MasterChef music chops

Watched the series final of MasterChef UK this evening, and one of my favourite things of the series returned to tonight’s episode.

It’s probably something that a lot of people don’t even notice as they watch, but the background music was timed and punctuated by the clinks of utensils and the chops of vegetables.

I think it’s very clever, and I appreciate the skill and attention to detail that the sound/vision editor has for their work.

As if to illustrate the point here’s a tweet from MasterChef UK senior video editor:

UPC Ireland – Horizon Software Update

I wrote back in January about some of the interface problems with the Horizon box, and thankfully some of them seems to have been solved with a recent software update.

  • The general navigation speed seems to have increased
  • The dreaded “Delete Everything” option has been relocated to the depths of a Preference screen, where it can’t cause any damage. No longer will people select it, thinking it means ‘Delete Series’ and then find their DVR completely empty.
  • The much-anticipated “Delete Series” has finally appeared, and works pretty quickly.

I haven’t checked the other problems to see if they’re fixed, but just these few things make the service a bit easier to live with.

Has anyone else seen improvements?

A better way to collect the TV licence

Whether you’re happy about it or not, we have the TV licence here in Ireland, and it costs each household €160 a year.

According to wikipedia, it provides approximately half the revenue to RTÉ. But it must also cost an awful lot of money for An Post to administer and collect, and I can’t help but think there’s a better way.

Ireland has one of the highest pay-TV penetration rates in Europe – sitting somewhere around the 80% mark. And all those customers are divided between UPC and Sky.  So… why not get those two companies to collect the TV licence?

With a small tweak of their billing systems they could collect an extra €13 a month from all their subscribers, and pass the money on to the government. It would cut out the need to employ hundreds of administration staff and licence inspectors, and you would eliminate a good chunk of licence evasion – currently estimated to be at around the 12% mark.

For the 20% of people who get their TV through Saorview or free satellite, you could employ a much reduced workforce to check if they’ve paid for their licence.  The government, through a recent law change, already has the right to access the customer lists of UPC and Sky, and by cross-referencing against the An Post address database it could easily maintain a list of addresses who don’t have pay-TV and just target them.

And hopefully, by saving all this money in collection costs and reducing evasion, they can maybe cut the cost of the licence – or better still, make some better TV programmes!


Car shows and comedy panel games… quite possibly the best combination for a night’s TV viewing pleasure. And I don’t even need to switch around the channels – I just need to tune into Dave, and am presented with a whole stream of quality televisual entertainment.

Tonight’s prime time line up has been: Top Gear, Have I Got News For You, Mock The Week, and QI.

Terry threatens to quit

It’s very sad news that Terry Wogan has announced he might stop presenting the Eurovision Song Contest for the BBC, as it just wouldn’t be the same without him. His sarcasm and pithy comments really make the show, and I don’t think anyone else could do it half as well.

But having said that, I quite understand his frustrations with the skewed block voting that goes on between certain participating countries.

In the past few years some of the UK entries, for example, have been quite rubbish. But this year’s song Even If sung by Andy Abraham is really good. And while I’m not saying it should have won the competition, it definitely should not have come last.

Perhaps, with falling viewing figures, the BBC should consider pulling out of Eurovision altogether.

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