Watching TV? Follow William Hanson's top 10 etiquette tips!
According to new research by Three, almost half of Brits are watching more TV now than before the coronavirus pandemic. So we caught up with etiquette expert William Hanson to learn the cardinal rules you need to follow whilst watching the box!
1. Noises offNothing ruins a steamy tree-trunk scene in a period drama more than a breaking news alert from your flatmate’s phone. Make a point to put your nearby gadgets and gizmos on mute before pressing play on your latest binge. If you are receiving notifications, check these when refreshing munchettes in-between episodes, for example.
2. Statute of spoiler limitations Ruining a programme for your nearest and dearest is now the eighth deadly sin and if you wish to stay persona grata, best avoided. For shows currently being aired I suggest a full seven-day grace period before you even come close to dissecting the events of a recent episode with those who didn’t share the experience with you. For those who have confirmed they too have completed a show or film, it’s important to video call them imminently to dissect the plotline whilst it is still fresh.
3. Check before you dissect In either instance, before texting or blurting out a key spoiler to your group chats or family video conference, please ask all participants if they are watching the show first and wait for their answers. Should they reply they are yet to enjoy that particular show, then sit on your metaphorical hands and keep quiet for the time being. When the time is ready, propose a video group chat and take it in turns to share your review on the show 4. Spoiler prevention If you are really against having plot twists ruined I suggest using the ‘mute words, phrases and hashtags’ function on the socials: type in the name of the show, key characters’ names and the like to help reduce your delight being deflated. If you are going to post about a show on social media, again the seven-day rule applies. Your post should be prefixed with a block-caps SPOILER ALERT together with multiple urgent looking emojis. Leave a few lines, then name the show, then a few more lines, and then comment.5. Poker face prepNo one likes a show-off, so if your TV companion is about to watch a key episode in a series where you know nail-biting drama is soon to unfold, please keep quiet. Practice your best poker face paired with a dead-pan voice when discussing your own enjoyment of the series. Let them be as surprised as you were. Using your phone as a prop to scroll nonchalantly can help keep the surprise alive.
6. Fact-check tact What were they in? Did he not play his husband in that thing? Is that a real American accent? Big questions, that thanks to the wonders of technology, can be quickly answered. If you are the one with the remote, press pause at a good moment so the researcher doesn’t miss anything vital. 7. A fact-check too farIt’s fine to use your mobile to work out what you’ve seen an actor in before but if you want to delve deeper into their backstory it’s probably best to wait until afterwards. If you start listing their award nominations, personal life details or education background then you know you’ve gone far too far. Our viewing buddies don’t need you to host an impromptu Life Stories there and then. Save it for later.
8. Call me maybe (later)Today, all phones have wonderful buttons and settings to silence them for an hour or two. If your friends and family are fine with you second screening during the main event you can at least switch your phone to silent. If someone calls you during a TV show, think of the other people gathered in the room. Message as much as you like during a show, but if someone calls you, think of the other people gathered in the room. Send it to voicemail but let them know you are okay via text and say you’ll call them back shortly.
9. Don’t be so brightHave you set the lights to dim? Is your sitting room now in a gentle yet moody, atmospheric glow? Before the TV programme or film begins do the same you’ve done with the table lamps to your phone screen’s brightness so your backlight doesn’t startle you or others. 10. It’s just a TV show…Post-show discussions with those in the room or online can be a great way to learn more and get others’ opinions on whatever’s just been aired. But do remember, please, it is just a TV show; there’s no need to fall out with someone because you have a difference of opinion. Vive la difference!