Sunday, 20 May 2012

They don't make things like they used to

It doesn't matter if you're talking about fridges, chairs or silk top hats, they just aren't what they used to be.  In this particular instance, I am talking about television comedy programmes - specifically, sitcoms.  I cannot remember the last time I watched a genuinely funny (or even amusing) new sitcom.  There are people who say that there are no good, new programmes produced on televsion.  Indeed, there was a letter from one such published in the newspaper during the week.  He claimed that he never watches television so how on earth he knows about the programmes beats me.  Anyway, I don't agree with him or his ilk.  There is good, new material broadcast almost every week.  Just not overmuch of it.  And certainly not sitcoms.  But the Old Bat and I have found a way out of the impasse.

It came to pass that about two years ago - it may even be three years ago, time passes so swiftly - we were going through a particularly lean patch in our evening viewing.  I had a brainwave and solved the problem by buying the complete set of DVDs of one of my all-time favourite sitcoms, As Time Goes By.  With more than 60 episodes of this brilliant series to watch again and thoroughly enjoy, we once again found pleasure on the box.

And so I repeated the dose and bought the set of 'Allo 'Allo!  This is an animal of completely different colour.  Set in German-occupied France during the Second World War, it features the owner of a cafe in a small town, the local occupying troops, the two competing resistance groups and fleeing British airmen.  But the central plank is that the German officers are competing amonst themselves to acquire the valuable painting of the Fallen Madonna with the Big Boobies by van Clomp to sell after the war.  With plenty of doubles entendres and pure farce to go with the tight scripts and clever acting, this is another gem.  Try this as a sample:

But last night we watched the last episode.  Not to worry - I have something else up my sleeve - Porridge.


It was only last year that I stumbled across the fact that the Old Bat's great-grandfather was one of the country's - possibly the world's - leading experimenters in stereoscopic photography was back in the 1860s.  He emigrated to Australia and I have managed to find out nothing about his life there except that he married and had three children.  After his wife died, the two surviving children were set to England.

Brighton's Regency Society owns several of his pictures, including this one of St Nicolas church, Brighton, which is one of a pair dating from the 1860s.  I have tried taking another picture from the same spot.  Interesting to see how the roof of the nave has been lifted and a row of clerstory windows inserted.


Suldog said...

MY WIFE and I have done much the same (more so me than her, to be truthful, as she seems to find more value in the twaddle they put on these days than I do - I refuse to watch such things as "Toddlers & Tiaras" or "Real Housewives Of New Jersey", and if you've never seen them or heard of them, consider yourself blessed.) Anyway, I've purchased full runs of five or six great comedy series, and we pop them in whenever I can't stand the modern world any longer.

Brighton Pensioner said...

Great minds think alike, Jim. Mind you, fools seldom differ.