‘Course, she had been the Queen since last February when her dad died, but they didn’t want to have the coronation while everyone was supposed to be in mourning, so they waited until June 1953. I reckon it was one of those conspiracy theories by the television companies to make sure that everyone could save up and get a telly in time to watch it. Which is exactly what everyone did. Including us.
Of course, our Cyril got us ours. He was back at Mr Hilversum’s Radio shop by then, with his National Service a thing of the ancient past. He had come back with new skills and ideas though and persuaded the old man to branch out into televisions. So by the time when everyone was getting a telly for the Coronation, Hilversum was making a packet and he was good enough to let Cyril have one at less than wholesale price as a sort of a reward. So we ended up getting a Murphy with a fifteen inch tube in a wooden cabinet. As the advert said; “Front row of the dress circle every night, comfortable armchairs for seats and no bus to catch home”
We loved it though. The coronation was great, but so was “Robin Hood” with Patrick Troughton. As was “The Quatermass Experiment”, which was sort of like the film “Alien” but made by the BBC, only eight years after the Second World War had finished. I’m not saying that it was as frightening as the war, because that would just be ruddy stupid, but it certainly had an impact on the number of times I had to wash my delicates during the weeks that it was on.
It did feel good watching that television, even though the picture was course and flickering. And it gave you a headache after a bit. Some people got upset by that. They thought that it was emitting some sort of radioactive ray that was frying your brains. A bit like when the Microwave cookers came out and people thought that they were at risk of cooking their hands when they put things in or took them out. Raymond’s mother refused to come downstairs when we had the telly on, in case it did her serious damage. There was nothing we could do to persuade her that it was harmless.
But even though I enjoyed watching, I suspected that we were bringing a Trojan horse into the house. I found it a bit weird how me and Raymond would sit staring into it, our faces flickering in its eerie blue light. It wasn’t a straight replacement for the pictures or the theatre, even though it sped up the process of them closing down. It was something different. It might not have been frying your brains with radiation, but I am convinced that it was doing something to them. Softening them up. Maybe for the future when there would be ITV with adverts, or maybe just softening them up because soft brains are easier to manage. I don’t know, but once we all had televisions, something changed. But hark at me on my high horse! Suffice to say I hardly watch it now I’m on the other side, even though we have more channels here than you have in the realm of the living, and we can get all of yours an’all. And we don’t even have to pay a subscription.
Auntie Doris’s Pop hit of 1953 “How Much is that Doggie in the Window” by Pattie Page, (the Singing Rage). I think it was probably that song that gave me the idea of getting a little doggie of my own. So maybe without Pattie, I would never have had my little Hairy Mary, or Madamoiselle Tuppence. So thank you, Pattie Dear!