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This review is for What’s on TV magazine.
What’s On TV is a weekly television magazine giving people a glimpse into what is happening on the major channels that week and gives people a brief insight into the show as well.
The magazine was founded in 1991 and published by IPC Media. Before this time most people had to purchase Radio Times for BBC listings and TV times for the other channels and then the monopoly rules changed.
Each week they sell over 1.3 million copies and they continue to go strong.
The Front Few Pages
Each week a new front page with various sort of shows featured is meant to grab the buyer and force them into a purchase. I have to say usually the front page sadly is dedicated to the soaps on television without fail.
In the centre page you see a picture from a soap with a headline which is meant to make you think and want to read more. Surrounding this image is usually 4 or 5 other images and they are also giving people information on other shows with some more headlines also meant to grab the reader’s attention.
The problem again is that the soaps are usually featured in this section unless a huge show like Dr Who shows up and people then might find something different but usually there is not.
Usually the opening pages try to highlight some of the top television moments coming up over the course of the next few weeks. This is basically showing some of the features people might be interested in such as the Soap Awards or a final episode of a series like Ashes to Ashes.
They try and put as many shows with a small glimpse and brief information included which gives people another page to visit to find a more detailed description. Fortunately for the reader they do alter these pages and a programme from various genres might show up and sometimes you might find a show which convinces you to watch it appear on these first few pages.
Sadly this is where the magazine in my view gives too much away and focuses too much emphasis on soaps. I understand they are loved by millions of people and many people do purchase television guides just to find out about their soaps but this is in my view taking away other programmes.
The Soap Week has the major soaps highlighted and they give away snippets of what is coming up the next week and they usually tell you in plenty of detail which leaves you wondering why you would want to watch the soap. You find out so much information from the snippets it seems pointless even watching the soaps but most people will.
They include the major soaps we have here such as Coronation Street and Eastenders but they include a few from abroad like Neighbours and Home and Away and you have smaller sections for them. Usually the Soap Week can take up between 4 or 5 pages depending on how much spoilers they like to feed to
Usually they even provide people with a Soap Diary at the end and this will show you a date and time to when the soap is airing and a brief description of what is happening on each day and they like to include the ‘Don’t Miss’ section which highlights a particular show on a certain day to make sure people know it is a big episode. In my view this sort of information is alright to a certain degree but would ruin my whole experience and seem pointless watching the soap afterwards.
This is where the magazine begins to pick up a few notches because this is where they highlight the other shows on television and you find a few surprises hidden here.
Sometimes the front page of the TV Week might have an interview with a cast member of a particular show such as Holby City and asking them some questions on their character and that is pretty good to read sometimes you learn more about them then perhaps you already knew.
You tend to find some similar shows popping up here such as Doctor Who, Holby City, The Bill, Casualty and a few others. They always tend to feature these shows but when they finish such as Doctor Who will eventually they add something else to take the place.
They usually include some good information for each episode coming up but I never find it reveals too much extent compared to the soaps coverage before it. You find they leave you a teaser to wet the whistle so to speak and you then want to watch to find out what really happens.
As the TV Week continues they tend to put a big advert into the page about what is big that week and usually it is something on just the once such as an awards show or perhaps the X Factor final so it would be something to reflect this.
They also have the coming soon shows which give people an insight into new shows coming up in the next few months and people we have seen before showing up in other shows and they give us an insight into their next adventure.
They will focus on all channels and not just the same boring BBC 1 and ITV 1 and they try and give people an opportunity to see what is coming up in terms of Drama, Action, Comedy and even romance.
Usually as you advance they like to highlight the documentaries and some of those they highlight I have watched and been stunned by and they are always worth looking at and seeing what they are about. To be fair the TV Week is the best reason for purchasing the magazine due to the amount of information it provides.
Now this part of the magazine is relevant to those who enjoy movies because to be fair it does try and highlight the best movies for the week.
The first page tends to highlight the best movies for each day of the week, they include a brief summary of what the film is about, a rating based out of 5 and also a brief chart as well to what it contains. The chart consists of Sex, Violence and Language and the higher the rating there the more it has.
As you go through the pages you find they highlight the network premieres which are coming out and they give them the same rating as well and then it goes to a weekly movie check.
Each day for the week is analysed and they show you what sort of movies are going to be on air and what they are about, they tend to show a variety of channels as well which is helpful for people.
They even reveal films you might never have seen before but after reading the description become tempted to take a look. You find they also tell you the biggest movie release that week out on DVD as well and at the Cinema so that can be helpful for people to know also.
The television guide is very good but there are a few disadvantages at the same time. The usual terrestrial channels are exposed on the first page showing the first 5 main channels.
You get told what is on throughout the 24 hours of that day and they try and give you a brief idea of what is going to happen in each show or contain information of what it is about. You get told when a film is on because that listing is surrounded by a box and has a film logo next to it and if something is new such as a new series of an event they tell you that as well.
If you take a look on the left hand side you find they put usually 3 or 4 pictures up for that day and this does show the best show they ‘believe’ you will enjoy and sadly they always seem to contain a soap of some variety as well.
If you go to the next page of the listings for the same day you find they then show you the best channels you can get on Sky or Freeview with a mix of some shows having descriptions next to them and others with nothing at all.
The second page contains channels such as Alibi, Dave, Watch and all the Discovery channels and some shows have a glimpse of what might happen and some have nothing at all so you might not even know what episode is on so you need some pot luck to work out if you’re missing anything.
The final page of the listings for the day is the Movie Channels and Sport Channel listing and they usually do contain plenty of information of what the movie is about and it can be annoying.
All the listings for each day are taken up by 3 pages and as stated above they do include information for the majority of shows and channels but some are left out. You even get radio listings show up as well which is weird in my view.
Competitions and Horoscopes
Each week there is a few regular competitions that are available for people to take part with and if they do well then they are going to win something, hopefully. You find there are a small crossword at the beginning of the magazine and a bigger one at the back and usually one is for £100 and the other £500.
You have a word search sometimes which is on the TV listings pages and Spot the Shot worth
Pictures of What's On TV Magazine
What's On TV Magazine
£100 as well.You can even take part in the Sudoku which is a bit of fun and you get nothing from this but it is still something to do. Usually the crosswords are about television shows and characters and you get a sense of how much television you are currently watching when you are doing this and you find out some useful information at the same time.
The horoscopes is usually a short section which gives people a star sign reading and at the top they highlight a celebrity whose birthday is that week and you read about them usually as well.
The competitions are a relaxing way to take a short break and because the theme of them all is about television it is pretty useful.
The back pages contain information on the following week’s television and they show you some headlines and pictures to make your mouth water for the following week and as usual the biggest headline is reserved for the soaps for that week.
At the very back is the rant and compliments page where people send in their problems with shows or something they have enjoyed and I do like the rants as it is something I would also find annoying and when someone else writes in about it makes you feel all happy.
There are usually a few questions in regards to when a television series is coming back or where to buy theme music from as well which is answered down the side as well. The back pages have many shows which are ranted and complimented on so it depends what has been good and bad the following few weeks.
I like the fact that you have so much information on new shows coming up especially in the documentary area. I love seeing documentaries and when a new discovery is revealed it tempts me to pay it a visit.
I think the way they have laid out the magazine very good as well, I think the TV week showing a range of shows and then the movie guide helpful for people who might want an alternative to watching constant sport on television.
I think the competitions are a good way to keep people interested in the magazine because it helps people take time to read sit back and have a good think and then read some more and if you win even better.
I have to admit the worst part about the magazine is the constant information they give on the soaps. They have their own pages, they cover the front and back pages and each weekday they are highlighted as top shows which annoys me.
I get angry with the constant advertisement pages you see throughout the magazine as well because I do not mind the odd advert but when you see the same ones popping up all the time it leads you to get frustrated, especially when they put a thick magazine directly in the middle of the listings.
I do not like the fact that some shows on the listings pages have a description and then underneath another show has nothing at all which to me is silly and pointless, they both should have a description or nothing at all.
Overall the magazine is 49p and in my view that is a high price to pay. They have so much advertising taking place in the magazine you have to wonder why the price is so high for.
You have to also consider that the magazine should perhaps be called All About Soaps, because it is a constant reference to them throughout the magazine and it gets repetitive and boring very quickly. I would say to people that TV Choice is a much better selection, same format and much cheaper.