Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Books of the Year 2

From the Sunday Times, 28 November 2010, on the subject of Rejoice! Rejoice! Britain in the 1980s:

'Among a host of recent books on the 1980s, Turner's stands out as comfortably the most entertaining. From long-forgotten one-hit wonders to episodes of Hi-De-Hi!, from the antics of Ian Botham to the disasters of Heysel and Hillsborough, he gives us a panoramic portrait of a country caught beween old and new. The dominant figure is, of course, Margaret Thatcher, and Turner's political analysis is balanced and shrewd.'

If I knew then what I know now

When I wrote Crisis? What Crisis?, my book about the 1970s, I drew a comparison between the BBC TV adaptation of I, Claudius and the leadership struggle within the Labour Party following the resignation of Harold Wilson. The victor of that contest was James Callaghan, who I identified as Claudius, Old King Log, the man who came through the competing factions despite circumstances being against him.

And a couple of people reckoned that, even in a book awash with fanciful comparisons, this was a bit too fanciful.

But I've just been reading Jack Kibble-White & Steve Williams's excellent The Encyclopaedia of Classic Saturday Night Television and in their entry for Look - Mike Yarwood they mention a sketch he did called I, Callaghanus.

I don't remember that sketch. And I'm not sure whether I'm annoyed that my comparison isn't original, or pleased that my judgement is vindicated. But anyway, I wish I'd known, because I would surely have mentioned it.