From an interview with Ricky Gervais in the The Observer. He's talking about his and Stephen Merchant's new telly series. The journalist was expecting the hysterical giggler from all those DVD extras we know and love, and instead found this calm, brainy guy.
The working title, says this oddly serious Ricky (a change I like but which I find strangely disconcerting nonetheless), the working title is The Men from the Pru. It’s about a group of twentysomethings working in an insurance company in the early Seventies. In Reading. This is where Gervais was born, in 1961. ‘It’s a period piece for a couple of reasons,’ he says. ‘We wanted to show, for instance, that the sexual revolution was only really going on in Carnaby Street. Not Swindon. Not Reading. It is, essentially, about blue-collar people getting white-collar jobs.’ And it is about people who would live and die in one town. ‘Which was one of the big differences between then and now,’ he says. ‘So much, we forget, was door to door. Ten pence for a duster, the man from the pools, the insurance man; people saving a penny a time for their funeral. Tens of thousands of people knocking on doors. Also, you would get married at 18 and still live with your mum. And then, at that time, some would watch the telly, have their eyes opened to different countries. There’s a line in it where we have a character being asked, “What do you want to go abroad for, there are parts of Reading you haven’t seen?”, so it’s a bit like that.’
When I was a kid, in the early 70s, we still got orange juice on the doorstep.
I love that idea too, of the place the social revolutions forgot. Which was just about everywhere, really, except Haight-Ashbury and Carnaby Street, and who was there? No one we know. As for me, I was in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, the Southern Hemisphere, the Earth, the Solar System, the Universe, as I styled it in those days. The sexual revolution didn't seem to hit our house in any way that impacted on me, but mum did turn in to a bit of a hippy, doing pottery classes & growing native plants & etc.
The interview's terrific. Read it all, if Ricky's your thing, which he is.