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So Seven 2 is re-running old episodes of Press Gang – the classic 80s TV show about a bunch of Brit kids who run a paper called The Junior Gazette. It unfortunately clashes with Insiders on a Sunday morning, but then I’m probably the only person in Australia for whom that’s a problem.

It. Is. Awesome.

I remember it being on ABC when I was a little tacker, and while Degrassi was always titillating and exciting, Press Gang was what I really got pumped about. The cast is pretty amazing – Julia Sawalha (later seen as Saffy in Absolutely Fabulous and of course Lydia in Pride & Prejudice) and Dexter Fletcher (later seen as Soap in Lock Stock & Two Smoking Barrels) as this debonair, wayfarers and leather jacket-wearing bad boy Spike, who affects an inexplicable American accent.

Oh Dexter, I hope we’re not related because…. damn. With that pout and those cheekbones – he’s like Bob Dylan meets James Dean. He’s like what Robert Pattinson only wishes he could be.

Julia plays Lynda, the bad ass editor who somehow wrangles high school students into producing a newspaper. And the realism is fantastic – they have a graphics team clamouring for rough copy so they can put together their artwork, they call contacts on rotary dial phones, keep files of research in manila folders, paste up lay-outs and then the final edition runs through the presses.

And there are TYPEWRITERS!

And more scrunchies than you’d believe.

And mullets.

Ah, what a golden time – for journalism and for fashion.

OK I have been thinking too much about Dexter. The only thing cooler than him in Press Gang is him as a child in one of my favourite movies of all time. It’s a production of Bugsy Malone, in which the cast are all kids. The gangster warfare involves cream-pie guns rather than actual artillery. Dexter plays a young gang member… and when I went to the Newseum in Washington and they had an exhibit on crime reporting throughout American history, seeing the hardened gang members of that era I was suprised how many of the names I knew from watching Bugsy as a rapt kid! Dillinger, Baby Face, Floyd…

A prepubescent Scott Baio was the star, and there’s even a young Jodie Foster as the temptress Tallulah. It’s really fantastic stuff and the songs are great.

It was always like Christmas when this movie would show up in the matinee timeslot on the ABC in school holidays. My sister and I were so obsessed with it, she once recorded all the songs onto cassette.. I think we may have worn that tape out! From memory, this song was our favourite:

“Zzzzing!”

Whoah – the whole movie seems to be online here. Goodnight!

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