Pay per view broadcaster SKY TV has reported that it haemorrhaged just under 500 million pounds since 2001 in ‘lost or stolen revenue’ in County Tyrone. Most of it is thought to be attributable to trade in illegal counterfeit box units.
An East Belfast based representative for Sky, Mr Philo-Farnsworth Jenkins, has told Tyrone Tribulations of the frustrations the Rupert Murdoch owned media company has had to face around mid-Ulster.
“We believe that the Carrickmore area is by far the worst offender for copyrighting issues. Only 3% housing we visited have actually admitted to even owning a television set, never mind pay per view packages. The majority even had dishes on the roofs. Our presence is hardly sustainable at this rate. When issuing notices to conform, we have received house-owner names such as Michael Mouse, The Man From God Knows Where, Napoleon Dynamite, Sean South, Vladimir Klitschko, Rupert Murdoch, Rupert The Bear, The Pope, Oz McCallan and we even had a Tiger Woods. It’s really not that funny.”
Jenkins has also spoken about the threats and unsafe conditions his drivers are facing in some parts of Tyrone.
“In the past four months, we have had a penis drawn on Homer Simpson’s forehead on one of our vans, and posters of an Irish footballer called Patrick Spillane stuck to five different windscreens. We’ve also actually had a van clamped by a youth of no more than 13 years of age – from where he got the clamp is still a mystery to the authorities. One of our employees conducting a door to door survey was even threatened with a gigantic wooden spoon as well as a hurling or shinty stick, and told to get out of the area. What is going wrong with NI youth these days? “
Mr Jenkins went on to say that typically the highest TV traffic bracket – week day mid-morning – is associated with a plethora of students and unemployed sitting at home drinking tea. He conceded that 97% of Tyrone homes not having a TV in this day and age is simply not credible:
“When you look at the nationwide viewing figures for Dr Phil, Jeremy Kyle and even Deal or No Deal, if it weren’t for the unemployed these programmes simply would not be on television. They would be replaced with more Homes Under The Hammer type stuff and yet Tyrone bucks the trend completely, with no one watching TV… You can laugh all you like but it is a serious matter.”
Also, despite the fact that GAA clubs throughout the island of Ireland have been offered a discount of some 30% to install a SKY box, only one GAA club anywhere – the PSNI Gaelic Athletic Club – has come forward to apply, though the club’s subscription money remains to be paid.
As local channel Ulster Television prepares to go south of the border, with first programmes due to air on January 1st 2015, UTV are preparing to install barriers and water cannon at their premises. They are expecting loitering and crowds to gather outside UTV house on the Ormeau Road over Christmas, as this can often be a quiet season for protesting.
Three Carrickmore students based in Belfast whilst studying at UUJ have been inundated with hard luck cards and commiserating phone-calls after marginally failing to make a beef casserole at their flat in the Holylands. Despite the early stages going to plan, a mishap saw the entire flat burned to the ground as well as the adjacent buildings in what has been described as a ‘ typical munchie horror show’ by the PSNI. Seanie Loughran, studying sums at the university, says it was a brave attempt inspired by something they saw on TV.
“Gutted. Not just us but this entire row of flats. Myself, Ciaran and Johnny were watching Nigella Lawson and I told them I was sick and tired of spuds and beans or fish fingers and spaghetti hoops. Nigella had just made a beef casserole and after we’d tired ourselves from the usual innuendos there, we went out to the Spar and bought 2kg of braising steak, onions, red wine, tomato puree, butter, a rake of carrots and a 24-pack of Coors. It was all going well after we’d chopped up the steak and got a big pot and bucked the whole lot into it. The smell was delicious. Ciaran cracked open the Coors and that’s when things took a turn for the worse. The craic was mighty watching Deal Or No Deal as we got wired into the cans and the wine which we decided to drink too. It was the burny smell and subsequent towering inferno from the kitchen area that reminded us of the casserole. It was too late.”
The fire brigade were able to salvage the half of the end houses in the 6-row of flats although little was lost in the way of college notes as Loughran says they are the type of learners that don’t need to write things down such is the collective power of their memories. The police also expressed disappointment that they didn’t try to add mushrooms to their casserole. Loughran added:
“We’ll dust ourselves down and try again when we find a new place to live. I’d love to try making something deadly like lasagna. Imagine going back to the Carmen saying you made a lasagna. You’d be considered a culinary genius. But for a while we’ll get back on the horse with jammed toast and the like.”