How England used to be

Examples of social decline, especially in the UK

How England used to be

Postby Gavin » 01 Oct 2014, 21:43

I recently decided to re-watch a few of the programmes I remember from my childhood. Of course, they seem quite dated, but I notice that these children's dramas are calm, intelligent, non-violent and thought-provoking. Indeed I doubt they would even hold the attention (or comprehension) of many adults today.

Ones I have had a look at include The Tripods and Chocky. These are both science fiction dramas and are now available for free on YouTube. I've just been watching Chocky for the first time since I was about eleven!

As noted, these programmes are remarkably mature by today's standards, without being remotely vulgar - no, they're intellectually mature. But what is very striking also is that the grammar is all excellent, and we see a United Kingdom which really was united - a UK prior to mass immigration and the perversions of PC. Take a look at the episode, here:

This is really how many English families used to be. Mine certainly was. The children dressed nicely, speaking well. The mother in her role, the father in his. (The mother here even makes the frightfully sexist - i.e. common sense - remark that men and women are different because they have different functions in life.)

It's nostalgic to look back at these programmes which were made before our society was so valuably enriched by things like Islam, feminism and mass third world immigration. You'll even see a capital of England in which English people formed the majority!
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Re: How England used to be

Postby Nathan » 04 Oct 2014, 22:20

Both those programmes were made around the time I was born, so needless to say I don't remember them. There's no era more elusive in one's mind than what's just that little bit too far back to remember!

I've never thought the era I grew up (referring here mostly to the first half of the 90s) was any kind of golden age. Obviously compared to now you never heard of British people being beheaded by their own citizens, and there was still a good chance the newsreader on TV would speak properly and there were more of the older generation still around who believed in a right and wrong way to dress and behave in public, but I always had the sense then that things had declined. I used to read the Daily Telegraph at home from about age eight onwards, and the tone of that certainly gave an impression of decline.

Talking about TV in the 80s though, you can actually check for yourself if less was really better in the days when we only had three or four channels - here are the listings!:

Looking at BBC2 on a randomly-picked 4th November 1985, it would appear it really was much more highbrow. Educational programmes on all through the daytime, and then in the evening something called "Patron of Art", a history programme called "The Triumph of the West" (wow at that unashamedly pro-Western title!) and then after-hours even a 30-minute news bulletin in French!

BBC1 on 28th April 1981 looks even more different to what you would see today. Open University programmes at breakfast time, then after the Nine O'clock News a play, a concert from the Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra and a programme "discussing the effectiveness and accountability of our institutions". Not a single makeover show, soap opera or reality show in sight - they preferred to completely shut down for hours even in the middle of the day than fill time by showing that kind of thing!

I'm too young to remember the original Ask the Family, but when they brought it back in 2005 they showed a few episodes of the old version, and the contrast between the old and the new one is just unreal.

In the original version that Robert Robinson hosted there were all sorts of logic puzzles and questions about classical literature, and classical music rounds more or less along the lines of "Which symphony is this?", and what impresses me is not that that contestants genuinely could answer them, even the children. And to think too that a programme like that would sometimes get a quarter of the entire British population watching it!

Robinson's style as well was like a disciplinarian headmaster, who genuinely seemed disappointed in the contestants when they can't answer a question - a much more top-down approach than would be allowed today. It's noticeable too how he refers to the contestants by their surnames and how everybody makes the effort to dress for the occasion. The 70s version seemed to try to be as highbrow as possible while the 2005 version seemed to try to be as downmarket and as trashy as possible.

To think that the two clips below were supposedly the same programme shows the overall decline in society between the 70s and the 2000s more starkly than anything else I have seen.

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Re: How England used to be

Postby Rachel » 06 Oct 2014, 23:10

I can strongly relate to all that has been said.
I recently finished watching "I Claudius" on DVD. (It's on youtube too.)
It is hard to believe that this was watched by millions in 1976 and won awards from the establishment at the time.
It might have wobbley sets and a budget of 50p, but it expects the viewer to have some knowledge about the Romans. I have no knowledge so I learned a lot from it. They taught us next to nothing at school.

Even Blackadder would not be made now. Young people probably don't understand the historical jokes about medieval times, or Sir Walter Raleigh etc.

I remember in the 1980's you would find a lot of poor or middle class people with an amazingly high knowledge about a subject.
It seemed like a particularly British thing to me.... like that odd British fondness of taking long damp walks in the Pennines. You would see these hidden geniuses on "Mastermind" , in the days when Mastermind asked serious questions, not the dumbed down stuff on pop culture. You would also see them in real life.
Subsequently, word "anoraks" appeared. It is more derogatory than "geek". I guess these types of people don't exist anymore.

Sometimes when I watch old programs like "Chocky", I get depressed.
It is partly about acknowledging my age, and partly because something good has gone. Sometimes I just want to climb into the screen and go back.

One program that made me particularly wistful was this:
It is a documentary from 1972 with James Mason, the Holywood actor where he visits his childhood home of Huddesfield. It''s very borring if you don't know the area.
It shows Huddesfield full of factories, full employment, everyone in the town plays an instrument, everyone is well dressed. By the time I was in the area, in the 1980's there was nothing but unemployment. By the late 80's and early 90's I remember there being a strong underclass there.
I'm not even talking about the immigration, though that did not help.
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Re: How England used to be

Postby Lindsey » 07 Oct 2014, 15:27

A friend of mine took a picture of this wonderful piece of writing in the metro. TV shows have dumbed down , apparently so has journalism.
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Re: How England used to be

Postby Elliott » 13 Oct 2014, 10:17

I think lots of people on here will enjoy (if that is the word) this video by a young Youtuber. He has just turned 18. This is his perspective:
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Re: How England used to be

Postby Gavin » 14 Oct 2014, 13:01

That was a moving monologue, very well enunciated. I thought the words of encouragement under the video on YouTube were very good, too. I hope this young man finds the forum here and finds some solace in it.
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Re: How England used to be

Postby Andrea » 15 Oct 2014, 14:14

That was very moving. What a good, intelligent, young man he sounds! I hope he knows there are an increasing amount of people who agree with him. All is not yet lost!
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