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4.2 out of 5 stars25
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 8 February 2015
This is subtitled “The 1970’s in front of the telly”. Viner hits home because he is exactly the same age as me with the same cultural references and he might have spent more time watching television as a youngster than I did! It seemed so familiar that I felt that at times I could have written this. But I didn’t, Brian Viner did and great credit to him. Some very funny little stories, a very journalistic approach and highly enjoyable. It was like reliving your childhood all over again. Nowadays, the sheer variety of leisure/viewing options means that such strong cultural imprinting would not be possible, in the 70’s a whole generation would know that you followed “Boom Boom Boom Boom” with “Esso Blue” , which would mystify today’s teens. I laughed out loud quite a few times, which I might not have done if I was somewhat older or younger but for me Viner got it more or less spot-on.
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on 9 April 2010
I still can't completely work out why the seventies were as magical a time for me as they evidently were for Brian Viner and so many others. Moreover, although he is three years older than me and brought up in Southport, rather than Exeter, we appear to have lived the same life. That's a complete illusion, of course: we just watched the same telly. Nevertheless, the illusion is so strong that it shows just how much the box in the corner of the room held us in its grip.

Viner writes with great skill, capturing the sheer excitement generated by one medium (television) in another (print) and it's a book I never wanted to end. While his tastes very occasionally differed from my own (he seemed to enjoy To The Manor Born, for example. I believe you can get a prescription for that), they seemed strikingly similar: we both loved Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) being regularly repeated and were horrified when Vic and Bob desecrated it; we both sat glued to Morecambe and Wise Christmas Specials and Petrocelli; we both got very hot and flustered over Bouquet of Barbed Wire - or Bucket of Barbed Wire as my neighbour used to pronounce it.

Who would have thought simply reminiscing about your favourite childhood telly could be so compelling? Of course, like Nigel Slater talking about food, he cunningly makes this something of an autobiography but we barely notice and we certainly don't mind. He also reveals fascinating things about the biographies of others, including the Martini girl and the actor who used to star in Mind Your Language - there are moments when the book feels a bit like Kenneth Anger's Hollywood Babylon. Not in a bad way!

Does he miss anything out? Only Stanley Baxter, but perhaps he missed all his Christmas shows. There weren't many of them.

To anyone aged between 40 and 50 this will send you back to a golden time when the sun always shone. But, of course, it didn't. That's why we spent so much time in front of the TV!
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on 11 December 2013
A generation thing. nostalgic for 40-55 year olds, Those were the days before DVD and internet. great, written so it grips you
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on 29 August 2014
Hugely entertaining book for those of us who were old enough to watch t.v. in the 1970s. Brian Viner is such a good writer! He is very funny, but at the same time he is informative and knowledgeable and clearly researches everything he writes about very thoroughly indeed. Highly recommended.
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on 26 June 2014
Part nostalgia, part biography, a nice read if a little undemanding. I would have given more stars, but the picture on the back cover of Saville jarred a little...
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on 27 January 2016
I am exactly the same age as Brian and we clearly shared the same viewing habits/views as teenagers! This is a must read for anyone born between 1959 and 1965. Every page had a head nodding moment!
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on 27 October 2010
This book will be an absolute joy to anyone who grew up in the UK in the 1970s. I read it with an almost-fixed grin of recognition as Brian Viner discussed some favourite old shows and the ensuing playground debates. He works in some moving autobiography too, and the real bonus is the later material from his journalistic career when he got to meet some of his boyhood heroes.
My only disappointment - no mention of my favourite, Planet of the Apes, which enlivened Sunday evenings. My only surprise - no real discussion of Charlie's Angels, which played a significant part in the lives of so many boys in the 1970s.
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on 6 March 2015
Great book from a great writer. Obviously a man of my generation with memories similar to my own. Was great to hear how alike Saturday evenings were up and down the land. Shame things have to change.
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on 14 September 2012
This was your life, if you were a telly addict in the 70's.
Accurate in datail and very nostalgic. Wonderful book.
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on 5 June 2015
Those were the days
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