I have very fond memories of a television programme from the early 70s which was broadcast on BBC television in the children’s part of the schedule between the end of school and the start of the evening news.
‘If You Were Me’ was based on the idea of pupil exchanges such as happen when young people learn a different language. Here, each individual programme followed a British child as he or she teamed up with a child from another country. To start with British child welcomed their visitor of the same age to live with them for a week. In the second half of the programme the British person went to stay in the foreign country.
As a boy, I had a couple of pen friends. I dreamed of visiting them but it never happened. I also had parents who did not feel comfortable about travelling abroad. ‘If You Were Me’ spoke to my dreams of world travel and meeting people I considered exotic. I did not get to leave Britain until I went to University but this programme along with my children’s atlas kept the dream alive!
The programme I remember most may have been the first, or maybe the most repeated, which had a boy from Yorkshire who exchanged with a boy from Tunisia. I continue to search YouTube in the hope that an avid collector has shared his or her old videos but, actually, memories work just as well. I can still sing the song by Lionel Morton.
‘If You Were Me’ is in my hinterland. What’s in yours?