Tuesday, 14 October 2008
Can Margaret Drabble peg down a sleeping bag in a blizzard?
I saw this when it first aired, and I adored it. And I just found out that they repeated it on BBC4 last week and I missed it. And they haven't put it on iPlayer. And this person has posted only the first six minutes on YouTube.
You cannot beat a bit of Victoria Wood. Or even a lot of Victoria Wood. "Whenever I take an Intercity, I always end up sat opposite the woman who is eating the individual fruit pie by sucking the filling out through the hole in the middle." That's not in this documentary, it's in As Seen On TV. (That's not a documentary, it's a women's cocktail bar - sorry, once you start quoting Victoria Wood you can't stop).
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It is a wonderful time capsule of the "interesting" situation in which BR found itself in the early 1990s: having to bravely soldier on despite the looming privatisation and the resulting uncertainty.
There were loads of tabloid scare stories around at the time. Would there be a huge round of line closures ("Entire Wirral Line may close" according to the Liverpool Echo at the time)? Would there be massive fare rises? Would you even be able to buy a ticket involving travel on more than one train company? (at one point there was a serious proposal that only selected "key stations" on the network would sell through tickets)
One bright spot is that Carnforth Station, semi-derelict when visited in this programme, has now been tastefully restored, complete with obligatory Brief Encounter-themed buffet ready to trap gullible tourists.
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