Archives: April 2008

19/04 The eyes have it

We installed infra-red cameras on top of every TV set. "Monitoring Audience Satisfaction" we called it. Eyes when turned towards the screen would blink white hot and the funding for each show increased in proportion to the number of viewers.

A year later and the effects on daytime telly filtered through. The evenings might be a glitterball parade of quiz shows and talent contests but the days - they were something else entirely. Courageous dogs saved little girls from burning buildings, tigers prowled the jungles indifferent and beautiful, somehow a stream of werewolf movies was scheduled during the school run.

It was an intern who finally pulled footage from the IR cams. Expecting to see the pinprick pupils of housewives and retired grandparents, she saw, instead wide friendly pupils - disproportionately large and canine - and rapt, vertical, feline slits.

That year The Island of Doctor Moreau beat all recorded viewing figures.

- Ariadne
  • Time: 11:55AM
  • Category: BBC