Scandals and schooldays…

Scandals and schooldays…

As you know, I’m not normally one to dwell too heavily on events in the news, but even I can’t ignore the fuss that has and continues to be made about Horse meat finding its way into the food-chain.

As I understand it, some sort of criminal activity has meant that horse has been used in processed foods in place of or with other meats and that it is apparently not limited to one retailer/processor or whatever – it seems to be an issue that reaches all over Europe and possibly beyond; I’ve sort of lost track of where things are and to be honest, I’m past caring.

For context, I’ve knowingly eaten horsemeat more than once. It has quite a strong flavour and makes a change from beef. As far as I can see, there would be a lot less scare-mongering going on if the suppliers of processed foods put appropriate labels on their wares. If we have to have “caution – hot” on coffee cups and “may contain nuts” on the side of a packet of KP Nuts, then surely a label on the packet of burgers or whatever it may be would suffice? I can see everyone and his dog looking for a compensation angle here…

Speaking of which, I note that 31 alleged victims of Jimmy Savile have commenced proceedings against the estate and eight of those have also seen fit to pursue the BBC. Quite how the BBC can be held responsible for the actions of JS is beyond me. Dressing rooms at TVC were always out of bounds to everyone unless they had business there – senior management would not have a clue who was in them at any given time, much less know what was going on with the four walls. They were run very much on the same lines as a hotel – your dressing room was your private haven away from the studio when involved in a production and that has pretty much been the case up to the present day.

There are several enquiries ongoing in relation to JS and his antics, all costing a fortune in and of themselves – where do these “victims” think their eagerly sought compensation will be coming from? Exactly. And, I have to ask – if what you suffered was so painful that you didn’t see fit to raise the matter before, will a pile of taxpayers’ money make the pain and memory go away? Didn’t think so…

I was having a discussion recently with a friend about school and how they are portrayed on Television. I was reminded of a film I saw once, long ago in the early 1980’s and went in search of more information on it. I eventually tracked the title down and discovered that it was one of a series of four dramas commissioned by the then new ITV franchise holder for the Midland region – Central TV. The film I saw was called “Birth of a Nation” and starred a young Jim Broadbent and even younger Jessie Birdsall (BUGS, Eldorado, The Bill) Kwame Kwei-Armah (Casualty, Holby City, The Latchkey Children) Lisa Geoghan (The Bill) and Suzanna Hamilton (1984) amongst others.

The drama is set in an inner city comprehensive in the very early 80’s (filmed in 1982, shown on 19th June 1983 – I feel really old now!) and is very realistic in its capturing the flavour of the time. I attended an inner London comp until early in the 3rd year and watching the drama back earlier today for the first time since it aired, it really stirred some memories – few of them good. There are some sections that are obviously there as plot devices, but I could identify with many of the characters and situations they found themselves in.

My time at what was to become known as the “worst school in England” was not the best and the contrast between there and the school I attended when the family moved to Hampshire is stark. Certainly, people who did not live through those times find it hard to understand how school was in inner-city early 80’s Britain, but I can assure you, as someone who was there – this drama is a pretty fair approximation. It was all the staff could do to keep you on the premises – anything else was considered a bonus! I’m pleased to see that all four films are available under the “Tales Out of School” umbrella, both on DVD and Blu-Ray.

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