Brian Edwards Media

Violent Response

Rapid ResponseThere are quite a few TV programmes you can watch without the sound and not miss a thing.  It even improves the comprehensibility of some of them. Unfortunately Rapid Response isn’t one of these programmes.  Unfortunately?  Yes, because the true love of Brian’s life, our wide-screen TV, is in danger of being smashed by a large and heavy object every time I have to listen to the commentary on the programme.  


What is driving me to the borders of insanity is the writing.  Almost every damned sentence starts with a present participle.  “Waiting for the bus, she…” “Calling for an ambulance, they…” “Suffering from terminal sneezing, he…”   There’s no crime in starting a sentence like this. It can be quite a useful construction – occasionally.  But not one sentence, after another, after another…


The effect of this patterned writing is exacerbated by the narrator, who delivers the script with an equally patterned delivery and all the animation of a stuffed toy.


Put this down to pedantry if you like, but us pendants can be ferocious when roused (just read the letters to the editor in any newspaper), and no-one wants us hurling the furniture at our telly sets.


So please, stop this lazy, annoying writing – and give the narrator several cups of strong coffee before the record.

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  1. Wolcott Gibbs made fun of this sort of breathless writing back in the thirties: Backward ran sentences until reeled the mind. Where it all will end, knows God.

  2. Changing channels is an option. Alternatively, you could drop the present participle if it makes you tense, and repeat the narration back through a Yoda filter, providing hours of mirth. eg.

    “Wait for the bus, she did.”
    “Call for an ambulance, you should.”

  3. Writing a comment, he agrees

  4. Don’t you mean: Saved the TV, you have!

  5. Reading the listings in the Listener, I decided I might as well give the TV away.

    • Reading the listings in the Listener, I decided I might as well give the TV away.

      It is a bit of a wasteland, isn’t it. And it will remain like that as long as the free-to-air channels are more interested in satisfyiing their advertisers than in putting on decent programmes

  6. River Howe: Reading the listings and articles in the Listener I threw the Listener away. Cancelled the sub.