Monday, July 31, 2017

Ghosts of Children's TV Past

We all have vague memories of TV shows we saw when younger - show which seemed to vanish without a trace into the mists of time, leaving you suspecting that you actually dreamed the experience of having watched them.  I spent many, many years searching for anyone else who remembered seeing Hope and Keane's Crazy House and Hope and Keane's Crazy Bus on kids' TV back in the early seventies.  Indeed, finding anyone who remembered Hope and Keane, let alone their TV shows seemed impossible.  But eventually I found other people who were also beginning to think that they'd just imagined these programmes.  It was like attending a therapy group.  I was reassured that the Singing, Ringing Tree had actually existed when it was parodied on The Fast Show - I surely couldn't have hallucinated the same TV series as the writers of a TV comedy sketch show I reasoned.  Of course, with the advent of the internet, it has become possible to track down information on many of these old shows, sometimes even excerpts or, occasionally, complete episodes.  Nevertheless, some remain elusive.

Take The Boy Who Won the Pools, for instance.  This was a Sunday afternoon serial from my local ITV station, TVS, which ran while I was in my late teens.  It was the sort of thing you watched because the TV was on and the only alternatives were probably the 'God slot' on BBC1 or some dullsville sports coverage (golf most likely) on BBC2.  There were no other channels back then and literally everything was closed on a Sunday, making going out pointless.  Whilst the title is self-explanatory, I don't recall any of the details of the plot, other than that the titular character spent his time trying to avoid characters such as his wastrel layabout father from spending his windfall themselves.  The above is the only excerpt from it I've been able to find.  I've never met anyone else who recalls seeing it, nor have I found any kind of detailed plot summary anywhere.  I don't know if the show even exists in its entirety in the TVS library anymore.  The programme has no real significance - as far as I'm aware - in terms of TV history, (the only two cast members I remember who were in any other high profile TV series were Don Henderson and Lucy Aston).  But it lingers irritatingly at the edge of my memory.

But at least I can remember the title of The Boy Who Won the Pools.  There's another ITV Sunday afternnon serial from the same era I have only the vaguest memories of - which don't include the title.  I know that it had a period setting and, for many years, I was convinced that it starred Benedict Taylor, when he seemed to be the lead in every TV series aimed at young adults.  However, I can't find any trace of any such series on his IMDB biography.  (He was in another TVS produced Sunday afternoon serial from that era called Barriers, which I do remember seeing, so perhaps my memory is confusing him with someone else on this basis).  I'm also pretty sure that James Cosmo was in some episodes - the closest I can find in his CV was a serial called Midnight is a Place, but I'm not sure this is the series I'm thinking of.  I do recall that some episodes featured a blonde American girl who was played by a blonde English actress whose name I can't remember and who was in something else. the title of which I don't remember, around the same time!  If only I could remember her name, then I could probably identify the series!

In a strange sort of way, it is quite reassuring that thee are still some things you can't just track down with a few clicks on a keyboard.  There is clearly still a place for the human memory and investigative skills.  So, if you have any more details on The Boy Who Won the Pools or can somehow recognise the other show I'm rambling incoherently about (which might or might not have starred Benedict Taylor), let me know in the comments.

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home