The people who watch Southern 

18 July 2023

A line drawing of a boy with a 'Robin Hood' hat and an arrow through his head.

13 September 1958

But I got to join the Richard Greene fan club (I said)

OH MUM I SAID that Ernie’s been on about his Robin Hood again. Seems like the Sheriff ‘ad ‘im in the dungeons and it’s ever so exciting and Ernie thinks he maybe was tortured oh Mum can’t we. And Mum said I don’t know what things are coming to since Southern Television started that I don’t. If it’s not you with your Robin Hood it’s our Magda with her Gun Law and. Mum please I said to butter her up and Mum said oh all right I’ll speak to your father. So I told Magda and she tied a big knot in her hankie and she said that’s to remind me to remind Mum to remind Dad to have our set converted before the next Gun Law. Whoopee!


A line drawing of a woman playing cards

27 September 1958

wasn’t Mary Britten marvellous (she sopranoed)

TWO NO TRUMPS I SAID. My dear it’s so exciting having it all happen actually where we all live don’t you think so she gushed. Two no trumps I said. And what do you think she’ll do now about her husband and the school I mean she trilled. Two no trumps I said. Really what we did before Southern Television came on, I sometimes wonder it’s all splendid fun and so wonderfully different don’t you find it simply fascinating she cheeped. Two no trumps I said (and made a grand-slam-size mental note. To wit: get our set converted before next bridge day*).


A line drawing of a woman lying on a cushion drinking a tall cocktail

11 October 1958

But wasn’t he just frabtious on the telly (darling Cecilia she cooed)

SIMPLY DIVINE I lied-in-my-teeth. And when he sang that song you know his song oh didn’t your heart just spin like a little old roulette wheel da-arling she chirruped. Like two I fibbed. And my dear wasn’t that funny little man you know the one in the second half just too droll for words she glibbed. Screamingly so I feebled. My pet you did see I mean you did actually see Sunday Night at the London Palladium on Southern Television didn’t you she said because well this conversation’s getting just the weeniest bit arid she freezed. Yes of course oh really Cecilia don’t be so boring I svelted (and made a rapid little mental memo: one set converted to receive Channel Eleven. As soon-as-pos. Or sooner).*


A line drawing of a fashionably dressed teenage girl

18 October 1958

That cool for cats real cool! she said (Julie’s like that so ecstatic)

AND DID YOU ON BUT DID YOU SEE Kent Walton she said. Dreamy he was. Just dreamy. ‘Course I saw him I lied in my teeth. Oh I really go for Frankie she crooned. And Davie and Bobbie I shrieked. Who she said frostily. The rock-n-rollers in Cool for Cats I plunged. You know on Southern Television I laughed hysterically. Baby you’re all mixed up she said then whoosh man that Julie was gone gone gone. Help help I thought I can’t take it any more. Why should I be the only kid with square parents. It’s enough to make you a delinquent. I’ll tell Dad so. Tonight. An ultimatum. Dad I’ll say you’d better get the telly converted right away or you’ll have a delinquent in the family. I can’t be deprived for much longer.*


A line drawing of an angry retired brigadier

1 November 1958

Army Game – pahhh…. said my uncle the Brig

Sir I questioned. That fellah Springer disgrace to the army guard room jankers public scandal he morsed. Sir I queried. Still damn funny show yer Aunt and I never miss Southern Television Friday eight thirty never miss talk of nothing else at the club these days what about yours he said. Sir I desperated (and thought fast. Inheritance I thought Will I thought definitely will I thought get our set converted to receive Southern Television before next dining in night.) But ye-es.


A line drawing of a schoolgirl

8 November 1958

Snakes and Ladders? Kid stuff (she sixthformed)

Drooling about hopscotch next you will be she upperschooled. Mummy and Daddy love it I rebelled. Folds them up. Really she eyebrowed oh well some people’s parents she sniggered. And Kenneth Horne’s simply stereophonically funny I hopefulled. Kenneth Horne she blanked. Yes Kenneth Horne I triumphed and Elspeth Dearlove and Deborah Stakemire and all the other pre’s watch it. Watch it she muttered. Prefects she stuttered. And then suddenly light illuminated all and of course I sherlocked if you can’t get Southern TV this whole discussion must be just so much Greek to you. Goodness she cut in there’s the bell. Must run. And she did. (Could it have been merely coincidence that on Saturday I saw the TV man coming out of her gate and I’ve just converted your little friend’s set to Southern Television Channel Eleven he said. Could it? Dear Diary what do you think!)


A line drawing of schoolboy

13 November 1958

When did you last see the invisible man? (inquisited my awful nephew Algernon)

You’ll find it in the bookshelf I said small green volume by H. G. Wells I helpfulled. Do you mind awfulled Algernon not treating me like a ten year old the point is how’s it done I rather fancy it’s with an electrogramaphic camera. In the bookshelf I what did you say I flustered. Or could it be with a double image conotroscrope he glinted. Look I adulted what drivel are you talking about. Good heavens I do believe you haven’t seen the Invisible Man Uncle he whinnied. It’s on the Television on Channel Eleven. A simply fascinating series based on H. G. Wells’ famous novel he patronized. But of course your set isn’t equipped to receive Southern Television he pitied-really Uncle how outdated you are and… Bed I said. Quick I roared (and I thought. Better get the set converted to Southern Television Channel Eleven*. Before the little perisher comes next weekend).


A line drawing of a judge holding a quill and wearing a white wig

28 November 1958

The witness is referring to Wagon Train (Mr. Justice Barkmore boomed)

Eh thank you m’lud I faltered. Wagon Train I muttered. Eh yes and will this Mahor Seth Adams be produced as a Crown witness by m’learned friend I tentatived. Wagon Train barked the beak Wagon Train Mr. Ffoltiotly is a televised programme transmitted weekly over Channel Eleven by Southern Television. Major Adams Mr. Ffoltiotly he snarled is a mythical character contained in this series of ah excellent rooting tooting shooting adventures. Witness he mused. Witless he bellowed. Convert Mr. Ffoltiotly convert he apoplected (and as the newspapers will report tomorrow “brilliant young Q.C. converts TV to Channel Eleven Southern Television*. Today”).


❊ To receive Southern Television – Channel Eleven – all sets (multi-channel or B.B.C. only) may need some attention. Your TV dealer can fix yours. NOW. See him today.



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A member of the Transdiffusion Broadcasting System
Liverpool, Monday 15 July 2024