For a long time, I ignored this piece. I’d never heard of Luddenden and finding evidence that I’d written about it as a kid did nothing to shake that belief. Then, slowly, it began to dawn on me that there might be a more interesting story waiting to be told. Maybe I didn’t just write about this random village from the point of view of a detached outsider. Maybe I actually went there! Maybe we all went there as a group? We did that sort of thing sometimes - piled into the minibus and spent the day at someone else’s school. Maybe we did some kind of cultural exchange with the school in Luddenden. What if we did? What if Daniel was the boy I got paired up with for the day? What if, somewhere, there’s an English book with Daniel’s name on it, and he’s written a story in there all about me??? So I looked it up. Luddenden. Yes, it’s in Yorkshire. West Yorkshire. A bit far though. Right over the other side of the county, past Halfax - almost as far as Hebden Bridge. We wouldn’t have gone that far in the minibus, surely? Not impossible though. The next page of Google results put paid to all that. Thanks to the magic of technology, it turns out I wasn’t writing about my own experience at all, but the experience of a BBC film crew. ‘Luddenden’ was an episode of a BBC Schools programme called Merry Go Round and, by a stroke of great fortune, someone had recently uploaded it to YouTube. Not only that but, thanks to a mind-blowing resource called The BBC Genome Project, created by a team of super-heroic data entry clerks who’ve listed every single scheduled programme from every single issue of the Radio Times, I’ve been able to pinpoint exactly when it was on TV. That morning. Monday January 14th, 1980, at 11 am. So we must have watched it live on TV in the assembly hall (no video recorders in state schools back then), then gone back to the classroom and written about it from memory. We did quite a lot of these in Fairburn. I don’t remember it being such a core part of the curriculum at any other school I went to, but my English books are full of these TV write-ups, in which I try to describe what happened in the show, with varying degrees of success. I did fairly well here - I’ve listed some of the key things we learn in the show, favouring stories about the children over some of the other things we learn about the church, the factory and the old man who likes sketching in the graveyard, even managing to link it back to my experience of Fairburn. Because it is a bit like Fairburn, but far more picturesque. And they’ve got a travelling library. And it doesn’t have a motorway running right through the middle of it. But in most respects, life in Luddenden was pretty similar to mine. A life I was actually starting to enjoy. Oh and while we’re here, check out that cool theme tune by the Radiophonic Workshop’s Peter Howell. Amazing to think the licence fee used to pay for perfect little works of art like this.
Luddenden
HISTORY 1 Sept 1979 - Oct 1981
Clarke Hall Old Houses Fairburn v Burton Salmon The Forgotten World String Orchestra Sheet Lightning Grezelda the Witch Bonfire Night Metropolitan Police Christmas 1979 Great Space Battles Luddenden The Hat’s Adventure Sleeping Beauty What I Do On Monday Waen Shepherd 2 Waen Shepherd in: Green Squids Ward’s 7: Move of the Galaxy Ward’s 7: Alpha Centauri Ward’s 7: Escape to Mother Ship Ward’s 7: Death Planet Blake’s 7 Ward’s 7: The Hunt The Flame in the Desert The Fugitive British Skiing Events Ward’s 7: Rescue Fiends of the Eastern Front Black Hawk Profile Apeth (from Outer Space!) Tedosaurus (from Prehistoric Time!) A Walk in Our Village The Mountain Called Tyrannosaurus Rex Florence Nightingale War of the Worlds The Micronauts in: Supersilver
TOPIC 2 The one where it all kicks off
TERM 1 A day-by-day account of Waen’s first term at Fairburn School
TERM 2 The birth of the 1980s - Blake’s 7, Blondie and battles in space
TOPIC 1 He knows the names of all the dinosaurs
Luddenden
The Forgotten World John and Mick fall foul of some extreme potholing
Great Space Battles Three mighty empires take their first steps into outer space
Luddenden
For a long time, I ignored this piece. I’d never heard of Luddenden and finding evidence that I’d written about it as a kid did nothing to shake that belief. Then, slowly, it began to dawn on me that there might be a more interesting story waiting to be told. Maybe I didn’t just write about this random village from the point of view of a detached outsider. Maybe I actually went there! Maybe we all went there as a group? We did that sort of thing sometimes - piled into the minibus and spent the day at someone else’s school. Maybe we did some kind of cultural exchange with the school in Luddenden. What if we did? What if Daniel was the boy I got paired up with for the day? What if, somewhere, there’s an English book with Daniel’s name on it, and he’s written a story in there all about me??? So I looked it up. Luddenden. Yes, it’s in Yorkshire. West Yorkshire. A bit far though. Right over the other side of the county, past Halfax - almost as far as Hebden Bridge. We wouldn’t have gone that far in the minibus, surely? Not impossible though. The next page of Google results put paid to all that. Thanks to the magic of technology, it turns out I wasn’t writing about my own experience at all, but the experience of a BBC film crew. ‘Luddenden’ was an episode of a BBC Schools programme called Merry Go Round and, by a stroke of great fortune, someone had recently uploaded it to YouTube. Not only that but, thanks to a mind-blowing resource called The BBC Genome Project, created by a team of super-heroic data entry clerks who’ve listed every single scheduled programme from every single issue of the Radio Times, I’ve been able to pinpoint exactly when it was on TV. That morning. Monday January 14th, 1980, at 11 am. So we must have watched it live on TV in the assembly hall (no video recorders in state schools back then), then gone back to the classroom and written about it from memory. We did quite a lot of these in Fairburn. I don’t remember it being such a core part of the curriculum at any other school I went to, but my English books are full of these TV write-ups, in which I try to describe what happened in the show, with varying degrees of success. I did fairly well here - I’ve listed some of the key things we learn in the show, favouring stories about the children over some of the other things we learn about the church, the factory and the old man who likes sketching in the graveyard, even managing to link it back to my experience of Fairburn. Because it is a bit like Fairburn, but far more picturesque. And they’ve got a travelling library. And it doesn’t have a motorway running right through the middle of it. But in most respects, life in Luddenden was pretty similar to mine. A life I was actually starting to enjoy. Oh and while we’re here, check out that cool theme tune by the Radiophonic Workshop’s Peter Howell. Amazing to think the licence fee used to pay for perfect little works of art like this.
TOPIC 1 He knows the names of all the dinosaurs
TERM 1 A day-by-day account of Waen’s first term at Fairburn School
TERM 2 The birth of the 1980s - Blake’s 7, Blondie and battles in space
TOPIC 2 The one where it all kicks off
FAIRBURN The place where I wrote all this rubbish
GEOGRAPHY 1 Sept 1979 - Feb 1981
The Forgotten World John and Mick fall foul of some extreme potholing
Bonfire Night Waen’s first time at the annual village fireworks display
String Orchestra A visit from the North Yorkshire County Council Orchestra
Luddenden
Great Space Battles Three mighty empires take their first steps into outer space