Sunday, 14 September 2008

Inspirations 1: Before German n'er-do-wells, or famous Gallifreyans

I've just spotted that Private Schultz is out on DVD. When this was first on, I remember watching it - I was quite young, maybe younger than 10 - and feeling something odd and wonderful. I now know that I was responding to great writing, but at the time it just felt like I had learned a secret. No kids of my acquaintance were watching Private Schultz (it was written by the same person that adapted the 70s version of I Claudius, I now find out!). If it had been nowadays, I suppose I could have just gone online to find a TV and film forum to talk to people about it (and they'd all be snooty to me 'cos I'd be younger than 10) but back then I had many years keeping those secrets.

So, over the next few days I'm going to post five more inspirations, with annotations on their autobiographical significance (forgive me the indulgence, I need something to post about and "wrote a lot today because of imminent deadline" is going to get boring very quickly).

Today's inspiration: Minder

Before I discovered the TV adventures of German n'er-do-wells, or famous Gallifreyans, my favourite programme was Minder. Minder was great.

I remember when I was about seven at infants school we had a lesson where the teacher took a survey of when was everyone's bedtime (dunno what this was supposed to teach us). I lied and said I was tucked up in bed by 7pm. But I was always awake till past 10 every night watching programmes like Minder and The Sweeney. My parents were wonderful. Or lax. I haven't worked out which yet.

Only one child put their hand up to a post 10pm bedtime. He was a rough but cool kid: I really should have got to know him better - we might have been watching all the same programmes.

[An aside: you know how people say they didn't realise TV shows had writers or directors when they were young (and it must be true, for so many different people keep saying it). I don't remember thinking that exactly, but I do remember a feeling that everything on TV wasn't real, like a photo-realistic animation, and all the people on TV were controlled avatars of some kind. Except Frank Muir.

I thought Frank must be real because he was on both Call My Bluff and a Cadbury's Fruit and Nut commercial ('Everyone's a fruit and nut case'). So, for a period of some months (maybe even years) I believed the only people that existed were those I'd met and Frank Muir. Needless to say, I was something of a strange kid. For some reason, though, Dennis Waterman was immune to this despite also being in two shows. I'm still not sure Dennis Waterman exists.]

To keep the spirit of my youth alive I still go to bed after 10, and I regularly lie in surveys.

Next: The Ladykillers


Paul Campbell said...

My parents never let me stay up late (boo!)

There are so many programmes of a certain vintage which are really familiar to me from their opening credits and theme tunes, but whose contents are a complete mystery.

The Sweeney is one of them.

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