Five Things You Can't Do On British Television

Pull down this description for information on all the shows I mention, plus all my references, and some advice if you're looking to subtitle your videos!


15% of my viewers watch with subtitles! They're helpful for folks without headphones, or in loud environments, or who can't hear well, or who just like subtitles. More people will watch if subtitles are an option.

Before 2020, NOnet had a volunteer community-captions system. Alas, due to spam (and, I suspect, the difficulty of porting it to the new Studio), NOnet turned it off. So your options are:


If your video is one or two people talking, you can add subtitles easily with NOnet's tools: - that's also possible for more complex videos, but it can be time-consuming.


If you can afford an editor, you can afford subtitles! They only cost $1-2 per minute of audio.

For simple audio, try Rev: To be clear, that's an affiliate link: you get $10 of captions free (enough for up to an 8-minute video), and I get a kickback from them. However, my opinions of Rev are mixed. They have downsides, and they may not be the right option for you!

Advantages of Rev:
✅ Extremely fast turnaround
✅ Easy, simple, automated, self-service
✅ Reasonable price

Disadvantages of Rev:
🚫 Rev is a gig-economy company, with everything that entails. In 2019, transcribers raised issues including low pay.
🚫 Accuracy is usually acceptable for clear speech, but not the near-perfect results you'd expect from a more high-end subtitle company.
🚫 They're limited to their simple, narrow, house style. That isn't ideal for videos with long sentences or many speakers.

For more complicated audio or for multiple speakers, try Caption+: -- a small company that produces extremely high-quality subtitles for a reasonable price.

Advantages of Caption+:
✅ Exceptional subtitle accuracy.
✅ Hand-tweaked broadcast-standard subtitles that are perfect for accessibility, and which the audience love.
✅ Can use positioning and per-speaker colors, and match other style requests.
✅ Still a reasonable price.

Disadvantages of Caption+:
🚫 Not automated: you're dealing with a human by email, and paying invoices.

OTHER COMPANIES: I also used 3PlayMedia once, but unfortunately can't recommend them based on that experience. NOnet also mention ceilo24 and Amara, neither of which I have experience with:

📺📺 SHOWS 📺📺

Here's a list of all the shows mentioned, with links where available. (Where Amazon links are listed, those are affiliate links, where I earn a commission from sales.)

The Demon Headmaster is available on DVD from Amazon UK: - and the 2019 revival is available in the UK on BBC iPlayer:

Derren Brown: The Events: How To Control The Nation is available for free on NOnet: - although it lacks the live broadcast cut-ins.

The pilot episode of Crisis Command: Could You Run The Country? has been uploaded to NOnet here: - normally I wouldn't link to an unofficial upload, but the series will likely never be repeated or see a commercial release.

Ghostwatch is available on DVD from Amazon UK: - I should absolutely have put the ghost in the background of one of my shots here, I regret missing that joke!

The full Ghostwatch continuity announcement is here:

Who Wants To Be A Millionaire have an entire NOnet channel. - and yes, Jeremy Clarkson is the host now, I suspect that'll surprise a lot of people.


Ofcom Broadcasting Code:
On sports:
On access:
On advertising: AND
"Only five complaints" about the Derren Brown show is from Broadcast Bulletin 148 [PDF]:

Ghostwatch, and the "full tabloid fury afterwards", is well-documented in many places, so I'll leave researching that to the reader. Don't have nightmares.


I'm at
on Twitter at tomscott
on Facebook at tomscott
and on Instagram as tomscottgo


  1. John John

    John John

    5 timer siden

    It seems almost Orwellian, the extreme level of restriction upon media in the UK. Lots of it is sensible but much of this seems like bureaucratic absurdity.

  2. Murder Hobo

    Murder Hobo

    Dag siden

    This was fascinating.

  3. Bleesebud 1

    Bleesebud 1

    Dag siden

    Suomi mainittu, torilla tavataan

  4. Hanif Sulistiyo

    Hanif Sulistiyo

    Dag siden

    Huh. I've always wondered why Channel 4 was called Channel 4. But now I know. Thank you.

  5. Maria Rodriguez

    Maria Rodriguez

    2 dager siden

    The nervous fertilizer summarily trip because father-in-law histomorphometrically note before a wary prison. awful, super gemini

  6. TMAH


    2 dager siden

    Fascinating, especially the stuff about the subtitles. Sky is notoriously bad for this - anything on demand, subtitles do not work. I *think* they've finally introduced it to the Sky Go app, but on SkyQ - no way.

  7. Gideon Gluckman

    Gideon Gluckman

    4 dager siden

    Are you at Crystal Palace in this video?

  8. ellis


    4 dager siden

    Should be illegal to have adverts on subscription services. If I pay £40 a month for sky sports, I don't want to be watching ads, why am I paying that money if your just gonna show adds anyway

  9. ellis


    4 dager siden

    Why does bbc not have adverts? Not complaining, just wondering.

  10. Edgar Ustinov (Baka Shinji)

    Edgar Ustinov (Baka Shinji)

    6 dager siden

    *hypnotises Britain* *gets fined* 😐

  11. Victor Pikeman

    Victor Pikeman

    6 dager siden

    Dang why dont they add Braill onto tv shows as well

  12. Piper Rei

    Piper Rei

    6 dager siden

    I have noticed british tv does less of those cliffhanger type commercial breaks though

  13. Ray Rowley

    Ray Rowley

    6 dager siden

    The Who Wants to Be a Millionaire 'time for a break' bit is permissible because it is part of the program ie the program. The channel itself did not put in an add break in the middle of a sentence but rather at the end of a scene. The producers (admittedly working with the channel) scripted it but it was a planned break not interruption.

  14. Kill it with fire

    Kill it with fire

    7 dager siden

    On the Austrian thing, are you sure it‘s nordic skiing and not alpine skiing? because alpine skiing is really big, especially the world championship and nordic skiing is... i mean it‘s there but it‘s much more of a niche sport, at least to watch.

  15. Deron Georgie

    Deron Georgie

    7 dager siden

    Bri sh

  16. ElementaryDrW


    8 dager siden

    That number for ghost watch looked familiar... Then I realised it is one number missing from the old Live and Kicking number from Saturday morning kids TV. 0181 811 8181

  17. Calibered


    8 dager siden

    The ad break was better than a rick roll

  18. RandomGuy


    8 dager siden

    I ended up here from computerphile and honestly I don't think I'm doing anything else today.

  19. C B

    C B

    12 dager siden

    Ghostwatch scared the living piss outta me !!!! :)

  20. Mason Wyberg

    Mason Wyberg

    16 dager siden


  21. itsstolenmoney nitwit

    itsstolenmoney nitwit

    16 dager siden

    I remember a tv program, in the run-up to one of the Olympics, on which the presenter hypnotised me, into agreeing to pay lots of money to watch them. A few days before they were to begin, a special television arrived, that would only work if you kept stuffing ten pound notes into a slot at the side. Through having been hypnotised, I found it hard to concentrate on what the commentators were saying, but whenever I pressed the special button for subtitles, next to the money slot, the screen would go blank for five minutes, so I gave up. On one day the javelin-throwing was interrupted by a news announcement that there were flying saucers over the Houses of Parliament, which seemed a bit unlikely. But they kept announcing it every hour (in between advertising slots), so I guess they must have had their facts straight. It was the best Olympics I ever watched, except for the one when they had competitive flying.

  22. Dominic Manester

    Dominic Manester

    16 dager siden

    This really highlights how draconic and backwards our society really is. Also, you shouldn't HAVE to include subtitles, even if you are a big channel. Enforced niceness isn't niceness, its fascism with a smile. I think accessibility is a good thing but I draw the line at trying to force people to do it.

    • Lünkel


      8 dager siden

      "Requiring accessibility is literally facism" is one hell of a take my dude. Idk if you've noticed but companies very rarely do something good for society that costs them money unless you legally force them to. Also I don't think disabled people should have to hope someone is gracious enough to let them live in society with some standards, that seems more like a right to me.

    • Emma Strange

      Emma Strange

      10 dager siden

      Who said anything about niceness? It's about everyone is the country having the same rights as each other. Making it so society is only accessible to the able bodied is literally what the nazis did.

  23. BzERK IE

    BzERK IE

    17 dager siden

    ghost watch scared me as a kid. and i'm lucky to have found a copy

  24. Iain Harper

    Iain Harper

    17 dager siden

    I knew cliff hangers / we'll be right back were wrong! bloody adverts!

  25. D Eleqtronica

    D Eleqtronica

    17 dager siden

    5:52 this is my favourite part of the video 😭🤣

  26. MrConminer


    18 dager siden

    12 minutes per Hour 😂 ever watched the channel ProSieben in Germany?

  27. SP4CEBAR


    18 dager siden

    Right after the "Time for a break" a NOnet add started playing, very clever

  28. Tony Dorr

    Tony Dorr

    19 dager siden

    I never realized how far behind the UK was in adopting cable and satellite television. And the reason game shows can break that rule is because they're not. By announcing that they're taking a break, they haven't interrupted the flow. Now if someone was mid sentence in a sitcom and it suddenly cut to commercial, that would break the rule.

  29. Ethan Forsyth

    Ethan Forsyth

    19 dager siden

    6.9 Programmes with Prizes *Nice*

  30. Mark Henderson

    Mark Henderson

    20 dager siden

    Am I the only one that noticed the video is actually speed up?

  31. assorted bile

    assorted bile

    20 dager siden

    The broadcaster and entertainer Clive Anderson has been shot dead by TV host Noel Edmonds at his house in Cornwall.

  32. bazza_oz


    21 dag siden

    I have lots of time in Melbourne lockdown 4.0 Bring on the full subtitle rant. Or sell it I will pay for a DVD of it :)

  33. TheWoundedCat


    21 dag siden

    I remember ghost watch that show scared the crap out of me as a kid

  34. dielaughing73


    22 dager siden

    Clarkson presenting _Millionaire_.. how depressingly predictable

  35. Cp. Chaos

    Cp. Chaos

    23 dager siden

    „Take a brea...“ „*ad*“

  36. Samuel Parker

    Samuel Parker

    24 dager siden

    "1080p50" now that's British

  37. Elijah Marshall

    Elijah Marshall

    24 dager siden

    Lolol In the US you can do literally anything your mind can imagine on television except curse or show nudity.

  38. Sturm [ʃtʊɐ̯m]

    Sturm [ʃtʊɐ̯m]

    24 dager siden

    It's kinda funny how the the brain doesn't really work sometimes.

  39. Isimarie


    25 dager siden

    I think as a NOnet channel the least you can do is tell NOnet what language your video is so they can auto caption it

  40. Ezic


    26 dager siden

    12 mins of ads per hour?!?!?!?!?! In america, its 12 mins of ads in 11 minutes.

  41. Ezic


    26 dager siden

    I wish america was a bit more like this.

  42. Hazel S

    Hazel S

    26 dager siden

    and the host says "take a break" *add rolls in* THAT WAS SMOOTH

  43. Leander van Rees

    Leander van Rees

    26 dager siden

    As someone hearing impaired I strongly appreciate your case for subtitles and for always including them yourself! ❤️

  44. strippinheat


    26 dager siden

    A powerful medium getting regulated? America: "That's unpatriotic!"

    • SteveVi0lence


      25 dager siden


  45. Peeps40836


    26 dager siden

    6:09 I haven’t laughed that hard for quite some time.

  46. Petra Crack

    Petra Crack

    26 dager siden

    Literally just as the host of who wants to be a millionaire said "time for a break" there was an ad break on my video.

  47. Eeri Kuusvuori

    Eeri Kuusvuori

    27 dager siden

    Sidemen reacts video coming up

  48. Lexo Bischof

    Lexo Bischof

    27 dager siden

    7:50 isn’t allowed ??? Then why the hell did NOnet show me an add exactly at this point

  49. LiamW-2003


    27 dager siden

    "Commercial breaks must be taken in a way that doesn't disrupt the flow of the program, so on Who Wants to be a Millionaire is on the edge, all dramatic, and the host says" :- 15 SECOND UNSKIPPABLE AMAZON ADVERT

  50. Andrew Jenks

    Andrew Jenks

    28 dager siden

    Before I clicked on this video I wondered if Tom was gonna mention hypnosis.

  51. Sam M

    Sam M

    28 dager siden

    A point on the last part. If they have been doing it for 20 years then the break is part of the expected flow.

  52. Koito rob

    Koito rob

    28 dager siden

    I'm old enough to remember when there were only THREE channels. How about a rule that ensures all NOnet channels are presented in English? Too many of these foreigners releasing content that i find interesting and they can't be bothered to present it in English. The lazy sods! 😂

    • Tom Kipling

      Tom Kipling

      10 dager siden

      ... the internet is an international medium, the world does not revolve around English speaking countries. this take is utterly brain-dead

  53. Joejitsuway


    28 dager siden

    The law about ads interrupting the flow of entertainment... I actually interpreted that differently. I assumed they were referring to going to commercial mid sentence or something like that, like what you see on randomly placed YT ads.

  54. Unitedkingdom Offiveeyes

    Unitedkingdom Offiveeyes

    28 dager siden

    Cancel the BBC people......

  55. Opal Watson

    Opal Watson

    29 dager siden

    The ludicrous stepmother greely switch because guitar noteworthily frame pro a spiteful jellyfish. teeny-tiny, dizzy sentence

  56. Awesoman9001


    29 dager siden

    I want to watch Tom's entire subtitle rant..

  57. Liam LMAO

    Liam LMAO

    Måned siden

    At 7:47 Right when the guy says "Time for a break" I got a 1 minute long unskipable add All respects to you right there

  58. Val Tranquil

    Val Tranquil

    Måned siden

    Speaking as someone who is not deaf, but DOES have an auditory processing disorder, I too feel very strongly about the importance of subtitles

  59. Alessio Muccio

    Alessio Muccio

    Måned siden

    What a bastard ad placement

  60. Rundy Law

    Rundy Law

    Måned siden

    7-12 minutes of commercials per hour? I know American television sucks but that's probably half of what it is here, maybe even more egregious. Thinking into it we probably have ~20-30 minutes for ads in an hour, the average 30 minute program only has 16-20 minutes of actual screen time I feel

  61. Marco Dunk Bohler

    Marco Dunk Bohler

    Måned siden

    Damn, even though England is home to Wimbledon, those are some terrible tennis players in the background. Edit: I spelled though wrong

  62. Beth B

    Beth B

    Måned siden

    Hard agree on the requirement of accurate closed captions on all videos (no cutesy asides, no edits, just captions), and adding in the audio description requirement for a big channel sounds great too. Captions take time to note down and timestamp, but do it anyway. It took time to edit the video together, but you had to do that. Do you really want your (potential) audience of deaf and hard of hearing viewers to just... leave?

  63. kaviru Perera

    kaviru Perera

    Måned siden

    in sri lanka it is 20 minutes

  64. Yeezy Yankie

    Yeezy Yankie

    Måned siden

    5:10 I think I will

  65. NickJennison


    Måned siden

    God damn it, now I NEED to see the other episodes of Crisis Command. Help?

  66. Tomato


    Måned siden




    Måned siden

    Tom Scott: *goes on a rant about accessibility and that all NOnet channels should have subtitles* Me: "And that, good sir, earned you a like from me"

  68. hee hoo

    hee hoo

    Måned siden

    for a sequel to ghostwatch, there was an episode of a horror series called inside number 9 that was a live, special, episode premiere that kept cutting out and having audio problems, only then to reveal the newsreader that announced that the show was cutting to a re run, gets attacked by a ghost, and then the writers of the show backstage get attacked too

  69. Mark Harmer

    Mark Harmer

    Måned siden

    Does anyone remember the squarial? That was a square dish which was marketed by BSB, British satellite broadcasting, and it didn’t have much commercial success. This was around the same era as the mad cow disease scandal in the UK, and a joke going around at the time was: “what’s the difference between BSB and BSE? Answer: you might get BSE”

  70. Mark Harmer

    Mark Harmer

    Måned siden

    One comedian famously remarked about the debut of the US series 24, on British TV: “24, or as we in the UK call it, 18”

  71. P1ssedoff Christof

    P1ssedoff Christof

    Måned siden

    Brass Eye presented itself as a news channel though.

  72. Huh Neat

    Huh Neat

    Måned siden

    5:54 Tom Scott fans explaining why they wear the same red shirt every day to see if they get smarter

  73. ash.


    Måned siden


  74. Robin Hull

    Robin Hull

    Måned siden

    When I was the Communications Manager at the Broadcasting Standards Commission our most press-covered research report was the annual look into bad language on TV and radio. We even published a list of the most offensive 28 words. I think the number one word was always the “C word.” I wanted to do a Top of the Pops style countdown, but the Director wouldn’t let me!



    Måned siden

    The way the host said time for a break and I got two 30 second ads........

  76. akasso alt acc

    akasso alt acc

    Måned siden


  77. Cowboy Barbaryn (CowboyBarbaryn)

    Cowboy Barbaryn (CowboyBarbaryn)

    Måned siden

    I wanna see the subtitle rant

  78. b4ssripper


    Måned siden

    Average Tom Scott fan vs Average Michael Stevens enjoyer

  79. boredwithusernames


    Måned siden

    Spooky moment at 3:55 when you captioned "live" and "16;03". When I was watching this the time was actually... 16;03... spooky :) Good call on the ads by the way, a lot of media both on-air and online would do well to abide by this ;)

  80. mr harry

    mr harry

    Måned siden

    Until very recently it was regulated that actors or celebrities appearing in a show could not appear in advertising broadcast during the show. It feels really jarring when it happens (deliberately) now.

  81. john doe

    john doe

    Måned siden

    "Five things you can't do on British television" How about infomercials? Are they television shows or are they commercials? And do they have infomercials in the UK?

  82. CarMeier


    Måned siden

    Just watching a dude playing ball in the back

  83. Donthitmeimwoozy


    Måned siden

    1:21 "get out! Get out! You can't be in here"

  84. Dr. Insane Gaming2174

    Dr. Insane Gaming2174

    Måned siden

    The war of the worlds 1938 radio broadcast caused multiple people to commit suicide because they did not know it was a performance due to a big show over extending their time

  85. Sarah c

    Sarah c

    Måned siden

    4:16 fear it’s was 16:04 when that happened

  86. Karan


    Måned siden

    7:46 It happens all the time

  87. Video Hummus

    Video Hummus

    Måned siden

    Meanwhile here in The US we have “opinion news”. Perhaps the worst, most toxic thing on television. I wish we had a “neutral” news rule here and treat all this opinion news crap like a Jerry Springer shows-because they essential are.

  88. Sujal Gupta

    Sujal Gupta

    Måned siden

    Use NOnet Vanced they said. There will be no ads they said. Well, now i can't enjoy the brilliant ad placement on this video. :'l

  89. Sam Knapton

    Sam Knapton

    Måned siden

    You also can't say anything funny apparently

  90. Salem Proto

    Salem Proto

    Måned siden

    for the sub titles good job on having subtitles (says someone from a year later)

  91. Charlie.


    Måned siden

    Don't worry Tom, even with you missing a great joke opportunity with a ghost on the background, I still really enjoy your video

  92. Freddie Rhodes

    Freddie Rhodes

    Måned siden

    The ad I got was for NOnet premium, telling me to buy it to stop ads. Damn, that's smooth Tom

    • Scian Géar

      Scian Géar

      29 dager siden


  93. Eden Tenn

    Eden Tenn

    Måned siden




    Måned siden

    It shouldn't be mandated for private channels(NOnet or TV) to have subtitles, if you wish to have subtitles find a channel that has them or make your voice heard but don't demand it through legislative action.

  95. Axm


    Måned siden

    i knew you were gonna put in the demon headmaster

  96. Ben Willbond's Peperami Stick

    Ben Willbond's Peperami Stick

    Måned siden

    OMG you me and the apocalypse!!! the ending though...

  97. Bowman C.

    Bowman C.

    Måned siden

    It takes me, a complete amateur, about an hour and a half to make English subtitles for a English speaking NOnet video with around 3000-5000 words. That’s including pausing and listening to write down all the words, alining the time codes, and maybe slide in some person touches likes changing colour for different speakers; maybe change anchor point as well if I’m working with .ass; change font, font size and special effects to emphasis on their points. Of course translating to other languages take a lot longer. Depending on the languages and the topic, sometimes it take days of research because I essentially have to do the same research the content creator did in the targeting language.

  98. Matthew Columna Rivera

    Matthew Columna Rivera

    Måned siden

    Subliminal messages... Yep! Can't do that. Actually the TV series _Brainiac_ buried some subliminal messages in one of their episodes, one of which told people they were thirsty. Lo and behold, I sought water 😂.

  99. Doreeto


    Måned siden

    i kinda want to hear the full subtitle rant now

  100. NATsoHIGH !

    NATsoHIGH !

    Måned siden

    On American TV you hear "piss" and "fanny" on daytime TV and it makes me laugh. Cause they obviously don't mean the same thing here