TV Cream

100 Greatest TV Moments

93) “The only state is the state of your mind!”

Albion Free State bring anarchy to Open Door, 1974

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Another one that we’ve only got clips of from TV Hell, alas, but it sums it all up quite nicely. Like the above, this is an example of protest being thwarted by ineptitude, plus a reminder of a time when virtually everything went. The remit of Open Door was to provide a platform for parts of society to give across a message that wasn’t otherwise being heard on TV, and when Albion Free State called up to demand their right to tell the nation the future was anarchy, the production team more or less called their bluff by inviting them to say that on air. Their appearance backstage, as Mike Bolland recalls, was certainly something of an experience for all concerned with a wizard and monkey having a fight over BBC tea, but somewhere along the line the Beeb decided that, anarchy or not, they weren’t having more than three people on the air because that would be a rack et. This wasn’t to their liking so, according to the sign held up by the masked man at the start of their semi-party political broadcast, nobody would go on apart from… a tree. Plus two kitchen chairs and a sign saying “ALBION DANCES”. Someone stuck a tape recording of their manifesto on and for the next ten minutes, Bolland amused himself zooming in and out of the sign, the chairs and the tree. On a street corner this might have looked a bit odd, in a community centre even more so, but taking up ten minutes of prime time television it beggars belief and is, as Bolland points out, not just baffling and boring but also really quite scary. Yet nobody thought to stop it.

6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Neu75

    July 1, 2013 at 9:35 pm

    Since some of these clips are from TV Hell, what is the criteria for “greatest” in this list? Greatest list of cock-ups? Greatest worst television?
    Sometimes irony needs to be taken to a deserted barn somewhere and shot…

  2. THX 1139

    July 4, 2013 at 12:40 pm

    “Greatest” seems to mean “most entertaining”. Do TV Cream even do irony? Do they even say things like “We don’t do irony”? Do they do those air quotation marks ever?

  3. Richard16378

    July 4, 2013 at 1:35 pm

    In TV Cream it seemed to be “something of note” for better or worse.

  4. Applemask

    July 7, 2013 at 12:00 am

    I think they do ironic irony, or possibly ironic ironic irony. It’s an arbitrary list of things about which an amusing article can be written, just leave it at that.

  5. David Pascoe

    May 3, 2014 at 12:31 am

    Scary is correct. I watched and enjoyed TV Hell as a 16 year old in 1992, but I didn’t sleep that night after seeing this. And the same thing happened in 2000 when it turned up on Channel 4’s 100 Moments From Telly Hell.

  6. Glenn A

    October 28, 2017 at 3:17 pm

    Open Door, filmed on a budget of 10 new pence( as they would say in 1975), yet strangely compelling in a so bad it’s good way.
    Now then, TV Cream, how about a top 100 awful TV shows feature, from the 1965-95 Cream era, as there were some really awful programmes around that people still cringe about now.

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