Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

Nationwide was a BBC current affairs and light entertainment programme that ran most weeknights between 1969 and 1983.

Hold on a sec – current affairs and light entertainment?

Well, apparently it had a reputation for being quite silly. For in amongst the early evening headlines tended to be things like granny beauty-contests, a half-hour Wizard Of Oz re-enactment, and a film about a duck who could skateboard.

Oh, and songs.

Alas, I only really became aware of the show in its dying years, when it became a lot more serious. And that was the end of that.

This morning I watched the throwback documentary it's time to go NATIONWIDE, which seemed to do a pretty good job of recapping the years that I'd missed. What a tremendous show it must have been in its heyday – injecting the dry news of the day with such a sense of fun, and therefore everyday optimism.

Like most docos, there appear to be one or two interviewees with a mind to simplify things (the public hardly always ask better questions than reporters, John Stapleton) and much effort seems to be made to create some sort of story out of events behind the scenes. In that respect, the ingredients sometimes let this programme down. Mrs Thatcher's on-air altercation with Diana Gould might well have hurt her election prospects, but what this programme avoids mentioning is that she still won it. Not that huge an event really.

However the explanation given by one contributor for the show's eventual demise (after they cut-back on the fun) was one that frankly offended me. "They forgot the golden rule – that you can always dumb-down, but you can never dumb-up."

Bad news – most people's intelligence grows over time.

For all that, this is a good well-made documentary, as far as I know.

I honestly wonder how much more positive a culture we might have in the UK if weekday evenings were this chuckly again.


0 comment(s):

Post a Comment

<< Back to Steve's home page

** Click here for preceding post(s) **

** Click here for following post(s) **