Yesterday, the MediaGuardian website posted yet another sniffy dissection of popular culture of year’s gone past. This time around it was Lucy Mangan’s turn to have one of thost post-modern pops at Bergerac, the extraordinarily popular cop shows from the 80s starring perma-tanned John Nettles (a real leathery tan, none of that spray-on or sunbed orange crap you see these days). Now I have to post a defence of Bergerac because it was always a highlight of Saturday evening TV for me, not only because I once had the chance to see a fight scene being filmed in 1982 but because Jersey was a frequent holiday destination for me as a kid. While my childhood wasn’t as rosey some others, I never went without and was always lucky to be taken away on my hols by my grandparents and a fortnight away in Jersey every year was bliss for me. In fact, me and The Missus spent a week there at the beginning of June for the first time in about eight years. I like Jersey because it is quiet, the food and weather is great and I can sit on a beach and not be bothered by anyone at all. It’s a hermit’s paradise. 🙂
The Missus poses with Bergerac’s Car [6 June 2007]
Bergerac used to be a big TV advert for the island, so much so that during the 80s and up to the mid-1990s, it was John Nettles face that used to greet you in the airport as you arrived via a giant billboard. Very kitsch, but welcoming like fresh sheets or a comfortable pair of trainers that have holes in the soles and you can’t bear to throw away. Now my recollection of the TV show at the time was that it was never taken seriously. For example, Jersey isn’t a hotbed of crime – when we was away the most serious news item in the local rag was about a car being scratched by a vandal – and you could always trace the criminals back to dear old Charlie Hungerford. I remember that we used to have a laugh at it back then as it wasn’t a show that took itself too seriously – I mean, the island of Jersey is so small you couldn’t even have a proper car chase as its about 25 miles in length! It was more about escapism and comes from a more gentle era of TV viewing. I mean it was superseded by Lovejoy, Heartbeat and to some extent Stephen Fry’s Kingdom. It’s more about a good yarn with no surprises that everyone can watch, I think and I reckon that all those TV shows I mention will soon be sneered at by the Guardian word manglers. Again, it’s another easy target to take a pop at but people forget how popular these shows were. But the passage of time gives you the ability to take the piss out of just about anything. Luckily, with shows like Doctor Who and the aforementioned Kingdom pulling in the punters, it looks like a return to those halcyon days of “family viewing” might be on the cards.
Mind you, when me and The Missus took our first holiday to the island back in the late 1980s, her mother earnestly said to her: “You be careful out there with all that crime. I’ve seen Bergerac, you know.” How we laughed.
And here’s the opening titles for you to get all nostalgic about. Note that the theme tune’s bass line is a rip-off of The Police song “Walking on the Moon”. 🙂