19. Devolution – From Pimlico to Manchester

The UK currently finds itself in an extremely tumultuous political state. Following Brexit it is clear that there are fractured areas of opinion across the country, and associated wounds that need healing. Throw into this mix the advent of devolved power to certain areas across the country and the outlook appears even more difficult to untangle. So where should we look to for guidance? Where should we turn to for help? Well, to the past of course, and specifically to the classic 1949 comedy, Passport to Pimlico.


A black-and-white Ealing Comedy starring Stanley Holloway and set in post-war London might not be the most obvious choice for a podcast that is devoted to investigating the science fact behind science fiction film. However, the situation that is presented in Passport to Pimlico (i.e. an area of London that becomes segregated from the rest of the UK following the enactment of some ancient and bizarre legislature) bears a number of similarities with the situation that both the UK finds itself in post-Brexit, and that Manchester is preparing itself for in the build-up to Devolution (the transfer of certain powers and responsibilities from national government to a particular region). Given the age of the film, it is not too much of a stretch to consider it to be a science fiction film of its era, and one which has ended up being far more prescient than some of the films that have been covered by this podcast.


In this episode we talk to Dr Steve Millington, Senior Lecturer in Human Geography at Manchester Metropolitan University, about both the film and the current political situation of the UK and Manchester. We also talk at length about the distinction between social and physical sciences, cover the Blackpool illuminations and ponder the possibility of a Russian invasion of Scotland. Enjoy the podcast, and here’s to the Burgundy Lido!



Listen to this related episode

12. Ecology – No Sense In Being Killed By A Plant

In this episode of the podcast, the team chat to Dr Hannah Mossman about the science fact behind the sci-fi classic ‘The Day of The Triffids’, and we find out why you should never water your plants with sea water…