I would like to thank the BBC for the return of ‘Upstairs Downstairs’, not for the lovely costumes, or the wonderful portrayal of the difficulties, humor, respect and co-operation between the classes. No those are wonderful and enjoyable but for something I really didn’t expect when I settled down to watch. It was really strange but for the first time, although I have watched many programs set in that time frame, I actually felt the horror that lay ahead and how people are effected by it. I can still see in front of me the first view, the second, that I connected with the characters, whilst walking across the park they looked up and you saw London with Barrage balloons floating above it, in 1938.
I lay for a while when I went to bed trying to work out why I felt that connection. My parents lived through it and rightly or wrongly they decided to protected me and my brothers and sisters from what they saw. At school our worlds history ended at the end of WW1 apparently. There always seemed to be a big gap with things that I felt I really didn’t know about. When I found myself housebound I had to find something on TV other than the drivel that fills the schedules on the BBC and ITV during the day, I drifted through loads of rubbish until I found the History channels. I have to say at this point no I don’t sit and watch the TV all day, I use the TV as many other use a radio, right now I am listening to last weeks episode of Channel 4’s,’Coppers’. Anyway, I found out so much that for the first time I think now, I do know what happened then and in quite some detail.
My generations closest link to Britain at war was the Falklands conflict, 30 years ago. Most of us weren’t that caught up in it but as I was married at the time to a Navy Officer, I was. He in the end didn’t go anywhere, but I had many friends who’s husbands did. I remember the dread everyday of watching the TV waiting to hear the name of a ship that I knew someone on, but it still wasn’t the same and I now know that. It may be because I have watched every episode of ‘Upstairs Downstairs’ there is, and I feel a strange connection to these people who don’t and never did exist, that last night I suddenly saw through their eyes. I really felt a chill and dread of what lay ahead of them all and there was still such a long time to go until war would be declared. I was truly aware of how horrific it must have been for a family with such tiny children, facing having to put their baby into a pram that not only looked like a coffin on wheels but would have been. Having to put your trust totally in the government, to trust them in keeping you and your family alive, to stop the world tumbling back in to war.
I wish that it was possible to actually pass that feeling on to the younger generations, I don’t care if it scares them, I actually really hope it would. I equally hope that none of them or us, have to feel it for real. Too many are walking around unaware of how precious what we have is, or how easily we could loose it all. I really worry about what is going on around this world, right now. There seems to be pockets of unrest everywhere and the truth about what was thought about many governments, is now being proved to be true. I have always thought that we had nothing to fear from the USSR or China and that our eyes should be on the countries that are now being revealed to us, the public. Barrage balloons won’t float over London or anywhere else in the prelude to WW3, the skies will be clear just as they are now.