Come And See Us

Published September 14, 2013

It's Sweden in the late Seventies or early Eighties. You're sick and home from school. There's only two TV channels to watch. There's nothing on. Except school TV. You're a bit of an Anglophile, so you watch anything that's even remotely connected to England.

And if you're lucky, there it is: an episode of Come And See Us! Produced in 1977 to help Swedish pupils learn English. It's slooow. It's silly. It's...something that can't quite be put into words. But it's utterly delightful. It's cult TV at its most cult-ish. Briefly, two London-based siblings, Martin and Carol, are invited to visit their cousins, Janet and Alan, in the countryside over the summer holidays. They get up to all sorts of not-very-exciting "adventures" and....well, that's basically it.

This was never used in my school, at least not in my English classes. Yet, everyone I knew watched it if they were home sick from school and it happened to be on. A friend of mine even ordered two copies of the booklet that came with the series - one for her, one for me.

Anyway, Nicholas Lyndhurst fans, listen up! The TV series Only Fools And Horses was never broadcast in Sweden, as far as I can recall, but was huge in Great Britain (and possibly elsewhere as well, for all I know). The point is: no-one in Sweden knows who Nicholas Lyndhurst is. I remember being in London many years ago, picking up a VHS copy of Only Fools And Horses and somehow recognising one of the faces. "'s Alan!" Yes, dear readers, this is the dark history of Nicholas Lyndhurst's pre-Only Fools And Horses days. In Sweden no-one knows about this series - if they know him at all, it's as Alan in Come And See Us.

Annoyingly, I only ever thought to catch one episode of Come And See Us on video tape, episode two: "Where's Captain?". I've just uploaded it here. Someone else has uploaded episode one, "The 2 o'clock Train". I can only hope that the remaining three episodes, "Martin and the Dog", "I''ll Get You!" and "Have a Sandwich!" will also be uploaded some day. ("I'll Get You!" is the one I'd really like to see again.) I think this series says a lot about Sweden and Great Britain in the Seventies.

P.S. There was another Swedish school TV series entitled Switch On which starred a pre-fame Leslie Ash. And I also remember seeing an episode of another, similar series, the name of which escapes me, in which David Van Day of Dollar (way before his Dollar days) had a bit part. Fancy that!