Sunday 29 October 2023

Betamax Find: In Front of the Children (1983)


There’s not a person in the country who didn’t love at least one children’s programme on the BBC whilst growing up. It’s an impossible proposition, the quality of the output was simply too high. And, no doubt, it’s equally as high now but it’s been a few years since I last tuned in. My daughter, you seen, has since transitioned over to YouTube for her entertainment needs, so I have no idea what the Twirlywoos are up to these days. Or Sarah and Duck. But Curious British Telly isn’t, thank god, about the present. It’s about the past.

That’s why I was delighted to unearth this 1983 documentary on the first 60 years of children’s programmes on the BBC. Found on a Betamax tape, In Front of the Children is presented by the dependable John Craven, in a fetching jumper and tie combination, as he traces the origins of children’s programmes on BBC radio up to contemporary hits such as Postman Pat. Featuring interviews with those who were there in the early days, and have long since departed this mortal coil, it’s a treasure trove of insights and history.

Monday 9 October 2023

The Book of Beasts - Out Now!

Beasts is one of the calling cards of 1970s British folk horror, and this is an unarguable fact. Unless, of course, you haven't watched it. And, in that case, you need to rectify this immediately. Each episode of Nigel Kneale's much lauded anthology series, which aired in 1976, is a chilling blend of intricate plotting, rich characters, social commentary and, of course, an atmosphere which causes the hairs on the back of your neck to spring to attention. It's a series which has been much discussed and pored over since it first aired, but there has never been a definitive tome on the series. Until now.