Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Our Favourite Review Of Back In Time For The Weekend...

Well, there's Rob Ashby Hawkins with his 1950s teddy boy haircut and home brew, Steph looking naff and the kids, Daisy and Seth (those names would not have gone down well in my neighbourhood in the 1970s) with the Frustration game. I had that game, circa 1974. I used to play it with my cousin Sue and once copped a serious strop because I lost. My parents did not look on with interest. They were glued to the telly and kept telling us to be quiet.

As regular readers will know, we didn't recognise the 1970s served up by Wall To Wall for the BBC in the series Back In Time For The Weekend. We would have loved to have recognised it, but it simply wasn't recognisable - a piece of rose-tinted nostalgia dedicated to a decade that actually did not exist in that form at all.

And we didn't warm to the Ashley Hawkins family, either. Why can't the BBC put some working class folk on these shows? And why do these BBC programmes always have an "I love the 1970s so much, I could pee myself!" agenda?

And as for Giles Coren - oh PLEASE RELEASE ME, LET ME GO! as somebody sang in some decade long ago.

We cited our reasons for disliking the show previously. Where was the rampant inflation, three day week, Winter of Discontent, etc, and who played indoor golf? And as for going camping... well, that wasn't invented in the 1970s, and it was so middle class, darling!

"Wall To Wall gave us such lovely things to do," trilled Mumsy Steph. Yes, they may have done, but ground down by the real 1970s you might not have been in the mood, dear.

And what about the 1950s Back In Time For The Weekend? Women didn't work? My great-great grandmother was born in 1860 and went into service in 1873. My great-grandmother was born in 1888 and went into service in the early 1900s. My grandmother was born in 1910 and went to work in a factory in 1924. My mother was born in 1945 and went to work in a laundrette in 1960.

Anyway, a review by John Woodhouse on the 1970s show has caught our eye. It says so much. And we reproduce it here. Thanks, John. We're glad we're not the only ones who remember the real 1970s.

The Sozzled Seventies

THIS week on BBC2's time-travelling social documentary they were heading back to the 1970s – or 'now' as it's known in Birmingham.

"It was," we heard, "a decade with something for everyone." The gravediggers' strike, for instance, was perfect for bodysnatchers.

"The Seventies," claimed the programme, "was the first decade where people spent a significant proportion of their income on fun." Although whether Swingball really counts as fun is open to question.

 "One survey," it added, "revealed Brits as among the happiest in the world." The majority of those surveyed were the criminally insane.

Kids, for instance, had far greater freedom to play and roam, "often in conditions that would be considered downright dangerous now." That's for sure. You'd be safer playing three-and-in at Windscale than you would on the average glass-strewn tarmacked playground.

This, we were reminded, was the decade when making your own beer really took off. "Home brewing required plenty of patience," stated presenter Giles Coren. "Fermentation lasted about three weeks." Roughly the same amount of time as the hangover.

"Over the course of the Seventies," Coren added, "alcohol consumption rose by more than 40 per cent." Most of the increase happened when Margaret Thatcher appeared in 1975.

Family of four the Ashby Hawkins had been despatched to a recreated Seventies to see what the decade was all about. "Did people actually think that moustaches were attractive and sexy?" pondered the daughter. It wasn't so much that – it was more they were insulation during a power cut.

As the Ashby Hawkins settled in for some family time, there was a knock at the door. It was Eric Bristow. Either he wanted a game of darts or he'd heard the home brew was ready.

"In the mid-70s," we heard, "darts was phenomenally popular." And indeed most football fans took a set to a local derby.

"Three times as many adults played darts as football," Coren continued. That's because football's quite difficult after 15 pints of lager.

"We played darts when you could have a pint and a smoke on TV," Eric recalled. Happy days - they used to cough up phlegm on the front row.

Soon the calendar had moved round to the heatwave of 1976. "Water was in such short supply," the programme reminded us, "we were encouraged to bath with a friend." Or on a friend if it was Giant Haystacks.

As the Ashby Hawkins danced to the sounds on the music centre, some party food arrived. "Paté in aspic with tinned mandarin segments in it," noted mum.

Suddenly fondue doesn't sound so bad.

See the review in its originl form here -


SONIA said...

Fair comment. The BBC does have an agenda to portray the 70's as a good era because of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan in the following decade. But I'm a sociology student and am studying the 1970's and the Back To The Weekend view is not what comes across from the media of the decade.

Andrew said...

Well, I study the media of the decade too, Sonia, including a large newspaper archive (I'm currently reading articles about mid-1970s university graduates having difficulty in finding employment), and I also have memories. I'd love to see the real 1970s represented on a modern day TV show.