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“It is much more important to know what sort of a patient has a disease than what sort of a disease a patient has.” - Sir William Osler

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    Tuesday, August 19, 2008
    Now This is a Reality Show!

    In a sense my vacation has been misspent. I have watched more television in the past week than I have in the past several months. But, I tell myself, I am gaining a valuable insight into the British psyche by doing so. I have learned the following:
    • British soaps are telecast in the evening, not early afternoon. The storylines are real-life and revolve around the working classes; not a scrap of glamour is to be seen.
    • Britcoms continue to be the best by far.
    • Britons love their reality shows, oh yes they do. Both "Big Brother" and "X Factor" (the inspiration for "American Idol") are on right now and garnering big ratings.

    Last week here saw the premiere of a new reality show called "Maestro," in which nine celebrities learn to conduct an orchestra. Each week they are assigned a piece of music and take turns conducting the BBC Orchestra, with one or two competitors getting knocked out each week. The winner gets the chance to conduct a real performance of the orchestra. As far as I'm concerned this is a brilliant idea: who hasn't conducted along with the radio and fantasized about directing an orchestra? I've been gripped by the show, enjoying the music and watching the efforts of the competitors to learn an entire piece within a week. Most pleasant of all, they aren't jostling for money or fame. They're doing it for love of music.

    I hope this show is successful. It would be nice to see more reality shows with a higher tone about something besides scrabbling for cash.

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