That Was the Week that Was.

13 Jun

Ned Sherrin’s easy-read autobiography, which runs to nearly 500 pages of TV, radio and theatre name-dropping from the second part of the last century, has reminded me of the satirical frisson that the ground-breaking TW3 gave us when it hit the screens in the early 1960s. Those who grew up post baby-boom have seen the cutting edge of satire dissipated by the air-time challenges of reality shows, nights at the Apollo, and the meteorites of goggle-box giggling Norton, Fry and Wossy. The legacy crumbs of Frost, Levin, Rushton, Millie Martin, Ken Cope, Bird and Fortune et al are spread far and wide – their collective is impotent. Humphreys and Paxman, Rory’s imitations and Have I got News For You hardly constitute the full frontal assaults on our political consciousness of an hour of TW3 each Saturday night, 50 years ago.

I had forgotten that Ned had conceived and produced the show and, subsequently graced various media with his wit and incisive intelligence. Loose Ends saw him out six years ago and, like John Peel, his voice lives on in the heads of avid radio devotees. This recent read and the aforementioned show made me ponder on the Week that Was, Jubilee.

It began with the Derby. The sun shone and Epsom Downs is free. Dodgy burger and Lager; a terrifying inverted ride at the funfair; the tattooed rubbing sholders with posh frocks and champers; the ground- shakes as silks and hooves thunder past; check the big screens to see the replay of Camelot’s charge to victory. Oh yes and spot Queenie in her stand smiling benevolently on all she surveys. So far so good.

Day 2. Rain. Great decision to watch the ‘Pageant’ at home. The BBC let us down didn’t they? How boring was it; how inane? I still like Sophie Rayworth though. The Queen still smiled (through gritted teeth) on all she surveyed. Prince Phillip’s jaunty dance to the Hornpipe finally did for his bladder. Arguably he went to a better place for the rest of the holiday.

Monday 4th June. I played golf . Good weather, good choice..and I won. Back in time to settle in  for the Concert Royale. Actually fun! Cliff still pratting about and all celebs in good voice save for the hapless Cheryl who can’t sing a note. Charlie boy makes us smile and cheer for Dad in his private room. ER smiled on all she surveyed but had the sense to arrive halfway through. Lip-reading I noticed her saying,” I wished I’d bloody well arrived late yesterday.”

By this stage in the proceedings I had spotted that Camilla likes cosying up to her Her Majesty – she’s always within curtseying distance. Brown specks all over her nose. Harry’s always making little boysy jokes and trying to make Kate snigger inappropriately. William tends to be more worried these days – weight of responsibilities and all that. In particular, contemplating how to manage the imminent comb-over must take quite a lot out of him. Still he seems to be eating Kate’s left-overs at breakfast, so when she eventually falls pregnant he’ll be the one eating for two.

Tuesday we took to London and joined the throng having watched the St. Paul’s thing at home. Glad we did this because Huw and Simon finally gave us gravitas, language and historical perspective. Not too much to ask. Even scurrilous Sharma on ITV did a fair turn. Matt Baker please stay in your One Show and Countryfile boxes. The Mall was friendly, packed chaos. Couldn’t see a thing until the Red Arrows did their thing. Not enough screens around, thought I. Never got near a sight of the balcony party. No matter really. Union Jacks, multi-racial and multi-national bonhomie abounded. The Ship and Shovel at Charing Cross still serving top beer. All was right with the world. And the Queen smiled on all she surveyed all day but she must have been glad to kick off her shoes when she came in from the balcony.

What would Frost and co have made of all this on TW3? One thing is sure. The Queen was watching or surveying then, and still is today.

 

 

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