23rd August 2008

When we first contemplated moving to France, it was clear that the ideal scenario would be to enjoy all things French but also to have a few essential things from the UK: i.e. the BBC. Of course, him indoors quite rightly said 'what's the point of moving to France if all we're gonna do is watch Eastenders and all the other soaps?' However, how could we actually obtain English TV/Radio programmes so far away? I'd heard that it's illegal to watch Sky in France, so needed expert advice. We asked around. Apparently the whole subject is a grey area. Sky's broadcasting licence covers only the UK. Because of Sky's licensing restrictions, though, you can't subscribe to any Sky service from a foreign address, you shouldn't connect the Sky box to a telephone line if it's overseas (which means you can't use most of the interactive services) and you should never phone Sky from overseas. We had two choices: Ask to connect to Sky from a UK address or via a company based in France that is licensed to supply and instal Sky systems overseas. We chose the latter. So, voila! We can now watch all the BBC stations plus ITV, Film4, SkyNews, CNN etc. But - and there's always a 'but' here in France - every time it rains, we get pixelated faces on screen and an alarming chunking sound. And, of course, this always happens just when we've reached the denoument in a particularly exciting film. Another problem is the frequent power cuts round here, when in a flash, our English programmes change to French! Oh, the wonders of modern technology.
P.S. Don't miss tomorrow's exciting episode in the Sunday serial 'Sex a la francaise'.

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