Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads?

I loved this television comedy series from the 70s, broadcast on BBC television.  There were only two series of ‘Whatever…’ but there had been a series before that called ‘The Likely Lads’.  I was too young to see that so only knew the characters Terry and Bob through the later version.

Set in Newcastle, the series was about two friends who took different paths in life but maintained a friendship.  As was the way with 70s sit-coms, the comedy came from the pretensions of Bob, the aspiring middle class one, and Terry’s down to earth views on his friends new place in the social order.  The first series started with Terry returning to Newcastle from the army.  Bob is about to marry Thelma, someone who isn’t keen on any continuing friendship with the uncouth Terry.

The series were broadcast between 1973 and 1974. There had been about a six year gap between ‘The Likely Lads’ and the return to see what had happened to Terry and Bob. Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais were the writers of both versions.  I also liked the theme tune called ‘Whatever Happened to You’ which was co- written by La Frenais.  James Bolam played Terry and Rodney Bewes played Bob.  Brigit Forsyth was Thelma.

The programme had a strong theme of nostalgia for lost youth which appealed to me when I was young.   Looking back, that seems odd- and the characters themselves were not that old.  They were, though, on the cusp of settling down to mortgage and marriage so perhaps that is the rite of passage that set off the nostalgia.

‘Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads?’ is in my hinterland.  What’s in yours?

 

Swans in Flight

My recent visit to London to hunt down another David Wynne sculpture reminded me that, last Summer, I did a similar thing in Newcastle Upon Tyne.  I wanted to see his 1968 sculpture ‘Swans in Flight’ at the Civic Centre.  One very quite Sunday morning, I walked to the area to see it and had the whole area to myself.  I imagine, being council offices, that they are very busy in the working week but on this Sunday the area was deserted.

The swans represent Norway, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Iceland as recognition of the links between this north-eastern city and Scandanavia.  Wynne’s inspiration came from a poem by Hans Hartvig Seedorff Pederson called ‘The Swans of the North’.

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