THANKS to the internet it’s easy to fondly revisit a programme you loved as a child, only to discover it was utter shit. Here are some of the most egregious examples.
The Two Ronnies
Gags about ‘an out-of-work contortionist who can’t make ends meet’; the dystopian mini-drama ‘The Worm That Turned’; and a hell of a lot of sexism. Utterly brilliant to the mind of a seven-year-old, strangely depressing as an adult. The segment ‘Raiders of the Last Auk’ deserves an award though, for shittest pun ever.
Dempsey and Makepeace
Here was a startlingly fresh premise for a cop show: mismatched partners who come to respect each other. Not great, but you watched it religiously because your dad thought Glynis Barber was fit.
Sitcom about a loveable family of scousers more accurately described at ‘twats’. You loved their inane antics, while being pummelled with messages about working class solidarity like something out of Mao’s China.
Trendy pop video visuals. Possible vampire Magenta Devine. A claymation called Dick Spanner PI. Like all yoof TV, Janet Street-Porter’s dog’s dinner of a show thought it was much cooler than it actually was. Really it was just Why Don’t You? with Worthwhile Contemporary Issues, like bank card cloning. What 13-year-old had a f**king bank card?
This did attempt weighty storylines, eg. Jim Bergerac’s alcoholism. But mainly it had a child-friendly repetitiveness – criminals arrive on the ferry, Charlie Hungerford provides comic relief, bit of action at the end. As formulaic as Captain Caveman, but set in the impossibly exotic location of Jersey, the Channel Island with a higher crime rate than Detroit.
You were too young to realise the budget was about 25 quid per episode, and the script was self-important cheese. Hard to watch now without wondering ‘How the f**k did I think that looked real?’, and wistful thoughts about Cally.