In common with many historic gentlemen of wit and refinement: Peter, Parkinson, Murphy, Sod; as I have progressed through my long life, I have formulated a number of laws experience has taught me hold good.
That last clause seems to defy the laws of grammar, but analysis indicates that it does, in fact, make sense if you look at it in a certain light (dawn helps…). I have merely omitted a lot of extraneous verbiage. Reading it aloud might help too.
Anyway, as I come to the desk to share these thoughts, most of the interesting and informative laws I have formulated, as I say over a long lifetime, seem to have escaped my memory for the moment. Something about this, or that. If you are going to be a famous epigrammatist and law-giver, it is good to have friends at table, who will write things down afterwards.
But I was reminded of one of my laws whilst listening to a radio programme this morning, whose content induced first a sense of déjà vu, then a recognition that it was, indeed, a repeat; although not pre-declared as such by the continuity man. It was not only that the ubiquitous Stephen Fry was the presenter, so that any show he presents gives one a sense of having been here in a previous life: I had actually heard it all before!
It confirmed a principle I have been aware of for many years, Bogler’s Law of Repeats being that:
“however few shows in any given radio or TV series you believe you have previously heard or seen, the repeat you are hearing or seeing is invariably one you heard or saw before.”
I am delighted to comment, therefore, on the present series of repeats of the famous BBC TV comedy series, Dad’s Army, being the unlikely adventures of a hapless platoon of elderly wartime Home Guard volunteers. I have realised that, having been at boarding school, I genuinely had seen none of the shows in the first series, dating from the 1960s – shows that were filmed in black-and-white for a square screen!
It has been a real pleasure catching up with them now. The scripts were a lot edgier than they later became with the introduction of colour and cosy sentimentality. The death of David Frost announced yesterday and the copious tributes to his early career also reminded one that there was indeed something paradigm-shifting about British TV in the mid-1960s.
And I was there the first time round!