TV Watching in UK 英倫睇電視

As the one who spends most of the time working with computers, it has been a very long time since I last sat down to watch the television. The recent self isolation period seemed to be the longest time that I spent on the television.


Most of the time I was sitting beside my family members watching programmes they selected. Series 1 of The Crown, YouTube compilations of the boy band Mirror and their brother group Error from ViuTV HK.

Frankly speaking, that was the first time I learned more about them and had a better understanding on the way ViuTV produced their programmes. Compared with TVB’s ‘template’ types of productions, ViuTV definitely reflected more of their sincerity.

I also attempted to find other UK TV programmes as well. However, as I was not familiar with the local TV scene, I could not find others to enjoy.

In the end, I could only found Top Gear, a programme that I used to enjoy more than twenty years ago. That is an extraordinary auto show with a group of extraordinary hosts. Want to know why?

Take a look at the following excerpt of the 1993 Top Gear show hosted by Jeremy Clarkson and you will have the answer.

這段時間大部份都是坐在一旁看家人選擇的節目,當中有第一季的 ”The Crown” 及 Viu TV HKMirrorError 特輯,亦是這段時間才真真正正去認識他們,瞭解Viu TV的製作手法。相比起大台的樣板式製作,ViuTV 總算展現多一點誠意。


最後發現了 “Top Gear“,我二十多年前的至愛,一個非一般的汽車節目,配上非一般的主持,何解?

看看這條 1993年 Jeremy Clarkson 的片段就會明白。

That Ford Escort RS Cosworth with a huge Whale-tail rear spoiler was also one of my dream cars.

In 2015, BBC chose not to renew Jeremy Clarkson’s contract for the upcoming Top Gear series and this subsequently led to the departure of both Richard Hammond and James May. Although they were succeeded with other hosts, I personally believed that the original team was still the best.

而這部擁有巨大鯨魚尾翼的 Ford Escort RS Cosworth 亦是我的夢中至愛之一!

2015 年 Jeremy Clarkson 被非,其後另外兩位主持 Richard HammondJames May 亦相繼離隊。節目雖然換上其他主持,但我總覺得失去那份原有的色彩。

I was a little bit upset by Series 30 Episode 1, the one that I watched.

Top Gear was a show that characterised with live studio audiences, whom the hosts would interact with them to stir up the atmosphere. However, with the outbreak of the pandemic, the programme had to be filmed in BBC’s Television Centre instead of the original Dunsfold Aerodrome, and most importantly, there was no more live audience. What around the hosts were just the crew members as well as other colleagues of BBC.

Despite the scene seemed to be rather deserted, the crew members and the other BBC colleagues did help to add a touch of coziness.

這次看的是 Series 30 Episode 1,亦令我有點傷感。

Top Gear 一個特色是現場觀眾,主持人會和他們互動,實情是用他們來攪氣氛。因應疫情控制,這一季需由原先的 Dunsfold Aerodrome 改至 BBC 的 Television Centre 拍攝,也不再有現場觀眾,只換上了工作人員及其他的 BBC 職員。


Top Gear Series 30 Episode 1

In this episode, the hosts went to the Lake District for an emotional reunion with their own dads’ old cars. Among them were the Cortina and Fiesta from Ford UK and BMW 323i from Germany. Throughout the scenes, the hosts shared their good old memories as a teenager in the rear seats of their dad’s car.

For the Ford Cortina, it also bought back the memory of my enthusiasm for cars while I was in elementary school.

這一集主持人同大家重溫父親的舊車,三架車當中有兩部是英國本土的 Ford CortinaFiesta,再加上德國的 BMW 323i。透過畫面,各人分享昔日兒時作為後座乘客的感受,對父親及車輛的回憶。

而那部 Ford Cortina 也喚出我小學時代對汽車的那份狂熱。

When talking about TV watching in UK, I have to mention the TV Licence, a controversial topic in UK.

If you are watching or recording any live broadcast through TV or any media streaming platforms, or watch any BBC programmes with the BBC iPlayer, no matter it is viewed with TV, computer or any mobile devices, you have to pay TV Licence. It costs GBP 159 for colour TV or GBP 53.3 for Black and White TV, with some other discount options. Responsible party will remind you to register and pay the licence, otherwise, you will be against the law.

When I first moved to my apartment, I had received a letter reminding me the TV Licence registration. As I was focusing on the bits and pieces of settlement, somehow I failed to follow up with the issue. Shortly after the first month, I received the second reminder letter indicating that they would start to investigate why I did not register for the TV Licence. Furthermore, I might be prosecuted. Another month came by, I was again reminded that officers had been authorised to visit my apartment for licence investigation and urged me to take immediate action.

提起在英國收看電視,就不得不講講英國的 “電視税“,TV Licence,一個頗具爭議性的項目。

如果你會通過電視或任何串流服務收看、錄影直播,或用 BBC iPlayer 觀看 BBC 節目;無論你是使用電視、電腦或手提流動裝置,根據法例你必須附 TV Licence。彩色電視每年 159 鎊,黑白電視減一點,53.5 鎊,另有一些寬減優惠。相關部門會提醒你必須跟從,否則會違法。

剛搬進現時居所不久,收到第一封通知信,提醒住戶要交 TV Licence。這段時間正忙於辦理定居的鎖碎事,當然沒有即時跟進。約一個月後收到另一封警告信,通知你他們已開始調查住戶不申請 TV Licence 的原因,而住客亦有可能被檢控及罰款。再一個月又收到執法人員已獲授權上門檢查的通知,催促住戶要即時跟進。

Among the discussion from the Internet, mainstream opinion advised just to ignore it. They considered the reminder is just a threatening but with no actual power with respect to legal action.

Personally, I also found the TV Licence a little disturbing. However, operating the BBC Broadcasting service demands an enormous amount of money and charging seems to be inevitable. To be honest, living in UK do require ongoing live news in addition to those information available in various online media.

As law had been made for TV Licence, I believed we have the responsibility to pay if we are actually using it.

On the other hand, I definitely support other means of works to ask for revision of the licensing policy.


評心而論,這個法例感覺上有點過時,但營運整個 BBC 服務都要用上很多經費;而定居於英國,自己一家亦需要收看即時新聞資訊,單靠其他網上媒體的報導是不太足夠。



A couple of days ago, I watched another famous film, “The Deer Hunter” first released in 1978.

The first time I watched the film was at the “Sunbeam Theatre” in North Point, Hong Kong and that was my high school period. I and my classmates borrowed bags of reference books from the City Hall Library. It was raining cats and dogs that day and we decided to watch a film in order to stay away from the heavy rain.

Having sat in the second row of the theatre hall and raised our heads towards the screen for more than three hours, we were very tired, and astonished by the frightening scenes of the film. That miserable feeling still remained in my heart.

Despite I had watched the film many many times, I could not go on watching when Robert de Niro returned home from Vietnam.

Maybe it was too upsetting or my mindset have changed a lot these days.

早幾天又找來 1978 年的 “獵鹿者“,”The Deer Hunter“。

第一次看是在香港北角的 “新光戲院“,那時是我的中學時代。一班同學到大會堂圖書館借來一大堆的參考書,剛巧遇上傾盆大雨,決定去看戲順便避雨。


往後亦從電視台重看了不知多少遍,但今次看至 Robert De Niro 準備回歸家鄕時,始終沒法再看下去,可能是太傷感,又或者是心境變化吧!

The Deer Hunter 獵鹿者

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5 replies »

  1. 說到Top Gear, 記得有一段來自一個模仿秀裡的橋段,演出“Top Gear 1910” ,他們介紹的是四輪馬車,當時的車行速度還都是好幾小時,然後精確度還無法計算到秒,有些好笑

    Liked by 2 people

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