Tea and the end of British civilisation

Britain is unique. Nowhere else does one see millions of kettles all switched on at the very same time. Such as at the end of a broadcast of Eastenders, for example. For some strange reason we manage to sell this dramatic flight from reality crap to other nations, but viewers elsewhere display very different behavioural patterns, even if their cultural appreciation is every bit as dodgy as ours.

Last night I watched the first episode of a new BBC documentary series “Britain from Above”, in which celebrity political journalist Andrew Marr takes a topographical look at Britain from, well, above. The programme is basically a journey through a day in the life of the home countries, as viewed from above the largely two-dimensional plane of our earthly existence. As informative and educational television it works quite well, although in my view it isn’t a patch on geography-rich documentaries such as the magnificent “Coast”.

In the closing minutes of yesterday’s opening episode of Britain from Above, Marr looked at the National Grid, and spoke with the engineer who controls the power during such critical times as the end of popular soap operas. With Eastenders that’s a two gigawatt surge, just so that we Brits can make a brew before the next attention-grabbing evening broadcast begins.

To me this illustrates the imbalance in our electricity supply, and how ignorant and complacent people are when it comes the sources of energy on which they rely for their little comforts. I can just see the man with his finger on the button nodding off at the wrong time, the Eastenders credits rolling, and a humungous power surge that sends the entire network arse end up.

How the mighty they could so easily fall.