A couple of days ago, we (as a collective culture) lost Diana Rigg. There is always a steady stream of people who are or were in the public eye or ear or mind who pass on. Some hit you where it hurts and others have less impact on you. Some make you think back to your childhood; some make you think about your own mortality; some make you think about beans.
Diana Rigg is someone even younger readers would know due to her doing an excellent job as the matriarch of the Tyrell family in Game of Thrones. Many others will remember her as the only “Bond girl” that managed to get him to settle down (for about the length of a wedding) and, of course, she was Emma Peel.
If “Emma Peel” means nothing to you, then it will take too long to explain. I’d have to go into The Avengers, and then explain that it’s not The Avengers you are thinking of. The one I’m talking about was the archetypal paranormal / science-fiction -influenced spy show (Psy-Spy-fi).
It’s made me intrigued to find and watch a couple. Been a long time since I saw one. It has never been as easy as it is now to find old TV shows. Not that The Avengers would have been a hard one to find, as it was the ultimate in mainstream cult classic and a box set would have been available from shortly after the box set was invented and packaged up In a huge bundle of VHS cassette tapes. Now some of the older, more obscure series can be found for free, while others can often be streamed for a few shekels. And Box sets still exist.
I like the idea of boxsets, but I also like the idea of space in my apartment. Charlie Brooker (I believe it was) described boxsets as tombstones for old TV shows. The final clincher is that my partner hates music or movies on physical media.
Totally self-indulgent list of old shows I have seen (some or all of) in the last year or so…
- Hammer House of Horror – TV show by Britain’s best-known horror studio. I never saw any of these as a kid, despite my love of (Hammer) horror. Some are great. Some are terrible.
- The Day Today / Brass eye – the greatest spoofs of the TV news business you could ever see. Still holds up today. Seriously, watch them.
- Blakes 7 – 70s/80s British sci fi series which even back then you knew the FX were wobbly. I must say I appreciate the dystopian view of the future much more as an adult. And the cast was first rate. This was one I thought rewatching would be ruining part of my childhood, but it didn’t.
- Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace – something I missed when it came out. An amazing spoof of bad sci-fi/horror TV.
- The Sweeney – tough British cop series from the seventies. Was inspired to hunt some down after watching the excellent Life On Mars. They were well made, and generally not as outdated as you’d expect.
- Look Around You – I hadn’t even knows this existed. A joyful spoof of TV education / science shows. (Not everything I like is a spoof, honest.)
- Nighty Night – I didn’t get to see this when it first came out. Very dark comedy (not really a sitcom although it has the feel). Great cast of exaggerated and monstrous characters and some very funny moments. Central character is a true monster with a mission.
- Ripping Yarns – I saw one when they first came out and then never managed to see one again. Great, um, spoof, of boys own adventure stories by Michael Palin and Terry Jones.
So you can see, I’ve been busy. What else should I watch? Agree or disagree with my opinions? Let me know.
Also, we are not allowed to meet up in groups of six or more in England. A friend from Wales taunted us, but pointing out he could meet 6 or more people. In Wales 6 people is called a town.
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