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How new tech could have foiled TV plotlines

22 February 2019

We explore some classic TV favourites that might have told a different story had today’s modern technology been available.

A man sits in his kitchen next to the smart meter

In BBC1’s Sunday night drama Baptiste, a villain disguised as a meter reader shows up at a front door and, as Saga's TV critic Benjie puts it, 'When people call round to read the meter in a police drama, things are only ever heading in one direction, and so it proves.'

Horrified viewers took to Twitter, expressing relief at owning a smart meter – saying goodbye to unexpected visits from their energy supplier and hello to automatic meter readings.

How different Baptiste’s plotline might have been if the victim’s response had been: “Sorry my good sir, I have upgraded to a smart meter which sends my readings for me. You must have the wrong house”.

Every household in Britain can get a smart meter from their energy supplier, so in the not-too-distant future, this grizzly scene would have had to play out quite differently.

Here are a few more plotlines that might not work today...

Gavin and Stacey

Our favourite romantic pair spent weeks talking on a good old-fashioned landline before their blind date in London. Had they met today, would their weeks of anonymous chatting have been replaced by a quick stalking session on social media? Maybe it would have sped up their relationship – or maybe it wouldn’t have happened at all!

Only Fools and Horses

Sadly, the owners of an antique chandelier weren’t able to check the MyBuilder website for a decent review before letting Del Boy, Rodney and Grandad loose in their house. While they might have thought twice about letting the duo do the work, this would have robbed us of one TV’s greatest comedy moments.

Doctor Foster

What hit Doctor Foster the hardest was discovering how long her husband’s affair had been happening under her nose. Perhaps if she had used the helpful Find Friends app, she’d have spotted when hubby Simon was skiving off work and caught him up to no good.

Fawlty Towers

The scene of many a chaotic stay, Fawlty Towers managed to stay open for years without the hundreds of terrible Trip Advisor reviews that would have no doubt sent guests elsewhere had they been available to read.

The Night Manager

In the BBC adaptation of John le Carré’s master piece The Night Manager, super rich villain Hugh Laurie may have wanted to check Tom Hiddleston’s LinkedIn profile. There he might have seen that T-Hid had an eclectic military career before running a swanky hotel.

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The Office

Every office has their own David Brent and love or loathe the character, he certainly kept us cringing with his search for popularity. But what would Tim, Dawn, Keith or even Eric Hitchmough say if they had website Glassdoor as a platform for their thoughts on Wernham Hogg?

Read Saga Magazine's interview with cover star Ricky Gervais

The Good Life

Tom and Barbara’s ambition to ditch ‘city life’ would have been a lot easier in 2019 – and much less reliant on digging up potatoes – thanks to the proliferation of online grocery deliveries and Amazon Go’s one-hour delivery slots! 

The Likely Lads

England are playing Bulgaria the lads are bet they can’t get through the day without learning the result. Had they been given the same challenge today, they wouldn’t have stood a chance thanks to endless notifications and thousands to tweets to ruin any Super Saturday.

Pride and Prejudice

The moment when Elizabeth Bennet is caught unawares by the brooding Darcy emerging dripping wet from the lake change the course of one of drama’s greatest love stories. Would she have taken the chance of snooping round Darcy’s house if he had checked in at Pemberley on Facebook?

Smart meters cut out the drama of taking meter readings and keeping track of your energy usage. Contact your energy supplier to arrange a smart meter installation at no extra cost. Visit for top smart meter tips on how to make the most of yours.

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.

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