Dress Down Christmas

Please Sir!: Grown-Up Version of Mary, Mungo and Midge

I spent Xmas Eve morning preparing a surfeit of parsnips for pickling, with the televisual device playing in the background. First there was the rural bliss and adventure of The Fox and the Child: although when we thought Lily the Fox had died, my mind raced back to a childhood book called Abandoned which left me, as an eight year old, highly upset when its feline protagonist died.

Next came the disaster which would be inflicted on any rural scene as Class 5c from Fenn Street descended on it, with the 1971 film version of Please Sir!. No doubt the more excitable HP commenters would say that Mr. Hedges laid the path for the perils of multiculturalism, whilst others would respond that he saw the gems in an otherwise forgotten underclass of street urchins which, even by 1971, had not been “White” for decades.

Me, I found myself chortling away to a 40 year old dramatization of Half Man, Half Biscuit lyrics which has not lost its sheen in they way On the Buses did within 40 minutes.

On the other hand, Mary, Mungo and Midge – John Ryan’s animated series of the same time – was a series of modern morality tales; featuring a young single woman living alone in a high-rise, with only a lumbering dog and mouse for company as she survived in the urban world far removed from rural settings which previously formed children’s entertainment.

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