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parrot_knight [userpic]

A bit more nostalgia

May 17th, 2004 (02:56 pm)

Some other moments that are worth recording> Ben Thomas's son was sitting with (I think) Chloe Ashcroft's daughter; Chloe pointed her daughter out to Brian Cant, who blew her a kiss! The NFT screened almost the whole first programme, from 22 April 1964, as part of the event, and while neither of the first two presenters, Gordon Rollings and Virginia Stride (the latter in a very formal dark dress) made it to the 1970s, other elements did endure. The clock, though it was a fragile-looking transparent affair similar in design to that which can be found on the website for Play School's latterday CBeebies grandchild Tikkabilla, rotated to the same music used for the later clocks, at least until the 1983 relaunch. The windows may have been wooden frames rather than the windows in a set that they later became (and the original 'square' window was a rectangle with rounded corners!) but again, as the camera zoomed in to the chosen window, the familiar music was already in place.

A review of the event by the TV Cream people (entertaining and detailed website despite the occasional inaccuracies, and much pillaged by newspaper writers) insists that Julie Stevens, her back to the audience, did the actions to 'Under the Spreading Chestnut Tree' as she watched a thirty-year-old clip of Brian Cant doing the same - I didn't notice, but I believe it. Another appreciated touch was the inclusion of occasional continuity announcements, including one from 24 December 1970, when I would have been one month old. I'd have liked to see all of 'Twenty-Five Minutes of Peace', the BBC documentary about the series made to commemorate its fifteenth birthday, as the rehearsal shots were revealing.

The songs Don Spencer was seen rehearsing in 1979 were clearly influenced by the popular music of ten years before; perhaps this was a sign of a perceived datedness that led to the 1983 relaunch. Many of the presenters were dropped, and the title sequence drastically changed. The house motif remained, but instead of drawing itself its walls were seen approaching from different sides of the screen, and it only had a door, no windows. The voiceover was simplified to 'Get ready! To play! It's [blank]day!' from the earlier form (which I shouldn't need to type out). I remember watching this at the time, and thiking that the BBC had gone mad. Five years later they dropped Play School altogether.

.Missed opportunities? Certainly one - the sequence of clips to ilustrate 'song and dance' ended with various presenters singing 'Bang on a drum', which was the title of the first Play School album, now allegedly a cult recording. No-one asked about the spinning-off of the entertainment side of the series into Play Away, either. The mood of the event was in the spirit of the song from the tenth anniversary programme that concluded the event - 'Smile, and be happy!' - though not preventing Stuart McGugan who said that 'We're all happy to sign autographs - except for Iain, who will sign cheques'

I'm actually in the office at the moment, typing this between bouts of desk-tidying. My working environment has become steadily more cramped over the last year, as I've been uncertain about where to file many things. As the pattern of work has become clearer, I'm now able to put things away where I can be reasonably certain that I will find them. I'm not that keen on filing - putting something away in a filing cabinet means to me that it's been demoted from the first rank of my memory - but unfortunately it all has to be done. The again, it is good to be recolonising the filing cabinet; all our files from the main research period of TGW were evacuated last year for the contents to be archived and the folders to be recycled, and the cabinets have been standing empty since, and occasionally threatened with removal.