09/19/2012 02:55 pm ET

Love And Marriage: A 20th Century Romance, BBC Four, Review

“I took Dorothy to Sefton Park, and we sat down on a bench,” recalled the old man softly. “And I said, ‘Darling, I’ve got £25. Will you marry me?’”

It’s hard to imagine many suitors today using such a line (“Twenty-five quid? What are you going to do with it? Buy us a Chinese to celebrate?”). But it isn’t the sum itself that younger viewers will have found most striking. It’s the stating of any sum at all. To John Salinas, a Liverpudlian in the Merchant Navy, it was normal and right to apprise his beloved of his financial circumstances while proposing; and it must have seemed normal and right to her, too, because she accepted. This was the Forties – just a few decades back, yet a world away.