Television in England is very different from television programming in the States or Canada, and if you are moving to London then you will want to get set up as soon as possible. One of the first aspects of television viewing in London is that you’ll have to pay a television licence for the privilege of watching the TV. This licence fee is the way that the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) finds the funding for all of their programming, which is among the best in the world. The company is completely reliant on this fee, and does not have any paid advertising during their programming which means uninterrupted viewing. The fee is payable per year and will cost you £142.50 which is a small sum compared with the cost of cable or pay-per-view channels.
If you are bringing a television with you as part of your London relocation, then you will have to be sure that you have the right conversion set. All the channels in England are UHF whereas the channels in the States are mostly VHF. The plugs are different and so are some of the television receiver signals. You’d be wise to check the specifications before you leave on all of your electronic goods so you can get them working as soon as you arrive in London.
Best of British
British television programming can be a little confusing at times, but if you really want to get an idea of what living in England, and specifically London, is all about then watching some of the excellent programmes will help you to familiarise yourself with the local customs and behaviour. Perhaps one of the biggest differences between the programming that is available in England and that of America is the glamour factor. British programmes tend to have less ‘bling’ than their American counterparts do. Soap operas are grittier and deal with people from backgrounds that are more realistic. Two of the most famous ‘soapies’ in England are ‘Coronation Street’ and ‘East Enders’. They are well worth watching, even if you are not a closet ‘soapie’ fan, because they present a portrait of life in modern London that will educate you far more than any travel guide or brochure around.
You will need to have a TV guide if you want to decipher the seemingly random scheduling times for British televisions shows, they often run late and you will have to be careful if you are recording your favourite ‘new’ British show. While there are only 5 channels to choose from in England, compared with the hundreds on offer in the States, all it means is that you only have to flip through them for a short while to decide that you would rather go out and have an evening on the town!