Now that ‘An Education’ is out on general release, we have a never-ending queue of people happy to tell us where we have made mistakes with early-60s period detail. My mother-in-law is very anxious about a Pyrex dish in an early scene. (The word ‘Pyrex’ was invented by the glassware company in 1915.) Somebody else was troubled by the appearance of a tea-bag. (If you care, the tea-bag celebrated its one hundredth birthday this year.) A film critic who gave us a five-star review told the producers that the construction “I was so hoping…” was a verbal anachronism, and that ‘so’ plus gerund was imported from Australia in the 1970s . . .
It’s not just the period you have to get right, clearly. If you have set a film or a book at a time within the last seventy-odd years, then it’s people’s memories of the period you have to respect, too. If they don’t remember tea-bags, then you’ve had it.