7 Days of Positive: Day 142 – the power of television

I’ve got a very fashionable virus – it’s so on trend, everybody’s got it. I got it first of course ha ha.

The great thing about being in bed for two days is that I’ve had time to watch lots of television, something I hardly ever seem to do.

I’m mostly glued to Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

Yesterday I inhaled several episodes of White Collar, a film called Chalet Girl which turns out to have one of my great pals in it (Steve Furst), three of Nigella’s brilliant new series (I’m so asking Santa for that book) and the original Hammer version of Dracula. Happy day.

Today I turned to YouTube with a strong yearning to see a programme I loved as a youngster – Jason King. It did not disappoint, in fact it was even more outrageously camp than I remembered it.


That show is one of the things which shaped me. It gave a little girl growing up in provincial England an idea of a world out there, with fabulously suave people doing thrilling things.
Lady Penelope was another influence.

Eva Gabor in Green Acres (I still long for a peignoir like the ones she used to wear) and 1970s Martini advertisements (see below for a link to a post I wrote about those).


And never forgetting one of the original city girls…

There were real life influences as well, of course, friends of my parents and visits to the original Biba boutiques, Kensington Market and the King’s Road when it had shops like Granny Takes a Trip.

But while first-hand experiences – and I’d throw in travel,trips to the theatre, stately homes and museums with that – were very important, I would never underestimate the influence of TV on our developing sense of ideals, even of ourselves.

There’s no doubt my daughter will have been influenced by Friends, rather as I was by I Love Lucy (and yes, that’s how ancient Friends would seem to her, which is pretty terrifying…).

Which shows shaped you?

(Here’s the post I wrote about the wonderful 1970s Martini commercials. http://maggiealderson.com/2013/10/the-right-one/http:// )

  • Ella
    December 3, 2015

    I realised recently that my idea of glamour was strongly influenced as a child by Agnetha and Anna-Frid (sp?) of ABBA in the video for “Gimme Gimme Gimme”! And an image on the last page of the beautifully illustrated children’s book “The Giant Jam Sandwich” which I had as a child in the 1970’s. This featured a red-haired woman dancing in an amazing white dress. Makes me slightly fearful of what my nearly 10-year-old will associate glamour with…probably Taylor Swift (which would be ok) and hopefully not the Kardashians.

    • maggie2015
      December 4, 2015

      I think the Kardashians might play the over the top role, played in my head by people like Priscilla Presley (in her black beehive era…).

  • Maryann
    December 3, 2015

    The original Addams Family TV show with the wonderful Carolyn Jones is my favourite. They just lived their lives and accepted others.

    • maggie2015
      December 4, 2015

      Aha – we had The Munsters, which was another camp delight…

  • ambradambra
    December 3, 2015

    I loved Lisa’s peignor in Green Acres too and found something similar in an inner Sydney op shop in the early 1970s in eau de nil green. Gorgeous! But I really wanted a pink one, just like Joan Collins wore in the Paul Newman/Joanne Woodward 1958 screwball comedy ‘Rally Round the Flag Boys’. Now, that was something.

    • maggie2015
      December 4, 2015

      Wow that sound like my ideal film – Paul Newman and Joan Collins in a dreamy peignoir… I have to see it.

  • Zayin
    December 3, 2015

    I grew up without television, but that made occasional trips to the cinema even more poignant! 90s Bond movies, for sure!

    • maggie2015
      December 4, 2015

      I can see the point of the No Television rule – I have a friend who has done that with her kids -but on the other hand, I learned so much from it. I missed the Tudors at school, somehow and learned everything from the BBC series with Keith Michel as Henry. Have filled in since with The Other Bolyn Girl, etc…

  • rosy@kempsey
    December 4, 2015

    glad I’m not the only one who grew up without television…well almost…..but with my children I enjoyed shows like Rock Follies, and lots of British drama….
    Now we are getting BBC First on Foxtel, in Australia, we have the opportunity to wallow in the latest programs from the “Old Country”….

  • Jackie
    December 4, 2015

    Loved Charlie’s Angels- so glamorous!

  • Claire
    December 4, 2015

    Maggie it’s a definite trend, another reader whose formative years were spent under the tv ban regime!
    Those ads featuring Lauren Hutton (Estée Lauder?) were and still are my idea of beauty and glamour.

    • maggie2015
      December 5, 2015

      Have you/would you do it to your own kids? I considered it with Peggy, but decided I’d learned more history from TV than I did at school and went with the flow.

      • Claire
        December 6, 2015

        No I wouldn’t do it to my own ( if I had any)! Particularly as the parents in their twilight years have embraced it as if the new black. Don’t worry no hard feelings towards the folks although a lot of good natured ribbing on this and some of their other well intentioned child raising ideas.

  • Lara
    December 4, 2015

    I watched a lot of tv as a child, due in part to being an early riser (5am) and an only child. I loved ‘Thunderbirds’ and thought Lady Penelope was sophisticated and glamorous but really wanted to be Virgil in Thunderbird 2 as he had all the best equipment ! Australian tv in the 70s and 80s had much American and British programs.i adored the Brady Bunch and wanted hair like Marcia. My grandmother loved ‘Golden Girls’ and I thought their shoulder pads and stylish 80s decor was the bees knees. All that pastel coloured cane furnishing …..

    • maggie2015
      December 5, 2015

      I adore that Golden Girls Miami interior style as well. Heaven.

  • Val
    December 8, 2015

    “Get Smart”. Agent 99 was always impeccably groomed. My children are growing up with no TV. My 13 year old daughter likes the idea of no TV – it’s still a novelty telling new friends. Having no TV produced a very good reader who LOVES books!

  • Suzanne
    December 10, 2015

    For me it was Elizabeth Taylor’s slip in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Ginger on Gilligan’s Island!

    • maggie2015
      December 11, 2015

      I loved that slip too… really iconic, but didn’t see it until I was older.

  • Dianne
    December 11, 2015

    My biggest influence as a young teenager in a tiny town in Australia was the original Star Trek. It was so exotic and ticked so many boxes; all those tight little uniforms, the gorgeous Captain Kirk, Spock, and the beautiful African American woman Uhura. Come to think of it the control bridge had representation from actors of all colours and ethnicities including Asian, Hispanic, Russian, Scottish. The technology was like a blueprint for the present. Each episode had a well thought out storyline with a moral to it. It inspired me to go out and explore the universe. TV at its best.
    My three children grew up with TV but now that they are young adults I cannot see any adverse effects. The girl loves books, one of the boys loves sport and South Park, and the other boy watches reality TV in the small periods he has between work and study.

    • Maggie
      March 29, 2016

      I loved Star Trek too, although my favourites were when they landed on a planet with glamorous lady aliens who always seemed to wear pale blue nylon toga style mini dresses, with marvellously bouffant hairdos, usually blonde. Lots of eyeliner. Then Captain Kirk would have a scene with one of them. I loved those episodes.

  • Marissa
    January 6, 2016

    Hi Maggie.
    I am a stylish woman of indeterminate age ( lets just say I turned 5o 5 years ago) and have a question about handbags / labels and I need some advice.
    I do so enjoy your column and this is not something I wish to discuss with my 83 year old mother, my 15 year old daughter or the ladies at work!
    Is there perhaps an appropriate forum through which I could ask you for some discreet direction?
    I totally understand if you are unable to help with random individual requests.
    Best regards

    • Maggie
      March 29, 2016

      I’m happy to help – but can’t you just ask on here? I’m intrigued what about handbags could require such discretion! Are you on Twitter? If you follow me on there, I can follow you back and we can do private messages.

  • Mavrick
    May 12, 2016

    Sounds like a great book!! The hugs and kisses are denlfiteiy the best part of being a mom. Another great things is how much my kids teach me and help me to grow. They really do inspire me to become a better person.

  • copd treatment
    October 11, 2016

    “talent” gigs and “tv/film/video” jobs sections. Just be wary. I’ve written about a few red flags to look for when browsing craigslist auditions. Link:

  • kreditkarten mit negativer schufa
    October 19, 2016

    What gorgeous scarves! Wonderful work.My favorite color combo is Kelp, closely followed by Moonlit Moth. (You can tell I swerve towards those winter colors.)Thanks for the opportunity to win! sarita0818 at comcast dot net

  • http://www./
    December 30, 2016

    Pouria Parsa Hi:I have a business page on Facebook. I can search for it under the search tab, but my clients and myself cannot check into it? Any suggestions on how I can fix this?

  • key man insurance policy
    January 3, 2017

    Grim,the minimum wage should be indexed to inflation. I understand the economic argument against it, but you also have to look at the social effects. We expect people to support families on McD’s wages and then complain about the depredation of american society in urban areas????Yes i t would drive prices up overall, but that is probably needed anyway is bound to happen for a number of reasons at this point

  • safe auti
    January 17, 2017

    Bolsavik,Thank you for this entry. Please keep up the good work of bringing attention to this courageous man. Hopefully, international pressure will force Vietnam’s government to release him. Speaking as an anti-Communist, I have much more respect for this man, a former soldier in the North Vietnamese army, than I do for all those supposed “anti-Communist” clowns like Ngo Ky, etc.Those “laws” are weird, huh? “Communist law” is really an oxymoron.

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