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Friday, May 18, 2007 


Tonight a friend and I waxed nostalgic about TV shows. He would talk about British shows I'd never heard of; I'd talk about American shows he never heard of. Such is the ocean that divided us in the 70s and 80s, before internet, DVDs, and You Tube made everything so wonderfully accessible. So we compared notes. It seems every thing we mentioned has its appropriate counterpart. Schoolhouse Rock had its Look and Read. Grange Hill is maybe similar to Degrassi Junior High (although Degrassi never had Anthony Minghella as a writer I'm sure). As I've mentioned earlier, Lassie was akin to The Littlest Hobo (although TLH never had Leonardo DiCaprio I'm sure). And so forth. It's an interesting game actually, I bet if you left something in the comments, someone from another country could try to match it.

One funny thing that occurs was when I heard the Grange Hill theme song, I thought it sounded like Sanford & Son!


Ok, maybe not. But if you haven't heard Sanford & Son in years then maybe you could see how my brain led me astray. At this point of course I had to explain what Sanford & Son was, as he'd never heard of it (think of all the other jokes on Scrubs that English people don't get!!). I explained it and the reaction was, "Oh, you mean Steptoe and Son. Clearly your show comes from my show."

"Yea, right," I scoffed. "Playa please."

But I looked it up on Wikipedia and lo and behold, it's true. Not exactly the kind of material and trivia I came 3,000 miles to learn, but I am learning just the same!

For direct American remakes,the list is here, and the vice versa list is here. I do remember the truly awful British version of That 70s Show, which bombed terribly (one of the good things about us only ever commissioning 6 episodes a season over here is that we can quickly and quietly brush such things under the carpet and never speak of them again without having to dramatically pull them from the schedules).

As for shows with less direct links, I always thought the (rightfully) less acclaimed Roland Rat Shows had aspects in common with the Muppet Show.

My favourite kids TV shows were probably Rainbow, Superted (a great episode there), Pigeon Street and Button Moon. I wonder if they have counterparts?

I had a similarly shocking revelation when I discovered that the man responsible for the music on Sir John Betjeman's albums of poetry also wrote the theme tune to House of Eliott. Extraordinary.

Did I mention I can play the Grange Hill music on the guitar? And that's BOTH GUITAR PARTS. You can have my autograph if you like.

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