BBC 4 TV Goes Slow - fancy watching a 2 hour uninterrupted canal trip?
May 4, 2015 12:23 PM   Subscribe

Inspired by a Norwegian channel that featured an uninterrupted 8-hour knitting session and a six day commentary free ferry journey through the fjords, the BBC has started a new season of 'deliberately unhurried programmes'. Enjoy a two hour, single shot drift down a canal without voiceover or interruption (which you won't have anyway, since the BBC doesn't have ads.) It's garnering rave reviews. .
posted by GallonOfAlan (42 comments total) 59 users marked this as a favorite
 
This new Top Gear just isn't what it used to be.
posted by Twain Device at 12:25 PM on May 4, 2015 [20 favorites]


find much more in /r/SlowTV!
posted by Mach5 at 12:28 PM on May 4, 2015 [9 favorites]


It's not as good as when they show uninterrupted webcam footage of a badger's nest for days at a time on springwatch.
posted by dng at 12:31 PM on May 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm watching a program which is simply birdsong on BBC4 right now. Lovely
posted by gnuhavenpier at 12:32 PM on May 4, 2015 [6 favorites]


Previously, in another time and place, for less elevated reasons.
posted by cardboard at 12:33 PM on May 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


Given the amount of panic involved when my wife and I hired a canal boat for our honeymoon, I'm not sure I could watch this and relax. It would be full of cold sweats the moment another boat approaches panicked thoughts of, "What do I do? Run aground? Crash into the other boat? No, I should run aground. Much safer and suddenly I have the terror poops. I wonder if my wife would notice if I just jumped free onto the tow path. I'd have to live there forever, of course. Out of shame for not being able to handle this supposedly easy and relaxing task, but thems the breaks.."
posted by robocop is bleeding at 12:39 PM on May 4, 2015 [19 favorites]


Metafilter: Much safer and suddenly I have the terror poops.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 12:48 PM on May 4, 2015 [12 favorites]


Begs the question: How to watch BBC iPlayer easily in The States.
posted by humboldt32 at 12:48 PM on May 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


Hola plugin for Chrome. Or a VPN or something.
posted by davros42 at 12:55 PM on May 4, 2015 [4 favorites]


*watches in hopes that at some point that ridiculous Top Gear "hovercraft" van conversion roars by spraying water all over everything*
posted by Greg_Ace at 1:11 PM on May 4, 2015 [5 favorites]


Given the amount of panic involved when my wife and I hired a canal boat for our honeymoon, I'm not sure I could watch this and relax.

@robocop is bleeding: I had a similar experience with a "leisurely" float down a river with friends, all flopped upon single-occupancy tubes. The river turned out to slightly rowdy, and the organizer gave us a woefully short verbal primer on how to avoid the worst of the rocks, rapids, and rebar-snaggletoothed-concrete death traps that lied ahead. Snags were frequent and each upturned the tube at once, tossing its occupant ass-over-teakettle in to the cold, stinky water, which was too deep to stand in most of the time. We were all soon separated by eddies of varying speed. Hours seemed like days. I involuntarily parted with several less-than-dear but quite serviceable belongings. We arrived at the pickup point a disjoined, soggy, bruised-and-bleeding parade. Most unpleasant.

As we carried our tubes up the hill to the shuttle bus, worse for the wear, I noticed a young woman from another just-finished tube group--she was beaming with joy and hopping up the hill on her one leg. I will not attempt to furnish a moral to this story due to my clear conflict of interest.
posted by Hot Pastrami! at 1:14 PM on May 4, 2015 [12 favorites]


slowtv previously

also btw "Walking in... single shot videos of city life"
posted by kliuless at 1:16 PM on May 4, 2015


I got approached by a very drunk BBC4 producer just last night asking me to do a show for them. They're clearly getting quite desperate...
posted by sobarel at 1:16 PM on May 4, 2015


Another previously.
posted by box at 1:19 PM on May 4, 2015


It's not as good as when they show uninterrupted webcam footage of a badger's nest for days at a time on springwatch.

Or the days when they used to show the test card between midnight and 5.00pm -- barring a quick 15 minute break at 11.00 am for Andy Pandy.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:21 PM on May 4, 2015


This three-hour film BBC Four showed the other day about the National Gallery is wonderful.

'This three-hour epic has no voiceover, no score and no added sound effects. The nearest thing to music is the drone of the polishing machines at dawn. In a richly detailed, beautifully nuanced portrait of the gallery's working life, we are guided gently from board meeting to retouching workshop, from gallery floor, to seminar room, from the difficult financial decisions facing the charity's executives to visitors' awed appreciation of the exhibitions.'
posted by blaisedell at 1:26 PM on May 4, 2015 [5 favorites]


Gongoozlers rejoice!
posted by pragmaddux at 1:28 PM on May 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


Not as good as that Andy Warhol one of a cock.
posted by colie at 1:31 PM on May 4, 2015


Begs the question: How to watch BBC iPlayer easily in The States.

Firefox and the media hint extension gives you iplayer. Hurry and you're in time to see a metal blade being created.
posted by MartinWisse at 1:31 PM on May 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


England, stuff like this is why I love you.
posted by Kitteh at 1:32 PM on May 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


If you watch closely you should see piles of fly-tipped garbage accumulated beneath the underpasses. English canals are less romantic than you think.
posted by srboisvert at 1:34 PM on May 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


Are there three men in this boat?
posted by Lemmy Caution at 1:35 PM on May 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


I forget if it was the World Service or Radio 4, but I distinctly remember a radio program (er programme) titled Walks Along Abandoned Railway Lines in the mid 80s. And let us not forget the Shipping Forecast. The BBC has a long running fondness for boring things.
posted by wotsac at 1:37 PM on May 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


Man, I thought Coast was pushing it.
posted by jadepearl at 2:09 PM on May 4, 2015


Sadly, the K&A isn't anywhere near me. If you like videos about narrowboats, check out Dan Brown's Youtube channel.

A lot of effort has been put into the canal system in recent years. The Canal and River Trust (who took over from British Waterways) have been doing some great work. There are still canals I wouldn't want to travel along, certainly local to me. But some places, even on the BCN in the heart of the Black Country are surprisingly well kept, such as Windmill End, or The Bratch, a little further out. The Wyrley and Essington canal is particularly picturesque. Even further out, there's the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, a single lane of canal that floats serenely above the valley below. On the footpath side of the aqueduct, there's a fence to stop people falling off. Nothing on the boat side, which makes for a very disconcerting trip.

There's a very definite appeal to living on a boat - a smallish one can be purchased outright for less than £20k. One would need to adapt, but it's not that difficult if you're of a mind. And you certainly meet some interesting characters when boating, or just wandering the canals like I do.
posted by Solomon at 2:20 PM on May 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


I'd never heard of the Pontcysllte Aqueduct before. Found this 10 minute ambient sounds only video of someone crossing it in a boat. Definitely a bit unnerving.
posted by honestcoyote at 3:16 PM on May 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


And let us not forget the Shipping Forecast. The BBC has a long running fondness for boring things.

Shipping forecasts can be rather exciting when you're in the right mood.
posted by nathan_teske at 4:00 PM on May 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


This three-hour film BBC Four showed the other day about the National Gallery is wonderful.

'This three-hour epic has no voiceover, no score and no added sound effects. The nearest thing to music is the drone of the polishing machines at dawn. In a richly detailed, beautifully nuanced portrait of the gallery's working life, we are guided gently from board meeting to retouching workshop, from gallery floor, to seminar room, from the difficult financial decisions facing the charity's executives to visitors' awed appreciation of the exhibitions.'

I don't know man. . . I watched this for about 2 minutes and clicked away when Pierce Brosnan failed to make an appearance.
posted by rankfreudlite at 4:13 PM on May 4, 2015


This reminds me of one of the best DVD extras I've seen, the hypnotic twilight canal boat tour of the city of Bruges that came with the DVD of 'In Bruges'. (Probably the best DVD extra ever was the hypnotic scuba dive 'Under The Ice' that came with the DVD of Herzog's Antarctica doc 'Encounters at the End of the World'.)
posted by ovvl at 5:01 PM on May 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


A few years ago I stumbled upon a comparison of three 4-minute London to Brighton films. Whee! The BBC shot these in 1953, 1983, and 2013, respectively. The first shoot was used as an interlude film whenever they found themselves with dead air for whatever reason. Only the English would take the interlude picture and make actual programming of it, and I love them for it.

It makes up for their absolutely terrifying old Public Information Films.

Now watch this interlude film of an adorable kitten from 1954.
posted by droplet at 5:26 PM on May 4, 2015 [6 favorites]


I remember about eight? seven? years ago there was this morning program on my cable lineup called Sunrise Earth that was really just a chance to show off one's fancy new HDTV. It was just an hour of watching the sun rising on, say, the African savannah or some wilderness valley in Alaska. No voiceover or general storyline. Just one hour of silent sunrise footage. There was one where the camera was just on a gondola navigating a canal in Venice, and I remember how it was such a beautiful, peaceful background for a morning of getting dressed and prepped for my day job. It was the most grueling sweatshop software job that I was ever going to have, but those mornings with Sunrise Earth were lovely moments of grace to start the day.
posted by bl1nk at 6:02 PM on May 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~\______________/~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
posted by onlyconnect at 6:31 PM on May 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


robocop is bleeding: "I wonder if my wife would notice if I just jumped free onto the tow path. I'd have to live there forever, of course. Out of shame for not being able to handle this supposedly easy and relaxing task, but thems the breaks."

If it makes you feel any better, the first and only time my husband and I went canoeing together, I ended up leaping overboard and swimming back to shore and leaving him to paddle himself in, to save our marriage. That's how badly it was going.

(PS, I am an incredibly shitty swimmer and also scared of water.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:21 PM on May 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


It would be full of cold sweats the moment another boat approaches panicked thoughts of, "What do I do? Run aground? Crash into the other boat? No, I should run aground.

Actually, the BBC Four programme had a slow motion near miss with a swan. The tension was unreal.
posted by kersplunk at 2:46 AM on May 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


Next, cruise the Rochdale Canal in Canal Street in Manchester on a Saturday night. Full of young canal enthusiasts, dapper men enjoying the evening.
posted by alasdair at 5:36 AM on May 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


This Christmas my wife, her sister, brother-in-law, and I all had a great time watching the trains of Norway wind their way through fjords and valleys on YouTube slow TV.

We spun vast and intricate fictions to fill the emptiness.

Unfortunately, I doubt the real Norway would ever be able to stand up to the fanciful realm we cooked up over wine and ice cream.

Far fewer rock dragons, anyway.
posted by Tevin at 8:04 AM on May 5, 2015


If anyone wants more canal stuff, there's a series on Channel 4 (also), Great Canal Journeys, in which Prunella Scales (Fawlty Towers) and husband go narrowboating on Britain's canals.

Incidentally, does anyone know if there's a similarly dorktacular cult of canalists in Canada? The Trent-Severn looks interesting...
posted by Sys Rq at 8:47 AM on May 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


oh and there was also this spacewalk :P NASA please put public camera feeds on ISS (and on EV spacesuits!)
posted by kliuless at 10:10 AM on May 5, 2015


I dreamt of this sort of TV as a child. I find it spell-binding.
posted by mnfn at 12:48 PM on May 5, 2015


I've just seen a few minutes of the video linked in the OP, and it's surprisingly pleasant.

For future reference, if you have another boat coming at you, just pull to the right as far as you can, and slow down. They only go at a maximum speed of 4mph, so even a head-on collision won't do much damage. The blacking much get scratched, but that's about it. Most folk on the canals are forgiving if you're not being an obvious numpty.
posted by Solomon at 2:43 PM on May 5, 2015


oh and there was also this spacewalk :P NASA please put public camera feeds on ISS (and on EV spacesuits!)

FYI:
ISS HD Earth Viewing Experiment
and
International Space Station on UStream
posted by madajb at 1:33 AM on May 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


Hola plugin for Chrome. Or a VPN or something. posted by davros42 at 12:55 PM on May 4

Heads up: it's just come to light that apparently Hola sells its users' bandwidth, effectively turning its VPN into a botnet.
posted by bluecore at 5:10 PM on May 28, 2015


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