Twelve words spill from my inbox every Sunday morning, old ones, new ones, loved ones, neglected ones. Is anyone out there old enough to remember, or has Alberto Semprini been forgotten? Each Sunday on the old Light Programme of the BBC, those honeyed words of the pianist/composer introduced an hour of light classical music for our delight . We children gathered round the radio, hearts a-flutter, for some special moments. For more than 25 years, Semprini Serenade was the lynchpin of Sunday early-evening broadcasting.
Important though music always was in our lives, weekends were also full of comedic treats: from ITMA through Much Binding in the Marsh to Take It From Here and the zany Goon Show, with the brilliant Peter Sellars, Spike Milligan, Harry Secombe et al. My parents could never understand the show, but took the decision that laughter was therapeutic, and so we were allowed to listen. There was much that was miserable about those grey post-war years, but Dad was resolute that we should enjoy everything life had to offer.
It wasn’t only at the weekend that the radio was our focus: at 5pm after school, Children’s Hour, introduced by Uncle Mac, entertained little ones with Toytown with Larry the Lamb and Mister Growser, or Noddy in Toyland, and bigger ones with classic serials. I can’t forget the enchantment of serial stories such as Noel Streatfield’s Swish of the Curtain, or the pirouettes of young Posey, in Ballet Shoes.
Homework done, we were allowed to stay up for the classic serials on the Home Service. Dickens, Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte and other dramatisations sent us to the bookshelves to find the original books. But at 9pm sharp it was off to bed, with no argument.
I suspect that you may find some more poetic, less nostalgic writings at Brenda’s Sunday Whirl