Tuesday, 11th May 2021

The 40-something's guide to olden-days television

TOO young to remember when there were three channels and they all shut down twice a day? Geriatric 45-year-old Tom Logan describes this incredible era.

Everyone knew what you were talking about

Televisual chat like ‘Did you see Debbie McGee get sawn in half?’ or ‘Nuuurrrrghh, JOEY!’ were instantly comprehensible to all. Nowadays TV conversations go like this: ‘Did you see The Boys?’ ‘No. Have you seen The Haunting of Bly Manor?’ ‘No. Have you seen The Mandalorian?’ ‘No.’

People weren’t constantly hassling you to watch things

You were able to watch All Creatures Great and Small without loads of people insisting you urgently binge-watch Blake’s 7, The Gentle Touch, and Cat’s Eyes. Now even close friends will be disappointed in you for not finishing Pushing Daisies.

Some of the programmes weren’t about superheroes

It’s hard to believe, but television programmes weren’t always about people who could fly. I once enjoyed a tense, politically-charged and well-written series called Edge of Darkness, even though Bob Peck could not shoot energy bolts from his hands.

The untalented and ugly weren’t excluded

Whether you were unattractive, without charisma or bereft of talent, you could find someone like you on the good old British telly. Newsreaders were drunk and a bloke who blew up chimneys became a household name.

The story all happened in one episode

It’s a weird concept, but there was a clear ending after an hour. With hindsight obviously it would be better if The Sweeney stretched out multiple plotlines over 30 hours and there was no conclusion until you watched five more ‘seasons’.

Most of it was shit

For every Auf Wiedersehen, Pet there was a Bullseye. The second series of Stranger Things was a bit rubbish but at least it wasn’t fat couples playing darts to win a sandwich toaster.