Making a Difference:
KET has such first-class programs that we love. ... Everyone should support KET and keep these programs coming. I quite honestly don't know what our family would do if these British programs—and all of the other things we watch —disappeared.
KET viewer and English native
One of Marion Smith's earliest memories is of walking to the bomb shelter behind her house each night to go to bed, where she'd be safe from raids on her hometown of Sheffield in the northern county of Yorkshire during the darkest days of World War II.
Those memories still linger for the English native, whose eyes now rest on the Kentucky countryside instead of the sweeping moors and dales of her youth. But she and her husband, Derek, return to their homeland each week, thanks to the bounty of British comedies, dramas, and other entertaining programs airing on KET.
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"When we found there was British programming available on KET, well, that became the highlight of our week," said the friendly, outgoing grandmother who emigrated to Franklin County in 1974 with Derek, her two young children, and the kids' grandmothers. There, the family built a home along the road where Marion's older sister had settled with her American GI husband.
"We take a stroll down memory lane every time we watch one of those programs," said the longtime donor to KET.
"And the most fun of it is when they come out with a typically British quote or mention a town in a funny way. Derek and I look at each other and say, 'Does the American audience understand what they just said?' And they'll use words like 'kerfuffle.'’ I haven't heard that word since we left England!"
With her mother and mother-in-law, both widows, living cheerfully in their own attached apartment at the Smith home, Marion says the close-knit family has watched KET faithfully through the years.
"KET has such first-class programs that we love. We just enjoy it so much. Everyone should support KET and keep these programs coming. I quite honestly don't know what our family would do if these British programs—and all of the other things we watch —disappeared. It wouldn't be the same for us."
Though the grandmothers have now passed away and the Smiths' children, Carole and Andrew, are adults, they all still eat every Sunday dinner together—and turn to KET when they look for quality television programming.
"We support KET because it's perfect programming for family viewing," Marion said. "It's entertaining, educational—and we find that very often, in all the channels we have here, KET is ultimately the one we watch."
Though she naturally thrills to the sights abundant in her native northern England featured in Last of the Summer Wine, and gleefully follows the foibles of the fish-out-of-water physician in Doc Martin, Marion says a wide variety of KET programming appeals to the couple.
"We love the musical performances, and we watched all the Christmas musical specials, like the Mormon Tabernacle Choir," she said. "We never miss Kentucky Life and Dave Shuffett—our Goldens were featured twice on Paw Pals. And we always watch Kentucky Afield with Tim Farmer, and Antiques Roadshow, and of course Masterpiece Theatre. There is so much."
Though far from British soil, the Smiths have put down roots in the New World's Commonwealth, embracing home, hearth, and small-town life as enthusiastically as any native Kentuckian.
"Derek and I have a potluck group that meets once a month, on Saturday—and everyone has to be home for nine o'clock to watch KET," she said with a laugh. "We say we hope they never have the BritComs on at eight, or we wouldn't have time to eat!"