Monday, 11 July 2016
441 Tales From A Long Room
First viewed : Spring 1980
If Your Life In Their Hands was unpalatable then a continuous loop of this, which followed it on a couple of Thursdays , would be part of my Room 101 nightmare. That actually seems a little churlish since there was only half an hour of it spread over two weeks.
Tales from a Long Room started out as a comic novel by Peter Tinniswood the writer of the successful late seventies comedy series I Didn't Know You Cared . It was basically the reminiscences of a blinkered , half-senile , xenophobic Brigadier in a village called Witney Scrotum who gets important world events mixed up with cricket matches. He was played by Robin Bailey who'd made his name by playing cantankerous old Yorkshireman Uncle Mort in IDKYC.
There's one word in there which explains my aversion to it. I have a lifelong detestation of cricket and its attendant culture which comes from my dad hogging the television set , which otherwise he affected to disdain, and radio during the summer holidays. Cricket came with dry old bores talking about nothing in particular and impenetrable jargon. Worst of all matches went on forever and at the end of them the weather might have decided the outcome. Playing it was slightly more interesting but still involved large stretches where you stood around not doing very much.
I've no doubt Tinniswood's scripts were sharp and witty if you were in the know but once cricket was involved, the shutters came down for me I'm afraid.
The series, if you can call it that, was repeated in 1981 and 1982 . There were also two five part radio adaptations - again with Bailey- broadcast in those two years. One of them was re-broadcast to mark Tinniswood's passing in 2003.