Nowadays even the Daily Star has a resident wineologist , but until relatively recently the majority of British folk existed in a wine-free world, weddings and Christmases excepted. The holy trinity of Blue Nun, Black Tower and table-lamp-in-waiting favourite Mateus were as posh as it got, but slightly further downmarket were the British wines, or ‘wine-style drinks’ as they were often known, brewed in the UK from – shock horror – imported grape concentrate. Perhaps feeling slightly guilty over this deception, marketing departments poured on the terribly English heritage. Rougemont Castle advertised itself with that old standby, a suit of armour. Country Manor cooked up possibly the worst slogan ever written: ‘So light. So subtle. So buy some’. Playing to a slightly more continentally aware crowd, Concorde promised a bottleful of fun for under a pound. At rock bottom, however, was the grape-free plastic-corked sparkling concoction known as Pomagne, the nine percent proof prize in many a ‘spin the arrow’ local fete tombola which inspired countless teenagers to re-examine their breakfast.
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Wow! Another intriguing episode here that we’re delighted to have reached. There was a substantial amount of industrial action at the Beeb in November 1979, the strike that put paid to the Doctor Who story Shada as well as many other shows, the only programme emerging unscathed during the fortnight or so being an episode of Blue Peter the union were prepared to let go ahead as they were launching the appeal. They did manage to put out Pops but in extremely diminished form, and this episode – one of two, but we won’t see the other – is therefore made up entirely of repeats and videos and Peter Powell links it all out of vision. Not much we won’t have seen before, then, but absolutely fascinating for all that.
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