Saturday, April 16, 2016

Trivial Fact of the Week links Blow-Up and the Double Deckers

Nicholas Whyte has been ploughing a lonely furrow with a series of posts on the early 1970s children's television series Here Come the Double Deckers.

Although this fell precisely into my era, I fear I can recall disliking it at the time. Even then I sensed it was peopled with stage-school brats and aimed too shamelessly at the American market.

As a result I viewed the later careers of two of its stars - Brisnley Forde of Aswad and Peter Firth - with mild scepticism.

I struggled with Spooks in particular. MI5 just would not employ a former member of the Double Deckers and that is the end of the matter.

Still, I am the last blogger qualified to complain about obscure enthusiasms, and Nicholas's latest Double Deckers post has turned up a top piece of trivia. In fact he wins my Trivial Fact of the Week award.

That trivia concerns an episode of the show called Barney, in which the children befriend an entertainer down on his luck and (inevitably) put on a show with him.

Barney was played by Julian Chagrin, who a few years before had been one of the tennis players watched by David Hemmings at the end of Antonioni's Blow-Up. You can see this scene in the video above, which Nicholas included in his own post.

He calls it "the very odd 1966 film Blow-Up," but I think he meant to call it "a key moment in both the creation and the examination of the myth of Swinging London".

Nicholas also reveals that Chagrin appeared as the secret lemonade drinker in the R.White's television commercials.

The song in them was sung by Ross MacManus, the father of Elvis Costello.*

But you knew that already.

* I like Carl Wilson's observation that "a secret lemonade drinker" sounds like a line from one of Elvis Costello's own songs.

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