I have been YouTubing. Don't you just love rich people, who had video recorders long before the rest of us had even heard of them?! Back in 1982, Children's BBC screened a fifty minute long adaptation of a book called Ghost In The Water
, by Edward Chitham. This then disappeared into the bottomless vault of tapes in the BBC basement. I recall finding it brilliantly spooky, and the two and a half other people I've since met who also remember it agreed. I long ago gave up any hope of seeing it again though. And now it's turned up on YouTube! You can watch it here
, if you are so inclined. Since it's a one-off film rather than a serial, it keeps the pace up throughout, making it seem almost modern (save for the almost universally brown colour scheme, obviously!), and the cast are terrific. Fourteen year old Tess is assigned a local history project by her teacher, and finds herself haunted by the restless ghost of a young woman who died more than a century before. I didn't find it scary this time, but it is very nicely done, and very atmospheric. So pleased to have seen it again!
Seriously though, check out this school interior:
Who even makes a paint that colour, let alone buys it or uses it?! It may have been 1982, but clearly they were not free of the seventies yet.
And then, also on YouTube, I found East Of Ipswich
, which I hadn't seen since the Beeb broadcast it in the late eighties. It's a short film (seventy-odd minutes) written by Michael Palin, and very loosely based on an incident in his early life. Richard is seventeen, and hauled along by his parents on a deathly dull seaside holiday at the tail end of the fifties. It's brilliantly evocative of a particular time and place - rock & roll might have got the big cities hopping, but out in the provinces, a church social was still seen as the height of entertainment; and a seventeen year old boy staying out until ten o'clock at night - in a coffee bar! (gasp!) - was in for a stern telling off.
Though it's roughly based in reality, it's not really autobiographical. In real life he met his future wife, but I'm guessing that two youngsters becoming pen pals, and eventually getting married, was far less likely to be commissioned as a film! Instead, Richard gets tangled up with a naughty Dutch exchange student and some bad boy rockers on motorbikes. And! Guess who turns up as one of the rockers! Yep, looking startlingly young (and not terribly dangerous, it must be said), whilst sporting a quite fabulous DA:
Tip Tipping - one of the many reasons why old telly is better. The other rocker there is fellow stuntman Wayne Michaels, known to fans of Robin Of Sherwood
as Michael Praed's regular stand-in. And, telly being what it is, frequently the stand-in for the bloke that Michael Praed was fighting as well. He's also the man behind the infamous bungee jump at the start of GoldenEye
I'm a well of useful information, aren't I. Who needs sensible facts and figures, when you can end up with a head full of stuntman resumés?