Letter from the Editor: Time to leave these former ‘classics’ alone

Television was very different in the 1970s
Television was very different in the 1970s

I’ve always felt a bit nervous about judging one generation by another’s values.

To be clear, I’m not talking about the sort of crimes committed by Jimmy Saville and others who have been made to face up to their abhorent activities as a result of Operation Yewtree.

Only Fools and Horses is rightly considered one of our greatest TV comedies ever but trawl through the archives and you’ll even find a few darker moments there

In these cases, I fully support any and all actions taken to bring them to justice.

What I’m really referring to are the distinctly non-PC programmes which seemed to be a staple of our television schedules in decades gone by.

These are now resurfacing in shows such as It Was Alright in the ’70s, – with some C-list celebrities rolled out to comment on what passed as entertainment at the time – and re-runs of such former favourites as Top of the Pops.

I find sketches poking fun at people’s sexuality, race or nationality as cringeworthy as the next person but, like it or not, these were accepted – if not altogether acceptable – in previous generations.

I even stumbled across one where Lenny Henry did a link for a 1984 Top of the Pops special dressed as Stevie Wonder and looked to get a laugh from his disability as he struggled to locate a keyboard.

I’m sure it’s not something he would care to repeat today but, back then, no-one batted a eyelid.

Only Fools and Horses is rightly considered one of our greatest TV comedies ever but trawl through the archives and you’ll even find a few darker moments there.

Surely the solution is not to revive these programmes to stir up debate but instead leave them in the dusty archives where they belong.