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- Anyone remember the name of this book please?
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If you start researching it you’ll find there are a good few films that employ the ‘body swap’ plot device, but a few are better remembered than the rest. The 1976 Barbara Harris / Jodie Foster vehicle Freaky Friday - where a mother and daughter experience what it is like to be each other for a day - was successful; both actresses were nominated for a Golden Globe and it took nearly $26 million at the box office. In 1997 the ludicrous but eminently watchable read more
You could say I'm a bit of an eighties nerd. I run the world's largest retro website, I've written a book all about the 80s and I spend way too much time listening to 80s music and watching 80s movies. So you can probably imagine my excitement when I got the opportunity to jet off to L.A. on a mission to track down the film... read more
When I was a child, if I wasn’t spending my time hopping about in the wind with an umbrella trying to be Mary Poppins, I was standing in front of the mirror wiggling my nose and trying to be Samantha Stephens. For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, Bewitched's Samantha Stephens (played by the beautiful Elizabeth Montgomery) was a modern day witch, who wriggled her nose every time she wanted to use a magic spell. She looked cute when she did it; I just looked like I was trying to manage a severe cold without a tissue. If you had wandere... read more
Hotwheels were the best racing cars you could get your hands on when I was younger. Or that’s what I thought at the time. I’m sure if I had to asses different die cast cars these days I would find them all pretty much of the same standard. But you’re a lot more prone to advertising as a child, and these cars were ON FIRE!. You see it was just the idea of “Hot wheels” and the flame-licked logo that made me imagine the car went even faster! I still think that my car would go faster if it had flames painted on it’s side – though I’m quite certain it would go slower if the flames were real. ... read more
There are two things to be said initially about Felicity Kendal. One – my dad fancied her when she played Barbara in The Good Life. Actually, everybody’s dad fancied her when she was Barbara in The Good Life. Secondly – she doesn’t look much different now from how she was when she played Barbara, and considering that programme was made over 35 years ago and she’s now in her mid-60s, that’s not bad really. Ooh, actually – make that three things. As well as her acting abilities, she is also well known for having an affair with playwright Tom Stoppard. The t... read more
Whatever your feelings towards this cult slacker comedy film it's difficult to argue about the main duo's mantra of 'Be excellent to one another.' If everybody had the same attitude to their fellow human beings as Bill S. Preston, Esquire (Alex Winter, The Lost Boys) and Ted 'Theodore' Logan (Keanu Reeves, The Matrix) then the world would undoubtedly be a better place. Mind you, if everybody had their general attitude to life as well then nothing would ever get done either. Not known for... read more
There’s not much that comedian and actress Julie Walters has done that I haven’t thought was brilliant – particularly her collaborations with Victoria Wood - but I don’t think I’ve ever loved her more than when she portrayed Susan ‘Rita’ White in the film adaptation of Willy Russell's stage play Educating Rita. Written as a comedy, but rich in pathos and tender moments, Educating Rita focuses on the burgeoning relationship of a two very different people who are thrown together in t... read more
In terms of green icons, The Wombles were way ahead of their time. Recycling and reusing the junk they found lying around, their motto was ‘Make Good Use of Bad Rubbish’ – a message that was definitely in keeping with the growing interest in being environmentally friendly during the 1970s. They were also chosen as the face of the Tidy Britain campaign – encouraging children and adults alike to bin their waste. Elisabeth Beresford hit on the idea of the Wombles after a Boxing Day walk. Her young daughter mispronounced ‘Wimbledon’ as ‘Wombledon’, and the seed of inspiration was planted. A... read more
It was the storm that devastated many areas of both England and France. It was the storm that put the kybosh on Michael Fish’s illustrious meteorological career. It was the storm which left me devastated. Not because of any damage that it caused (I slept through the whole thing, even though it did a great job of wrecking our back garden), but because it tore a hole in the roof of my school hall, and ensured the disco planned for the following night was cancelled, therefore ruining my chance to shimmy on over in the semi-darkness to Danny from the year above me, and try to impress him with my h... read more
When I was little, “CHiPs” (I’m not trying to be “ironic” – the quotation marks were there in the opening titles…) was the most glamorous programme on television to me (except Airwolf obviously). Two US Californian Highway Patrol cops who had gleaming white smiles and rode huge bikes along virtually empty, sun-kissed, ocean-side highways? What more could you possibly need for an evening’s entertainment? The two heroes of the drama/comedy (I can’t bring myself to use one word I discovered that it has been called in the past…oh, go on then, I’ll tell you: it... read more
I remember Look-In Magazine for many reasons: its ITV programme listings with kid-appeal highlights; its heads-up to every fashionable fad that came into being (BMX-ing, yo-yos and skateboarding were a few crazes featured during the magazine’s run), its interviews, picture stories and competitions. But above all I remember the posters of television, film and pop stars; in particular the giant pull-out collection of the boys from a-ha<... read more
St Elmo’s Fire is possibly the defining ‘Brat Pack’ movie. Featuring a whole host of attractive, twenty-something hot-in-the-1980’s US actors, it features a cracking soundtrack and doesn’t require a huge amount of brainpower to watch it. In a nutshell it’s a coming of age piece – following the lives of a group of friends as they make the transition from studying to the world of work, something which all of them are struggling with in different ways, even if they won’t admit it to themselves or anybody else. When the film starts we are straight away introd... read more
Becoming a teenager is never easy, but for anybody hitting adolescence from 1969 onwards there was suddenly an adult who understood! Reading American author Judy Blume’s books was almost a rite of passage for me and my friends at secondary school; her books were (and still are) funny, sensitive and happy to tackle issues that others weren’t. They were frequently called controversial for many reasons - references to female puberty, teen sex and birth control, perceived slighting of Christianity, adult language, descriptions of violence and alcoholism – all subjects which are commonplace in t... read more
With its slightly claustrophobic feel, the BBC2 sitcom Butterflies was faintly reminiscent of The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin in that both central characters felt trapped in their lives and yearned for something more, although neither seemed to know exactly what that was. Ria (Wendy Craig) is a mother of two teenage boys; a stay-at-home housewife typical of the era the show begins in (the late 1970s). Whilst on the surface her 19 year-old marriage to reserved dentist Ben (the wonderful read more
Pacers are the sweets of playground legend – whizzy little green and white striped chews that arrived in the 1970s, excited children’s taste buds and then disappeared again in the 1980s, leaving a generation bereft. What not many people will know however, is that Pacers were originally plain white chews, called Opal Mints and were the spearminty cousins of Opal Fruits (I will not call them Starburst – they were and always will be Opal Fruits to me…). They didn’t really fire anybody’s imagination until a new marketing campaign renamed them at the beginning... read more