Television is much spoken about nowadays. It has both good and bad points. What are your arguments for and against watching TV?
It goes without saying that television plays a very important part in people’s lives. It’s a wonderful source of information and one of the best ways to spend free time and not to feel bored. Television viewing is by far the most popular leisure pastime. For example, in Britain over 99 per cent of British homes have a TV, and the average person watches "the box” 26 hours a week. It’s not surprising, because TV channels show a great variety of programmes: documentaries and current affairs programmes, feature films and comedies, soaps and police series, concerts and talk shows.
There are four TV channels in Britain: BBC 1, BBC 2, ITV and Channel 4. BBC 1 and BBC 2, the two state channels, do not show adverts. ITV and Channel 4, the two independent channels, do show adverts. BBC 1 and ITV tend to broadcast popular programmes: sports programmes, recent films, news, game shows, children’s programmes and soaps. BBC 2 and Channel 4 show programmes which usually attract much smaller audiences: TV plays, classical concerts, foreign films and programmes for minority groups.
Russian television has between 10 and 15 channels, which show all kinds of programmes: news and sports programmes, talk shows and quizzes, documentaries and feature films, soaps and police series, comedies and concerts.
Thanks to satellites, TV viewers can increase their options and watch TV from different countries. Conventional television has to struggle to retain its audience, as people switch over to cable viewing, satellite TV, or renting video cassettes.
Television is a reflection of the modern world. It gives you an opportunity to travel all over the world, to see different people and learn about their customs and traditions. Television keeps you informed about the rest of the world. And of course, it helps you to escape from everyday problems.
A lot of people usually relax watching soaps – TV serials which dramatise their characters’ daily life. Their story lines are entertaining, but often unbelievable. I don’t think that they show life realistically; but to many people, the characters in the weekly TV serial shows have become more important than real people.
As for me, I prefer watching different quizz shows. That’s why my favourite TV programme is "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” It is shown twice a week, and lasts about an hour. The programme is now hosted by Maxim Galkin. It is a game show where the player is asked different questions. If the answers are correct, the participant gets a lot of money. But if he is wrong, he loses everything. I particularly enjoy watching this programme, because the questions are always very interesting and they help me to expand my outlook. Besides, it’s a perfect way to be in the know about everything. I find this programme clever and informative and try not to miss it.
Of course, not everything shown on TV is made in good taste. There are badly-written programmes which contain unnecessary bad language and violence. The strange thing is that neither politicians nor producers like to admit that watching violence on TV leads to greater violence on the streets.
Many people admit that the quality of television could be better. They would prefer to see fewer soap operas and crime series, and more history, drama, and science. One reason for the poor quality of programmes is advertising. Not all people like watching commercials. They find ads silly and boring. As for me, I don’t take advertising seriously. On the one hand, advertisements help people choose the best products and get the best value for their money. But on the other hand, they show life unrealistically and give false information. Besides, in adverts all people seem to be happy consumers, all kids seem to be healthy and well off. But this is not true at all. What is more, I find it very annoying when a film stops at the most interesting moment. Nevertheless, I am not against commercials on TV, because television companies earn their money from advertising.
Another thing I would like to complain about is the amount of smoking in the films that are shown on TV. Smoking is often shown as a very "cool” thing to do – making young people much more likely to copy what they see, and take up smoking themselves.
Some people say that television is a terrible waste of time. Of course, there are TV addicts who can’t drag themselves away from the box. They watch TV for hours without choosing programmes, and spend time in front of television which they could spend talking to their friends and family. In this case, television makes them really waste time. But on the contrary, if we watch TV for an hour a day, to find out what is happening in the world or to relax, then television is really useful.In short, television does have its good points. Many of the broadcast programmes are educational and can help with schoolwork. A good soap-opera or a comedy is a source of relaxation for many people. Television also provides jobs for thousands of people. So I think it is not the TV itself which is to blame for the bad effects it has, but the fact that people do not know how to make the best use of it.
1. Why is watching TV one of the most popular leisure activities?
2. Do you like watching TV?
3. How often do you watch TV?
4. What are your favourite channels (programmes)?
5. What are the channels (programmes) your family likes to watch?
6. Do you agree that television has the power to educate? Why?
7. What do you think of advertising on TV?
8. Do you think watching TV is one of the best ways to spend free time?
9. What do British/Russian TV channels offer their viewers?
10. Which British TV channels (programmes) would you like to watch?
11. What TV programmes do you like best? Why?
12. What is your attitude towards soap operas?
13. Which programmes on Russian television would you recommend to your foreign friends?