The BBC is celebrating 100-years of broadcasting. Growing up in the ‘60s and ‘70s, it had a major effect on my life.
As a kid, I would frequently walk down Balham High Road wondering why I couldn’t lift both feet off the ground in shop doorways.
My mother always wanted me to have elocution lessons; this would have been pointless in south-west London – I’d have been better off copying Bill & Ben.
It was a great vehicle to see what possible lines of career you might take: I couldn’t have been a rag ‘n’ bone man due to my fear of horses; life on the open seas looked attractive except no episode of Captain Pugwash ever mentioned getting scurvy, being attacked by Spaniards or being only ten-years-old on board, having been pressganged into joining the Navy; nor could I have been Bluebottle as I don’t like big bangs.
The Good Life encouraged us to become self-sufficient; having a goat in a fourth-floor flat wasn’t terribly practical, but we did always have nice mohair coats.
The BBC connected people with one another: every Sunday you always wondered where Paderborn was and thinking it must be so awful that the people there were constantly looking forward to coming home for Christmas! Even in January.
But there was little choice. If you’d been living on Mars and returned and turned the TV on and it was showing The Big Country, Billy Smart’s circus or Val Doonican with a particularly thick jumper on, you’d know it was Christmas. There was no escape – especially not from Stalag Luft III, which usually preceded Val’s Christmas Jumper fest.
Goodnight children, everywhere.