Was TV all better back then?

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You can try and find an answer to this question between a quarter past two and five past five starting on Monday afternoon.

During that time BBC1 and BBC2 between them are running no fewer than four different archive programmes starting with the first two episodes of Keeping up Appearances on BBC 1.

This sitcom from 1990 starred Patricia Routledge as the snobbish Hyacinth Bucket who always tried to make out that she was better than she truly was.

Needless to say her efforts to impress others led her into a number of amusing situations. The series lasted for 44 episodes and two mini episodes. At a quarter past three on BBC2 there is a rerun of the first proper episode of Are You Being Served? Set in Grace Brothers’ department store, it is also a comedy where a number of interesting characters from the Ladies’ and Gentlemen’s Departments always seem to be trying to outdo one another. The early episodes are rather more realistic than the series became as its long run of sixty nine episodes went on. The pilot episode of ‘Allo ‘Allo follows. First shown in 1982, it incredibly went on to run for eighty five episodes.

Taking its premise from Secret Army, not every viewer was comfortable with the idea of a comedy about the French resistance movement. The archive afternoon is completed by an episode of the second series of the police female ‘buddy’ series Cagney and Lacey After a couple of false starts, this series went on to amass no fewer than one hundred and twenty five episodes – outdoing the male equivalent – Starsky and Hutch. While the idea of screening archive TV programmes in the afternoon is a good one, I would personally have preferred a better and more unusual selection. IAN K