THERE’S a scene in the film Funny Cow, set in 1970s northern clubland, where a stand-up comic raises a laugh, in a cloud of cigarette smoke, with a couple of gags that are ‘of their time’.

Today they would be classed as racist and homophobic jokes, and I winced hearing them out loud. But I was glad the film-makers didn’t cop out of portraying the reality of a working men’s club of nearly half a century ago. The scene would have lost all credibility if approached from a present-day perspective.

I remember such comics being on telly when I was a child in the Seventies. Mainstream entertainment was different back then. It doesn’t make it right - it’s just the way it was. We can’t airbrush the past to suit our 21st century sensibilities.

We are conditioned, when looking back, to be outraged about language and behaviour that is no longer acceptable. And when we’re not being outraged, we’re rolling our eyes in faux exasperation. We smirk at the dated camera-work and wobbly sets of black and white TV dramas, our jaws drop at the casual sexism of saucy sitcoms, we can’t believe newsreaders had comb-over hair and wore beige suits, or that people actually smoked on talk shows.

I recently watched some old telly clips on YouTube with my teenage niece who was bemused by the clipped vowels of children’s TV presenters and creepy public information films that my generation grew up with. It’s a world I remember well, but it’s alien to her.

It was, as we often say, a different time. That doesn’t excuse terrible behaviour by former national treasures that took years to come to light, or other unpleasant aspects of the era, but we can’t fully understand the past by applying the social mores of today.

A year or so ago Channel 4 ran a mildly amusing but mostly irritating show called It Was Alright in the 1970s in which hipster millennials balked at clips of sitcoms, quiz shows, news reports, drama serials and adverts reflecting the all-round tastelessness, sexism, homophobia and xenophobia of Seventies TV. I found their outrage patronising, tiresome and ultimately misplaced. It seems so arrogant to casually dismiss or ridicule the past because it offends us or doesn’t fall in line with our modern standards.

It goes without saying that society has moved on and our idea of what is and isn’t socially acceptable has changed, mostly for the better. But we can’t whitewash what has been before.

The same applies to attempts to discredit some public figures from history who, it turns out, weren’t perfect after all. The heroic status of Churchill has come under fire because of his actions as a military officer in Asia and Africa and his political views on eugenics. Born into privilege in the late 1800s, educated at Harrow and trained at Sandhurst, it’s hardly surprising he was a champion of the British Empire. But without him, 20th century history would have taken a different path.

The world has been shaped by flawed people. There have been many monarchs, military leaders, presidents, human rights campaigners, intellectuals and sporting heroes who had weaknesses or battled their own demons. None of them were saints. To learn from history, and our recent past, we have to put people and events into context. We think we know best, in our enlightened present day, but one day we too will be history, and the world will once again be a very different place.

And the know-all hipsters on Channel 4 clip shows will look as dated and ridiculous as the beige-suited, combed-over newsreaders of yesteryear.

* I’VE lost count of the Royal wedding-themed emails - promoting everything from luxury spa breaks to fancy teapots - I’ve had in recent weeks. A chicken bucket, transatlantic biscuits, Mr and Mrs pillowcases and swimsuits adorned with pictures of Harry and Meghan are among the merchandise available. Morrisons has created its own royal wedding cake. Elsewhere, there’s a pork pie (pictured), with the couple’s faces drawn in gravy granules...

Who buys this stuff? Never mind souvenir mugs - buying this tat turns us common folk into the biggest mugs of all.

* SUICIDE is the biggest killer of men under 45 in the UK. And the friends and family of those who take their own lives often say they didn't see it coming.

Men are far less likely than women to voice concerns, or talk generally about their feelings. And, while we're used to seeing women bare their souls in everything from teatime soaps to crime dramas, the issue of male mental illness is rarely tackled in TV drama.

What has made Coronation Street's male suicide storyline so compelling is that we didn't see it coming. Aidan Connor was a smooth factory boss who drove a flash car and charmed women. Why would he take his own life?

Often the signs are there, but men fall under the radar when it comes to seeking help. Even Alpha males like Aidan Connor.