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Friday, 7 August 2015

The Passing of Local

The loss of George Cole takes me back to the 80s. A time when, in the media and huge all at the same time, we had Minder,  Only Fools, and Eastenders. Of course, the latter was fantasy while the others were more real-life. But there was a sense of passing glory about them. The Cockney races were already swarming to the Home Counties and South Midlands. We can see these shows as elegies.

Today only Eastenders remains, a Cockney bubble (not rhyming slang) in a changed East London.

Before and just when Only Fools and Minder were kicking off, we had strong comedies with local roots - the Likely Lads in the North East, the Liver Birds and Bread in Liverpool, Summer Wine in Yorkshire. These were strong in attachment to their locations, even if the studio filming was often done in London. Rab C Nesbitt was once shown at a foreign TV festival with subtitles. English ones.

But today that all feels a bit lost. The world of media is dominated by posh kids with accents wiped out by university. We have sit coms about the BBC. I'm sure it's a giant media and political plot to wipe out our regionalism - to make us homogeneous UK-ites, incapable of laughing with or at each other any more. Unable to identify with place - because if we had a sense of place we'd resist the schemes to tear up communities and build plate glass over everything.

So I regret the loss of regional. Norman Tebbit's dad may have had a bike, but you can only do local on a bike - not nip up to a different part of the country, where the offices, the houses, the people food, pubs, beer and shops are all the same

Ah, well. Looks like it's Bedfordshire Clangers followed by Dunstable Doughnuts for lunch.

1 comment :

  1. Not sure if I agree with this entirely. Perhaps there's less mainstream regionalism in comedy, but there have been more recent edgier stuff like Misfits (London, not posh) and Ideal (Manchester). Personally, I don't regret the passing of Last of the Summer Wine: I'd love to see a comedy about my home county, but a bit less schmaltzy.

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