WARREN HAYDEN: Watching telly as a family is thriving

Bake Off - brings the family togetherBake Off - brings the family together
Bake Off - brings the family together
I filled in a survey recently which asked about my television viewing habits.

It was multiple choice and one question was: ‘Which of the following channels or services have you used to view a TV programme this week?’

I was surprised how many options I had to choose from.

There were the obvious ones including BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5, Sky One etc. But then there were Netflix, Now TV, Amazon Prime, Sky Go and a few I’d never heard of.

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This next sentence makes me feel like I’m moments away from getting my pension and much older than my 32 years, but: I remember when we had only four channels.

Even when a fifth terrestrial channel launched back in 1997, most of Portsmouth didn’t have access to it. But now, in 2016, we have more choice than ever.

Now my girls have reached the wise old ages of five and seven we have started watching programmes as a family that aren’t in the ‘children’s’ section of the programme guide.

When I was a boy it was normal to sit together as a family in the living room and watch the box in the corner together.

I have fond memories, especially of Saturday nights.

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After enjoying the day off school with my mates which usually included a visit to the Pyramids at Southsea for some fun in the pool, the evening would be spent plonked in front of the TV.

Before the days of Simon Cowell’s X Factor, it was all about Bind Date with Cilla Black and Gladiators with Ulrika Johnson and me and my siblings would be allowed to watch Casualty before it was time to go to bed.

The X Factor has been on TV for 12 years, but the new series that recently started on ITV is the first one watched by seven-year-old Caitlin.

Like the rest of us she laughs at the people who believe they have the voice of an angel but really sound like a howling dog and she smiles at the people who clearly have a fantastic voice and are put through to boot camp.

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A favourite of five-year-old Alyssa is ITV’s Ninja Warrior where contestants take on an assault course. Both these shows we enjoy as a family.

Another my daughters look forward to is The Great British Bake Off as it appeals to all ages.

Whether it is the funny way presenter Sue Perkins says ‘bake’ or the face Paul Hollywood pulls when he discovers a soggy bottom, we are hooked.

Even with all the modern world’s distractions it appears family viewing is thriving and with so much choice I’m sure it will for a long time.

Oldest bedtime trick in the book

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The evenings are getting darker, autumn is here and in the Hayden household something strange is happening.

When it’s bedtime for my daughters, Caitlin and Alyssa they suddenly find a reason to get back out of bed.

It starts off the right way. They have a bath, get changed into their pyjamas and trot off upstairs to get comfy under their duvet with a book, which usually helps them fall asleep.

But just recently the book hasn’t been doing the trick. Sitting in the living room, it isn’t long before I hear footsteps above me, hear the bedroom door open and hear one of my daughters making their way down the stairs.

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Sometimes it is just a trip to the toilet but sometimes it is for another reason.

These have included ‘I want another cuddle;’ ‘what does this word mean in this book’, or ‘can I have Weetabix for breakfast tomorrow?’

Do my daughters really want to discuss what they’ll be eating tomorrow morning or are they trying to delay the inevitable?

I don’t think that question requires much thought.

- Catch Warren on Heart’s Sunday (midday-4pm) show on 96.7 and 97.5fm. Twitter: @warrenhayden.