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“What are you worried about?” “Prices, mainly”

Next Tuesday at 8pm on BBC4 there’s a repeat of Michael Cockerell’s documentary on Margaret Thatcher’s rise to power, and if you missed it first time round it really is well worth tuning in.

The amount of archive clippage is extraordinary; testament, presumably, to Mike’s success at being around For A Very Long Time and making sure everything he did and everywhere he went was on film.

There’s a fantastic bit right at the very start where footage of our man standing in front of Olympic Studios in 1979 (to witness the recording of the official Tory election song, a bizarre music hall burlesque knees-up) fades into him standing in precisely the same spot today. Somehow he’s got a clip of Maggie rehearsing a party political broadcast, again from 1979 (“Enough *is* enough…*enough* is enough…*enough* is *enough”). There’s Thatcher looking exhausted and going to pieces at a press conference in the mid-70s while on a foreign junket.

Then there’s stuff from her very first recorded interview, from programmes to which she contributed in the 60s and early 70s, her turn on Val Meets The VIPs, the spooky interview she did just before becoming leader…

Loads of things, basically, spliced together with tons of other contemporary archivery including – yes! – that shot from during the three-day week of old women going round a supermarket with a lighted candle tied to their trolleys.

Given the subject, it’s a thoroughly entertaining cycle down austerity alley. It’s great that Cockerell is still in work. Really there ought to be The Michael Cockerell Hour on BBC2 every single week. He must certainly have enough historical footage stored away for it.



  1. Paul McQuillan

    June 13, 2008 at 12:48 pm

    And the very tasty icing on the cake was the five hour repeat of the BBC’s 1979 General Election night coverage, ‘Decision 79’, including the sight of Robin Day smoking a huge cigar on-air and David Dimbleby looking about 25. Alas I fell asleep at about 3am. Can anyone tell me who won?

  2. Adrian

    June 16, 2008 at 10:08 am

    yes! – that shot from during the three-day week of old women going round a supermarket with a lighted candle tied to their trolleys.

    I don’t think we should be laugh too much at this, given the impending oil crisis/peak oil/global warming etc will probably mean we have power cuts as well at some point in the future – and people in the early 70s were much more resilient in the face of this sort of thing than the current generation would be in similiar circumstances.

    However, having said that I think if I had to go shopping during a power cut I’d try and do it during daylight hours if at all possible!

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