I’m having great fun watching BBC1’s The Young One’s. Taking the simple principle that sending people back in time to their heyday may improve their physical and mental wellbeing has been a joy to watch. The selection of celebrities has been good too – the amazing Lionel Blair (who admits he’s lying about his age, late 70’s, early 80’s?), the splendid Liz Smith, Derek Jameson, Dickie Bird, Kenneth Kendall and Carry on beauty Sylvia Syms.
I’m not sure it’s just about taking people back to their prime. For Dickie Bird who lives alone and unmarried the comraderie and community spirit is also putting a smile on his face. Last night Lionel Blair got Liz Smith up to dance, which was extraordinary as she entered the house on two sticks. Interestingly when they allowed carers in to help them, there was a split in the group. Some had found their independence and would not give it up easily and found it humiliating and insulting to have someone to do things for them. The other half liked the help and that group went back to the role of very old incapable person when they clearly had been capable the day before.
I also found it very moving seeing Lionel Blair wanting desperately to go back to work, waiting at home for the phone to ring. I hope he does get offered something – he has so much talent. I’d love Dickie Bird to move in with Derek Jameson after the experiment to keep each other giggling and in high spirits.
If you are reading this and in your 70’s and 80’s keep fighting for your independence and your youth – keep working for as long as you can if it gives you joy. Early retirement can be dangerous – keep your mind and body active for as long as possible.
Am looking forward to seeing what the stats show at the end of the programme – I suspect they will all be physically and mentally much younger. Great stuff!