Inevitably, talk of national treasures is a bit silly – and talk of ‘Liverpool national treasures’ doubly so. Nevertheless stuff like this is a bit irresistible isn’t it? We love to make lists – and we like to ensure that the people important to us, the people we think deserve a bit of recognition get their moment in the sun.
What makes a national treasure? Well, they tend to have been around a bit – you can’t have a brand new national treasure can you? Beyond that it’s anything goes. Beloved, unloved, mainstream, obscure – everyone sees things differently.
For us, the great Tom Baker – late of this parish – is a true national treasure, and he’s a scouser to boot, born somewhere near Scottie Road back in the 30s before heading off to a monastery, the theatre and then the TARDIS.
Tom’s not an obvious Liverpudlian, due to him sporting one of those old BBC/National Theatre RP accents, but his autobiography is full of affection for the city and memories of great street-corner pubs like the Legs of Man.
Many Streetfans saw an opportunity to pick some unlikely characters, but each to their own. What we were looking for were people who were genuine ‘national treasures’ who happen to come from Liverpool, but we got a kind of greatest hits of Liverpool, shorn of the some of the more obvious ones (Beatles et al) as we asked people to avoid them.
Captain Noel Chavasse though – who saw that one coming? Or Will Hay? And who could possibly object to Bessie Braddock? You kind of forget that people like Leonard Rossiter, Kenny Everett and Rex Harrison hail form the region. We’ll, er, gloss over Purple Aki, Derek Acorah and Pete Price eh?
Where are Paul McGann (and the others), Alexei Sayle, the Head Brothers, Jimmies Corkhill and McGovern or a dozen others? And who else is missing?
What do we learn from this? Very little really, although it does show that everyone has their fans, and everyone sees the good in someone and the word ‘hero’ means something different to everyone.
Liverpool’s ‘national treasures’
Captain Noel Chavasse
Tony Beep Beep
Bold Street Violin/Accordion guy
Googie the Liverpool Duck
Rod the Plod