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Today’s bright idea #7

January 8th, 2014 · Posted by Skuds in Life · 2 Comments · Life

Today’s bright idea is one that I actually think is quite a good one.

You know how BBC Four have been showing episodes of Top Of The Pops of 35 years ago, week-by-week in order, in their totality? It isn’t really watched for the music so much as the nostalgic feeling, mostly from the music and fashion but also from little glimpses and reminders of how life was back then.

Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes did the same, as do all ‘period’ dramas to a greater or lesser extent but somehow watching an actual, real TV programme was a bit more real. Doing it in almost real time (one episode per week, albeit at the wrong time of day) was the real stroke of genius. Turn to any of the many cable channels and you can find a programme from that time like Minder or the Professionals, sometimes in blocks of half a dozen episodes.

I just thought it would be fun to schedule another 35-year-old programme across the whole year. Actually it would be fun to use one channel to just show everything 35 years late but that would be impractical. Not that there isn’t room for it – just that there would be all sorts of IPR issues and the BBC would have wiped half of it and back then half the time they just shoed a test card or Teletext for hours on end. So how about just showing the Nine O’Clock News?

There would be an audience for it. All those people who currently spend hopurs watching re-runs of election night coverage on the Parliament channel for a start. It could be fascinating to watch with the benefit of hindsight. 35 years is about the right sort of lag as well, long enough for all sorts of documents to have been released under the thirty-year rule to incrase the amount of hindsight even more.

At this point a typical TV exec would suggest a programme where you show old bits of the news, followed by information about what actually happened next and all sorts of analysis. That in itself would be interesting, especially the recent revelations about the Thatcher government and the miners’ strike, but it wouldn’t have the same effect.

We are not stupid. We can draw our own conclusions without having them spoon-fed to us, plus such a show would cherry-pick the big stories, the ones that have been proved big by history, and ignore the ones that everyone thought would be big at the time. It would also end up all over the place chronologically and not have the effect of the TOTP repeats where you can follow the progression.

And you could laugh at the ridiculous or drab clothes of the vox pops or get a jolt of surprise when you see a cabinet minister puffing away on a fag during an interview in the studio. So some cheap laughs, pangs of nostalgia, and historical insights, which would also fill up a few hours of TV a week that would give us a break from endless bloody baking, dancing and singing competitions.

I’d watch it – and an audience of one is statistically more than plenty of programmes on the more obscure cable channels get apparently.

It would also help to find out whether news really has got more dumbed-down than it used to be. Through my rose-tinted spectacles I remember the news then as just telling you what had happened. Now it is all fancy graphics, sensationalism, mindless and endless analysis by soi disant experts, and telling you what is going to happen. what people are due to say in speeches, and what other people will think of that, how the markets will react etc. etc. It would be great to watch proper news even if it is 35 years late.

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2 Comments so far ↓

  • Steve w

    Years ago I figured it would be a good idea to use the contemporary adverts in the old VS recordings of, say the sweeny. I’m sure procter and gamble would cough up a few bob for “hands that juditious” so yes skuds, I think it’s got legs.

  • Skuds Sister

    And if that doesn’t work how about showing something like Tomorrow’s World with a 30-odd year time lag? Or would we just all be really deressed about the lack of personal jetpacks?