TV Premiere: Boardwalk Empire

Readers of this blog will know how much I detest Sky and begrudgingly had to have their services when I found out Virgin didn’t supply my home.

So when a freebie preview came along, I felt it’s about time they did something to compensate for weeks of phone calls and emails only to still not have broadband installed.

Though I mute/fast forward adverts, even I haven’t missed the fact that Sky are launching a new channel, Sky Atlantic, which I gather will be showing all the good stuff from over there.

Boardwalk Empire is one of them, set in the prohibition era in Atlantic City (or at least that’s what I hoped based on the name) starting Steve Buscemi as corrupt politician/criminal/womaniser, Nucky Thompson. So far, the only thing knew about this story line is that it’s set in New Jersey which I have to say is the draw for me.

We arrive dutifully early at the Odeon to be greeted by one of those guys dressed in old fashioned cinema outfits, as is often the custom here. I like that about the Odeon as we never see that in the ultra modern Cineworld. We gleefully accept our free popcorn and take out seats in a theatre. It’s only around 50% filled which surprises me since it’s been overtly hyped.

Empire Boardwalk is slick as you’d expect from Scorsese, who made one of all time favourites, Goodfellows and has been trying to make another version every since.

It’s interesting have it set in the 20s just as prohibition becomes law but so far full of the cliques, a hit on an abusive husband of the pregnant wife that Nucky has taken a shine to leading to body found in river and gratuitous nakedness. I’m still wondering why the woman threw of her clothes for a full frontal after  being thrown out of the bed by Nucky when taking an important phone call.

I didn’t stay for the second instalment, 3 hours in the cinema is way too much time so I missed the goodie bags that were being set up for the exit. My friend stayed and reported that she is not sure of either Empire Boardwalk or the cheap goodie bags.

I will watch the second episode when it comes to TV to give it a chance. Only because it’s Scorsese.


Smile factor 6/10

Sky fail update – August 17th 2010


  1. Ordered – early-mid March
  2. TV installed – 10 days before move in date (had to have first in order to have broadband to follow)
  3. Move in date – March 26th
  4. Broadband & landline service – never arrived, gave up and cancelled 8 weeks after service was due to commence
  5. Increase in money spent on broadband as Sky could not deliver – 300%
  6. Amount of weeks without all the channels I pay for – 3
  7. Amount of months without Sky plus – 5 and a half
  8. Calls made to Sky on premium rate telephone number from mobile – dozens (see no: 4)

Five months after moving in, nearly six months since ordering the service after learning Virgin was not available in my new place, I find out that the system is actually working fine.

Sky plus has never worked or works haphazardly and seemingly only when I test it. It turns out I can’t have Sky Plus because I have a shared dish. There is no way around it.

My problem is that no-one told me I was getting only part of the service

when I paid my hard earned cash for it back in March.

The second issue is that I still have to pay the whole amount that everyone else pays,

whilst getting half of the service.

Today, someone actually called me back from an email technical enquiry. That’s how I find out but they insist on repeating MANY MANY times that DAS should have told me when I ordered from them. DAS are the engineers that installed, they are not Sky.

No matter how many times I state I never ordered with DAS, I called Sky, indeed I never knew who they were until they turned up with a box, the Sky person keeps repeating ‘they’ should have told me. It’s like talking to a four year old who only hears what they want to hear.

Even when the call is transferred to a ‘manager’, she repeats that I have to get a new box from DAS and do I want the number? Despite me telling them many times that the DAS engineers have come out twice (four times in total counting the attempted installs) and so I pretty much have them on speed dial.

It’s beyond exasperation to make so many calls (7 in all over the loss of many of the channels for 3 weeks) only to be finally told during the 2nd (DAS) engineer’s visit that Sky Plus is not available to me because of the shared dish. I didn’t believe them; ‘why would someone sell me half a product and make me pay in full?’ I asked.

Another thing, I was offered a free trial package in order to have free installation. I elected for ‘Sports’, they gave me movies. This was duly changed (another phone call).

When I called up (another call) to cancel it, they offered me a free extension to July. When I called (again) to cancel in July, I told them I’d received a letter in the meantime offering a free upgrade to all Sky Sports channels “without paying a penny more”.

I spoke with Martin at the time who said that’s fine; the sports channels will automatically be taken off at the due time.

I checked with Shaun today, whilst I was on the phone, as my bill appeared to have gone up and he said, yes, they started charging when the initial trial finished. Confused?

 I just cancelled it, having to give one month’s notice to something I never asked for and now have to pay for; the usual Sky con is in full flow here.

I love where I’m living but I will not be staying and when I go, I will certainly not be in this Cable-barren area. Or possibly this country.

 I maintain my mantra from mid 2008; the country’s gone to the dogs.

Sky – Customer Service #fail

Yes I know it’s completely my fault that I was let down so implausibly badly by Sky, one of the biggest TV and communication companies in the UK.

I’ve known, as everyone knows, their despicable reputation as far as ‘customer service’ goes and in my book have long been the worst company in the UK. That is just behind BT, the biggest communications company in the UK who absolutely fail to communicate.

Oh you may not have had any problems with them as a private customer but can I guarantee you will know someone, who knows someone in business who has lost hours, pounds and their sanity over their incompetence.

So yes, I knew only too well what I was getting into when contacting Sky to install TV and broadband in my new place, three weeks before I was due to move.

I had no choice. After agreeing to the move I find out that the building does not have cable capabilities. No beloved Virgin Media.

Yes I was looking forward to enjoying solo access to cable TV after 18 months of living with people but most important, I need reliable broadband as I work from home.

After researching alternatives I realised I had to use Sky but set up contingency plans to make it happen. So lacking in confidence was I that I started a diary from the very first conversation and resolved to make many phone calls to check all is in order and on track. Forgive me I just need to get this out there for other potential victims to see:

March 6th

Because I live in an apartment, although there is already a shared dish, there was no way for me to sign up to Sky on-line so I had almost resigned myself to endless expensive 0870 calls from my mobile when I notice a Sky stand in the local shopping mall.

Jolene, who I’m guessing was self employed rather than an actual Sky employee goes through all my options but says it will take at least 3 weeks for my phone line to be live and the broadband will come after that. I thought I better get going on this as that will be moving in time so take a not of her mobile number. Great I thought no 0870 numbers.

Monday Try to call her but not able to get through all day.

Tuesday Call the 0870 no and place the order. The call centre staff got me an install within less than 10 days and say broadband will come by 25th, a day before I move in. Because I have to call them back, I even get a normal number to call; 01623 418000. Perfect.

I have no idea why they need to install the TV so far before the telephone line that will the bring the vital broadband so it seems I have no choice but to be paying for satellite TV 10 days before I move in and actually watch it.

I get a text confirmation from DAS, the company installing.

And then it all goes wrong.

17th March I take a bus to the new place having had a call from DAS with approximate arrival time within a two hour period. I have just ordered my not very nice, expensive coffee from the local place and open my laptop to work when I get a call to say he’s 5 minutes away.

All goes well, the driver installs whilst I check the post for the viewing card. There is no card from them. The installer dismantles and takes everything way. Turns out their company policy is not to leave the box behind. I have no idea why and nor does he. He did tell me that this will set back broadband by a further 7-10 days after the TV is installed. I have no idea why the TV has to be installed before the phone/broadband. Neither does he.

Conclusion; to get more money from the weary customer.

12.04 I immediately call Godfrey, who set up the install for me who informed me that he clearly stated that I needed to hand the card to the engineer when it arrives. I agreed he did say that, he just declined to let me know that it was critical that I received it before the install. Knowing how important it was to have the broadband before moving in, had he done so, I would have gone to the new place several times to check.

12.25 It will take a week for a new card and they cannot/will not make the call to ask for it any sooner. I wait for a manager to call

14.27 Spoke to manager Richard, will not make the call to Sky to speed up the card because he knows it won’t happen. Turns out I have not been speaking to Sky, just DAS. Rude and obnoxious for several minutes when all I asked for is a clearer idea of when the card will arrive, the manager finally admitted a new card will take 3-5 days depending on Royal Mail.

The card arrives the next day. I assumed this was the original delayed card as another one never did arrive. Installation now booked for 23rd march. If the broadband is to follow in 7-10 days after that only makes it a few days after moving in  day.

No text confirmation arrives this time

23rd March I called as I didn’t have text confirmation for install today. They had it booked for tomorrow. Few phone calls later, they manager to get hold of installation manager who agreed engineer will call in today between 12-2. OK

25th March I check progress on-line and find they have given me Movie channel instead of Sports. I had to have one or the other to get some sort of a deal. I forget what that was now.

25th March I check on progress with the phone line and this time, I get put through to Sky (Yvette) themselves. They have no broadband order. They cannot find my address listed (despite having installed TV). They have no phone order.

Oh they now have the phone order.

Then, after 5minues (I counted) of me asking the question ‘When is my broadband being installed, I get the answer; the line will be installed 14-16th April and the broadband will arrive 2 weeks after that. Oh no.



26th March Call back Godfrey, he now tells me the same thing. He will neither confirm nor deny that he lied during the initial conversations that broadband would be active 2 weeks after the TV installation.

There’s more.


5th April I get a text to say phone line starting on April 13th.

7th April  I call Sky directly on the 0870 no  for clarification. I don’t need to go through how many people I got put through to before receiving the confirmation for Eleyna. ‘Broadband typically arrives 2 weeks after the phone line starting’

There has to be another way. I decide to buy a broadband dongle from T-Mobile at 3 times the cost and download restrictions but I’d rather give money to a company that has looked after  me for more than a decade than a company that certainly has not.

I cancel broadband and TV very easily. They say someone from ‘customer services will probably call to discuss’. I say I will not be taking that call.

T-Mobile dongle arrives next day and works perfectly.

The customer services call never came.

What a waste of time, energy and money all that was.

Next time I move, I’ll check the building is cabled before viewing.