Showing posts from February, 2015

Seventies TV: It Ain't Half Hot Mum (Again)

I've just been watching the first series of It Ain't Half Hot Mum, and have come to quite a different impression from the one I posted about in my last post here , where I got side-tracked into racism & body issues. That was also largely based on memories of the show when it was first broadcast, when I was a child, and on viewings some discs I bought of series 3 and 4. It is usual to comment on the show's now-unacceptable (and unacceptable at the time to those portrayed) attitude towards various ethnic groups, imperialism, and so on. I think this can distract from the show as a show. Firstly I certainly would guess that eight series of this show were way too many: unfortunately I've sold the discs of series 3 and 4 so could only compare by watching them on – ahem – a certain internet website which often has whole episodes of TV shows on. However, the characterisation and the show's standing as a situation comedy strike me as much better in the first seri

The Avengers: Hot Snow

I have been prompted to write about Hot Snow by two things recently: one was the appearance of Ingrid Hafner in The Clifton House Mystery, and the other is that I have been watching Undermind, another show from the ABC stable. I love the first three series of The Avengers in their own particular way, in a way quite different from that in which (posh grammar) I love the last three series. In fact, for me it is a relief to be back in the early-to-mid-sixties after my lengthy excursion into the seventies, although I can't quite put my finger on what the difference is. I've mentally pinned it on to the live vs recorded difference, but it may not be that. Certainly Hot Snow has a good go at being about as gritty as you can get. In the televisual language later perfected in The Avengers, if you were to see Dr Tredding's home and surgery set-up, it would equate to a solid character at the heart of the community. The house is neither modern nor trying to impress with upper-cl

Seventies TV: The Clifton House Mystery

Children's TV of the 1970s again, and once again a series that I was probably too young to see at the time of its original broadcast. And I have no doubt that my mother would have discouraged me strongly from watching it, on the pretext that I would find it frightening (as I child you don't understand how these pretexts work for adults). In fact I think I would have loved it, given that I've discovered it's based on a true story: 'The 1978 children's paranormal TV drama The Clifton House Mystery was a ghost story based on the circumstances of Brereton's death. The plot revolved around a family moving into an old house in Bristol that finds a long-dead skeleton in a hidden room. After some unexplained incidents, they become convinced that a ghost connected in some way with the Bristol Riots of 1831 is haunting the house. After checking local records, they realize that it is the ghost of a dragoon commander who was court-martialled for his handling of th

Seventies TV: Z-Cars

We're at the other end of the seventies here from most of the shows I've been looking at here: my personal TV memories begin at the end of the seventies, so I'm more familiar with programmes which may have begun in the seventies but continued into the eighties. I'm also familiar with some of the repeated sixties shows which were staples of eighties TV in the UK. Z-Cars takes me into completely alien territory since it was mostly broadcast before I was born, & once I came along I have no doubt it would have been well after my bed time. The illustration is of the DVD I have bought, of seventies-broadcast episodes. I'm surprised to discover how little survives of Z-Cars: it's taken me this long to suss this but I think there is a major difference between seventies TV & the sixties shows which are the staple of my viewing. This difference is demonstrated by the way whole series often survive from the seventies, particularly many of the series which frank

Sherlock: Second Impressions

I recently fell for an offer in a charity shop where you could buy X number of DVDs for Y amount of money. My third choice was the first season of Sherlock. I was frankly thinking that I may be able to sell it on for more than I had spent on it, since I had already tried to watch it once & could only consider myself unimpressed. She I took against on my first viewing was actually the whole adaptation of the Sherlock thing to a modern milieu. I thought it over-written & a little too clever for it's own good. Nonetheless I thought I'd give it another go & was pleased to find I took to it much better this time, so much so that I've gone out & bought the second series as well. However perhaps I'd better say that I suspect this post will sound more negative than I feel. Certainly it is very clear from the start of A Study in Pink & from the commentary on the disc that there were two starting points to the creation of this series, one of which I