Guest blogger Susie Sue is carried away by nostalgia of summers past, although not on a horse however popular they were!
It’s now late August – how quickly does the summer go by ? The school holidays are coming to an end and The Great British Bake Off (BBC1 Wednesdays, 8pm) is back. I seem to be the only person in the country who doesn’t get the appeal of Hollywood & Berry – despite being a long time fan of Mel & Sue, but as usual, I digress.
This time of year always makes me nostalgic. Memories of those late Seventies days out at the seaside – Margate, Southend, and I recently revisited Clacton-on-Sea and went to Scarborough for the first time and won a shedload of 2ps on a what we call the Cakewalk (think Tipping Point but with no prizes at the end…just hubby with a pocket full of change… “I can use it for the coffee machine.”)
When I was a girl … when dinosaurs roamed the Earth … summers were spent often at the park or dog walking for the princely sum of 50p, but as I lived on what was then considered a ‘busy’ road so no playing out in the street for us, I watched a lot of telly.
Thing was, after about 11am there was nothing on-unless it was Glorious Goodwood or a Test Match. We were that desperate to see some telly we’d watch the opening of Thames Television – at about 9:25am (no breakfast TV then!) although no-one really watched ITV.
BBC gave us Why Don’t You (Go and Switch Off Your Television Set and Go and Do Something Less Boring Instead ) in which kids from stage schools urged us to Do Stuff. The one thing I took from the many many episodes of this I watched over the years was an idea to use my spacehopper as a pretend horse in a makeshift gymkhana in the garden.
Turned out that the ‘viewer suggestion letters’ they read out were … drum roll… faked by production staff because the ones they actually got were, well, a bit rubbish.
The other main memory I have is of the black & white series that were shown.
If you are of a certain age (and a little girl obsessed with ponies – not me but many of my friends who all seemed to be called Susan at Primary school too) you’ll remember White Horses – if only (as I do) for the theme tune. It was a Yugoslavian tale of a family who kept Lipizza horses. I never cared for it – or Follyfoot for that matter which, as an aside, once brought a friend’s birthday party to a stop because most of the attendees wanted to watch it- she cried. But the theme to White Horses isn’t one, if you grew up in that era, you can forget.
The other memorable(ish) black & white atrocity was the French production The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe. Again the theme tune is pretty much all I remember about it. It seemed to run for years and years.
I knew I had met my soul mate when I discovered my husband also spent his summer days with the Test Card on. I was waiting for the rare vocal track (it was nearly always Bread’s Baby I’m A Want You). Similarly we both watched the Laurel&Hardy films that used to be on BBC2, now they don’t have the rights, denying generations – Hubby knew he loved me because of them (long story).
This summer has also seen the (pilot) return of Are You Being Served and Porridge which both aired at the Bank Holiday Weekend. AYBS had its charm, particularly for me Sherrie Hewson in her purple rinse as Mrs Slocombe, but it was so close to the original they may as well just repeat that. Porridge was better, Kevin Bishop (of Muppet Treasure Island !) was slightly over excited by playing such a great part (grandson of Ronnie Barker) but who wouldn’t be? The supporting cast were flawless and it was written – let’s not forget – by the legendary Dick Clement & Ian la Frenais. I hope it gets picked up. Just rein it in a bit Kevin!
Finally my Bank Holiday viewing ended with a bus tour. No. Not Coach Trip To Ibiza .BBC4’s All Aboard the Country Bus “A journey in real-time through one of the most spectacular and beautiful bus routes in Britain, the Northern Dalesman, as it snakes across the landscape of the Yorkshire Dales.”
Bear with me. It was a thing of simple beauty. No music. No narration. Captions showing us the Viking origins or the region. Two hours on a bus. Trust me – try it – you won’t regret it.
And with that, the summer ends.
Thank you for watching.