Peter the Postman, the first episode of Camberwick Green, was originally broadcast on BBC1 in 1966.
The first and arguably the greatest of the Trumptonshire trilogy, this is the series that features the iconic Windy Miller. Whenever I post a clip on Twitter, I like to play Camberwick Green bingo by wondering how long it’ll take before someone mentions Windy’s fondness for cider or posts a screengrab from Life On Mars …
The Bill Poster, the first episode of Trumpton, was originally broadcast on BBC1 in 1967.
Gordon Murray (or maybe the BBC schedulers) were obviously keen on the 3rd of January, as exactly a year after Camberwick Green first aired, along came Trumpton. All together now – Pugh, Pugh, Barney McGrew, Cuthbert, Dibble, Grubb ….
Meet the Gang, the first episode of It Ain’t Half Hot Mum was originally broadcast in 1974.
Fair to say that this is a series that polarises opinion. Two things – Sergeant Major Williams’ treatment of the platoon (they’re nothing but “a bunch of poofs”) and Michael Bates’ casting as Ranji Ram – remain hotly contested talking points.
Jimmy Perry made it plain that he was drawing on his own experiences and men like Williams did exist, so I personally don’t have a problem with him – plus if he wasn’t there to provide conflict, then the series would have fallen somewhat rather flat.
This wasn’t the first time that Michael Bates had played an Indian character, but Ranji is a far more rounded character than the stereotype Bates portrayed in an episode of The Mind of Mr J.G. Reeder. And there’s something rather bittersweet about Ranji’s unflagging love of Britain, as it becomes clear over time (although this is left unspoken) that if he ever did get to the UK then he’d quickly find out it wasn’t quite the paradise he imagines it to be.
John Thaw, born in 1942.
Rifling through my Thaw collection for something slightly obscure to watch today, I’ve gone for The Absence of War, a Screen Two from 1995 adapted by David Hare from his own play.