20 February 2010

The rerun of election ‘74

imageIt was gripping stuff.  Yesterday the BBC transmitted, without a break, the complete February 1974 election results programme.

There was Harold Wilson, with his two props.  Not his wife or kids, but the pipe and that flame-thrower of a lighter, used to deflect any troublesome questions that came his way.  Also, with walk on parts, were the youthful figures of David Dimbleby, Alan Watkins (still a must read each Sunday) and Anthony Howard.

It’s when we get to the presenters that the programme came into its own.  How easy it is to forget the expertise and authority that Alastair Burnett, David Butler and Robert McKenzie and Robin Day brought to such programmes.

As the night unfolded, and when it became apparent that there was going to be a hung parliament, Butler and McKenzie were outstanding .  No stone was left unturned as they explained in detail what would happen next.  Both were faultless.

If we do find, by an act of fate, that we have voted for a hung parliament in a few weeks time, who will be there to bring similar authority to our TV screens that those four demonstrated all those years ago.

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