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Television in Bulgaria PDF Print E-mail

I am interrupting my Star Trek marathon in order to write a little article for you on the topic of television in Bulgaria. Although we had done a pretty good job of avoiding television back in old Blighty, we thought that we might go stir crazy through the winter here without some sort of mind-numbing entertainment. Sometimes it is a good thing to turn your brain to mush after a day of… hard physical labour? Oh, it’ll be fine I’m sure we won’t emerge blinking into the spring sunlight myopic and insane from watching too many episodes of Midsomer Murders (repeated). Watch this space!

Terrestrial television of Bulgaria consists of two stations, Bulgarian National Television (BNT1) and BTV – you guessed it, Bulgarian television. There programming is nothing out of the ordinary: chat shows, reality shows and talent shows. There is a ubiquitous personality, sporting a bald head and a pair of apparently bolted on raybans, who is the Bulgarian version of David Letterman. So that’s quite interesting. There are other interesting idiosyncrasies in Bulgarian TV programmes: lots of dancing girls, lots of canned laughter. There are also programmes filmed either in a studio or in the wilderness somewhere in Bulgaria of people in traditional dress singing songs, taking it in turn to take the mic. This seems strange to us coming from the UK, but it seems that people perform traditional song and dance here and it is very popular, much as it is in many countries in the world. The music channels that sport this type of music tend to have very low production values, and the male singers often sport interesting hair on and around, but not restricted to, the facial region.

Most of our neighbours have satellites stuck to the outside of their homes and getting one of our own turned out to be a piece of cake. The BulSatCom kiosk was in our local internet café. The next day someone came to our home to fix the antenna to the wall and connect it to our television. Et voila! For 25 leva per month we have access to 70 channels and a very good signal considering we are in the middle of nowhere. The most basic package is just 8 leva per month. Quite a few of these are English channels, including CNN, HBO, Discovery, Animal Planet, Eurosport, Cartoon Network, VH1 and MTV. Bulgarian satellite channels have many familiar programmes from the US, which are subtitled or dubbed, depending on the channel. There’s also a channel dedicated to fishing. Those guys are hardcore.

The initial reason for getting a telly in the first place was to get lots of practice of the Bulgarian language, so I was kind of worried that we would stop watching Bulgarian language channels, but this hasn’t happened. And in fact Bulgarian subtitling on English language channels is incredibly useful for getting my reading up to speed, which at the moment is embarrassingly slow.

My eyes are aching from staring at the computer screen now, so I’d better get back to watching more TV. What would my mother say? If you’re reading this ma, I’m also sitting unnecessarily close to the screen!


Last Updated on Monday, 16 November 2009 08:38