Americans have always loved their vintage television. There are a variety of nostalgia channels in the US, some of which have been around for decades and remain hugely popular.
If you want to see black-and-white variety shows and sitcoms from the “Golden Age” of American television in the 1950s, westerns and spy capers from the 60s, or cop shows and sick days from the 70s, 80s and 90s, you know where to find them.
Most of these channels are owned by mainstream US networks and therefore have a vast archive of material to draw from.
Generations of American viewers who are continually exposed to old TV shows is undoubtedly a factor in why some series, such as The honeymooners, I love Lucy and gold mine, have become popular cultural institutions in the United States.
Broadcasters this side of the world have never been so enamored with vintage television. It’s true that some channels only offer programs from yesterday; In most cases, however, the selection is narrow, unimaginative and fatally repetitive.
Sony’s own Great! TV (a misnomer, if there ever was one) that shows old American series has plenty of it Murder, She Wrote, Highway to Heaven, Charlie’s Angels, Hart to Hart and MASH, but not much else.
Owned by BBC Studios, vintage comedy channel Gold is predominantly dominated by Only fools and horses and Dad’s Army. While I love both immensely, I don’t necessarily want to watch the same dozen or so episodes over and over again, month after month, year after year.
We may complain about the number of reruns on TV, but most of us would relish the opportunity to revisit old shows that we haven’t seen in years. But as television becomes more atomized, it becomes harder for viewers to connect with its past. Faced with daunting competition from streaming services, terrestrial broadcasters’ response has been to set up their own streamers, offering exclusive content and, most importantly, a wide range of material from their back catalogues.
Countless classic BBC and ITV series that would of course have been repeated in another era are now only available on the broadcasters’ joint streaming service, Britbox.
For example, if viewers in the UK want to see the great mini-series of the 90’s Our friends in the north who launched the careers of Daniel Craig, Christopher Eccleston, Gina McKee and Mark Strong must purchase a Britbox subscription – an option not available in Ireland.
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So it’s still possible to enjoy some great TV experiences from the past, provided you live in the UK and can pay for the privilege. Then, thank goodness, there’s Talking Pictures TV, the only free-to-air nostalgia channel worthy of the description. The feel-good story of TPTV, owned and operated by the Cronin family from their Watford home, has been well aired in this column as well as elsewhere.
But in recent years, the story has become even more interesting. TPTV’s original intention was to provide a platform for the type of vintage films, from Hollywood classics of the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s to lesser-known B-movies that the BBC and Channel 4 seem to no longer show wanted to. She continues to do so, adding many unjustly overlooked films from the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s to her library. It’s the cult horror slot on Friday nights basement club Slot, hosted by Caroline Munro, is television’s closest thing to reincarnation Moviedrome.
But it has gradually expanded its remit to include old TV showing classic British series, including A Family at War, Callan, Public Eye, Van Der Valk, Upstairs, Downstairs, Rumpole of the Bailey, Secret Army, Widows and more, as well as an array of American TV gems, including classic sci-fi anthologies The Outer Limits.
His latest achievement are the seldom-screened black-and-white episodes of The Saint, with Roger Moore, Sundays at 6 p.m.
Talking Pictures TV is now more than just a nostalgia channel; It has become a living television museum, making a cherished connection to the medium’s past.
https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/television/tv-news/talking-pictures-channel-deserves-praise-for-its-virtual-museum-of-tv-41609915.html Talking Pictures Channel deserves credit for its virtual television museum