Q&A with Judy Bailey

Q&A with Judy Bailey

You’re back with another season of Decades In Colour. Why do you think viewers responded so strongly to season one?
I just think that there’s a real hunger out there for a bit of our own history. People really like to see what’s made them who they are. The home movies, while people may think, ‘Oh my god, how dull,’ are absolutely fascinating. They’re little slices of social history really so it’s been a joy to do another one.

The first season was told by decade but this season is divided into themes, what are the ideas behind the episodes?
Yes there’s work, home and play and it is extraordinary to see how far we’ve come and how life has changed.
The hours that we’re working now are so much longer. Back in the 60s, you worked a 9-5 day and usually you had a lunch hour and there were tea breaks as well, but now everybody’s attached to a computer and you just work incessantly. The advent of computers and cellphones has also just completely changed the way we live and work. I think we’ve made enormous gains but we’ve also lost a lot because when you think back to the 40s, 50s, 60s, the weekends were sacrosanct, weren’t they? They were family times and now often one member of the family is working so it’s much harder to get those condensed family times together.

The stunning footage makes it easy to get sentimental for the ‘good old days’ but the times weren’t always so picture perfect, were they?
No it wasn’t perfect, it wasn’t perfect at all. I think possibly, physically it was more demanding but mentally I think it’s more demanding now. I think we have so much more going on whereas times were simpler then, there weren’t so many demands. Perhaps it was blissful ignorance, but I think today, parents have a lot more expectations placed on them about raising children.  Women didn’t have the opportunities that they have now and I think we have a lot to thank the feminist movement of the 70s for in raising people’s consciousness and asking questions that changed the way women were perceived.

Do you have old home movies yourself? Have you ever thought about making a submission?
I don’t actually have very many movies, I’ve got a few of the children but nothing that would be terribly interesting, I don’t think. But then a lot of people have said that and there are absolute gems there so I probably should put my money where my mouth is and delve into the attic.

This season you also look at the 80s, what are your memories from that time?
Bad fashion. Bad fashion, long lunches and dodgy sharemarkets. It was a time of tumultuous change in New Zealand so this series really is a chance to look back at our own history and to gather around the telly as a family and kind of marvel at how far we’ve come. But also get a bit nostalgic for the way things were and especially those wonderful family times that we had together.

Everyone has a video camera in their pocket now. What do you think Decades In Colour in the 21st century will look like?
I think there will always be an interest in the history of our nation and a digital version will be every bit as good as what we have now. Everyone is constantly using a smartphone and you’ve always got it with you so there’s always coverage of any event that might happen and it will be a rich resource. But the problem with digital stuff is it often goes missing. Back everything up, because you never know when it’s going to come unstuck and then you’ve lost this absolute treasure trove of memories that can be so valuable down the track.