Thursday, 18 February 2010

When We Were Young

I am a great fan of BBC iPlayer. It allows me to watch programmes that I may have missed or that I have enjoyed and want to watch again. Why would I want to watch something again so soon after it has been broadcast? Well, sometimes it's because I have been knitting while watching it and sometimes, particularly at the moment, it's because my concentration is so bad that I don't actually take in what the programme was about.

The channel that I am most likely to want to watch programmes from is BBC4. This channel, which is only available for those who watch in a digital format, has some absolutely wonderful programmes. Much of its output is in the form of documentaries. I like documentaries, probably because I like factual programmes more than those that are more entertainment. particularly when I am well. I have a real interest in science and history and there have been some wonderful programmes that fall into these categories over recent months. Having studied the history of science, the history of medicine, the history of technology and the history of religion, there have been some excellent programmes from the BBC covering these subjects and I am particularly enjoying Light Fantastic at the moment.

However, yesterday I watched a couple of programmes on iPlayer that were more to do with my childhood. The first was Skippy: Australia's First Superstar. I can't say that I was a fan of Skippy when it was shown on television, probably because I was a bit old to be in its target audience, but I have to say that it was interesting to listen to those who worked on the programme talk about how it changed their lives and, of course, the problems that they with the kangaroos that were used in the filming. There were some funny moments, such as being told that the emu had to be given a drink of whiskey before he appeared on the set in order to be a suitable set to stand still. There were also some clips from the series showing many of the unique Australian animals and seeing them brought back memories of the long holiday that my husband and I had there in 1996. We spent five and a half weeks travelling down the east coast from Cairns in the north to Melbourne, via Brisbane and Sydney and many places in between.

The second programme that I watched was the Time Shift programme about Oliver Postgate. I did grow up watching his wonderful little films. I remember Ivor the Engine in black and white (I was a bit old for it when it was made in colour but as it was usually on just before the early evening news I do remember seeing that too). My favourite was always Noggin the Nog. I'm not sure why, it just was. There were others too. The Clangers, those little pink knitted creatures who lived on the Moon, and the Pingwings, a family of knitted penguins, and, of course, Bagpuss, that saggy old cat that Emily loved. Again I was a bit old for Bagpuss, but as with all of Oliver Postgate's films, they tended to be slotted in between programmes and you were likely to catch them as you sat down to watch a programme that you were waiting for.

I think the thing that I remember most about the films was Oliver Postgate's voice. Hearing it again after all these years brought back many memories of childhood and made me realise just how good they were in comparison to the present day programmes for children with their cartoons full of violence and monsters and their associated merchandise that make our children constantly want the latest toys. We may have been much more naive then, but at least we were allowed to be children and to enjoy the simple things that were produced for us without the need for consumerism showing its face.


Bippidee said...

I like BBC4 too. I have been watching a documentary series called 'Syrian School', which is interesting. And everyone loves the Clangers! x

Anonymous said...

Also a big fan of BBC4. I love Only Connect.

I didn't know you're a fellow HSTMer. I did History, but chose a number of modules out of the department in HSTM. I wanted to do it for a masters, but couldn't afford to and I was so disillusioned by my History degree that I couldn't bring myself to study more so I went down the graduate employment approach. As much as I loved my job, I do kinda wish I'd stuck around to do the masters.

What areas did you cover?