Thursday, February 22, 2007

Watching - a televisual hero of the birding revolution, probably.

For those of you who don't watch enough telly, at least in the UK, Watching was a late 80s/early 90s sitcom about (wait for it) an ugly socially inept birdwatcher getting a girlfriend. hee hee. Yes, a minor miracle, but it has been known. I liked it at first - gormless birder 'Malcolm' (Paul Bown) meets over-the-top polka-dotted hair-ribboned, ear-ringed, brash scouse 80s stereotype, reasonably pretty 'Brenda' (Emma Wray) in the pub, and they somehow hit it off, much to the annoyance of Malcolm's posh mum (Patsy Byrne). Not only an undertone of good old fashioned sexual discovery, but an overtone (eh?) of class war as well, AND, bearing in mind I was 18 at the time, Malcolm was kind-of living the dream. In a comedy tradition that could only have come straight from 1972, Malcolm had a clapped out old motorbike that needed constant tinkering, AND a sidecar, for putting Brenda in.

As I recall, in the early episodes there was actually some birding in it, but in later series (that I saw less of) birds had pretty much tailed off. Jeessus Malcolm was wet. He was of the 'Well, if a rare bird jumped up in front of me I'd be happy, but I'm not going to twitch one' l
evel. I need someone to confirm this... but I'm pretty certain that the ahem, beautiful symmetry of the programme derived from a weak early plotline that Brenda and her sister were 'people watchers' in some way... I might have dreamed that bit, so let me know. But most of all... I have to salute Watching for awakening a generation of teenage men to the murky waters of secretly fancying Liza Tarbuck (Brenda's sister). Don't you agree? Well, maybe that was just me then.

I'd like to think there's a little bit of Malcolm and Brenda in all of us. Ugh, actually, no, I'd like not to think that... but now the image won't go away.

Emma Wray - comedy genius

Watching - we salute you

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