Monday 29 December 1986

…This morning I got up at 7.20am to watch the
early morning Children’s BBC programmes.
Mum and Dad didn’t disapprove because I brought them up
a cup of tea – one each, not just the one.
We went to Leicester at 9am to spend our Christmas money.
We went from C&A to Lewis’s to Marks and Spencer and
then to WHSmiths.
I bought a Live and Let Die book, Asterix and the Banquet,
an Asterix game book and a book of TV themes for the piano.
Then we went to Hudsons, Breezes and Mothercare.
Later I watched Fifty Not Out celebrating 50 years of sport
on BBC television.
I had to watch Children’s BBC on the old black-and-white
television in the dining room…

For the first seven or eight years of my life, black-and-white television was all I knew.

Then a colour set was bought. It must have been in 1983 or even as late as ’84.

The very first thing I saw on it, and hence my first taste of technicolour entertainment inside my own home, was an edition of On Safari. I remember being startled by how vivid, not to say lurid, was the gunge in the studio swamp pits. The same went for Christopher Biggins.

Sadly, he doesn't come just once a year

The black-and-white set, which one of my parents had acquired in the 1960s, was a Grundig replete a dial for tuning into the stations.

It now served as the reserve television, where one of us could watch an alternative to whatever was on the main set.

In my case it increasingly became an alternative in all senses, as within a couple of years it would be where I went to stock up on the likes of Blackadder, Fry and Laurie, KYTV and others.

I always felt much more at ease watching these kinds of things by myself in a separate room away from the others. There was never much communal all-gather-round-the-goggle-box business in our house.

Later still I got to take the Grundig away with me to university. It was now over 30 years old but still working perfectly fine, and allowed me to become known in my hall of residence corridor as That One With The TV. Which I suppose was better than a clutch of other alternatives.

Two years after that, my sister took it away with her to university, and broke it.

2 thoughts on “Monday 29 December 1986

  1. At university in (*cough*) 1983, my black and white portable meant that I was That One With The TV.

    I very soon made friends with She Who Wants To Watch Herself On Blockbusters and He Whose Farm Anneka Rice Flew Over On Treasure Hunt.

    Still works, too.

    • During my one year in a hall of residence, the programme that drew most people into my room was The X Files. This was 1994, mind, when said show was still considered “edgy” and, dare I say it, a bit spooky.

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