by John Henshall


Way back in the 'sixties, actor Warren Mitchell had a rather public 'difference of opinion' with his screen son-in-law, Tony Booth, in the BBC Club bar at Television Centre after a studio recording of the sitcom, ''Till Death Us Do Part'. Which of us, then, imagined that Alf Garnett's son-in-law's son-in-law would become Prime Minister of the United Kingdom thirty years later?

Amazing but true. Tony Booth's real-life daughter, Cherie, married the man who ended eighteen years of Conservative rule when he kissed the Queen's hands on 2 May, taking over as Prime Minister from John Major.

Sometimes changes are more profound than have ever been imagined possible but, although they bring the exhilaration of new hopes and aspirations to some, to others they bring regret that their cosy, established, expedient ways have been disturbed - perhaps for ever.

After the halcyon days of the 'sixties, 'seventies and 'eighties, the television audience became fragmented by more and more channels, and, with it, programme budgets and standards. ITV franchises were auctioned as part of the Thatcherite 'free market economy'. For the self aggrandisement of the few, we were prepared to risk - BBC and ITV together - the world's finest television system. So, three years ago I decided to turn from a lifetime in broadcast television. Time for a change.

This review first appeared in "John Henshall's Chip Shop" in "The Photographer" May 1997.
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