Looking back, it’s clear that the children’s television I grew up with bore the marks of the Second World War, with its rigorous ethos of make do and mend.
You could learn how to make Tracy Island out of sticky back plastic and glue. When Mother’s Day hove into view, they were ready with a plan to create something useful for mum’s clothes pegs out of used vests and German parachute silk. They could show you a way of communicating with your friends using tin cans and string, presumably so you could lurk in hedgerows and report on troop movements a la French Resistance.
It was all faintly worthy, as epitomised by the over-achieving Tracy family in Thunderbirds, who appear to have inspired American foreign policy for decades by adopting the practice of relentlessly sticking their neb in on a global level, using big fancy bits of kit deployed all over the shop under the guise of helping to rescue people.
Kids’ TV then was so worthy it could even attract Princess Anne wandering about Africa telling people how to do things properly.
The wonderfully anarchic Tiswas, inset above, was the game-changer. Suddenly it was green gunk, noisy studios, crazy lighting and no-one did anything that could be remotely construed as being useful at all.
I was thinking this as I was filming a show for the children’s TV channel CBBC last week, in which I play the role of not just the school nurse, but also the dinner lady. Eat your heart out, Dame Judi Dench.
In this particular episode, I was dressed in a school nurse uniform with a blue flashing light on my head whilst sporting a tutu in order to perform the Dance of the Cygnets from Swan Lake in the company of a large dog. Well, a man in a dog costume.
At the end of it all I couldn’t work out whether my late father would have been proud of me or appalled.
The kids loved it, and there was not even a whiff of sticky back plastic. Kids, it seems, just wanna have fun. Who knew?
No connection and that’s not the faulty boiler
THE boiler went on the blink. A man was called out, who went up into the attic, and then came down, grave of face, to confer with myself, and the teenage son, who wasn’t really interested, but had been interrupted mid-kitchen dash
The boiler, said the man, was broken. It lacked a fully functioning LFB for the RTG panel in the VX2 intersection. I am making all of this up, since there is no way I can recall which letters went where or what he actually said.
This must have been reflected in my expression, which had shifted from ‘worried’ to ‘glakit’. The boiler, he said, with a sigh, had blown a circuit and would need a new one. In effect, it needed brain surgery.
So, he said, he would order a new whatchamacallit and come back the next day to carry out the required surgery, and all would be tickety boo.
Then he looked at my teenage son and assured him that although the hot water and heating were on the fritz, the shower would still be functioning, so there were no fears on that score.
He said this to the teenage son like this was a good thing. If he thought I didn’t understand the D47/5PO interconnection to the KLF overdrive, then trust me, Teen Son had no idea why he was being assured the shower was working.
Saving snacks for the goalie
IT is my understanding that Scotland will be facing the German football team who have just steamrollered Brazil into the turf with seven goals in one game during the World Cup. This is faintly worrying, not to put too fine a point on it.
I suspect that the best tactic for that particular game might be to present the German goalie with a folding stool, a puzzle book and wee snack, since I have a horrible feeling the poor man might be sitting there alone for a very long time.
Snap, crackle and pop at the Games
Speaking of costumes, I have seen the outfit that our athletes will be asked to wear that the Commonwealth Games. It is snappy. At least, I think that is the noise they will make as they pass each other. The material bears an uncanny resemblance to the sort of cheap nylon used to dress shop assistants in back in the 80’s.
There was always a notable crackle when they passed each other. Worse, sometimes the charge would make them stick together.
All the photos so far have been group shots which makes me fear that our Commonwealth hopefuls are already glued together by an industrial strength static charge which when discharged, perhaps by a passing child with a balloon, could blow the entire stadium sky high. Now there’s an opening ceremony idea . . .