What television programme would you watch before the end of the world?

Jonathan Weinberg
tv 300x225 What television programme would you watch before the end of the world?

Clockwise from top left: Doctor Who, Made in Chelsea, Merlin and Homeland (BBC; Channel 4)

Today could have been the end of the world as we know it… which would have been a right pain in the behind when you consider this weekend sees the finale of both Homeland AND Merlin. Those Mayans certainly pick their moments to predict an Armageddon. They could have been a little bit more considerate and at least waited until after Christmas.

If the TV schedulers had any sense, they’d have at least ensured the two events didn’t clash. It’s not like they’ve not had thousands of years of warning. Maybe they reckon it’ll provide a ratings’ boost as millions of us will have nothing else to do but tune into the telly to see whether we’re all about to meet our maker. And when it doesn’t happen, we’ll have no choice but to instantly flick over to ITV and watch Ant and Dec on Text Santa.

There can be few nations on earth who love their TV more than us Brits. Given that, it’s no surprise to see a poll by TV service YouView found that with an apocalypse looming, one in 10 Brits would face it while snuggled on the sofa counting down the minutes to calamity while watching Corrie. Each to their own. Personally I’d prefer to spend my final moments on this Earth watching EastEnders. If I am going down in flames, being a bit more depressed would hardly hurt.

Let’s face it, there’s far too much telly to be watching in the coming days and weeks to worry about the whole of humanity disappearing. Who schedules the end of the world just before the festive break? It’s worse than a Saturday night clash between Strictly Come Dancing and The X Factor. I know it might save us from enduring endless repeats of Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music and a shed load of Cliff Richard Christmas videos but even so, Christmas is a time to turn on and tune in.

The poor Queen’s just spent ages creating a 3D Christmas message for us – it would be a shame not to see her jumping out into our living rooms before the rot begins. And worse still, if the world ends today, my one annual purchase of the Christmas double issue Radio Times will be in vain and that’s nearly three quid down the pan.

But more importantly, how will I ever find out whether Brody and Carrie manage to get it together and become an “official couple”? Or see whether Jessica takes the festive theme to heart and treats Homeland’s male viewers with yet another unwrapping of her bra. And if the world ends before Merlin’s magic can defeat Morgana and save King Arthur’s life, that’s five years of my own life wasted waiting for what could be one of the most epic drama moments of the year.

The YouView poll saw the Albert Square lot surprisingly only fifth in the list of “end of the world” vision. Dr Who, Downton Abbey and Homeland were all ahead of it. Which just goes to show, when the end is nigh, all we want is to pray that a hero like the good Doctor will suddenly emerge from our TV screens telling us to “hold on a minute” before getting out his Sonic Screwdriver and showing those Mayan prophecies where to go.

These survey findings are no real surprise. In times of trouble, we always turn to the telly – it’s our comfort blanket. Us Brits just love to wallow in the misery on our screens (see previous comment about EastEnders). If the world really did end, one thing is for sure, you can bet we’ll all be sitting there flicking over to the 24 hour rolling news to see which bits of our planet are first to get demolished.

And in the midst of all that chaos will be Sky News anchor Kay Burley, live from the scene, looking her usual pristine self as fire rains down all around her. Our love of depressing telly is pretty much proven by the fact no comedy programme made the YouView top five. It’s not until number six that we get to Dad’s Army. Quite apt really. You can just hear Private Fraser now muttering “We’re all doomed!” while Corporal Jones runs around shouting “Don’t Panic!”

YouView’s research saw it take the sixth spot joint with Gavin and Stacey. What’s occurring Nessa? Have you not seen the news? Still we can take some comfort in the fact that very few of those questioned by YouView said they’d be watching reality shows like The Only Way Is Essex or Made In Chelsea. Mind you, if the forces of darkness really are sitting there somewhere with a massive remote control and one finger on the standby button, their fans will be too busy getting a fake tan and vajazzle so at least when they meet their maker, they’re looking their best.

For more information about YouView visit

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    Monty Python’s Flying Circus

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