Wednesday 6 April 2011

Inspiration - Lynda Day

Growing up there were two people I wanted to be.

Jo March.  Which is pretty much a given....if you take Professor Bhaer out of the equation.  Which I never will.  It's a bugbear that I can't relinquish.  (More here.)

The other person was also fictional but from a television series.  She was a character I loved from the beginning despite being a dictator who no sense of humour and a penchant for over sized cardigans, short flouncy skirts and tights.  Her name was Lynda Day and she was a pocket rocket on a power high.  I adored her.  The editor of The Junior Gazette, she was my role model as a tween onwards.  A girl who was smart, driven and wouldn't take no for an answer.  She was a bulldozer in Doc Martins.

Press Gang was a British television show that ran from 1989 until 1993.  It was broadcast on the Australian Broadcast Company (ABC) every afternoon as part of the children's programming block.  The premise of the show was a famous investigative journalist starts editing The Gazette and sets up a junior publication.  Students managed the paper in the hours before and after school.  The staff was made up of a mixture of the highly academic (Lynda, Sarah, Kenny) and the delinquents who were forced to use their time productively (Spike, Frazz, Colin).  The running arc was the day to day operations of the newspaper plus the Lynda/Spike relationship with self contained investigations each episode.

While I adore Spike...I will watch Dexter Fletcher (the British actor who spoke with an American accent the entire run of the show) in anything - it was also the Lynda show for me.  While she was on occasion called a bitch, not undeservedly at times, she was a compelling character.  Brittle, feisty and completely lackingthe ability to socialise.  She was fascinating in her sheer power of will.

The show was smart and well ahead of the times.  I still remember their episodes on teen suicide and huffing with clarity.  The idea for the show was formulated by an Glaswegian head master and pitched to ITV.  The head master was Bill Moffat.  When the pitch was picked up, he recommended his son (Stephen Moffat) a twenty-five year old English teacher write the script.  Stephen wrote it, they LOVED it and the rest is history.  Twenty years later that man is the head writer for the BBC's Doctor Who, Coupling and the upcoming movie The Adventures of Tin Tin.

Today I read that Sawalha and Moffat continue to talk about a reunion and it is my fervent wish that this happens.  I want to see where Lynda is today, with or without Spike.  She's compelling enough on her own!

Who were your inspirations as a tween?


Cat Clarke said...

LOVED this show! Thanks for this blast from the past, Adele.

Alwyn said...

WHAT THE ARGLEFLAR! Written by Stephen Moffat! Doctor Who Stephen Moffat? And starring Saffron Monsoon from Ab-Fab! How do I not know about this show, it is obviously Epic! Clearly I was too young for this awesome when it was airing, because my TV heroes as a kid were all animated. Mainly I was a fan of Kim Possible and Spinelli of Reccess. What can I say, I always liked a girl who could kick butt and take names.

Cat said...

Absolutely agree with you. One of the best shows ever to be produced. A reunion would be a dream come true. Must go home and watch it tonight.

Steph Su said...

Oh WHOA! She's Lydia from the 1995 BBC adaptation of Pride & Prejudice. Cool. xD

(Totally off subject, but I know next to nothing about TV, sorry.)

Karen said...

Thanks Adele! It's great to know that there are still lots of Press Gang fans out there. My girlfriends and I watched it religiously while we were in highschool. What a gripping show, and what a great heroine!

Karen said...

By the way, recently I have often seen girls dressed in an 80s style combo of short floaty floral dress + black tights+ big jacket / jumper. Your post reminded me that Lynda Day dressed like that too. :-)

Belle said...

Yes, yes, yes, I was obsessed with Press Gang when I was a child, had a massive crush on Spike and loved Lynda! She may or may not be the reason I wanted to become a journo.