Tuesday, 29 January 2013

The Joy of Sets

I eventually got around to watching the BBC Timeshift programme at two this morning. I'd avoided this before as I tend to get a bit squirmy when train set are discussed by ordinary people. However, my thoughts are that it was quite well handled. It deals with more of the early history of BL and Frank Hornby,the intertwining with their marketing, the shifting social history, pipes, short trousers and the change in relationship of the family.
No mention was made of parallel developments in other counties, only that BL sourced equipment in Germany pre-WW1. There was little about the current scene aside from interviews with Gordon and Maggie and a seemingly shaky I.A.Rice. The Waterman was wheeled out repeatedly as the acceptable face of the hobby (like he's typical...).
MR and BRM were represented, but surprisingly no PECO aside from clips ripped from their DVDs - Pritchard conservative reaction to being asked maybe? It would seem strange that as the market leader they wouldn't have been asked, so I can only assume that they threw the ball to the Gravetts.
Overall; pretty good and worth a look.

ps;  In reply to this I have been informed that Mr. Rice has Parkinson's. This is sad news to me as he's been such and inspiring writer over the years.

A further comment, and partly in response to Phil's reply. It struck me that the opening of the programme is about BL supplying the very rich with models and then how that changed with Tri-ang supplying the masses. Does the the inclusion of a millionaire record producer indicate a reversal of the trend?


  1. I was a bit worried about watching it too...but as you say, it was fairly even-handed. Pete W seems to be the man to call for a vox pop, but as you say, he's hardly representative. I wondered why there was no mention of the many professionals that had actually built his layout. (No he didn't ask me!) My only real criticism was the great emphasis on Basset Lowke at the expense of the later developments.

  2. I suspect the BL stuff was what got the programme made. You can sell a history programme but something on those weirdo who make toy trains?

    As for PW, he's the acceptable face of railway modelling. Not a bad modeller either. I know Leamington isn't a one-man project but he does know one end of a brush from the other. Rather more than some "modellers" I know.