One of the many myths debunked in Joe Moran’s warm, witty cultural history of television is that there was ever a golden age. Quality has been sitting alongside dross ever since the first demonstrations of the ‘televisor’. Stitching together unpromising material – the vagaries of TV mast placement, assorted complaints from Disappointed of Tunbridge Wells – Moran creates a compelling and surprising patchwork of the nation through its viewing habits and rituals.
Apposite and often hilarious anecdotes bolster his case: those bemoaning today’s occasionally conservative TV commissioning climate may wish to consider Sky’s stillborn satellite rival BSB, which launched with a spoof sitcom called ‘Heil Honey, I’m Home!’ (Hitler and Eva Braun live next door to a Jewish couple – worth checking out on YouTube if you’ve got a strong stomach). ‘Armchair Nation’ may provoke nostalgia, but it’s never enslaved by it – it’s a timely and hugely entertaining assessment of a medium in flux.
Joe Moran's book 'Armchair Nation' is published by Profile on August 22 priced £16.99. Click here to buy a copy.
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Afternoon Tea at The Montague
A traditional afternoon tea at The Montague hotel in Bloomsbury, with views out across the hotel's quaint little gardens. It's a classic offer, with finger sandwiches and freshly baked scones served with Devonshire clotted cream and a range of jams, plus pastries and a selection of teas. Diners can enjoy coffee and hot chocolate too, as well as partaking alfresco in the garden when the weather suits. Keep an eye out for afternoon teas teamed with Champagne, too.
Venue says: “Enjoy African spiced chicken and apricot sandwiches; Giraffe macaroon with salted caramel and a signature leopard cocktail. Safari Tea £40pp”