Hello – here is the sludge from the bottom of the culture wars bin. I did have to wash my hands three times afterwards, but there you go.
Among the miasmic waste is news that public service broadcasters in the UK will have a legal requirement to produce “distinctively British” programmes. Ministers, who in general don’t watch television, are said to be drawing plans for the sort of programmes the rest of us should watch in Batshit Brexit Britain.
Fleabag, Derry Girls and Only Fools And Horses have been cited as “distinctively British” programmes that would meet this obligation.
According to a report in the i newspaper, “Ofcom will be asked to draw up a workable definition of the concept.” Good luck with that, Ofcom.
Media minister John Whittingdale told a Royal Television Society conference that Dr Who, Downton Abbey, Great British Bake Off and Bodyguard were international hits that also reflected British values. Choosing a time-travelling intersex person, some posh-and-understairs semi-historical fluff, and a programme about cakes seems random, but then this whole idea is mad and a little sinister.
Somewhere along the way someone mentions Dad’s Army because they always do. Somewhere along the way someone mentions Carry On films because they always do.
Here is a reminder, Dad’s Army started in 1968 and is 50 years old!
How right-wing governments love to tip into this controlling behaviour, stirring up a milky tea British version of China banning reality talent shows and ordering broadcasters not to promote “sissy” feminine men on television.
Here’s are some suggestions for old TV shows that could be remade…
It Ain’t Half Woke Mum, featuring unfunny stereotypes as they bungle through life, armed only with puny puns.
Don’t Love Thy Neighbour Especially If They Are In Desperate Straits And Are Willing To Paddle Across A Dangerous Channel To Get Here (not a snappy title, I’ll admit).
Dad’s Brexit Army – those Europeans don’t like it up them, whatever it might be.
And so wearily on.
It’s almost impossible to define Britishness in this context. One argument put forward by Mr Whittingdale is that streaming services such as Netflix produce generic programmes designed to sell everywhere. Up to a point, but look at the lovely Sex Education, back any day soon for a third series. That Netflix hit is both British and international (a bit like sex, really).
My own leftfield pick for a wonderful British series would be this year’s Channel 4 comedy We Are Lady Parts, about a Muslim punk band, which is modern and multicultural, and funny and sweet.
From that sludge in the culture wars bin also is to be found news that Boris Johnson is to announce the return of imperial weights and measures. This would make it legal for market stalls, shops and supermarkets to sell their goods using only Britain’s traditional weighing system.
Wow, what an achievement in appeasing one or two recalcitrant market stall holders who object to using “foreign measurements”.
I am 64 and have lived most of my life using sensible metric measurements rather than complicated imperial measures.
@BorisJohnson Hello Boris. Weights and Measures Inspector here. Sorry to dispel your latest bit of kite flying.
1. The UK transferring to metric measures had bugger all to do with our EU membership. (1)
— Pippa Musgrave (@PippaMusgrave1) September 16, 2021
Thanks to the weights and measures inspector Pippa Musgrave for pointing out on Twitter that: “The UK agreed, when it signed the OIML treaty in 1856 to move to a single system of measurement (S.I. units). Metric measures have been lawful in the UK since 1875…”
So, it’s nothing to do with Brexit.
Also in that bin are reports that our British pint glasses can once again carry the Crown stamp. Wow, what a freedom that is. A pint glass is and always was a pint glass, but now it can have a little Crown on it again.
A Brexit triumph, according to the increasingly potty Daily Express. Frankly my Brexit dears, I don’t give a damn what’s etched on the glass, so long as it contains good beer (British, continental, American – not fussed if it’s decent).
Once again, in looking forward we gaze over our shoulders, turning nostalgic about gallons and ounces and proper British potatoes sold by the muddy pound.
What a weird country. Still, at least grumbling about it all is thoroughly British.