My auntie was a nurturing, supportive, entertaining, educational and reliable auntie. I didn’t get gifts on my birthday or Christmas, but she always tried her best to do something special. And, although she was auntie to more than just me, I always felt a special bond that made it seem like I was the only one in her eyes.
Auntie Beeb was always there for me growing up. I had other, real-life aunts, sisters and sisters-in-law of my parents, but they were in different countries from me. Technically, Ireland is another country. Auntie Beeb was just a ‘on’ button away, except late at night when I was young, and saw me through all my years, not just the early ones when I was cute.
Auntie Beeb wasn’t just my auntie. I had to share her with millions, desperate for her affection, bribing her with a license fee, but I didn’t care. After all she had done for me, how could I begrudge her spreading her love around? Auntie Beeb had given me Blackadder, The Young Ones and Red Dwarf to help me through the tough times. Films to entertain (and titillate, if you saw the French films late night on BBC 2). I had been educated by Tomorrow’s World and David Attenborough. My emerging creativity was nurtured by Blue Peter and Why Don’t You…? The sporting experience was brought to my doorstep (when I couldn’t get tickets to the FA Cup Final). And who needed to buy music when you had Top of the Pops?
I love my auntie, even if she has become a bit embarrassing of late, trying to be all trendy to keep up with kids, going all digital. Doesn’t she realise that she was always coolest when she wasn’t trying? I’m not saying she isn’t allowed to change, that would be wrong, but she should do it for better reasons than keeping up with others who are striving for my affection. She’ll always be my favourite, even if she did come up with Keeping Up Appearances.