Sunday, 29 January 2017

My TV Shopping Basket


The title of this post may seem rather strange, and is certainly a departure from the way I usually write about TV here, but given that I see I repeatedly post about a fear that the supply of old TV will dry up, it is interesting that there are a few things in my Amazon basket at the moment, taht I may obtain and write about. That said, I won't necessarily buy them from Amazon, or at least from Amazon themselves: I shop around between Amazon, Cex and eBay, and more rarely will buy something off the shelf in HMV, but use my Amazon basket as a way to remind myself of things I possibly want to see. Regular readers will know that I usually only write about shows here that I rate: this post is an opportunity to write about shows I haven't seen at all, so can't really judge, but to comment that I would like to see them.
First up is Flower of Gloster, which it seems has taken a long time for Network DVD actually to release. I am very pleased that a review for it has already appeared on Amazon, commenting on what quality TV it is, and particularly how dated it looks in terms of young boys wandering off on their own, talking to strange men on canal boats, and the fact that the boys 'do their own stunts' on the show. You can see such a scene on the video that I am using to illustrate this post. Then, as now, canal locks are very dangerous things, contained areas of water with possibly unseen things underneath, the likelihood of catching Weil's disease from the water... as a modern health and safety exercise, this show would just go on and on and shows how the world has changed. The video I have used here also shows the point I make periodically, that a man's bare chest wasn't a sexual thing once upon a time. As a Brummie, I also want to see this show because it shows the city and its canals (in case you didn't know Birmingham famously has more canals than Venice) as they were in the 1960s.
Spike Milligan's show Q has been released in two box sets, and they are definitely on my list of things to watch. Considering I could never tolerate the Goons very well (I would have to admit that Harry Secombe merely irritated me) I love Spike Milligan's humour a lot. I have one of those BBC Classic Comedy single-disc anthologies, which claims to capture the highlights of Q and his other series There's A Lot of It About. It is perhaps more associated with Peter Sellers (who plays his own ghost), but Milligan also features in a film in my shopping basket, Ghost in the Midday Sun. I have never seen it so really cannot comment at all, but given that the online reviews tend to comment on its surrealism I suspect that it is my kind of thing.
I notice that recently I have been venturing back in time from the sixties fantasy Avengerland in which I feel most comfortable. Edgar Wallace was one of the most popular crime writers of the earlier years of the twentieth century, and I am finally planing on trying one of the anthology DVDs of his Mysteries series. I was looking at them when I popped into HMV today and thinking that since I do like an old film, they ought to be bang up my street. I have never read any of his myseries so cannot comment on what they are actually like.
Returning to comedy, I have to admit that Dick Emery never fails to make me laugh, although his humour is so old-fashioned nowadays. I lent Ooh You Are Awful to a friend once who watched the beginning and returned it silently to me as if she didn't want it in the house, but he makes me roar. I have another of those BBC Classic Comedy discs, but the one I have in my basket is the disc containing the recordings Emery did for ITV in a rare departure from the BBC. The blurb and the reviews on the internet don't suggest that they differ in any great way from his normal output, so I am looking forward to more of the same.
I am more ambivalent about the Armchair Theatre series, believing anthology series to be rather patchy by nature. That said, it seems to me that the several box sets of the various series are retaining their value on the resale market, which often suggests that a TV series is quality and thus those who buy it on release don't sell the discs on. Otherwise, it is of course one of the all-time great names in TV shows, with what can only be described as a glittering cast of writers and actors. Of course you all know my reservations about great name actors in TV shows - and even before they became famous, watching those shows afterwards can often still bring the actor's later success intrusively into the viewer's mind.
Other shows I would like to see? Well the parody Laughing Prisoner would be high up on there. It has been on Amazon as awaiting release for some years, but never actually comes out. I remember seeing it in the 80s when there was a fad for shows like The Prisoner and The Avengers, which were being shown on the then-new Channel 4.
Perhaps I will make a point of writing an occasional post on what has caught my eye in the world of classic TV without the obligation to watch the show and thus make some judgement on it first, I have found it quite refreshing. Just please bear in mind that I am making no recommendation of any of these shows, so watch them at your own risk!

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