August 2007
« Jul   Sep »



What’s on the telly?

I don’t watch a lot of TV these days, but even I’m going to notice a complete blackout that lasts more than a day. 

The screen was like this yesterday tea-time when we sat down to catch up on Big Brother, and it’s the same story today.

Of course, I’ve switched the box on and off a couple of times since then.  Very naughty, but come on – a day to do a software update?  I just didn’t believe it.

I dreaded making the phone call, but it couldn’t be put off any longer.  However I did learn a couple of things.

Firstly, while on hold for an impressive 28 minutes as my call was transferred from the wrong Indian call centre to the right one, I learned that I am perfectly capable of eating a chicken kiev with one hand.  Using a fork, obviously, but I was very pleased with this newly discovered skill.

I also learned that despite having a set top box that says Virgin Media on the front, all the on-screen menus saying Virgin Media all over them and the fact that I get bills in the post from Virgin Media every month, I am in fact a not a Virgin Media customer.  I’m aparently with NTL – a company I didn’t think existed any more.  As Virgin seem to not have any customers of their own, the number on their web site (that’s the same web site you get to when you type in or Google for "NTL"; or go to, or Google for "Telewest") is probably just another call avoidance tactic.

The verdict, which may as well have been relayed on a recorded message that said "we realised we broke it", was that this problem has been affecting many customers since 4.30pm yesterday, and the engineers have said it should be fixed by 5.30pm today.

This was at 7pm.

So that twenty-five hour timeframe they’d given themselves to restore a fundamental service – in fact the primary reason for their business – just wasn’t long enough.  If that’s how seriously they’ve been taking it so far then why on earth should I expect them to do anything about it before Tuesday, now that the bank holiday weekend has started?

I don’t think it’s overly sensational to call this a major fuck up.  As much as I relished the prospect of leaving Sky and not paying them any more money to spend on outbidding the BBC to take shows like 24 and destroy them with commercials that aren’t even in the right places, there were never any problems with actually being able to watch TV.