- TV Series
- 1974– 1974–
Well worth watching..... for the right reasons, and some wrong ones.
Re-run by Talking Pictures 2020/21, and never has the standard Talking Pictures warning of, ".....may contain some offensive and discriminatory language which reflects the prevailing attitudes of the time" been more apt. It astonishes me to think that I was alive, (just), when this went out as mainstream TV. In one episode, one of the main protagonists, (the landlady, played by Sylvia Kay), is portrayed as kind of "decent" and "normal", when she tells a tenant that most places "charge more" for "them", when referring to a black guest of the tenant. The racist epithets are removed but the far more offensive opinions remain. Then there is the attitude towards domestic violence. In another two-parter, the new tenant, a young woman, is obviously attempting to escape an abusive relationship and she has the bruises to prove it. Yet the prevailing attitude/advice seems to be, "....stop moaning and go home./"WHY" did that happen?/Life isn't easy." etc. Most of this "advice" was offered by another woman! Continuing on the theme of male attitudes towards women, when talking to a woman who you've just met in Mafeking Terrace circa 1974, feel free to put your arm around her for the duration of the 'conversation', touch her hair as you please, and if her bottom looks appealing, don't just look at it... Disturbingly, most of these assaults are met with a smile! There's much, much more to cringe at. And some genuinely disturbing storylines too. ( A young Joyce Barnaby being sexually abused by her father for instance.) Oddly, in some ways this improves it as a period piece. This must reflect the attitudes and behaviours of the time to some degree. Imagine if this was made now, but still being set in the mid-70s? The behaviour would still be there, but it would be made clear how "wrong" it is. I'm not sure many of us need that pointing out, which is one of the reasons why this is worth viewing. Another is the quality of the cast. The late Marshall and Kay work well together. There's also Jill Gascoine, Brian Cox, Bernard Hill, Nigel Havers, Clifford Rose, Annette Crosbie, Lewis Collins, T.P. McKenna, Nicholas Clay and Tariq Yunus, to name but a few. Surprisingly for UK '70s TV, the set is good apart from the 'out of the front door shot'. (How many of us open our front doors to a drawing of a street?) But the dowdy brown gloss paint, the worn carpets and the faded, dated wallpaper all add to the ambience, or rather to an appropriate lack of it. All in all, well worth a watch, as a spectacle as well as a drama.
- Jan 7, 2021
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