Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Sorry, Wolfie, but I'll keep the flag flying for those who never sell out Right on: Robert Lindsay

Robert Lindsay
Robert Lindsay

Twenty five years of Red Nose Day. Friday was something of a nostalgia fest for anyone old enough to remember 1988. The hair cuts (short and spikey), the comedy (alternative and left wing were seen as cool), the scene in NI (not great).

I was asked to comment on this era for radio and I struggled to remember where I used to go out socially in those days. It brought home how vastly different Belfast is now, compared to then. Things have changed so much and mostly for the better.

Then I saw an ad on TV that stunned me. Robert Lindsay advertising Sky. Robert Lindsay? Aka Wolfie Citizen Smith, "Power to the people!", the Che Guevara of the Tooting Popular Front, now fronting the satellite wing of Rupert Murdoch's media empire? Oh dear.

I know Lindsay's only an actor, but still. It always hurts when you see your old heroes selling out. Wolfie would have told Rupert where to shove his huge advertising fee. He would have been skint, but proud.

It's 35 years since Wolfie was about, and 25 years have passed since the first Red Nose Day, but now those eras seem old-fashioned and the values, quaint to modern sensibilities.

But I'm proud to be of that generation, the last lot before Thatcher's children emerged. "Power to the people!" still sounds sweeter than, "All this for just £29.99 per month, terms and conditions apply."