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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Bears Ice Cream Company
The inspiration for this Shepherd’s Bush ice-cream parlour comes from Iceland, with that Nordic nation’s vibes teamed with seasonal English flavours. Its location right by Ravenscourt Park should ensure it does well in the summer. The focus is on visitors creating their own cone (or cup). Options include apple crumble, salted caramel, malted vanilla, chocolate brownie, peanut butter, strawberry and thyme and gingerbread and banana. Extras and toppings range from meringue and fresh fruit to cornflakes, nuts, popcorn, popping candy and fudge. There’s a cute little garden outside, and seating inside, too.