Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Supergran saves the day!

Today's blog is inspired by a fantastic story reported yesterday in the press. A pensioner in her 70's disturbed and averted a raid by men with sledgehammers at a jewellery shop.

Seeing a commotion from down the street the 71 year old pensioner ran to the shop, and proceeded to hit armed men who were trying to gain entry to the shop, over the head with her shopping bag. The men ran away, and have since been arrested.

You can read the whole story here:

As soon as I heard this story, I was taken back to Sunday afternoon's in my childhood. No, I wasn't busy averting armed robberies. I was watching Supergran!

If I'm not mistaken Supergran followed on from that Sunday classic Bullseye (you can't beat a bit of bully! deserves its own post!).

To remind those that are hazy on this one, Supergran was first screened in 1985, and the memorable theme tune graced our screens every Sunday afternoon.

Granny Smith, the main character, was a sweet old Scottish lady living in a sleepy coastal town. That's until she was exposed to a magical ray of energy, which transforms her into 'Supergran', giving her special powers which she uses to defeat the local villian, The Scunner Campbell.

I really loved this show - and couldn't quite understand how somebody so ancient (forgive me, I was about 9 at the time) could cartwheel and back-flip her way across the screen.

Glad to hear that we have a real-life Supergran in 2011 :).

Monday, 7 February 2011

My top 10 movies from the 80's

I started to complile a list of my top tens films from the 80's.

I started out with a top 20 and then was pretty ruthless in weeding them down to 10. So there are LOADS missing that nearly made it. I didn't include any that have had recent remakes (for example Karate Kid was a huge favourite).

The biggest surprise is seeing when they were released, and then working out how old I was when I watched them.  My hope is that I watched them a lot later than when they were released, otherwise I think I may have been watching things a little inappropriate for my age ;)

In no particular order, my favourites are:

FilmYearI was:Comments
Gregory's girl19815 yearsHhmmm, I think this one was definately watched later than the release date. Great film though, still love it!
ET19826 yearsI do remember seeing this at the time it came out - absolutely loved it and still do. Have the DVD.
An Officer and a gentleman19826 yearsAnother one where I hope I watched it much later than release date! Very corny, very 80's - got to love it!
Flashdance19837 yearsI think I was about 12 when I first saw this - I thought it was amazing at the time. Watched it last year and couldn't believe how funny the 'female welder / part time ballerina / strip club dancer' storyline was. Classic 80's!
NeverEnding Story19848 yearsWatched this on TV, and loved it. Cried so much when the horse died!
Back to the Future19859 yearsWatched this wehn it was first released on video (probably betamax!). Loved it. The leading actor was my dream man, lol!
Mannequin198711 yearsThis one would probably take the number 1 spot for me - watched it at the cinema and totally loved it. Only realised recently the Mannequin was played by on of the cast members of Sex and the City.
Bill and teds excellent adventire198812 yearsI can't remember if it was this, or Wayne's World (90's) that I loved the most, but great film nevertheless!
Who Framed Roger Rabbit198812 yearsI have to put this in my top 10 as there was so much hype about it at the time - the graphics were supposed to be amazing - really funny watching it now and realising how fast things have progressed. Think Avatar!
Dead Poets Society198913 yearsClasic film - haven't watched it for years but I suspect i would still cry lots.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Careless whispers and talking cars

The year is 2011, so I ask myself why the familiar melody of "Careless Whispers" is being played from my 9 year old sons bedroom. Surely he hasn't discovered a Wham album from my youth and decided that they beat One Direction (OK, he's only 9, there's time yet!!)?

Reassuringly, no that isn't the case. He's actually watching his much loved Knight Rider box set for the hundredth or so time.

Hubby brought it for him in a moment of nostalgia, and I have to admit I doubted that it would be a success. But then thinking about it, the talking car, the fast action car chases, they are two ingredients that were bound to be a hit. Nine year old son doesn't seem to notice the dated clothing and even the soundtrack.

In fact, he pretty much loves any of the old classics we have brought for him: Dangermouse, Bucky O Hare, all four Superman films.  We tried ET too young I think but that one will have to come out soon.

I'm also thinking Back to the Future - I know he will love it, but I can't wait to watch it again myself.

Introducing your kids to retro classics can have its downside though. On the same trip as the Knight Rider purchase I made the mistake of buying Button Moon for my daughter. It was a firm favourite when I was tiny. The first viewing prompted that warm lovely emotion that you attach to something from a happy childhood.  The second viewing was good too. Unfortunately though it was too much of a success, and the nostalgia gave way to pure utter annoyance.

We got our moneys worth though - we had about 2 years worth of viewing out of that DVD until we accidentally (!) mislaid it. Mary Poppins is the latest craze and I'm wondering how long it will be before we have to mislay another DVD ;).

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Minipops and sleeping lions

No blog about 80's TV would be complete without a cursery nod to that Friday night classic Top of the Pops.

From the teenagers hanging all over the TV presenters, trying to get their ten seconds of fame, to the lip synching, overdressed acts we called pop stars, it was a staple part of any teenagers TV viewing.

Having older sisters, I got to watch it too, and my absolute enduring memory was Tight Fit in 1982 singing to The Lion Sleeps Tonight. What self respecting six year old wouldn't love watching Tarzan and Jane lip synch and sway their hips on live TV?

And better than that, you got to watch it replicated on Mini Pops - but this time by a group of overdressed, over confident kids. If you can't remember Mini Pops - it was a Saturday night TV programme where kids were dressed like adults (make-up, hairspray, the lot) and performed to the latest pop hits.

I seem to remember some controversy now (probably due to the fact that they were kids dressed like adults) but that went straight over my head. It totally appealed to my six-year-old-wish-I-was-a-popstar mind.
If you are still struggling to remember, let me remind you with the clip below:

Friday, 4 February 2011

Shoulder pads and oil barons

Ok, so this blog has so far been obsessed with kids 80's TV, but the latest news that Dallas is to make a comeback has prompted a gear change in the direction of TV for adults (I would say adult TV but it gives the wrong connotations :) ).

So the infamous JR Ewing, scheming, power crazy oil baron is back. I'm happy to read that all the original actors are back, and he will be joined by Sue Ellen as his alcoholic wife (or is it ex-Wife?), and of course his brother Bobby.
I'm a little confused as to where the series left off - I was pretty sure JR was shot and killed, but obviously unless JR is returning as a ghost, that can't be the case. Any Dallas fans out there please feel free to enlighten me.

The most memorable plotline ever has to be the return of Bobby Ewing. After over 12 months of being out of the series (and the viewing figures dropping) the producers convinced the actor to return to the series. How would the scriptwriters get him back in the series? Bobby simply turns up in the shower and we find out Pam was dreaming all along! Simples!

The plot twist completely invalidated the whole previous 18 months plotline by having it all appear as a lengthy dream sequence. What a head fryer (reminds me of the last episode of Lost!).

With that in mind I can't wait to see what plot line we will open with, just hope we don't have to wait too long. But for those too impatient to wait, why not remind yourself of the glories of the most famous texan oil barons below:

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Fantasy is way much more fun..........

One of the best things about being a kid is that fuzziness that merges reality and fantasy together a bit.

Like my daughter, aged 7, who is still not quite certain whether its possible to fly (if you try really really hard!!), and who, after watching Matilda suspects the washing on the line is moving because she blinked her eyes at it.

I love seeing how the mundane reality of wind blowing clothes on a washing line turns into a magical adventure with a little sprinkling of imagination.

I actually remember trying to jump into a picture I had drawn after watching the amazing Mary Poppins, and even though it didn't quite happen, I was convinced I was just doing it wrong. Impossible wasn't really part of my vocabulary back then.

In fact, the sillier stuff was always the best for me. Why Don't You, Blue Peter, Newsround - yes they were educational, and I should probably have been watching them.

But a bold warrier fighting evil force (go She-Ra), a rat with a big attitude, a bat with wings like shields of steel, a spotty teddy bear from space - now that's what I'm talking about.

Perhaps that explains why I'm as happy watching an episode of Peppa Pig with my daughter as I am watching Panaroma. Sometimes a little silliness goes a long way........................

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Puffballs and Grotbags

So lets face up to the fact that the 80's was devoid of a lot of things. Style being one of them.

Like the puffball skirt for example.

I remember attending a school disco in the late 80's wearing a friends white puffball and some strange puffy boots. I realised half way through the night when I glanced in a mirror that I looked like a cloud.

That wasn't really the look I was going for. And needless to say, its one 80's look I won't be resurrecting any time in the future.

But there is something we did well in the 80's. Kids TV. And we did it really well. Think Dangermouse, Batfink, Thundercats, He-man ... The list is pretty endless.

And it doesn't stop with cartoons. Roland Rat, Grotbags, Basil Brush are all brilliant examples of those characters and shows that kept us tuning in each night / week.

Which might explain why so many of them are still around today (I found a brilliant website today for any Roland Rat fans out there: ).

Right, off now to watch an episode of Dangermouse with my 7 year old....