Roger Moroney: Chalk and cheese across the screen

By Roger Moroney -
4 comments
Roger Moroney. Photo / File
Roger Moroney. Photo / File

Ahh, chalk and cheese.

My dear old mum would often use that now pretty well forgotten phrase to describe two things that are very dissimilar and different.

Things at the most opposite ends of whatever scale is being spoken about.

Totally at odds.

Which makes sense, because chalk is nothing like cheese, and makes more sense than, say, something like "it's a complete dog's breakfast".

Which is a mess...yet most dogs will confine their dinners to the bowls they are delivered in.

So chalk and cheese, two very different things, and I checked this little three-word gem out and discovered it's been around for quite a time.

It was first put down in print in 1390 by a learned chap named John Gower who wrote "lo how they feignen chalk for cheese".

Just what he was on about is anybody's guess because many of the writings of those days (when taken at face value without explanation) are a complete dog's breakfast.

Like some of Shakespeare's writings.

Why on earth we were taught the works of Shakespeare as part of our high school English curriculum is anybody's guess because to the average teenager much of what he scribed down with his magnificent quill and ink made little or no sense at all.

I mean, a girl trying to track down where her boyfriend asks "wherefore art thou Romeo?"
Why not just "where are ya?"

The written works of Shakespeare and the written works of a 16-year-old in 1970?

Yes, chalk and cheese indeed.

Which to a degree is how I once viewed the American interpretations of English television comedies.

Sanford and Son as opposed to Steptoe and Son.

And All in the Family which was lifted from Till Death Us Do Part.

Which I suppose is a good thing because all cultures should be embraced, although there was very little culture in Alf Garnett's household which I found wonderfully refreshing.

To see some old git behaving so very badly was an absolute tonic for young guys who were still learning the art of behaving badly.

So, chalk and cheese.

Try Antiques Roadshow which screens on Prime this Saturday night and Storage Wars which pops up also on Prime the following night.

One is very British, very genteel and very dignified, while the other is loud, confrontational and yep, very American.

While a very simplistic way of putting it, both shows deal with people unearthing things that other people might want...things that could be worth a lot of money or things which may look flash but on the cash scale are not.

I am not a great fan of the Storage Wars meanderings because something just doesn't feel right.

It's all about a bunch of people taking on repossessed storage units...they buy them without knowing what's inside but surprise, surprise, nine times out of 10 they uncover a real gem.

Whereas the genteel Antiques Roadshow invites people to bring along an old family heirloom, or something unusual they once bought at a boot sale or whatever, and get the antique experts to give them its story...and potential value.

And this Saturday's outing features a very unique item in the form of the writings on one of the ship's officers aboard the doomed Titanic.

His personal account of the sinking on a document not seen before.

Fascinating.

Antiques Roadshow, Prime at 7.30pm Saturday: Where raised voices are not heard.

Storage Wars, Prime at 7pm Sunday: Where raised voices are essential.

ON THE BOX

The Celebrity Chase, TV1 at 4.55 today, Thursday and Friday: I basically stumbled upon this concept of the game last week after sort of recognising one of the group being chased by the big lad (mind you all the chasers appear larger than usual).

All four were very sharp of wit and tongue and throwing equally sharp barbs at the chaser, who in the end was outplayed as they had one lad there who the big boy huffily remarked was "doing my job".

Yes, they have steered a course down the "celebrity" path with the teams currently made up of actors, sportspeople and general known faces from across the personality landscape.

And the other point of difference here is that if they win the cash they collect they pass it on to a charity or cause they each designate.

Good stuff...I just wish the chasers would take a few more push-backs.

Robin Hood, TV3 at 8.30pm Thursday: Another cinematic example of the power of the Anzacs.

Aussie Mel Gibson put on the kilt and highlands accent back in 1995 when he turned out as William Wallace in the film Braveheart and now Kiwi born (although Aussie-raised) Russell Crowe emerges as the legend of Nottingham, Robin Hood.

Crikey, and we even lifted the classic works of English author JRR Tolkien for the screen as well as bringing his Hobbiton to Matamata.

And once upon a time James Bond was also an Aussie (for one film). I guess that's why Englishman Mick Jagger got the role of Aussie outlaw Ned Kelly for the film back in 1970...they wanted to balance the books.

It's a funny old thing this acting lark, and maybe a quote from Mr Crowe underlines why he may have got the Robin Hood gig - "I like villains because there's something so attractive about a committed person - they have a plan, an ideology, no matter how twisted - they are motivated."

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