster’s Hustle nightclub. But mostly, I seemed to do things I enjoyed.

Time is limited, even if it’s not stripped away by family commitments, and the idea of wasting it on something you don’t remember the next day is grim.

Nowadays, when I watch TV, on a screen in a pub or at my parents’ house in Derby, I am captivated by the novelty.

Occasionally I make a point to watch a particular programme and this week was just such an exception as I tuned in to the social experiment 56 Up - and it had me completely transfixed.

The documentary focused on the now 56-year-olds, including Neil Hughes from Bampton, near Shap, whose stories have been told in seven year instalments. It was a brilliant snapshot of life, which makes you wonder where you will be in seven, 14, and 21 years time.

Whatever you are up to, I hope you’re not watching something forgettable on TV.