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3.9 out of 5 stars17
3.9 out of 5 stars
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on 17 September 2001
I was pleasantly surprised by this book. The cover is rather garish, with the words 'pussy' and 'telly' most prominent and I'm not sure I'd give it to my mum for a birthday present, but for 30 something guy like myself, there were lots of moments of recognition and hoots of laughter.
Television is something that, like it or loathe it, brings us all together in shared memories. On top of that, it's a medium which doesn't often get a serious critical eye cast over it. Jeffries is obviously a clever bloke (the chapter on war coverage was really thought-provoking), but you could imagine having a pint with him too, which makes him good company in this read. Highly recommended!
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on 23 May 2001
I picked up the paperback of this book at Euston station and it kept my mind off the awful journey to Carlisle by making me laugh my head almost literally off (which would have been alarming for my fellow passengers, and Railtrack sees to alarming passengers much better than I can). Jeffries knows how to tell a joke, and such big portions! I'd recommend this to anyone. Cheers!
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on 19 April 2000
Stuart Jeffries book is Ab Fab! It had me shouting out in recognition of long forgotten programmes and names. As a thirtysomething now, I didn't think that tv had so much impact on my childhood...I was wrong! I too grew up in the midlands and watched Crossroads during tea. My Dad & I used to shout out the name of 'Jack Barton' during the credits (Why?...'cause it sounded like Dick Barton of course!). Just his name in print brought it all back! I've also been compelled to watch England play football with the certain knowledge that they'll lose, unable to tear myself away, but hiding behind a cushion so I can't see. Yes, with infinite channels we'll all no doubt switch off, saying that there's nothing on! At that point you should pick up this book and start reading...
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on 17 March 2003
This book certainly brings back memories of some long-forgotten shows and will also make you look at some programmes in a different light. Jeffries writes poigniantly about programmes as varied as Bill and Ben and Brideshead Revisited. His demolition of THE TV News and also Changing Rooms is worth the price of the book alone. Jeffries manages to be funny where appropriate but also hits a sombre note where required. If I have one criticism of this book it is that Jeffries occassionally indulges in academic language and references where it's not required but apart from that a highly readable and enjoyable book.
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on 9 January 2016
A book about a slightly more innocent age of television, before the agenda pushers fully realized its propagandising potential. Our generation grew up with mostly wholesome tv shows, nothing too weird,no swearing and with a nice morality message at the end.

"We used to worship the sun and its movement structured our lives,then the liturgy (Christianity) overlaid that structure.It (TV) helpfully divided up our lives into times rituals even public moods.Television since the coronation in 1953 offered a structure that borrowed from both the sun and the church:it had it seasons,its reassuring parade of moods and events it gave us common memories shared heritage and a vernacular"

Stuart Jefferies writes a nostalgic memoir based around his favourite TV programmes.These days TV offers stories full of melodrama and perversity.TV created a world of illusion.All those who grew up in front of the television made TV programmes their internal world.Prior to the television world of illusion, peoples internal worlds were made up of substantive stories,their internal programming was strengthened by stories about good character and things connected to the natural world.This author writes about a TV age of sweet innocence, before the subversion agenda got its foot well and truly in the door.

TV programmes are currently being used by entertainment corporations to overturn normal values.Anyone who watches Peppa pig can't help but notice that Daddy pig is very submissive when in conversations with Peppa and Mummy pig.They both treat him like a fool, dismiss his opinions,mock him and enjoy belittling him for being fat. In the US show Two and a Half Men, the main character's series of casual sexual relationships is portrayed as funny. There is a lack of positive female role models and the main character has an emotionally abusive relationship with his mother which is passed off as humorous.The cartoon Family Guy mocks family values,the disabled and has one regular character who is a paedophile. Is it any wonder our culture has become confused and contentious

This author has a warm companionable writing style.his use of language and his ability to reflect on simple things in a meaningful and complex way is unusual,his use of progressive self revelation gives the impression of intimacy.
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on 23 March 2000
If you're a forty-something who grew up in Britain durng the Sixties and Seventies, then you really have to read this book. The author will have you wallowing in nostalgia for the days when you ate baked beans on toast in front of "Nationwide" or hooted with laughter when Mr Grainger voiced his desire to takes his elderly wife to Wales - to Bangor (it's all in the enunciation). In addition to the joys of trawling through the archives of our own TV memories there are some sharp observations on the culture of the time.
This is a book which enveloped me in a warm glow and opened my eyes to more than a few double entendres which went over my head at the time. If you can't persuade someone to buy it as a present for you, dig deep and find the cash to buy it yourself - you'll be glad you did.
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on 9 October 2001
I guess it helped being the same age, but this book took me back to so many fond memories and also many times I found myself exactly on track with the author. The best book I have read this year and a must for anyone who has watched TV in any generation. Superb a classic and will look out for this author in future.
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on 2 July 2000
Stuart Jeffries can definitely write, but he has written one of those books that is normally published by Routledge with footnotes - a kind of sub sub Roland Barthes analysis of popular culture - which he attempts to enliven with a few jokes and personal anecdotes (a lot of these about farting; you get the picture!).
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on 3 September 2000
After meeting Stuart Jeffries at this year's (2000) Edinburgh Festival, and concluding that he was a bit like me, I bought a copy of his book, which he signed. He'd been reading out the chapter on British sitcoms, an analysis of 'Are You Being Served', which forms the title of the book. I raced through the book in under a week, it is funny, poignant, reflective and written with the clarity, and spirit of inquiry of someone who has studied philosophy. My favourite section is about the last winter Olympic games and first appeared in the Guardian (I remember because I cut it out, it was so funny). The ice skater Nicky Slator is intentionally confused with the highly probable Nicky Skater the ice slator. Ice slating, Jeffries hypothesises, could feasibly be one of the new-that-year olympic sports. A week after I finished the book, the BBC put on a re-run of a 'Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads' episode (which is analysed in the book). I watched with new eyes. This is probably the greatest achievement of the book, it encourages you to watch actively and critically making you appreciate the unwritten cultural subtext to many of yesterdays (and todays) programmes.
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on 6 April 2014
But inside it gives a very serious history of the types of programmes I was brought up on...very funny read and very interesting history....
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