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Nostalgia before bedtime

I've been watching You Rang M'Lord while I ate my tea: it's being repeated at the moment on UKTV Drama. A bit of Googling has informed me that it first aired in December 1988, when I was all of twelve, and I remember enjoying it very much at the time. I'm now having the pleasure of rediscovering it, and finding out that my taste as a twelve-year-old was not as poor as I'd assumed. It may not be high art, but it does some interesting things with the inevitable main theme of class tensions, and some quite surprising things with its characters and the relationships between them.

In particular, now that I'm older and more 'media aware', I'm really quite impressed that it featured an explicitly lesbian cross-dresser as a regular character: Cissy, one of the two daughters of the house. OK, so the impact is watered down by the fact that the series as a whole is set in what is effectively a fantasy otherworld, and that the primary function of her lesbianism really seems to be to help portray the family as decadent toffs. But still, some credit is surely due for challenging boundaries there.

I certainly remember myself being fascinated and amazed by the character at the time. Just one of many things which now cause me to look back and wonder why it took me so damned long to fully recognise my own sexuality. Ah, well - better late than never.

In other news, I feel utterly crummy tonight, and though I'm supposed to be going to the pub with the oxgoths, I suspect the evening will in fact end in an early retirement with a hot water bottle. I'll see how I feel in half an hour, but that bed is definitely calling...

Comments

( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
miss_soap
Oct. 18th, 2005 07:38 pm (UTC)
I loved Cissy. I thought her elegant, witty and intelligent. She also wore the most gorgeous trouser suits. If I had smaller ears I'd totally have that haircut too.
strange_complex
Oct. 18th, 2005 07:44 pm (UTC)
Hehe - she certainly did. There's nothing like a woman in well-cut pinstripe. Pity we didn't get more of her and less of Su Pollard, really.
ex_kharin447
Oct. 18th, 2005 07:55 pm (UTC)
As I recall, that was rather my opinion at the time...
strange_complex
Oct. 18th, 2005 08:04 pm (UTC)
*grin*
davesangel
Oct. 18th, 2005 08:01 pm (UTC)
I remember watching bits and pieces of that show, and I quite enjoyed it at the time - from what I can remember, anyway :)

And I'm really sorry to hear you're feeling crummy :( Hope you feel much better soon.
strange_complex
Oct. 18th, 2005 08:08 pm (UTC)
Hey, thanks. I'm just a little over-tired with my teaching, and maybe a little over-emotional to boot. Nothing that hot water bottle won't solve.

You going to be in Belfast during December 2nd to 5th? I'm planning a visit then, to take in Cornucopia and just generally get to see everyone.
davesangel
Oct. 18th, 2005 08:38 pm (UTC)
Ooh that would be fab. I should definitely be here - originally I was to have been in Italy that weekend but the plans have fallen through - so it will be great to see you again :D
strange_complex
Oct. 18th, 2005 08:46 pm (UTC)
Oh - sorry to hear you won't be going to Italy. But yay for you being in Belfast instead! I think I'll make my bookings for that trip tomorrow, as it looks like most of the people I want to see will be there.
libellum
Oct. 18th, 2005 08:18 pm (UTC)
Were the BBC's representations of Sarah Water's lezzers totally based on Cissy then, or is this some established Victorian stereotype that predates both You Rang and Tipping the Velvet?

In one of those weird synchronicity things, I only discovered the existence of Catherine Rabett today when I was googling at work for an academic who has the same surname, and kept coming up with her instead.
strange_complex
Oct. 18th, 2005 08:28 pm (UTC)
I'm pretty sure there genuinely were stage performers along the lines of Sarah Water's Kitty and Nan in Victorian England. I know I've seen pictures of lots of different such women, although I'm too tired and crappy to Google effectively for them now.

Love the icon!
davesangel
Oct. 18th, 2005 08:41 pm (UTC)
I'm pretty sure that there were cross-dressed female stage performers at that time in England - I know the tradition dates back to the Restoration period, and I've encountered a few examples in 18th-century writing, so I definitely think the trend continued with the Victorians.
swisstone
Oct. 18th, 2005 09:10 pm (UTC)
I don't know much about the period, but I gather there were quite a few cross-dressing lesbians amongst the British upper classes in the 1920s and 1930s.
(Anonymous)
Oct. 18th, 2005 09:06 pm (UTC)
From Amy
Oooh! You Rang M'Lord! Have been trying to get this on video for ages....... Remember when you wrote the lyrics of the song out?

When's it on?
strange_complex
Oct. 18th, 2005 09:12 pm (UTC)
Re: From Amy
Oh, did I? I don't remember actually doing that, but I can well believe I did. I was definitely pretty into it.

I know it's on on Tuesdays from 7-8 on UKTV Drama. Maybe other days as well, I'm not sure.
(Anonymous)
Oct. 18th, 2005 09:43 pm (UTC)
Re: From Amy
Ah, I'll video it then!

I think you wrote them down inside the front cover of one of your exercise books? :D
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )

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