Friday, 11 July 2008

Holiday tv musings

OK, apologies for the gap in postings - yeah, I've been away. Italy and Spain, very nice ta for asking.

I managed to miss all the six-hour variety shows with ladies in bikinis singing songs to fat moustachio'd men in white suits this time. Sky News seems to have spread everywhere, complete with a hardly-ever updated text list of stories where the UK ads go. CNN is there, as ever.. they've now got ads to replace the "CNN is shown at these fine hotels" captions they used to run.

But a few English language entertainment channels were being shown in Spain. Fox was one, otherwise known as FX here - complete with original soundtrack US voices but Spanish-voiced ads and trailers. So I got to see some eps of Family Guy and those fair-but-strong-district-attorney-against-crooked-local-mayor shows that fill up the endless hours on that channel.

Even more interestingly (well, to a tv anorak like me) they subtitled the songs in Family Guy but nothing else. I assume cable operators stick on a different audio track on the voices but not over the songs. Indeed some shows I've made for kids have been translated in a similar way, despite the target audience being mainly unable to read. Simple really - redubbing voices = cheap, re-signing songs = ooh costly.

From what I could make out via my fairly useless language skills (ie not much in Italy, a bit in Spain), their tv news was labelling the G8 summit as a triumph for Gordon Brown. Err, probably. He was in it a lot and the words 'triomphe', 'Zimbabwe' and 'climatic controllio' were used over pics of our socially inept leader. And, um, it said people thought that in a paper I read on the plane back.

All the news I saw was being presented by Carla Bruni-style gorgeous-but-strict looking ladies in immaculate short-skirted-posh-jacketed outfits. In Italy she was made to stand up and lean against a high round table, like out of a pub with no stools left. There was a distinct lack of "LIVE!" whooshes or CG graphics, which made me sad, but the occasional featurey piece with sad tinkley music over footage of old ladies in black weeping. I have no idea what made them cry, save it wasn't the lack of sound effects or cartoon reconstructions on their evening news.

But my favourite bit of foreign telly was watching the same European hospital drama in two different countries and realising it was either (a) not Italian; (b) not Spanish, or (c) not the product of any one country, as the words didn't fit the lips in either nation.

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