Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Are YOU working class and beautiful like old ITV … or Liberal-Fascist like the modern BBC?

IT’S rather a shame that ITV is crumbling to dust and can’t even come up with good new ideas any more. Demons?! How derivative is it possible to be?
In the glory days of British television (the mid 1960s to the mid 1980s) ITV was more than a telly channel … it was a badge of national cultural identity.
In those days, you were either an ITV person (lively, quick-witted, working class, and rather beautiful) or you were a BBC person (stuffy, bourgeois, Pooterish and humourless).
Nowadays, of course, television is much expanded and yet, paradoxically, it’s not nearly such a potent force culturally.
But suppose for a minute we Brits still identified ourselves by our choice of TV network; then I guess an ITV Person would now be nervous, short of money, insecure, bereft of ideas.
And a BBC Person would be a Liberal-Fascist, hideously corporatist and obsessed with racial issues and feminism.
So I guess ITV still represents the majority of British people … just about!
Meanwhile, one gem of quality writing and character-driven humour survives on ITV, thrives even … and that is Coronation Street.
Last night’s episode saw Becky within five minutes end her engagement to thick-as-a-plank Jason Grimshaw, get engaged and move in with Steve McDonald, and have a blazing row with Steve’s ex, Michelle.
We also saw Steve have a bust-up with both his mam and Eileen.
It was entertaining stuff and as ever there was a neat philosophical contrast between all the passion going on … and Roy and Hayley Cropper, just a few feet away in the Rovers, together the epitome of buttoned up propriety and pained humanity.
And that’s before you consider that Roy is a pathological misfit – and Hayley a transsexual.
The actor who plays Ken Barlow, original cast member William Roache, is now on leave as he grieves for the death of his wife.
I hope the weeks ahead go as well as can be expected for William, and that soon he is back at work to continue Ken’s exquisite illicit romance with the narrowboat-dwelling siren played by Stephanie Beacham.


  1. Ebeneezer Shitole19 February 2009 at 14:12

    I am a working class old fart but I thank God my life isn't as complicated as any of the old dears on Coronation Street. I snogged Dierdre Barlow once, a long time ago, in real time and real life, and I still haven't recovered. Well done, Sam, for recognising the genius in Corrie. Play it again.

  2. Sharon Winterbottom19 February 2009 at 14:15

    Oooh Sam, I think you are so cool. Where do you get all the big words from, like exquisite. It sounds so exciting and sensual, cuddled up to illicit romance. You make my toes curl with your dirty talk.Do you watch telly in bed?

  3. I think Coronation Street is typical of the life people live 'up north'. No wonder there is a recession on with people like this still living in terraced houses, unable to speak the Queen's English and not holding down decent jobs like us lads in the City. We have big fat bonuses, not big fat arses.

  4. Sam, Sam, where have you been all these years? Good to have you back, and I see your mood re: telly blandies hasn't improved. In fact, it seems to have got worse! Excellent!

  5. Great to have you back Sam. I used to read you when I was about nine- seriously!! Just wondered who you rate out of today's TV critics- Ally Ross? Ian Hyland?

  6. As a matter of fact, both of them are good-ish writers, though Ally Ross has become a bit impenetrable of late. Ross, and anyone who writes about telly for the Murdoch press is only ever going to really sock it to terrestrial TV. They daren't really knock satellite services because to do so would mean attacking their bosses' interests...even though satellite services such as Sky provide the dullest stuff, fully of American imports of little cultural value to the viewers. Thanks for your good wishes, by the way. It feels good to be back.