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After a longish period, with not much happening at all, the last week has been a particularly good time for reviews of my 'nostalgedy&#...

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Oh, Budgie!

Do you remember the 1960s TV Series, 'Budgie' starring Adam Faith and Iain Cuthbertson?  Probably not, I would guess, unless you (like me) are 'a certain age'.


My favourite character was definitely the Glaswegian uber-villain, Charlie Endell (Iain Cuthbertson) who had a wealth of sayings, the first being one of exasperation which is the title of this piece and another being "There are two things I don't like in this world, Budgie...and you're both of them"  One of my more pointless claims to fame is that I can do a passable Charlie Endell impression.  As you can imagine, there isn't really a great deal of call for this.

This phrase ('There are two things...") made a welcome return from my long-term memory when I was considering what to write today, because there are two things I dislike on television at the moment, and, in time-honoured 'grumpy old man' style, I'm going to tell you about them.

The first is the fashion for countdowns of the Top Ten (Twenty, Fifty or Hundred - delete as applicable) something or others, usually comedy sketches.  Miranda Hart did one over Christmas involving Morecambe & Wise.  This wouldn't be so bad, if that was all that it was, but they can't leave it at that.  Instead, a procession of industry legends, present-day stars and people you've never heard of, are wheeled on to give their opinion on the sketches, as the sketches are being shown!  This means that you are in the ridiculous position of being told why something is funny, at one and the same time as the person(s) doing the telling are destroying every possible vestige of humour that the sketch may once have held for you.  It would defy Chaplin to get a laugh from the excerpts once this lot have finished!

This is just barely acceptable from the industry legends, who presumably know something about it, is presumptuous of the 'current stars' who are rarely fit to lick the boots of the comedy legends playing in the background and is a downright travesty from the 'who the hell are these people?' who are only there because they employ a slick agent with an eye for getting them T.V. exposure.

The second is a series called, something like, 'It Was Alright In The 19xx's', which I mistakenly watched in the first instance because I thought it was going to be 'It'll Be Alright On The Night'.  In this format, the same bunch of industry legends, current stars and wanabees are dragged into the studio again (presumably you can hire a job lot) but this time, instead of excerpts from classic comedy, they're watching a selection of T.V. excerpts purporting to show how T.V. was in the decade in question.  Cue shock, horror and appalled wonder as they stare, wide-eyed and open-mouthed at the apparently racist, misogynistic and homophobic utterances that we are alleged to have taken for granted 'back in the day' (which is another pet hate of mine).  Presumably, we who used to watch such things, should be taking this opportunity to scourge ourselves and repent deeply of our sins.  What no-one points out (but should) is that anyone looking back at the forms of entertainment of 30 or 40 years ago, at any point in history, would doubtless be horrified by what counted as funny, then.  Imagine those living in the 'swinging sixties' viewing the music hall and variety entertainment of the 1920s.  You cannot apply the moral codes of today to things of the past, it's as bad as retrospective justice.

That's it, moan over.  I'll go and lie down in a darkened room now, if you can get the nurse to bring me my tea?