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Shriver Takes UK TV Diet to Task

The Scotsman reports that Lionel Shriver has condemned British TV for patronizing its audience and broadcasting an endless diet of property and weight-loss programs and cruel game shows. In a speech to the Edinburgh International Television Festival, the bestselling author of WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN and THE POST-BIRTHDAY WORLD said BBC 1 and BBC 2, ITV, Channel 4 and Five were all guilty of underestimating viewers.

Shriver warned that the focus on celebrities provided an “Orwellian distraction” from more important issues. Her attack followed criticism of television standards by Jeremy Paxman earlier in the festival. “The biggest mistake contemporary television makes is to patronise viewers. Your viewers are smarter, more sophisticated and hungrier for real information than you might think,” she said. “It used to be that the contrast between engaging British television and the trash on American TV was shocking. Now the similarity is shocking.”

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