And by that I mean the 1970’s version, not the complete pants version with Nicholas Cage (I would have gladly set fire to him in the first reel).
I like ‘Larkrise’ as an alternative to a tale of everyday country folk ‘The Archers’, with its politically correct hectoring, ethnically and gender balanced storylines.
But the last two weeks have proved a bit of a baffle. Last week we had the uber Christian Postman Brown, wittering about the Bishop is a coming, whilst the locals were about to set fire to the local virgin in a tree that was bleeding or something, whilst the Postmistress said don’t worry Postman Brown ‘Pagans only means country ways’. The virgin up the tree looked none too convinced.
This week we had the power of song, some farm labourer type had written a song that had ‘eh arrrr’ or some other mummerset accent, bewitched the whole blooming village, so that folks were a taking against folks, a fightin’ an’ a feudin’.
This all started off when the village was having its daily dance round the Maypole. So what did the old boy with the still in the kitchen do? …… Obvious really, they wrote another verse to the bewitching song, which un-bewitched everybody, the fightin’ and a feudin’ stopped, and they could go back to having their daily dance around the May pole, and a baby appeared!
As much as I love this programme, it’s getting a bit too damn silly in its bucolic loveliness. The turn of the 20th century was bloody hard, the agricultural depression was in full flow, the ‘country-folks’ were leaving the land to live in squalid slums. Real hunger, poverty and political discontent stalked the land. The rural poor did not live in a Boden Catalogue Cottage with scented candles.
For an accurate picture of the period I recommend ‘Under A Hill called Bredon’ by Fred Archer. The farm workers were so exhausted at the end of their working day, they had no time for dancing round the maypole every evening, they were too knackered. When the Sun went down they went to bed. This is a little bit of ‘they were all happy dancin’ and singin’ and working cooperatively back then ‘tosh’ from the BBC.
I will be watching next week however with anticipation of some gritty reality, when the measles hits town! Hopefully somebody will have got the virgin down from the tree safely by then.