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My chance to meet Zammo

A new BFI programme unveils some cultural touchstones of a certain era.

After about six years of life in the UK, I’ve gotten most of my cultural references down pat. I even effortlessly wrote a story last week about ‘maths’ instead of ‘math’ and can affect the correct local pronunciation of tomato on occasion.

But one thing I’ll never be able to fully enjoy is the nostalgia for youth TV. Case in point: Something important called Catweazle is being made into a film. The theme song to Blockbusters is sometimes sung to me in the office, and references to Byker Grove, Box of Delights, Swalk and Rentaghost leave me completely stumped. Thank god someone briefed me on Joey Deacon soon after I got off the boat (along with teaching me the Finger of Fudge jingle… all the important cultural data).

Likewise, I get blank stares when talking about US shows that weren’t big here, like Good Times, The Facts of Life, Mister Rogers, Bosom Buddies and Punky Brewster.

In the aim of breaking down cultural barriers, I think this new programme at the BFI in April should be useful.

The strand, programmed by Lisa Balderson, offers highlights from the influential single-play strand Dramarama, which ran in the UK from 1983-1989; as well as other quality youth drama.

Grange Hill is something I’ve heard about dozens or hundreds of times, now’s my chance to actually watch an episode (Zammo on heroin, no less)! And a young Dexter Fletcher in Press Gang, too. Now all I need is a Marathon bar to take to the screening.

Oh dear, now everyone is singing some insane “Just Say No” song to me.

UPDATE! Louise now tells me the actor who played Zammo (Lee McDonald) is now a locksmith in London.

 

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