Whenever we meet our neighbours for a chat many will invariably insist on trying to discuss the programmess they have been watching on UK TV. When we explain to them that we don’t actually have UK TV in our house a look of incredulity comes over their faces. Although they don’t say it, you can see that they assume we must be barking mad to subscribe to Digital +, the Spanish satellite TV service. After all it isn’t cheap and most of the channels are exclusively in Spanish.
Let me explain that we are not trying to prove how Spanish we have become. We took the decision to subscribe to Digital + following the advice of Cher who used to work in the estate office here at Villas Andrea. She had subscribed to the analogue microwave system only to be told that it was shutting down and she would have to change to the digital one. Then there were fears that the whole microwave system would close down and she would have to invest in a large dish to pick up Sky (there was no Freeview at that time).
As Cher explained, every year it seemed that you had to fork out more and more Euros to change your dish our your receiver just to keep up. Apart from the expense, it was inconvenient. Channels that you received one day would mysteriously disappear the next. In order to receive her favourite soaps, Cher felt that she was entering into the world of subterfuge because she knew that there was no legal way anyone in Spain could watch them.
Acting on Cher's advice, we took the bold step of subscribing to the service she had moved to – DIgital +. At first it wasn’t easy to find any content that we could watch. We came across the People and Arts channel that broadcast old BBC programmes. That kept us going for awhile.
Gradually though we found other channels that had American and British content. AXN, for example, has a lot of programmes in English as does National Geographic, Discovery and VIajar. For news we found Euronews, France 24, BBC World etc. When Michael Jackson died we kept up with events via FOX News and CNN. Canal 1 shows current films most nights of the week that are broadcast simultaneously in Spanish and English. We even get major sporting events including European football games.
In time, we started to watch more programs in Spanish and were pleased that we could follow them even if we didn’t understand all the dialogue. Listening to Spanish TV is probably the best way to improve your language skills.
Do we miss British TV?
Of course there are some of our favourites that we miss but they are probably all finished with anyway. We certainly don’t miss all that reality TV that was taking over broadcasting in the UK and we don’t miss all that channel hopping that we indulged in trying to find something worth watching. When we look back we realise that, in the UK, we would watch many programs for something to do. Now we increasingly watch programs because we want to watch them.
Whilst we were happy to watch UK TV on our recent visit to the UK, we were glad to get back to our Spanish TV here in Bigastro.
So if you see us in the street, please don’t ask us which of the contestants on Strictly Come Dancing will win or who is the most deserving entrant on X Factor because we won’t have a clue.