Family at War – The Way we Were

Have just finished watching the boxed set of this iconic 1970s TV drama which follows the experiences of the Ashton family in Liverpool during the period 1938-1945. Despite being set in Liverpool, there are not many Scouse accents, but neither are there any token ‘ethnic’ minorities in this city which has since been rebranded as one of the centres of the Slave Trade and which Wikipedia now claims to be home to the oldest Black African and Chinese communities.

My friend had lent his treasured set to me when I complained that I had exhausted my collection of DVDs – Like many other nationalists/patriots, I do not watch TV as I refuse to be brainwashed by the lying/biased/multicultural/LGBTQ (whatever is the latest PC acceptable acronym that includes all those who might be offended!) pap that is churned out by the current MSM. As I do not watch ‘live’ broadcasts, I do not pay a TV licence – why should I pay to have propaganda pumped into my living room? No – I prefer to choose my own entertainment and this is increasingly by going back to a time where I can see my country portrayed ‘as it was’, the way I remember it as a child growing up in the 1950s, when I was surrounded by people whose history was the same as mine – therefore I tend to just watch ‘retro’ or ‘period’ on DVD, anything that can transport me away from the Tower of Babel that is ‘modern’ Londonistan.

This boxed set of Family at War had sat on my chair for a good few months before I felt I was in the correct frame of mind to devote myself to the undertaking, as I knew I would be committing for the long haul – we are talking 50+ episodes at an hour apiece – no small undertaking! However, having got stuck in, I could not put it down, as they say. This was something that I had caught glimpses of as an 18 year-old when it first aired on Granada TV in 1970, but having had to ‘do’ WW2 for my History GCE and not being particularly interested in the subject at the time, I did not cancel any of my more pressing appointments (like going to see Hawkwind at the Roundhouse Camden) in order to stay in on the nights when it aired. But hearing the theme tune once again, I was instantly transported back – Vaughan Williams 6th Symphony – I have always liked Vaughan Williams, especially Greensleeves, somehow his music resonated with my patriotic attachment to the soil of my ancestors. It is particularly poignant to be watching this at a time when we are commemorating the 100th anniversary of the start of WW1. It has long been my opinion that those who fought in both world wars, did not seek to obliterate the ‘Hun’ in order for their own homeland to be lost to mass immigration and multiculturalism within many of their own lifetimes.

Family at War will appeal to all true patriots, with its quiet dignity, reflective dialogue and memories of a simpler and yet more meaningful way of life. The mottled teapot is one of the central characters and should have been acknowledged in the credits as it had more on-screen time than most of the main characters! There was always tea being made, laid out or consumed and everyone was smoking and in every conceivable location! Families clustered around the radio to listen to Churchill’s latest speech – Edwin Ashton questions some of this as being ‘propaganda’ on more than one occasion – echoes of what our current government are doing in their efforts to drum up popular support for more ‘interference’ in conflicts we have no national interest in pursuing. Edwin is obviously a Socialist, as is his son Philip who goes off to fight in the Spanish Civil War in 1936 on the side of the Communists (Republicans) against the supposed fascists (Nationalists) as did many other English communists/socialists of the time, Labour’s Jack Jones 1970s TUC leader included. These ‘socialist dreamers’ quickly have the scales removed from their eyes as they resort to in-fighting and killing each other in pursuit of their unattainable Utopia.

Family at War embodies John Milton’s ‘they also serve who only stand and wait’ as it primarily centres around those left behind, although we do have several episodes exclusively set on the battlefronts. Viewers will recognise many early performances from actors and actresses who went on to appear in later programmes like Porridge, Coronation Street and Last of the Summer Wine, to name a few. A 27 year-old John Nettles appears as Edwin’s daughter Freda Ashton’s love interest – it was only the voice that gave it away for me, otherwise I would not have recognised him even though I am an avid Midsomer Murders fan.

Family at War is brilliant social history, recalling a time when there was no TV and families actually interacted around the teapot and the radio! Nowadays, life is increasingly played out by ‘proxy’ on sites like Facebook – a friend recently told me that her daughters were having a ‘row’ on Facebook and she only knew this because she was on there herself!

Episodes 52-58 are recorded in black and white rather than colour, due to industrial action by members of the recording crew – a taste of how things were in the 1970s when trade unions still held sway. I was no lover of trade unions at the time but we could certainly do with more of them now as many workers are on low pay, short-term contracts with no benefits like final salary pensions or sick pay, and no job security. Who would have predicted we would end up in the 21st century regressing to pre-WW1 working practices. This is not what our people fought and died for in two world wars.

One of the last episodes shows Edwin Ashton in post-war Germany investigating his son’s death while working with the ‘resistance’ to alleviate the dire conditions of ordinary German people. It is really quite poignant as Edwin realises that we have been fighting people much like ourselves, who have been suffering just like us, because someone decided it was a good idea to go to war. We fought two wars against our fellow Europeans only to allow our country to then be invaded by those of a totally alien culture.

Quality drama like Family at War only accentuates the low standard of dross that currently passes as TV entertainment.