Brian Watson. Writer. Director. Author. Lyricist

Book - Black Jacks, Fruit Salads, Cricket Stumps On The Wall...

To grow up in the 1950s was a wonderfully exhilarating experience. A time of real austerity, yet such a happy time. As the clouds of war were finally blown away, it was a time of un-rationed laughter. A time of pure excitement. For the first time in many, many years there was a future; a future that you could feel, see and smell. The 'all clear' had finally sounded, the blackout curtains had been drawn back for good. It was on with the demob suit, ready to blow the froth off the top of an inviting glass of stout.

This is a light-hearted look at the moment in time, as seen through the eyes of a young boy growing up in London, just a stone's throw from the famous Lambeth Walk. If you were around at this time, this verse will make you smile, then that smile will grow to become the echo of the fun these words will inspire you to remember so fondly.

As the BBC's 'Listen with Mother' presenters used to say. 'Are you sitting comfortably? Then we will begin'.

Black Jacks, Fruit Salads, Cricket Stumps On The Wall... book cover
A 1950s moment in time

Do you remember sucking aniseed balls until your tongue was red? Pretending to be Hitler with a tin hat on your head? Going to Saturday morning pictures with cap guns, lead soldiers and The Beano in your pocket? Playing cricket with stumps chalked onto a wall? Trying your first cigarette on the walk home from school? I recall these and many other magical moments from my 1950s London childhood and bring the era vividly back to life with my funny, evocative verse and stunning photographic recreations of the time.

1950s policeman chases youth
Great Reviews
  • Book testimonial from Dame Judi Dench

    Brian has produced a most charming and affectionate book about a time that many of us remember and is informative to those who don't.

    Dame Judi Dench. Actress
  • Book testimonial from Ray Winstone

    Each page of Brian's wonderful book paints a picture of freedom and of pride, whether you were there or not.

    Ray Winstone. Actor
Brian Watson at the Waterstones 'Black Jacks, Fruit Salads, Cricket Stumps On The Wall...' book signing
Buy Yours

'Black Jacks, Fruit Salads, Cricket Stumps On The Wall...' is available from Amazon and other great retailers.

Buy from Amazon

Where the story was born

Doin' the Lambeth Walk!

I was born in the early hours of the morning, on an unusually hot October day, the place, Lambeth Hospital in Kennington, South East London. I was such an ugly baby, the doctor slapped everyone else in the room.
Within a few months of my birth, the 1950s were born, a time of real austerity, yet such a happy time. As the clouds of war were finally blown away, it was a time of un-rationed laughter. Growing up in London, just a stone’s throw from the famous Lambeth Walk was a wonderfully exhilarating experience. Being surrounded by a large family, mostly living in or around the same street, paved the way for a real fun childhood.
I lived with my Mum, Edith and my Dad, John at 139, Ethelred Street, Kennington. The house was so damp, the gutters were on the inside. The house was pulled down in the early 60s to make way for slums.
It wasn't too many years before my Mum found a little baby girl 'under a gooseberry bush' in the back yard, her name was Pauline. To this day I don't understand, as there wasn't a gooseberry bush in the back yard.

My dad was a Postman, he had letters after his name. There wasn't much money, but there was always food on the table, there were always smart clothes to wear, albeit someone had worn them before. Most importantly, there was so, so much love to go round.
Kennington echoed to the sound of laughter, with my 22 aunts and uncles, each of them a comic in their own right, "you were constantly drying your undies".

Thanks to

With thanks to Bread and Shutter, the book's photographer. View more of his brilliant work at

Coming soon

  • Friends In High Places

    This is a tragic, but funny story. If it were a movie, it would be classified as a 'Romcom'.
    It's the story of a young designer, James who loses his wife Ali to that thug called cancer. Very soon, James is reunited with Ali, at 35,000feet. This causes much confusion, fear and concern to the airline's cabin crew.
    When Ali introduces James to many of the world's famous dead people on board the aircraft, the crew start to doubt James' sanity.
    Like all good Romcoms, the book has a romantic and happy ending.
    I had better get on with it.

  • Selling the Papers

    A book that takes you behind the scenes of the TV ads that sold one of our biggest newspapers for over 30 years.
    I have worked in the Advertising industry for over 50 years. I tell how I entered the business by accident and went on to Create, Write and Direct well over 2,000 TV Spots for the Daily Mail, and other clients. The stories behind the ads are sometimes side splitting and sometimes beyond belief.
    How making ads for a National Newspaper got me arrested at gunpoint, on The Mall. How I found himself in a very embarrassing situation with the late Diana, Princess of Wales. When myself and my crew were followed round London by the KGB. How my car, containing a high class whore was followed up the M1 Motorway by another National Newspaper in a Helicopter. What it was like to be standing in Prince Charles's bedroom at Highgrove, and be ushered away as Camilla was about to arrive. How the wind machine tore up £50,000 in cash. How locals, on location in Devon, threatened my life, and that of my crew.
    The famous faces and celebrities I've worked with. How Tess Daly saved me from the tantrums of Bruce Forsyth. The absolutely hilarious meeting, and shoot day with Norman Wisdom. The day Michael Caine held court on a shoot on Black Wednesday. The bitter battle with Edwina Curry. Who was the celebrity I threw out of the studio? Having the beautiful Joan Collins lying on my lap watching the playbacks.
    The stories of me and my crew are hilarious. I believe all the fun made for a happy crew. And that, I know showed on the celluloid. It made for brilliant commercials that sold product.

Brian Watson. Writer. Commercials Director. Author. Lyricist

Where you'll find the finest creative thinking. Where communication problems are very quickly solved with the simplest creative solutions, produced to the highest possible quality of production, and always within budget.
By extending that same creative thinking, those big ideas which helped grow many of the world's biggest brands, into other areas of the arts and entertainment, there's a much wider understanding of communications. Direct a message to one person, and everyone will listen.
Brian Watson: Writer. Commercials Director. Author. Lyricist

Call 07831327963 or Email