Seventies TV Season: Introduction
Well, that abortive move from Blogger didn't last very long did it? I don't know what happened but Overblog won't be getting the benefit of the millions of page hits that would result from hosting this blog, and instead I'm going to be absconding to Tumblr (address below). I'm still playing with it and will post here to announce my final switch.
This post is the introduction to a projected series of posts on 1970s TV series. I am going to try to write one post per series on a number of series which I really think are rather good, in a similar way to what I previously did about 1980s TV. When I did that I found that the shows I featured were mainly ones that I didn't feel I could do justice to in some way, but nonetheless could do an introductory post to the series and focus on one episode.
There are a number of problems with blogging about 1970s TV shows which I didn't find so much with 1980s shows.
The first is that whenever I have written about it in the past I have found myself focusing on the more distressing aspects of the decade: the conflict, poverty, and so on. These things tend naturally to be reflected in the TV of the time, and that casts a heavy historic pall over it.
The second is that that the decade is (in my mind) fanous for its sitcoms and I personally have never got on very well with sitcoms, which naturally makes it difficult to blog about.
And the third is that the television of the decade tends to be problematic in ways which attract the gammons. In fact it's a bit difficult when people know you blog about old TV and they tend to assume that you're a racist, Brexiteer, vote Tory, hate people of colour and immigrants, and think racist and sexist 'comedy' is hysterical. One of the reasons I rather loud pedal the woke on here is that it keeps those kind of people away because of all people those people love expressing their stupid opinions and I will not platform them. The official position of this blog is that it is never funny to make fun of people because of their race, sex or sexual orientation, and that means that some shows will not be appearing here. It is always funny to make fun of Tories because they could stop being Tories.
Obviously this has meant I have had to make some judgements here. I keep meaning to write a post about the TV which I don't write about but absent that I have made some decisions about what will not appear in this series of posts. For example (although it was made in the nineties) the only way Heil Honey I'm Home should be discussed in the public sphere is to delineate how offensive and anti-semitic it is. If you read the comments on the episode on YouTube, though, you will see the sort of people I want to put off reading this blog, saying that people are making a lot of fuss about nothing and you can't say anything any more without upsetting people, and there's no reason it shouldn't have a commercial release. The Shoah, that's what's wrong with it, it's not funny and they're pathetic man-babies who don't have the warmth and human empathy to care that the author of mass slaughter is not entertaining.
Among 1970s shows which will not be appearing here are Love Thy Neighbour. To me it crosses a boundary into negative depiction of Black people and for that reason alone, isn't funny. Curry and Chips (although it was 1969) stars Spike Milligan browned up to play an Irishman of Pakistani heritage, thus managing to be racist about two groups at once. Till Death Us Do Part and In SIckness and in Health also will never appear here.
There is, however a difference between glorifying the TV of the past *because* it is offensive and you like people to be insulted, and a nuanced judgement that there was some quality television which took place against a social and cultural background which has passed, and may be read against that background. For example, the gammons love Benny Hill because of his racial and sexual perspective. My personal opinion is that he has genuine streaks of comedy genius and can make me howl with laughter, while still depicting a lot of things which are clearly unacceptable. Another example, strangely, is Monty Python's Flying Circus: if you watch closely there is an incredible amount of homophobia and some very wrong attitudes towards women in there, and I've been trying to think why Benny Hill and Monty Python are dearly beloved: I suspect that it is because of their public perception. Nobody in their right mind would ever look at Benny Hill and conclude that he was setting out to be vile, because the man was plainly a sweetie. Similarly, the entire Monty Python team get a similar repute with the public (although I'm not sure John Cleese isn't going off it).
Basically, I'm going to make a judgement on the basis of whether I think the artiste and show is vile or not.
Talking of public perception, there is another problem with 1970s TV which is that the entire British broadcasting industry at the time was absolutely riddled with child abusers and rapists, making the most of their reputation with the public to get away with as much as possible. I sometimes think there isn't a celebrity of my youth left who hasn't been caught out: and I even wrote to Jimmy Savile asking him to fix it for me. As always if subjects some up in blog posts which I think might be difficult I will put a warning at the top. Tumblr now have a system of community filters for posts, and I don't think they're optional: it may be that if I have to filter a post as mature you won't be able to read it unless you're logged in to Tumblr, but I'm afraid that's just the way the rules work there.
Finally, the seventies were notorious for being (or trying to be) incredibly sexy. Long time readers will know that I love the sexy stuff and so again will make a judgement if anything sexy comes up in these posts, and put a warning/community filter if necessary.
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