Monday, 11 May 2009

Blue Remembered Hills!

Kojak alias Telly Savalas

What started my nostalgia trip today? Well it’s Monday and since I stopped working I love Mondays. I normally I meet up with my daughter and granddaughter and we just spend time together maybe shopping or having a coffee. Something we’ve never had time to do for years.

Today she was working so I was left to my own devices, well until lunchtime anyway. Yes, I admit it, I switched on the telly. As I posted a while ago, I've been watching some great detective shows recently and wallowing a little in nostalgia. However I did start to worry about what seems to becoming an addiction so I've taken to listening to the radio and sometimes the dreaded iPod.

Anyway when I switched on today, Kojak was showing. I really liked it the first time around although it’s not my favourite; Harry O has that honour and I’m sure he always will. However I must admit Saturday nights were never the same without Theo sucking his lollipop.

I think I look at these programmes in a different way now, not just finding out what happens in the story. I listen to the well written scripts, see the more subtle humour, the relationships between the characters, the facial expressions and listen to the score, not just the theme tune.

It’s a bit of a morbid fascination because I always feel really sad when the programmes have finished, in fact today I could feel the tears coming. Not that the programme was particularly sad. Yes there had been a number of killings but the programme had quite a neatly tied up resolution with the baddie ending up in court. I think I was in that kind of a mood, after all I’d put the telly on to cheer me up a bit. However I wondered what had brought me to tears.

Well maybe it was a realisation that the programmes take me back to a time to when I was young and getting over some really sad times. Music and TV programmes like these were my Tardis transporting me to another time and place, almost another planet really, for a while at least. Plus you tell yourself that they just don’t make programmes like these any more. Don’t you? A sure sign you’re getting on that one. Probably the saddest fact of all, is that a lot of the wonderful actors like David Janssen and Telly Savalas died quite a while ago.

Although the ‘seventies gets some stick for being a bad time in the field of fashion, (wedge boots and satin flares to name a couple of dubious items of apparel) there was some great telly. It was once voted as the golden era of British television and it's not difficult to see why. However my tastes were not too highbrow in those days, I just wanted to be entertained!

You’ll note in my list below, there’s a plethora of detective shows and comedies. I not only wanted to be taken to another planet, I wanted something to make me laugh again. There’s a few children’s shows too. My children were quite young in the seventies and I liked to watch TV with them! There are lots more programmes and no doubt I‘ve forgotten some, but here’s a selection of ‘seventies telly I used to watch.

· Harry O (the rest of the list is in alphabetical order but Harry has to be top of my list!)
· Abigail's Party - A concession to culture
· A Family at War – fantastic TV series about a family during WW11
· Bagpuss - Recently voted the most popular children’s TV programme ever!
Must have been a lot of females in their thirties voting.
· Agony
·
Battle Star Galactica
· Bewitched
· Blake’s Seven
· Blue Remembered Hills
(Another concession to culture)

· Boney (Aussies will remember this one)
· Butterflies
· The Bionic Woman
· Cannon
· Carrie’s War
· Columbo
· Citizen Smith
· Dallas
· Dad’s Army
· Happy Days
· Hart to Hart
· I Didn’t Know You Cared
· Ironside
· Jim’ll Fix it
· Kojak
· Last of the Summer Wine
(Longest running sit-com in the world!)
· Lizzie Dripping
· Little House on the Prairie
· M*A*S*H
· McCloud
· McMillan and Wife
· Me Mammy
· Michael Bentine’s Potty Time
· Monty Python’s Flying Circus
· Mork and Mindy
· Multi-Coloured Swap Shop
· Nearest and Dearest
· Oh Brother!
· Poldark
· Quincy ME
· Rising Damp
· Rockford Files
· Rhoda
· Secret Army
· Six Million Dollar Man
· Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em
(Michael Crawford’s surreal and manic portrayal of Frank Spencer)
· Starsky and Hutch
· Take Hart
(I loved this children’s art programme. Sad Tony Hart died recently, he was fantastic, wonder how many artists he inspired)

· The Streets of San Francisco
· The Waltons

I got to thinking that it’s great going back to these classic shows and enjoying them in a different way, but you just can’t go back can you. The past is a place in our hearts and minds, what Houseman called “Blue Remembered Hills“. I love that expression, it really encapsulates the whole feeling I have for my TV “Land of Lost Content”. I’m not much good at remembering poetry but this extract always sticks in my mind, thanks to Denis Potter’s fantastic play, Blue Remembered Hills.

Into my heart an air that kills
From yon far country blows:
What are those blue remembered hills,
What spires, what farms are those?

That is the land of lost content,
I see it shining plain,
The happy highways where I went
And cannot come again.

Extract from A Shropshire Lad - A.E. Housman

Now that almost reduces me to tears too. So after this session of wallowing in nostalgia, a few tears, (some of them I'm sure were for the lovely actors who are now no longer with us) and how today so much TV is absolute DROSS, I should feel a bit down. Not a bit of it. Why?

Well it’s a lovely sunny day, chilly, but glorious blue skies and just after Kojak finished, the postman came. I got the result of my recent mammogram. It was fine. I had been dreading it and I’m not sure why I got myself worked up about it this time, but I did. Getting that letter was like winning the lottery! Now I’m going to pick up my little charmer from nursery and looking forward to my holidays.

Photo Source: Nicolas Savalas - Wiki Commons

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