When thinking about childhood memories of television, I instantly thought of asking my Dad. He’s told me about his favourite shows so many times, I could probably name them in my sleep.
At the end of a FaceTime call to my Popa, I asked if my Dad was around because I wanted to interview him. As always, he wanted to know what I’m getting up to, and asked what it was about. I explained to him what it was for, to which he asked why I couldn’t ask him instead. Now Popa has a reputation in our family for getting names and memories jumbled up (he called me Kelly, Heidi, Jessica, and Jasmine barely two minutes before), so I wasn’t too keen on asking him.
However, to my surprise he rattled off a perfect account of the first time he saw a television. He had to hang up, but it left me curious as to what else he remembered about television when he was growing up. So curious in fact, that I never even asked my Dad.
The next time I called Popa, I immediately asked if I could ask him about his childhood memories of television. He just laughed and said he didn’t have any childhood memories of television because TV wasn’t around in his childhood. Disappointed, I asked him about the first time he saw a television again.
“I was 16 or 17 working in London. The landlady had me round and gave me some tea and she had a television. I was in awe of it, I’d never seen anything like it before. The first thing I saw on the TV was an advert for Sunblest bread. ‘Sunblest bread: a sign of good bread’ or something like that, it was playing.”
I was amazed that he could remember it so clearly, but on reflection it’s completely understandable. It was such a huge thing that happened, it’s obvious that he would remember it.
He also told me that they didn’t get TV in their home until he got back from London, and even then, it was hired for two shillings a week from a company he couldn’t remember the name of.
“It was just a brown square box, about two foot tall. It used to sit in the corner of the room.”
One of the stories he told me was about seeing his friends on a show. He and my nan were watching Sunday Night at the Palladium when their friends Kath and Robin got called onto stage to play a game.
“We didn’t even know they’d gone away. We weren’t that close at the time, but it was still a shock to see them on the show! Kath had to throw these balls onto some drums and Robin had to catch them to win the star prize, but Kath kept messing up. They didn’t get it but they still won a TV.”
With the topic being TV memories, this made me laugh to myself because they won a TV on a TV show.
I think one of the most surprising things from this interview was how much detail Popa remembered. It was so interesting to listen to his stories and hear him laugh at his memories. Another thing that surprised me was how little they used to watch TV, despite it being this huge invention. In comparison to modern day, when new technology comes out, people (myself included) tend to use it non-stop when they first get it. It’s shown me that as media consumers, we’re very focused on the here and now, and that it wouldn’t hurt to take a step back and reflect once in a while.