Thursday, October 13, 2005

Alternative Heroes - Hannah Gordon

Hannah Gordon, aside from starring in the popular series of yesteryear Upstairs Downstairs, played a sensible elder sister in the superb late sixties film Spring and Port Wine. But she will always be remembered, at least by me, as the host of channel 4s Watercolour Challenge, which, along with Card Captor Sakura and Keeping Up Appearances was my daily daytime TV staple at University.

Hannah Gordon is a grandmotherly figure, as you would imagine your perfect grandmother to be in the decade or so before you were born. Watercolour Challenge was a delight - she would take the contestants to a picturesque garden or a beach or the like, and then let them get on with the job of painting, stopping by some flowers occasionally to read some poetry from Keats or Blake. I freely admit to being one of the least patriotic people around, yet when I watched Watercolour Challenge, I felt very in touch with my Englishness and had a strong desire to see blooming flowers and survey a sprawling lawn.

Watercolour Challenge (as well as Spring and Port Wine, which was filmed in Bolton, where I studied) will always be a part of my memories of University, a happy time before the pressures of work, the weight of responsibility. For this, and for being the celebrity that I would most like to make me a sandwich, Hannah Gordon, you are an alternative hero.


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