Wimbledon 1968

An interesting Youtube series showing the first “open” Wimbledon.

The commentator makes no effort to show himself as anything other than himself: a man with a “received pronunciation” accent. He doesn’t seem to mind it. Wimbledon is acknowledged, without embarrassment, as part of the social “season”, but also as a top rank world level tournament. The effect is peculiarly classless.

In recent years, the BBC has imposed a kind of staged, choreographed informality onto Wimbledon – presenters referring to players by their first names, and forcing interviews upon the winners before they’ve had time to draw breath or soak in the reality of their achievement. It’s a conscious decision to move away from this 1968 style of presentation. Referring to “Amelie” instead of “Mauresmo” does no harm. I’m not so sure about the rest.

The men’s game looks almost unbearably slow. But it draws a jet-setting audience – Charlton Heston? Feliks Topolski?

I remember glimpsing 1960s light from my pram as an infant: I haven’t seen it since. It must have followed Bobby Charlton into retirement in 1970.

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