A marriage guidance counsellor from Southend has revealed that three quarters of all separations in Essex are caused by arguments over SKY+HD boxes – a further shocking statistic is that 1 in 5 of these break-ups include an act of violence with the remote control. Dr Kathleen Ellenby of Reunite Southend has decided to go public with this information to try and encourage couples to resolve their differences amicably, or perhaps get a second box for the bedroom with recording capabilities.

Dr Ellenby said: ‘It’s true that 75% of the separations that I deal with begin with arguments over having two shows recording at the same time, being unable to watch a third programme and series link recordings that don’t work. Last week, a couple who have been together for 20 years decided to go their separate ways when the husband cancelled a scheduled recording of Eastenders as she could have just downloaded it from the iPlayer – their broadband was so slow that it would have been at least four hours before she could have started watching it. As far as I am concerned, Sky’s bosses have a lot to answer for, and their set top boxes are literally tearing British families apart.’

Mark from Basildon visited the practice last week with his soon-to-be ex-wife, and he said: ‘I work nights for most of the week, and when I get home at 3am all I want to do is watch a couple of episodes of Only Fools and Horses on GOLD. One night, I turned on the TV and noticed that The Real Housewives of Clacton was playing on ITV2, and when I tried to turn over it displayed a warning message that she was also recording The Plastic Shiny Bangle Hour on QVC. When I found myself wanting to put my foot through the screen, I realised that my marriage was over.’

Dr Ellenby would also like to see the Sky+HD remote control completely redesigned as it has a ‘shape that encourages acts of violence.’ She said: ‘The remote control is narrow at the top and the bottom, while the main section is thicker in the middle – this shape allows people to wave it around and gather momentum at a terrifying speed. It is only a matter of time before an enraged partner literally ‘sticks it where the mice won’t get it.’