• Patrick Younge

The British Blacklist Review – 80% #OUTOF100 – Cosby: Fall of an American Icon

I’m still processing what it all really means. It’s possible my TV dad is a rapist? Huh? Saying it out loud; seeing it written down seems silly. So many things to unpack… Your TV dad? Huh? He’s a rapist? What?


If I think of all the TV dads I watched growing up, Ralph Waite as John Walton, Sr. from The Waltons (1971 – 1981). Michael Landon as Charles Ingalls from Little House on the Prairie (1974 – 1983). Conrad Bain as Philip Drummond from Diff’rent Strokes (1978 – 1986); Paul Reiser as Michael Taylor and Greg Evigan as Joey Harris as the dads in My Two Dads (1987 – 1990). We had Dan Lauria as Jack Arnold from The Wonder Years (1988 – 1993). John Goodman as Dan Conner from Roseanne (1988 – 1997) and I think the last dads to make it on my approval list before I became less dependent on TV were James Avery as Phillip Banks from The Fresh Prince of Bel Air (1990 – 1996) and Kurtwood Smith as Reginald “Red” Forman from That 70s Show (1998 – 2006). But all these great TV dads couldn’t hold a candle to when Bill Cosby as Doctor Heathcliff Huxtable from The Cosby Show (1984 – 1992) entered my life.


Like millions of people across the globe Cliff Huxtable represented the dad we didn’t have, the dad we wished our real dad to be or for the lucky ones he reminded us of our dad. The Cosby Show aired on Channel 4 in 1985 on a Sunday evening if my memory serves me correctly. Becoming one of Channel 4’s most popular shows at the time.


Without the choice we have today, TV was precious to us. Most shows during the 80s were family events, with everyone sitting down to tune in to the few popular shows which aired on one of our three channels.


When Channel 4 was launched as an alternative to the stuffy BBC 1, BBC 2 and ITV/Channel 3, it made sense that the cool child of British TV would take a risk on a black American sitcom about an obstetrician, his lawyer wife and 5 children.


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