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Oh, What a Choice
I usually buy the television guide that comes within the Sun newspaper though after getting up early with my daughter on a Saturday I decided that I would rather buy it a day earlier to try to save me from early morning children’s television for once. I knew I could just simply look through the sky guide on the television though that doesn’t have what women love – the soap write ups!
Let me begin by saying that this is a general review on the magazine, so don’t worry – there wont be any spoilers for anything you haven’t watched yet!!
TV Choice began in 1999 and is one of the biggest selling television guides around, possibly one reason being the price (see below).
Many television magazines have masses of stories both about average everyday people and also stories about celebrities which we don’t actually care much about (sometimes there are decent stories though I never know what stories to believe). This magazine doesn’t have any of that, which is possibly how they can sell it for cheaper, though this is certainly not a problem for me as if I want to read stories I buy other magazines specifically for that. This way, the magazine also stays by the television and not wandering around the house with other people reading the stories!
Page number varies from week to week though seem to average out at around 75-80 pages, though this does include quite a few full page advertisements such as catalogues, mobile contracts and ornaments which cost the earth.
The magazine can be brought the week before the guide shows and runs from Saturday to Friday. Personally I only buy it on the Friday as knowing my luck my daughter will rip it to shreds before the television week has even begun!
Let me run you through the magazine now. I have a couple in front of me though am mainly reviewing the layout from the week beginning 19th September 09 though most weeks the layouts are pretty much the same with a few changes and obvious television listing differences.
The front cover is always very bold in both colour and text and very eye catching. There is always a headline soap story for us soap obsessed women (and some men!) along with nearly a full page photo of the characters involved giving us a sneak peak of what is to come. Top and bottom of that are smaller photos of other programmes each with small captions, small but readable. The large ‘Only 40p’ can not be missed as it is staring you in the face, bold as brass on the side of the cover usually with a bold orange star around it. Think they are trying to push the fact that it is cheap?!
The inside cover where you would expect to see a contents page has a full page advertisement followed by a US drama finder to see when American programmes are on here and where and no actual contents! I seem to remember some having a small contents page though the ones I have in front of me don’t – which is actually quite annoying as I like to jump to certain pages, though as it is a thin magazine it isn’t hard to flick through and find what you are looking for.
Within this magazine there are four pages devoted to tv choice awards 2009 full of photos of celebrities posing and holding trophies. Usually there are some pages of celebrity photos here of random moments of celebs caught on camera, though as I said, there is no long drawn out stories, just many photos and a few short paragraphs here and there giving an idea of why on earth Denise Welch is looking rather uncomfortable sprawled on the ground! Photos are usually very clear though occasionally text can be hidden when on a matching background colour.
In every tv choice magazine there are a few titled regulars which are always on the same (or near by) page so easy and quick to find. Perhaps that’s why there isn’t a contents page – they expect you to read it so much you remember automatically!
Hottest Tv Choice – Usually a full page excerpt on a new and great programme of the week, generally one which is in its 2nd or more season and is making a comeback so viewers are on the edge of their seats awaiting it, and with the write up, they actually give away more information than a lot of tv magazines which is great for people like me who cant wait for it to air, though bad for people who don’t want to be spoiled at all.
Best of the Week – A couple of pages usually of two or three choices from the whole week with a half page write up and some photos. Not as in depth as the tv choice above and could choose much more than they do.
Kids Choice – Usually half a page of competition and occasionally some new programmes for young children to teenagers on it. The age range of this section is vast, though the competitions are generally answering a question from the write up you have just read – so far we haven’t won anything for our daughter.
Digital Choice – A full page rundown on quite a few programmes new to freeview or sky channels, layout the same as other choice pages.
Soap Choice – My favourite part of the magazine (yes I am soap obsessed!). Here you have between 4-6 pages of soap news all depending on how many advertisements they have decided to put in the middle this week. This is a major spoiler area and although I have tried, I just cant keep away (even though I will be watching my two soaps of Eastenders and Neighbours shortly!). The British soaps get the bigger write up which is good in one way though I would love to see more of my Aussie soap.
Film Choice – Here you have a rundown of what they believe to be the best films on all week with the first page of the four covering the biggest movie of the week as well as the digital premier. This is probably the most annoying part of the magazine as, although it is great for terrestrial television channels, it doesn’t really cover many freeview or sky channels.
Fun Section – After the television guide pages there are a number of pages devoted to challenges and competitions where you are able to enter for prizes of anything from money to cars. You are able to enter by post or telephone or even text though this magazine has not come into the modern world yet as it doesn’t allow email entries (or perhaps this is because they may lose money this way?) After the competitions in the same section is a page of letters and horoscopes where you can also earn a small amount of money for sending your own letter in. This is the closest bit of the magazine that is like non-television magazines.
There are also certain feature pages within each weeks magazine which cover one off programmes and documentaries with some behind the scenes photos of upcoming programmes.
Of course there would be a television guide otherwise why buy the magazine! Each day has six full pages of television channels all colour coded with a different colour per channel on the first page which consists of the main five terrestrial channels, and then the rest of the four pages colour coded by category (for example, entertainment is in pink and movies in blue).
There are a large range of channels shown in the guiede, repeated every day, though it does not show all of the freeview and sky channels – your best bet for this is to go for the sky magazines themselves. Of course, when everything turns to digital soon, perhaps they will add more channels to the guide though this will make it a lot longer and probably more expensive – though I can bet that it will still be the cheapest.
The first double page has channels one to five with the evening schedule in much bigger print. Each channel title is in bold colours and all films are boxed in with a small write up. These pages are very easy to read and follow and as I said above, all colour coded.
The second double page spread covers entertainment and factual/lifestyle again in colour coded sections though this time a different colour for a whole section. There are 21 channels within the entertainment section and 9 in the factual section. These channels are much smaller than on the first page and sometimes quite difficult to read as they are squashed together in such a small space. Films are not outlined in these pages and there is only one small photo of a film in this section. Freeview channels do have their freeview number by each channel title and as before titles are in bold.
The last double page of each day covers children, sport and movies. Childrens have only 6 channels in a third of one page so squashed together tightly making it difficult to read and worse for young children who can read and perhaps decide to have a look. Sport has 7 channels and movies have a whole page of 14 channels. Movies are better layed out and can be read a whole lot better as they are spaced out well. Again all titles are in bold and freeview channels next to titles though there are not many of them here.
The channel pages are easy to navigate though the main problem is that some channels have very small text and hard to read. There are also, as I said before, many channels not in here though if you require more digital channels then a digital magazine is probably better for you.
PRICE AND AVALIABILITY
This magazine used to be a whole 10p cheaper (yes a whole 10p!!) though it is still the cheapest television magazine around which doesn’t come with a newspaper at only 40p so it really isn’t breaking the bank.
This television guide can be brought practically anywhere which sells magazines and papers.
Although I do have a few small gripes with the magazine such as the layout can make it difficult to read and the less important one of needing more soap write ups (yes, I need to get the soap magazine!) though otherwise really there is nothing wrong with the magazine. The price is great and you do get exactly what you are after so I would fully recommend this magazine to all unless you want more of a digital outlook then I would suggest going more for a sky magazine.