State of the Obvious

Is it me, or is there a bit of a rash of "Well Duh.." telly at the moment. Programs where earnest and worried looking presenters are pictured in moody poses telling us things like alcohol makes you drunk and do daft things, or that smoking cigarettes might not actually be the healthy, lifegiving, pastime that the cigarette advertisers once made lots of people believe. Even as I write this I can imagine producers pitching programs about the blueness of the sky, or the whole truth about what bears do in the woods.

Anyhoo, last night it was the turn of all householders. The BBC spent some of our hard earned licence money on a bunch of houses in the North East and then proceeded to do dangerous things to them to see what happens. This is presumably for those viewers out there who have not figured out that leaving the bathtap running, starting a fire in the front room, living in a hurricane zone or, and most memorably, filling the house with gas and then lighting the boiler, may lead to structural problems with your building.

The first example of domestic mishap, the "bath through the ceiling" was a bit contrived in my opinion. It turns out that if you have a huge cast iron bath with no overflow in a bathroom from which the supporting wall underneath has been removed, a production assistant has sawn through some of your joists and then you leave the taps on with the plug in, you can look forward to a finding a new meaning to "en suite". The video was very impressive I must say.

The second one was actually deeply scary. Your nice, shiny, nylon packed house can be a toxic smoke filled inferno in around 5 minutes. Moral: Leave the bedroom doors closed at night and get a smoke alarm. Oh, and don't leave candles burning round the bath overnight.

The third one was just plain daft. The premise was that in a hurricane things get blown about a bit, although the most dramatic moment looked to me as if the producer had got bored and just chucked a dustbin through the window at the end to make it more interesting.

The finale though was most impressive though. A house full of gas goes, quite literally, like a bomb. We got lots of angles of stuff being blown up into the air. Great, and I'm sure very educational.

From a public service point of view I suppose the thing had value. I went round three times turning everything off before I went upstairs, instad of the usual twice. However, at three in the morning, having been lying awake worrying about all the potential horrors that could befall me in my little house, I managed to get to sleep by rationalising that if a fire did break out downstairs, it would at least get put out by the bath full of water which would then fall down onto it.