Whatever happened to you?

There are certain TV shows that remind me of my childhood and bring back such pleasant memories. Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads is one such series.

The follow up to the original Likely Lads series from the 1960s reminds me so much of both my childhood and my early 20s. I lived not too far from the fictional “Elm Lodge” housing estate which was known as Battle Hill in real life. I would pass the high rise block of flats next to the Coast Road daily and each time I did pass, the theme tune would come into my head and I couldn’t resist singing it.

The adventures and exploits of Terry Collier and Bob Ferris all unfolded against a backdrop I was so familiar with. The feature length film of the TV series even used the High Street in Wallsend for a number of scenes.

With the backdrop all around me, I couldn’t fail to have a certain affinity for the series, which stood out in its day by being one of the few situation comedies to be set by the broadcasters outside of London.

Thelma, Bob’s long suffering fiancé, is always greeted by Terry with the phrase “Hello Thelma” followed by a short pause then “Pet”. Whilst I can’t pass a pub called the Fat Ox without thinking about Bob & Terry supping such beers as Brown Ale or Fed Special.

The modern landscape in the areas used in the TV shows have changed so much. The shipyards and their cranes that used to dominate the skyline have gone. As have the flats where Terry’s parents were said to live. The Elm Lodge Housing Estate is no longer sparklingly shiny and new. The High Street in Wallsend, like high streets up and down the country, has fallen victim to large supermarkets and lost its vibrancy. Yet, the people of the area remain as upbeat and friendly as ever.

Rodney Bewes, who played Bob Ferris is no longer with us. James Bolam, who played Terry Collier still appears on our TV screens in other roles.

What TV shows take you back to your childhood?

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