Smoking – Was It Really Like That In The 1930’s and 1950’s?

I’ve really been engaged by a key feature on two series recently shown on the BBC. They’re Steven Poliakoff’s ‘Dancing On The Edge’, a terrific piece about a Jazz Band in the 1930’s and the rather lighter ‘WPC 56’ about a young female police constable starting work in a previously all male station in yes, you’ve guessed it, 1956. In both BBC offerings more or less the whole cast smoked continuously to the point where for me, at least, it became an unpleasant diversion. I wasn’t around in the 1930’s, but I was in the 1950’s and, although it’s a long time ago, I don’t recall such a high percentage of the population smoking although, clearly, it was much higher than today. I’m all for gritty realism from the BBC, but was it really necessary to show such prodigious smoking in these two series or, for that matter, any other? It didn’t enhance either BBC offering one jot!