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Is Media Nostalgia a Thing of the Past?

Here comes BodLast night I found myself stuck in a YouTube chain of watching late 70s, early 80s children’s TV opening credits.  It all started with looking up Floella Benjamin on Wikipedia (after hardly believing that was really her in the Sarah Jane Adventures yesterday – she looked far too young but it was, nonetheless, her!).  That led me to seek clips from Play Away on YouTube and it didn’t stop there…

Seriously dating myself (no – not in that way!) I watched the opening credits to the likes of (I’m sure there were more) Play Away (with Jeremy Irons!), Rentaghost, The Flumps, Bod, Worzel Gummidge, Jamie And The Magic Torch, The Adventure Game (including the last 5 minutes, where the contestants have to cross the vortex), Rainbow, Grange Hill (the original opening with the exploding sausage! Also Gripper’s exit scenes from the series), Wizbit, Jigsaw, Look and Read: Dark Towers (no credits, just a good few minutes of the programme) and three crappy American series from the early to mid 80s – Automan, Manimal and Street Hawk.

Is there a point to all this rambling?  If there is it is this: will children in the future fail to have the vague nostalgic memories of children’s TV past that we do, because the programmes will always be instantly accessible in perpetuity?  For the most part I was only looking at the opening credits last night which is enough to evoke memories but not enough to destroy them!  In the not too distant future we will almost certainly be able to bring up programmes at will.  Children won’t have the same experience that we had – namely that a TV programme was generally shown once and rarely (if ever) repeated.

Perhaps inaccessibility to a past event isn’t required to generate nostalgia but I do wonder if being able to quickly and easily revisit an old childhood memory might be a bit traumatic when they find it isn’t quite as good as their memory suggests.  No, that’s the situation our generation is in, looking back 30+ years without anything to bridge that gulf.  Future generations won’t need to have such a gap – as they progress through childhood they can watch programmes to death and revisit them later in childhood, only to find they don’t like them any more.  Perhaps for that reason alone TV (and ‘media’ in general) nostalgia will be a thing of the past and maybe that’s no bad thing!

3 Responses to "Is Media Nostalgia a Thing of the Past?"

  1. Doctor Vendetta says:

    I guess nostalgia isn’t what it used to be…

  2. wyn says:

    Wow! Manimal?
    It really bothered me a few (or more) years ago, when the new head of medicine started at Holdby Cite (casualty). The face really rung a bell. Then I saw a clip of Manimal – it’s him!
    Loved Automan – bit of a Tron ripoff really – but it made me a happy bunny. If I watched an episode now, I suspect it would reek.
    It’s like I always say, kids today don’t know they’re born. We had to watch the first Gulf War until 2 or 3 in the morning. There was no BBC iPlayer in our day.

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