Ho-hum, another retro programme on comedy. This one was made last year ( you could tell by the presence of Wendy Richard ) but which for some reason has been dumped on I.T.V.-3. I missed the first part, but with nothing better to do last night gave the second a whirl. If nothing else I could just watch it for the clips.
It began promisingly by telling us that '70's sitcoms needed to be seen in the context of their time period. But then we got Jo Brand putting down 'On The Buses', a spectacle as edifying as televised open-heart surgery. She clearly had no idea what she was talking about, nor did the other contributors. Yes, 'Stan Butler' and 'Jack Harper' loved to leer at girls in mini-skirts, but then they were unattached blokes. Besides, we've now got adverts in which women leer at window cleaners, so come off it. Stan rarely got the girl he wanted, whereas Jack was the more successful of the pair sex-wise. His success rate with the ladies can be attributed to his swagger and chat, a lot of fairly unattractive-looking men have gotten by this way ( me for instance! ). It beggars belief that Brand ( no oil painting herself ) can go on television and, without any shame whatever, lambaste someone else's looks. 'Olive' knocked for failing to be a good model for women? Give me a break!
The narration strove to create a historical background, even if the same tired references to strikes, the three-day week and the cold war were trotted out. The three-day week only lasted a few months as I recall. Some people seem to think it ran throughout the entire decade.
The arrival of the Pill in the early '60's led to a changing of sexual attitudes ( how I wish I'd been there when that happened! ), and this was reflected in the sitcoms of the time. 'The Liver Birds' and 'The Likely Lads' segments were interesting. When 'Robin's Nest' popped up, we got to see Tessa Wyatt ( who played 'Vicky' ) which was a nice surprise. I had her picture on my bedroom wall when the show was on air.
'Duty Free', 'Rising Damp' ( how I would love to have been one of Edwina Currie's lodgers! ), 'Three Up Two Down' ( which I never saw ) were all covered. 'Terry & June' came in for a kicking, mostly from people I'd never heard of. Kate Robbins was a little hard on Felicity Kendal's 'Barbara' from 'The Good Life'. Kate, you obviously did not see the episode 'The Last Posh Frock' in which Barbara decided she had had enough of her husband's alternative lifestyle ideas.
Sue Nicholls looks more or less the same as she did in her 'Reggie Perrin' days. She lit up the television screen as secretary 'Joan Greengross'.
So then, better than expected. I hope I'm alive in 2030 when some obscure celebrity goes on a retro programme and puts the boot into 'Jo Brand Through The Cakehole'.
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