Check out our latest magazine... Read Online

If You Ask Me... Who needs Television anyway?

The first thing people say when they visit Flo Whitaker’s home is “Where’s the TV?” Unimpressed by television from an early age, Flo still reckons the radio has the best pictures

I’m one of those weirdos who doesn’t own a telly - it’s simply never appealed. I grew up in a house with a TV, but the signal in rural Devon was decidedly unreliable. It wasn’t unusual to switch on the set, wait for the valves to warm up and cease their humming, (remember that?) then spend ten minutes watching the ‘snowstorm’ interference before giving up and trotting off to find something else to do. Living yards from the sea, a menacing wall of fog could silently roll into the valley and stubbornly remain for days.

A schoolfriend’s uncle lived in Exeter in a new-build house that, apparently, had fitted carpets, central heating, two lavatories and a powerful TV signal. We listened, astonished and saucer-eyed at this. His home sounded like something from a James Bond movie - not that we’d been able to watch a Bond film recently shown on the telly, (on account of the fog), so a village charabanc outing had been arranged to see one at a local cinema instead - a thrilling prospect!

Unfortunately, the coach broke down, but the cinema kindly arranged another screening the following day. As the coach was still acting temperamental and the sea was flat calm, a small flotilla of assorted boats assembled and we chugged into Lyme Regis a mere 24 hours late, having already consumed the sandwiches intended for the return journey.

I don’t remember much about the film, only that it was noisy, violent and populated with thoroughly unpleasant people. For me, the most exciting part of the outing was the sea voyage and the ice cream interval and I began to form the opinion that stories and pictures are more vivid on the radio. It’s a view I still hold and I’m probably the last person alive that buys the Radio Times … for the radio listings.

More from Downtime

  • If You Ask Me... Never Argue with an Idiot

    This month, Flo Whitaker recalls some words of advice from her father: “Don’t pick an argument with an idiot – you’ll never win. They’re a highly-experienced expert because they’ve been an idiot their entire life”

  • Kids Zone: Mosaic Art

    Get creative with this month’s fun and sustainable activity – mosaic art. Sara Whatley explains what to do

  • What to Watch in April 2024

    Our monthly guide to all the best film and television coming your way in April...

  • If You Ask Me: The Jobsworth and the Frog

    There is a malaise creeping through society whereby authorities and businesses use absurd interpretations of regulations as excuses not to provide services or assistance, writes Flo Whitaker

  • What to Watch in March 2024

    From science-fiction epics to supernatural horrors and family adventures, here's our guide to the best new films and TV shows arriving in March...

  • If You Ask Me... Politicians need a Translator

    With elections, resignations and government enquiries aplenty, 2024 is already proving to be a busy year. In these confusing times, Flo Whitaker offers her interpretation of the most frequently-occurring narratives and themes…

  • Dark Skies Festival 2024: Where & When to Gaze at the Stars

    Embrace the darkness with our guide to all the stargazing opportunities coming to Sussex over the next week…

  • Be Well, Move Happy: Walking & Silence

    In our new series on wellness and movement, Sara Whatley will be diving into two complementary health topics each month. She kicks off with silence and walking

  • Special Interest Holidays: Try Something Different

    A chance to take a break, relax and recharge is one of life’s great pleasures, this month Lisa de Silva looks at combining interests with time out

  • 5 Ways to Cultivate Mindfulness

    In the bustling world of 24/7 technology and constant demands on our time, mindfulness is more relevant and necessary than ever. For many, the daily hustle and bustle can become overwhelming. Mindfulness, the art of being present and fully engaged in the moment, offers a respite, enabling us to find calm amidst the chaos.

  • Love Local Community Campaign

    Sussex Living is proud to be launching a campaign to support our High Streets, bring prosperity to businesses and help grow a thriving community.Because if we don’t use them, we will lose them.

  • Summer Activity Ideas To Entertain You and the Kids

    Summer in Sussex offers long, sunny days perfect for making memories with the kids.

  • Summer School - Part 2

    In the second part of our series on summer holiday learning opportunities, Hanna Prince looks at how to keep kids engaged with practical, creative and hands-on activities. Learning needn’t end when the holidays begin. The focus on maths and literacy in schools means that children don’t always get the opportunity to explore other topics – and summer is the perfect time to give their natural interests free reign. Whether you’re nurturing a budding artist, a sports fanatic or the next Bear Grylls, here’s how to broaden their horizons and weave extra-curricular education into your summer routine.

  • The Ultimate Act of Love: Providing for Your Family's Future with a Will

    Making a will is one of the most important things you can do, regardless of your age or financial situation. Unfortunately, many of us put it off, whether it’s because of the morbid topic of our own mortality or because we just don’t know where to start.

  • Five of the best anti aging facial exercises

    Facial exercises are often utilized as an alternative to more invasive treatments for combating the appearance of aging. By strengthening and toning the muscles under the skin, facial exercises can promote a more youthful appearance. Here are five of the best anti-aging facial exercises:

  • Five Essential Fashion Classics For the Mature Woman

    Fashion is an ever-evolving art form, but some styles withstand the test of time, epitomizing timeless elegance and sophistication. For the mature woman, embracing classic fashion styles allows her to exude confidence, grace, and a refined sense of style. In this article, we explore five enduring fashion styles that perfectly complement the mature woman, helping her look and feel her best in any situation.

  • Get your children involved in litter picking this Summer holidays

    Be like the Wombles and become the worlds best litter pickers and recyclers, making good use of bad rubbish, says Sara Whatley

  • So you think you know Brighton’s history?

    Brighton is one of our favourite seaside destinations in Sussex and is renowned for its lively atmosphere, stunning architecture, and rich cultural heritage. With a history that spans centuries, Brighton has seen a myriad of transformations and historical milestones. Let's explore five fascinating historical facts about Brighton that showcase its unique past.

  • Five Early Summer Reads to Enjoy in the Sunshine

    For June, five releases that combine romance, rock, and restorative justice.

  • A basic guide to insurance by Lisa De Silva

    Insurance can safeguard you, your family, and your property against the risk of loss, damage, illness, or death. In return for paying a regular premium, an insurance company will compensate you against any financial loss.