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Harking Back to Better Times

In the UK we currently have a spate of historically based TV programmes. Is it odd that in a upcoming ‘Time of Austerity’ TV producers are seemingly prepared to remind us all that a simpler life in the past was better? There is even a new version of that old staple of TV re-runs ‘The Good Life’ from the 70’s. Mind you – this new version is barely watchable – concentrating primarily on the personalities of the presenters rather than the substance of the content. In fact, I only managed to watch the first two programmes.

Another programme tries to recreate a series of high street shops from different eras in UK history. This could have been good. It’s not for two reasons. The first is that the time given for each of the ‘eras’ is only a week (must take a while to change each shop ready for the next era), and the second is the ‘Chamber of Commerce’ – a group of people who seem to be a bit like the ‘Dragon’s Den’ panel – who stroll into the High Street dispensing opinions and problems in equal measure. I watched two of these as well. I have given up now. Then – there is ‘Downton Abbey’ and ‘The Edwardian Farm’.

I think that there is a lot of looking back with rose-tinted spectacles going on here. Times were better in the old days – for a very few. For the majority life was not so good. Disease was rife, money was short and living conditions could be very harsh. Things were not better for your ‘average’ person. I am glad that I was born into this time, in this country. That last is also an important factor – because there are places in the world where it is not much fun to be alive and where disease is still rife, money is very short and living conditions remain very harsh. So if you are warm, have shelter, aren’t hungry and no one is abusing you, these are the better times.