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About Britain

DOLEFUL LOOK-AT-THIS “local people with a story to tell” effort showcasing regionalia in as lumpen a manner possible on a budget made up of whatever was left in the float after deducting the local weatherperson’s Luncheon Vouchers. Various ITV regions joined in, more, you suspected, out of duty rather than love. The original series, ABOUT BRITAIN: TOUR, cleared its throat by way of Tyne Tees taking us around Northumberland, the Yorkshire Dales and the Borders. Then HTV came up with The Splendour Falls, touring Wales. In ’73, a more changeable round robin format allowed each company one or several weeks’ worth of bucolic biggings-up – Walking Westward, Jorrocks Country, Lullaby of Broadland, etc. By ’74 it was a pretty much immovable feature of the afternoon weekday schedules, although because it was ITV there was always one too many “take me as you find me” crinkle-faced shouting tinkers for comfort. Highlight was the bit in the titles when, thanks to mysterious primitive computer magic, an electronic spinning map (foreshadowing textbook Peter Snow’s “There they go!” business) honed in on the relevant region (“I bet it’s East Anglia again” etc.) to a defiantly mid-70s parping band. None of which failed to stop episodes being repeated in the coveted 4am slot until at least 1989.

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