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Customer Review

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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