From The Days When British Telly
Gave You Decent Local Weather Forecasts.
Not too many people have been to Norwich, but million upon million upon million upon million will know that Norwich is in Anglia. (East Anglia.) They wouldn't have needed to have seen Norwich on a map, or looked at it in an atlas or surfed the satellite photo on google earth to know. Nor would they have had to have paid much attention in their schoolroom geography lessons to immediately tell you where Norwich is. They need no external assistance whatsoever.
Gazillions know Norwich is in "Anglia" ....because the telly told them every Saturday. Courtesy of the local TV channel called, errr, called "Anglia".
Anglia's most renowned telly show of the seventies was intimately bound with Norwich and was introduced thus...
"Live. From Norwich. It's the Quiz of the Week."
and therefore, just as we've got the jist where New York is, because of the cop shows and Donald Trump strutting around on The Apprentice, so the same is true with the jewel in the east, Norwich. However, instead of a brash whacky haired Donald Trump or Kojak, on the Sale of the Century we were given the ultimate in slick English questionmasters ( bordering on the slimey ) Nicholas Parsons.
As a result "Norwich" to many, many, many English folk born in the 1960s means Nicholas Parsons and Norwich means kitchen knives on Instant Sale.
Norwich means heinous outfits on the proxide bimbos draped over lounge suites and perched on the saddles of a "complete set of family bicycles - one hundred and thirty pounds".
Norwich means strange synthesizer music on the introductions and Norwich means electric organs building up the anticipation for the arrival of our Nicholas running down the steps.
Norwich means a live studio audience, but only just alive; only just pumping blood if you bunged them a mug of Horlicks and a couple of rich tea biscuits that is.
My paternal grandparents lived just outside Norwich, so I'm an authority. They lived in Ormsby St Margaret, a smashing village marooned in an ocean of pea farms and quite close to the Norfolk Broads. They fitted like a hand in a Morrissean glove into the Sale of the Century audience demographic and their lifestyle was stereotypical of old folk living in flat English rural places. And it was the wind (not the sun) that blew (not shone) out of their behind... ... the greenhouse at the bottom of their garden.
The best bit? Their retirement bungalow was up the country lanes from the red bricked "Anglia" TV studios. We were often fortunate to go for a shop in Norwich's city centre. On market days. We'd pass the TV Studios and from the back of our Vauxhall Viva (or their Morris Marina) we'd pipe up with the fanfare and the intro music to "Sale of the Century". Oh indeed, it was quite the thrill to see the door Nicholas used when he rolled in to work. ( ! )
However, those very same buggers at Anglia's TV studios were partially responsible for me failing idiotic school geography tests, those that test you on the names of English counties.
If you've been to Norwich you will know that Norwich is in the county of Norfolk. Norwich is actually the county town of Norfolk, though I forget what precisely it is that makes a "county town" a "county town".
"Norwich: A Fine City" it says it on some of the road signs.
On others it says "Norwich. Norfolk." Which made marking Norfolk on your county test of the week map a doddle because Norwich is near Great Yarmouth and Great Yarmouth is on the coast and both ar in Norfolk.
But the telly implies that over and up that Norwich / Great Yarmouth way there must be an "Anglia". So where on earth is this Anglia place? This space of Angles?
Given that Suffolk (the South Folk being South of the North Folk) looks sizeable and as good as any other county to guess at where Anglia should be, you'd be forgiven for chucking out a Hail Mary, muppetry guess and incorrectly grasp at Suffolk being "Anglia". But if you were me you wouldn't be forgiven. No. It was a B minus with a 'see me please'.
Only in my later years did I realise that "Anglia" is a figment of our English cultural imaginations. "Anglia" doesn't exist. Wessex doesn't exist. They are made up, ficticious spaces. Labels that make us feel good about our English link to an bronze or iron-aged past. Or something.
"Anglia" remains for the telly and "Wessex" remains for those with a Thomas Hardy book collection. Suffolk nearly, so very nearly, remains Suffolk. But some will know that Suffolk is increasingly and sickeningly being marketed, for the tourists, "Constable Country".
I've already mentioned that Hardy has a county/country, all Arthurian and Merlin and scenes for the Hovis commercials.
Shakespeare's got his own region too (and his bint seems to have taken over a town).
Then there's, wait for it, Emily Bronte. Yes, even she has landed her own slab of a county (somewhere in West Yorkshire I believe). And Wordsworth has his.
No doubt Postman Pat and Harry fuc'king Potter will be assigned a swathe of Britain in years to come (if they haven't already).
But Norfolk, as far as I know, remains Norfolk. "Norfolk; Nicolas Parsons' Country" as a cultural-geographical-pull-in-the-punters-label I can't really see happening.
And that's a shame. Nicholas is as much a part of Britain as any bloke dabbling with his oils and any bird twiddling with her pens. Nick's Instant Sale Steak Knives are as relevant as Constable's horse and haycart stuck in the river, or the balding baird's plays lashed out in Penguin paperbacks.
Instead, if you haven't noticed, my preference is for the earthy 1970s place labels that we had as kids. Labels that meant something that was kicking off rather than aspiring to some myopic tosh. When I was a kid my culture and my world map was fed in through the cathode ray tube. So it does make sense that I still stick with the network TV thing .
Granada, land of Coronation Street.
Yorkshire, home of Emmerdale.
Tyne Tees, Central, Southern.
Thames which turned into London Weekend Television on a Friday lunchtime and bounced back to being Thames by after school Monday.
But of all the local telly networks "Anglia" creamed the lot. And it always will.
"Anglia" has the best music and the best representational logo. The logo gave us proper history and Norwich-ness. Out of all the telly stations it was probably the only 'real' logo done in 3d. Rather than some muppeting around with letraset and felt tip pens because the graphic designers in the production department had spent three years out of their trees at art school or polytechnic, and bunked off sculpture class.
The Anglia logo is a cracking stainless steel knight wearing full Norwich Castle armour. The knight has a silver flag flapping on the top of his lance. What's more, the whole lot revolves on an automated cake stand ("Instant sale price four pounds"). Fabulous. That what Britain's about. Steel. Lances. Knights. Armour.
"Live. From Norwich. It's the Quiz of the Week."
I salute you.
I salute you all the way from my chair in front of Thailand's 'Channel Seven' - a military channel who rather than lash out a name and a logo with no spatial or personal significance whatsoever, play a full on nationalistic bordering on fascist, intro before their game shows... Tsch tsch, how so very, very un-Anglian.