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  • In the April issue of Best of British

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Best of British is the UK’s premier nostalgia magazine covering every aspect of life from the 1930s to today.

Each issue encourages you to:

  • Explore readers’ own recollections and memories in our Yesterday Remembered section
  • Discover more about days gone past with stories on everything from vintage transport to great Britons and from Christmas traditions to great days out
  • Enjoy regular reader favourites such as Treasures in the Attic, 1940s Post, Postcard from… and of course our Puzzle Page and Crossword

We hope you like reading our magazine as much as we love compiling it. In the meantime here is this month’s letter from our Editor, Simon Stabler

Testing Times
I remember the day of my driving test as one of total panic. My usual can-do attitude was supplanted by a dread feeling of defeatism and the quite reasonable belief, considering a pass rate of around 46%, that I was going to fail. And then, miracle of miracles, I passed on the first attempt. I don’t quite know how that happened but perhaps not crashing or stalling the car, and being able to recite passages of the Highway Code, had something to do with it.

Television producers have gained much mileage from driving lessons gone wrong over the years. Perhaps best remembered is serial test flunker Maureen Rees, who appeared on the reality show Driving School in the late 90s. She became quite famous for a while, releasing a dire cover version of Madness’s Driving in My Car and even This Is Your Life turned its spotlight (or headlights) on her.

Having driven over her instructor’s foot while still driving with L plates, Maureen had something in common with Some Mothers Do ’Ave ’Em’s Frank Spencer; a character who managed to best (or should that be worst?) Maureen by failing his driving test nine times before driving off the end of a pier during his tenth. We have writer Raymond Allen to thank for the creation of the hapless Spencer and, this issue, we talk to him about the hard work that went into creating and casting one of Britain’s best loved sitcoms.

It’s hard to imagine anyone other than Michel Crawford in the role of Frank Spencer but comedian Joe Pasquale will soon be treading the boards in a stage adaptation of the series. It’s a production that was meant to have run throughout 2020 but coronavirus put paid to that. For the same reason, our pull-out guide to this year’s 1940s re-enactment events, which traditionally appears in the April issue, has had to be postponed until June.

Given we’ve spent the best part of a year at home, I’m sure two months will feel like no time at all. I look forward to seeing you all at the (home) front soon.