Howling at the Storm: King Lear on Honeymoon in Wales

There seems to be a fair bit of what you might call autobiographical sitcom around at the moment.  Hot on the heels of Danny Baker’s ‘Cradle to Grave’ we have Emma Kennedy’s memoir-inspired series, ‘The Kennedys’.  I’ve only seen a couple of Danny Baker’s: set in the ‘sixties, they centre on his father, a sort of larger-than-life Del-boy figure who never seems to stop talking and who at the end of the series talks himself out of a good marriage and then back into it again.

The Kennedys moves on a decade, which resonates strongly with me, since I grew up in the seventies.  I had ridiculous flares, slinkies, gonks, Jacko roller-skates and a traditional suitcase (very small and without wheels.)  I remember all the lyrics of all the songs they play, so it’s a nostalgia-fest for me.  It’s also a bit of a downer in bringing back memories of just how traditional male and female roles were in those days and how everyone was telling me I’d be quite nice looking ‘if I only made the most of myself’.  Still, Emma, as a proto-feminist, keeps the side up and her mother is certainly no doormat.  Their friends, on the other hand, are a different story.

Flash forward to a wet campsite in Wales.  As it’s the ’70’s, the men put the tent up while the women sit on a bench: then they crowd inside as the rain starts to lash down.  The storm gets worse and worse; finally Jenny, who is seven months pregnant, wails to her husband: ‘Do something!’  And looking very much like King Lear might if he was on honeymoon in a tent in Wales, Tony leans out of the door, looks at the storm and yells: ‘Salagadoola!  Mechicka boola! Bibbidi! bobbidi!  Boo!’

He stares at the howling storm and says, ‘It doesn’t seem to have worked.’

I howled at that one…

Here’s the episode – it’s about 19 mins in:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b06nt6c7/the-kennedys-6-camping

And here’s the Danny Baker one:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b06jgq98/cradle-to-grave-episode-8

Kirk out

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