Professor Angela Smith has given a paper at the 26th Ross Priory International Seminar on Broadcast Talk 2018. Entitled 'Slow tv: the mesmerising antidote to political maelstroms', her talk traced the emergence of 'slow TV' as the antithesis of the fast-edited, fast-paced television that has developed as the dominant concept of the medium in the twenty-first century. More recently, it has been heralded as the antidote to the rise of right-wing populist noise.
Whilst the early cable channels showed ambient images of burning fires or tropic fish tanks, slow tv is slightly more dynamic and deliberately edited to be relaxing as well as informative. Many of the visual tropes in slow tv come from arthouse cinema, particularly the lingering shots and sense of stillness. Unlike ambient tv, it has a narrative but not all of them have a narrator. The narrative is sometimes left to the viewer to work out, such as the original slow tv show, Train Ride: Bergen to Oslo (2009). Others have on-screen captions, such as The Ghan (2013). Where voice-over narrative does exist, it is descriptive and lacking in the usual tropes of drama. Angela's paper argued that the defining feature of slow tv is the narrative, but that this takes many different forms.