A Driving Instructor's Blog

Movies & TV

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The wrong sort of cream teaBefore Christmas I wrote about the most annoying ad in the world (at the moment) – the TUI ad, which is still on Sky One every ten bloody minutes.

It’s so annoying that I would never book a holiday with TUI, just on principle, and I switch the sound off or change channels as soon as it comes on. Of course, in the future – around 2030 or so – I might feel differently about booking a holiday through them, though right now they have no chance. But after all is said and done, it is just… annoying. Really, really annoying. But still just annoying.

However, some people are nutcases. Especially if they are Cornish, it would seem.

The BBC has this story about a Mother’s Day advert produced by the National Trust for “cream teas”. For anyone who doesn’t know, a cream tea is a peculiarly British thing, defined as:

…a meal taken in the afternoon consisting of tea to drink with scones, jam, and cream

This definition doesn’t do it justice, though. It is a ritual, and is only a proper cream tea if the tea is served in annoyingly small china teacups and – I wouldn’t be surprised to learn – stirred using spoons with a strict length and chemical composition. The reason I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that is that it seems the order in which the jam and cream (clotted cream, actually) are placed on the scone is also rigidly defined. At least in the minds of the aforementioned nutcases.

The picture at the top of this post is what has called all the fuss. Although I have never stooped so low as to have a cream tea because of the “ritualness” of it, it does look rather appetising. The picture below – a proper cream tea, allegedly – doesn’t.

The correct sort of cream teaAnd yet National Trust members (the secret wing of the Brexit campaign, I suspect, if you go on age) are threatening to cancel their memberships as a result of the ad. Some reckon it “makes them feel sick”. All it is is a bloody cake with jam and cream, and the order doesn’t make it taste any different anymore than a ham salad sandwich tastes different if you put the lettuce and tomatoes on in reverse order.

The Trust’s Visitor Experience manager is playing with fire when he makes light of the situation – some of those morons are serious.

Another ad (well, series of ads) which is shining a light on the average IQ of the typical Briton is the Nationwide one, featuring Flo and Joan.

Flo and Joan – played by Nicola and Rosie Dempsey – sing typical advert songs in front of a home keyboard. I suppose I should be annoyed by this one, too, but for some reason I can’t put my finger on I’m not. I’ve not listened to the words, and I’m neither driven towards or away from opening an account with Nationwide. But there’s just something about Flo and Joan that is… OK.

That’s not true for the nutcases, though. People have issued death threats to Nicola and Rosie, and these are deemed serious enough to have involved the police. Looking at some of the samples, it’s hard to believe they are deadly serious, but they overstep the mark enough to make you wonder.

Disliking something – even being intensely annoyed about it – is one thing. But to go so far as to cancel membership of an organisation which does good work or to issue threats of violence over something so trivial just doesn’t make sense.

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As I’ve mentioned in the About Me section, I seriously considered becoming a teacher before I went down the route of being a driving instructor. I like teaching people.

I saw an advert on the TV just now from the Department for Education pushing its Get Into Teaching campaign.

I think it’s fair to say, judging from those in the clip, that I wouldn’t be able to do it now. The advert clearly implies that only women and possibly those from minority groups are eligible. The video above carries interviews with seven people (six women, one male). The second video in the series has ten interviews (8 women, two men).

It’s funny, isn’t it? If it had been the other way round, World War III would probably have started.

I hate positive discrimination. It is usually far more deliberate than the usual type everyone gets worked up about.

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I’ve not done one of these for quite some time, but I am currently being driven to distraction by the most annoying TV advert of the year. It’s for TUI Holidays, and it features an irritating, gap-toothed woman, and a thin, whiny female voice singing an already-irritating song (“Ain’t Nobody”, by Rufus and Chaka Khan). According to one source I used, the actress in the ad, Bethany Louise Slater, is also the singer. However, a reader has recently written to me to inform me that they used a separate singer. Whatever and whoever, the singing is crap.

It’s made worse by the fact that TUI appears to be sponsoring Sky One this Christmas, so the bloody thing is on at least twice every 5-7 minutes – i.e. at the start and end of every ad break.

Edit: And it’s not just me. TV Ad Music refers to the music thus:

Such a shame, then, that they’ve chosen to soundtrack the ad with a terribly insipid cover version of… The trend for anaemic covers of classic songs in TV ads is long established…

Campaign describes it:

Turkey of the week… It’s a cheesy ad with poor singing and dancing…

And a lot of others feel similarly.

Incidentally, after a few weeks, Sky toned it right down, and although the annoying muted piano intro still appears with the same regularity at either end of ad breaks, the full version is thankfully much less frequent. I wonder if Sky will ever realise that they could well lose customers if they persist in showing really annoying sponsor adverts at saturation levels every year?

When will it stop?

Well, I’m writing this update in mid-February 2018, and the bloody thing is still being shown. Every ad break. And I’m getting more and more people finding the blog on search terms amounting to “when will Sky stop showing it?”

The short answer is that I don’t know. But one thing I do know is that I have been avoiding Sky One like the plague, and switching channels when the ad comes on. Furthermore, I will never book a holiday through TUI now on a point of principle. And I very much doubt that I’m the only one.

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Sad Hill Cemetery in the movieI just caught this story on the BBC website.

The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly (TGTBATU) is the best film of all time. I should say that that’s just my opinion, but I don’t want to water it down. It just is.

It has sentimental value to me as well. An uncle, who died many years ago, was going to take me to see it when it was on at the cinema. I had been captivated by the music, which was being played a lot on the radio, and he said he’d take me. It never came to pass, because about five minutes after he’d said it, my auntie pointed out that it had an ‘X’ rating and they wouldn’t let a 7-year old in.

I digress. A while back, I was playing around with Google Earth, and since TGTBATU was on one of the satellite channels again I looked up the location of Sad Hill cemetery – the setting for the iconic final scene in the movie. The scenery in the film had always impressed me, but the location in Northern Spain turned out to be overgrown. It was an unofficial off-the-beaten-track tourist target, but it was just an overgrown valley – albeit still with great scenery. I’d made a mental note to visit the place if I ever got the chance.

Anyway, it appears from this story that a group of volunteers has renovated the site and put it back to the condition it was in when the movie was shot.

Time to start planning the trip.

Where is Sad Hill on Google Earth?

I can’t believe someone found this story based on that search term!

If you launch Google Earth and type “Sad Hill” into the search box, it takes you straight to it. No choices to make, it just goes there. The address is shown as Sad Hill Cemetery – 09610 Santo Domingo de Silos, Burgos, Spain. Coordinates are 41°59’25.71″N, 3°24’30.77″W.

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Tom Baker - the definitve DoctorI told you! Back in January, I speculated that the odds of the next Doctor Who being female were good.

Let’s not beat about the bush here. The fact that the new Doctor Who will be female is contrived – contrived with a capital “C”. The media response to it just highlights the fact.

The Huffington Post has “Girl’s Reaction To Jodie Whittaker Announcement Sums Up How Important A Female Doctor Is “. The BBC is busy blowing its own trumpet, with “Jodie Whittaker and the other sci-fi women breaking the glass ceiling”. The BBC also has “Doctor Who: Prime Minister welcomes first female Time Lord”.

As I said back in January, the titular character in Doctor Who was never intended to be anything other than male. That’s no slight on women, it’s just the way it is. This current situation might well satisfy the right-on BBC and the rabid feminists out there, but it is roughly the equivalent of casting Tom and Jerry as an aardvark and a lemur (in that order). It just doesn’t make any sense.

Now, when this one’s tenure ends, what are the odds of the next Doctor being transgender?


I’ve been getting a few comments from people on this story. Just to clarify:

  • The Doctor was a male character
  • The Doctor has always been a male character
  • yes, there were female Timelords, but The Doctor was not one of them
  • the decision to “regenerate” The Doctor as a female is absolutely a decision motivated by political correctness
  • before the decision was finally made, there were various pushes to make The Doctor into a character representing minority groups

No matter how you try to put spin on it, it was a deliberate decision to put a woman into a role which was always intended to be masculine. I’m sorry, but it was. The only way of justifying it is to rewrite the historical storyline in order to claim that it was always possible – and then pretending that you believe it.

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Wonder Woman - from the upcoming filmThere’s a new superhero film on its way, this time a remake of Wonder Woman. That second word pretty much guarantees that everyone involved with the film is going to be strung up by the feminist community, no matter how feminine, masculine, or neutral the main character ends up as being portrayed.

In fact, it has already started. In her armpits.

Apparently, the tinfoil helmet brigade have already decided that her armpits have been digitally altered, and are… wait for it… up in arms over it (I couldn’t resist).

Twitter has turned incandescent over the matter, but someone beat me to it with this picture suggesting what she looked like before the digital airbrush treatment.The unaltered version

I almost choked when I saw it.

The simple fact is that with high definition imaging these days, someone’s armpits are going to put you right off your popcorn, no matter if they’re au naturel or freshly mowed. A bit of electronic jiggery-pokery is of benefit to everyone except the professional loonies out there.

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Unicef logoI was watching TV just now, and an appeal came on for Syrian children asking for a donation of £3 to buy a blanket. I suddenly felt quite benevolent (actually, I do occasionally make donations, usually through DEC, and once or twice through crowdfunding websites). I usually resist formal charities like the plague – and I was reminded why, yet again.

I was just about to text and make my donation when I had a thought. A quick Google revealed that if you do text Unicef, you subsequently receive nuisance phone calls and texts every day, with absolutely no way of stopping them. The calls are trying to pressure people into further or increased donations.

Sorry, Unicef. Sort the problem out yourselves. If you’re so thick you can’t see the negative impact such behaviour has on your campaign, there’s no way I could trust you with a bottle cap, let alone £3 of mine.

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Obsoletely Fabulous - FuturamaSky’s Discovery channels often carry a lot of stuff about evolution, which is quite ironic given the reaction by many people on various web forums over the last couple of months to the possibility that the Sky/Discovery partnership would become extinct at midnight on 31 January 2017.

I fully accept that there are people out there who are happy to watch 640×480 YouTube videos (or ones they stole on BitTorrent) on their Linux boxes. I also accept that these people are programmed at the genetic level (and they have fewer genes than most anyway) to try to persuade everyone else to do likewise.

It wasn’t much of a surprise, therefore, to see a number of people announce that they were going to get rid of Sky as a result of all this.

Except – and here’s the funny part – Sky and Discovery came to an agreement sometime late on 31 January and ensured the continuation of Discovery channels through Sky for “years to come”.

I wonder how many jumped ship before they found out it wasn’t sinking after all?

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Tom Baker's Doctor WhoAnother one which follows on tentatively from the previous two articles.

I haven’t watched Doctor Who since Tom Baker left, and although the reboot of the series in recent years seemed to take a quantum leap in terms of budget and effects, it just doesn’t interest me anymore – maybe I just grew up? I don’t know. But the BBC loves hyping the show up, and whenever the current actor playing the Doctor announces he is stepping down (as Peter Capaldi, the present Doctor, has just done), “speculation” on who might take over fills the Beeb’s website almost immediately.

Almost by definition, the “Doctor” in Doctor Who is a male character. He was never conceived as anything else. Naturally, to the BBC, this now means that four out of the eleven suggested short-listers are female.

I wonder what odds the bookies will be offering? Could be worth a flutter.

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