I Claudius

20090921 I Claudius

Anyone out there remember the BBC2 series I Claudius …?  Thanks to Jan for lending me the DVDs … I had an (as it were) orgy this evening of three episodes back to back.  Even comparing it to the fantastic but much more recent Rome, it’s still brilliant and (for the ’70s, when it was first aired on British TV) pretty daring.

I love the way home entertainment is going … from DVDs, to Netflix instant, Hulu, Apple TV … everything’s just there.  It’s almost as if you don’t have to keep anything any more;  because if you want it, you’ll be able to find it somewhere online.

Are we – in the process – giving up something we should keep? … answers on a postcard please …

Anyway:  I remember watching this, with my mum, in the living room in East Kilbride, when it came out in the mid ’70s.  1976 to be precise (having now consulted the box).   Wow.  1976.  In my parochial 13-year-old vision it was the Year of The Heatwave (yes:  even in Scotland;  and well before anyone had noticed climate change) and the year that Joyce got married.

Looking at it more widely now, it was also the year Jimmy Carter beat Gerald Ford in the US Presidential election;  Harold Wilson resigned and Jim Callaghan succeeded him as UK Prime Minister;  there were winter Olympics in Innsbruck and summer Olympics in Montreal;  Spanish forces gave up trying to hold onto Western Sahara;  Patti Hearst was convicted;  the Toronto Blue Jays were formed (not that I was a follower in those days …);  Brotherhood of Man won the Eurovision Song Contest;  Portugal emerged from dictatorship, enacting a new constitution;  Ulrike Meinhof killed herself in prison;  Concorde started commercial service to New York;  the UK and Iceland formally ended the “Cod War”;  the US Ambassador was murdered in Beirut;  the CN Tower in Toronto (still the world’s tallest free-standing structure, if not its tallest “building” in the strictest sense …) was completed;  North and South Vietnam came together as a single entity (the fall of Saigon having happened the previous year).

The conflict in Northern Ireland was at its height, with violence not only in Northern Ireland;  but bombs going off in London and Dublin (including the one that killed Christopher Ewart-Biggs, the British Ambassador).  It was the year of the Entebbe raid and the beginning of the Soweto riots.  The year of the first ever class of women to be inducted to the US Naval Academy at Annapolis;  and just two years after the Foreign Office dropped the rule forcing women to resign on marriage.

The Apple Computer Company was formed;  and Microsoft was (apparently) registered in the state of New Mexico.  The space shuttle Enterprise was wheeled out of its hanger for the first time.  U2 was formed.  The Ebola virus appeared for the first time in Zaire (there’s no intentional link between the last two items …). Chairman Mao died.  Bob Marley was shot (but fortunately not killed).  The Eagles released Hotel Calilfornia

More locally, it was the year former Mayor Richard J. Daley died (on December 20th).

And:  it was the year the events which inspired the film The Amityville Horror took place (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/112_Ocean_Avenue)

Big year.


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