We hope the BBC knows what it is letting itself in for by scheduling a season of programmes next month on the subject of memory. Of particular concern is Radio 4's proposed survey of recollections of national events. It is now popular in Britain to wallow in the past. Whether we're educating the rest of the world on the subject of World Cups or World Wars, this is increasingly a nation of uninhibited nostalgists. The risk of White City being subsumed by rose-tinted perspectives is worryingly high. Home Truths may even need to be resurrected to cope with them all.
More encouraging is the BBC 1 programme on the subject of "How To Improve Your Memory". Amnesia, curiously, is another national characteristic. From politicians who forget their promises, to those of us can't remember our New Year's resolutions only two weeks into January, we could all surely do with some help on this front.
Strange as it may sound, some of us are even prone to inventing memories. As Bobby Charlton has pointed out, if the number of people who said they were in the crowd when England won the World Cup in 1966 were actually there, Wembley would have been filled twice over. The past really is a foreign country sometimes.
We cannot help wondering, too, if the Beeb will be dealing with the memories of institutions, as well as individuals. It will, after all, be the third anniversary of the beginning of Lord Hutton's notorious inquiry next month. On second thoughts, perhaps that is one memory the Corporation is right to repress.Reuse content