Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Strange delight on seeing local stuff on telly

A bit of idle channel hopping last night found us watching an old episode of Coast on BBC2, covering the edges of Norfolk and Suffolk. Although we had seen this one before, it had to be watched purely for the local recognition factor. The trip ended in Felixstowe and included a nice aerial shot over the town (missing our house by a matter of a few hundred metres, blast!) as well as some shots of the docks.

I can't decide which is stranger for people when seeing the place you live on tv. Being somewhere like Felixstowe where we get shown once in a blue moon, and then generally only on a specialist show like this (local news doesn't count) seeing stuff from just down the road gives a bit of a thrill. But I can't imagine what it must be like as a Londoner to see familiar stomping grounds in every other detective show, documentary or just as establishing shots in Masterchef. Does the thrill remain or is it "oh, there's another murder at my bus stop"?

Anyway, what I had completely forgotten from the previous viewing was an article about the Cobra Mist radar early warning system tried up at Orford Ness in the 70s from the building in that photo up there (now a BBC World Service transmission site). As it happens, I am reading a history of the Ness and the various clandestine activities undertaken there so it was great to see some of it in living colour. One thing I have always liked in Coast is the selective use of CGI to overlay historical views on the present scene, and they did a great job with the aerial arrays no longer standing on the beach by this block house.

Having been over on to the Ness some 20 years ago (when we had a trip up the lighthouse) and taken a river trip past a few weeks back it was once more a case of "ooh, I've been there" for me on seeing the place in the living room. Hopefully the sense of delight will remain next time something Suffolk hits the screen.


Ishouldbeworking said...

i waited WEEKS to see if I could spot my own roof on 'Coast', but they swept over Brighton so quickly it barely featured. I was disproportionately disappointed!

I always perk up when shots of my home town appear on TV or in films, and felt just the same frisson when I lived in London. Especially if the clips are older ones - it's all living history.

Emma said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one!
The most peculiar example of this I can think of happened quite recently, when the street on which I grew up in Leeds in the 1970s, featured in the opening scenes of "1974" in "The Red Riding Trilogy" (televised novels of David Peace). My mother tells me it took Channel 4 a day and a half to film what turned out to be 30 seconds of footage, but the wierdest thing for me is that it was set in 1974, and I was there in 1974....very odd indeed.