The Promise

The idea of TV schedules is completely foreign to my children. They have been brought up with the ability, although certainly not the permission, to watch pretty much what they want when they want.

My daughter in particular gets quite upset when we stay with my mum in Australia when she can’t put live TV on pause.

And my son resolutely fails to grasp the idea that even now someone apart from him decides when a particular programme goes on air.

And let’s face it – we’ve all become a bit spoilt as a result. For the most part, viewer choice has been good for the viewer. Nostalgia notwithstanding, I even think the quality of the programming has improved, although there is an awful lot of rubbish produced as well.

But one thing that has become a casualty of this shift is event TV, the programmes that it seemed everyone in the country was watching and which you could discuss with friends or colleagues the next day in full knowledge that they had seen what you had seen.

Only on Sunday nights does it survive to any degree and there is a real pleasure to curling up on the sofa at the end of the weekend in front of a landmark drama like Downton Abbey or more recently Any Human Heart.

At the moment, it’s The Promise, Channel 4’s masterful four-part drama series examining the Israeli-Palestine conflict through the twin eyes of a young British tourist and her grandfather who was one of the 100,000-strong garrison in what was then Palestine in 1948.

It is a brave writer who turns his attention to this part of the world where opinions are so entrenched that any hint of bias either way will be used as evidence that the whole drama is flawed.

However, for an interested viewer who has no real preconceptions, the whole series is fascinating as drama, as history and also of course as tragedy.

It's just a pity that I can't stay awake on a Sunday night long enough to see the end of each episode. Good old Sky+ and 4oD!

Click here to see The Promise on 4oD.