I knew this interview would be an interesting one, as my mother consistently brings up memories of her childhood in both living room’s I’ve never experienced, and the one I’m sitting in as I write this. Like the television, my living room has evolved since it was first built in the 1950’s when my Irish great-grandparents came to live here. There weren’t any of these questions I could ask my grandmother who I still live with, because the television was introduced in her 20’s, so I asked my mum instead. Her name, is Rachael and as per usual – she had some interesting television memories to share with me as I interviewed her over Facetime. My family is from Northern Ireland, however my mum was born and raised in Australia – so a lot of the memories she had of television when she was younger were her watching it on her own. Despite the fact that television was first broadcast in Northern Ireland In 1951 (5 years before it was broadcasted in Australia), my family took a longer time to warm up to it, and when they did it was mostly British or Irish television shows much like those shown on the BBC One channel back in Ireland.
Although my family for generations have shared the same living room, it is the brown wallpapered, brown decorated living room in a house by Bondi Beach that my mother most remembered, the place she lived from ages 1-4 with her parents and her little brother Sean. With this memory in mind, I then asked what she remembered most about the television in her house – a rather broad question but the answer was helpful. The television was in a big, wooden box with legs and somebody always had to stand with the Arial pointed in a certain direction for a few moments if they wanted to get reception. This memory alone is such a strong contrast to the widescreen television that sits prettily before me right now – switched off, as I don’t have much interest in the TV. At least, not as much interest as my mother did with the strange, heavy object in the big brown box. She proceeds to tell me with an enthused expression with raised eyebrows about the living room of her childhood and it’s clear she acknowledges how different it is now compared to then – clearly engaged in the conversation and the interesting memories the conversation has sparked. There was only one room in her household that held a television, but like I mentioned before – my family were close, and all shared different living rooms each with their own memories – each weird and wonderful.
I was particularly amused to hear about one of my Mum’s most prominent childhood memories of watching ‘Romper Room’ with my other grandmother in her old flat. Upon researching this show briefly, I discovered it was much similar to Play School in the way it was directed to children. So it was interesting and entertaining to hear that my mother used to dance to this show with my great grandmother to the point where the old lady from downstairs would repeatedly whack a broom at the roof above her to try and stop the dancing. People now often watch television from their bedrooms or from a lounge, but it seems from the insight I’ve received from this interview – the television was a much more interactive experience. Rachael watched the television from the floor, always prepared for a dancing or interactive opportunity with the shows she watched as a kid.
I’m still trying to decipher whether this is interesting because it was was childhood wonder or because we are just so much more enthused nowadays getting comfy in one spot in our beds to have a good old Netflix binge watch. My final question for my mother was whether there were any particular moments that she remembered when watching TV throughout her years, though especially as a child. She proceeded to tell me that she explicitly remembers watching the Olympics as a kid, enthralled in the way she could see exactly what was happening at the time even if she wasn’t in the same place as the games. She also remembered watching the Royal family coming to Australia – another area of excitement for Rachael as she idolised Princess Diana, something I didn’t find surprising, though it was definitely interesting. However, the most interesting part of my interview was definitely when she told me she remembered the first episode of Home & Away, something I have always wondered about. The show seems like it has gone on for infinities!
DISCLAIMER: all names and words mentioned were used with permission from Rachael Cottrell on the 22nd of August, 2016.
“History Of Multichannel TV In Ireland”. Myhome.iolfree.ie. N.p., 2016. Web. 22 Aug. 2016.
Home And Away. 2016. Web. 22 Aug. 2016. link
Lupis, JC. “Traditional TV Viewing: What A Difference 5 Years Makes”. MarketingCharts. N.p., 2016. Web. 22 Aug. 2016.