I’m really old-fashioned, and only watch BBC TV – which doesn’t carry adverts.
For the past three weeks I’ve been glued to ITV4. It carries the Tour de France, and I love the drama of it all. It starts innocuously, then a few riders will break away from the Peloton (technical term meaning the main body of riders). Each day they cover 150+ kilometres, travelling at 30-45km/hr. Exhausting work, and that continues for three weeks. I’m full of admiration for all those involved. Not just the riders; there’s a horde of support vehicles, dozens of motorbikes, who provide support, water, cameramen, and police, and at least five helicopters. All of these folk buzz around the cyclists (they are much more than that, they are superb sportsmen) all day. It’s incredible that they don’t bump into each other, more often.
In this heat the Tour de France gives me the opportunity to fill a jug of water, perhaps the odd snack and to sit on my backside for about four hours. Constant attention is needed you never know when there will be a breakaway. Collisions do happen, and can be both damaging to the riders and spectacular.
It can be annoying. Given half a chance they will break for adverts. Not only are these banal they are repeated again and again. It makes me question the logic of TV supported by adverts. It’s even more ridiculous when you realise that companies like Sky charge monthly fees and then also force its customers to watch adverts. Who has gone mad?
ITV clearly buy the coverage from another company. That lucky bunch also give their signals to about 200 other TV companies worldwide. It makes BBC’s licence fee such a joy. Another way, used by many of my friends, is to pre-record the event, then replay without adverts. Some recorders will do that automatically, others allow you to revel in not watching adverts as they flash on the screen as you scoot towards the next portion of the show.
Whilst I’m in a moaning mood I’ll just mention the commentators. They are all experts, knowing all about cycle racing. They tend to forget they have an audience. The TV pictures move around a lot, hopping from one group of riders to another. The commentary does two things I dsislike. They don’t link their chat to me, and they assume that I know all the riders. Giving out rider numbers would help.
Must go, the Tour starts in a minute.