…is a phrase I never really understood.
It’s a sudden flashback I had today, to old sitcoms, particularly Croft-Perry sitcoms like Allo Allo and Hi-de-Hi. They didn’t end with your standard telly credits. They ended with “You have been watching…”, and everybody would suddenly come out of character, break the fourth wall and wave at the camera.
Presumably it’s a stage thing adapted for the telly. Even when young, though, I found it rather disruptive. I didn’t want to be shown these people were actors. I wanted to suspend my disbelief all week until the next episode. Moreover, I wasn’t always sure what the names of all the characters were. I wanted to read the credits and find out!