1 Jan 2013

New year resolutions (in black and white)

As many of us pledge to make 2013 a year of change, Channel 4 News Picture Researcher Ian Searcey delves into the ITN archives to find out what new year resolutions we were making in the 1950s.

Yes, it is that time again when, facing a new year full of promise and opportunity, we all pledge to give up the smokes, shift some weight or stop spending 14 hours in front of a computer screen killing zombies.

In times past, at the end of the year ITN liked to send reporters out and about interviewing the great British public – or at least the ones they could find in the streets not far from their London headquarters in Kingsway – to find out what new year resolutions people were making and the chances of them being kept.

On new year’s eve 1956, Lynne Reid Banks met up with (amongst others) a sergeant-major on parade, a dancer and a local waitress about their planned resolutions for 1957. The sergeant major claims he will try to be more lenient (though his conscripts were no doubt less thrilled to hear him admit he never keeps his resolutions for long), the dancer promises “more kicks than 1956” while the waitress, Eileen, admits while it will be difficult, she plans not to be “so saucy” with the customers.

On 1 January, 1959, Neville Clark went in search of entertaining interviewees and found a number of people hoping for more peace in the world, a young lad who wants to “do all right in his job”, teenage girls promising not to get into any trouble with boyfriends, ladies resolving not to swear so much despite “office life being so trying”, and a man hoping to pick more winners in 1959.

A bowler-hatted gent neatly sums it up: “We all say we’re going to give up smoking, drinking and swearing…”

“Are you going to do that?” asks Clark.

“I don’t think so…”