No, it’s not 1979 again, because like Doctor Who (it’s exactly like that), the numbering has started from scratch again. The first of these the other night was entertaining enough, helped out by a decent number of clips from Blue Peter, albeit they won’t have been new to any regular viewers. What was great, though, was that the clip with a “dead” Liz corpsing was included within a set of clips of dramas, alongside proper programmes like Doc Martin. Those historicals really were impressive.
Creamguide (Films) was lucky enough to see Graham Linehan’s mega-fab stage remount of this earlier in the year – made all the more enjoyable by realising that one of the cast was the ‘…cause of great saaaaad-nessssss to us all!’ bloke from the old Harry Hill show – and while we wait for the hopefully inevitable DVD (though there’s still no sign of Ghost Stories), here’s a chance to enjoy the original. The proper original original. As for that Coen Brothers remake, it’s worth pointing out that one of the Creamguide compilers is a massive fan of the Coens and has seen everything they’ve done, including the one with Catherine Zeta Jones in, but is genuinely unable to remember if he’s actually seen their version or not. Still, at least nobody’s got their remaking fingers on Twisted Nerve yet.
Back on BBC4 after its shift to BBC2 last year, this is now the only time of the year we get the classic ‘wipe format back on the box, albeit he was doing very similar stuff on the perennially disappointing Ten O’Clock Live for some of the year (it’s coming back, and the first change they can make is to stop worrying we can’t concentrate for more than two minutes and not cut every item off just as it’s getting interesting). Few can do this kind of thing with as much wit and charm as Charlton, in any case, so we’re always pleased to take another visit to his flat.
Will the patterns of the swirling flakes surrender any information as to the big media stories of the next 12 months?
By goodness, no fewer than 15 eventualities have suggested themselves.
But which is most likely to come to pass?
You can pick up to five. We’ll close the poll when the result is one that we like.
Vote early and often!
It’s always great to see this series back, not least because with ten shows it carries on well into January so it still feels like Christmas for longer, and also because the questions are easier so it makes us feel clever (especially when it’s at a time of the year we’re more likely to be watching it with other people). Obviously having to find forty celebrities for this series means some are less famous than others, hence why Chris Packham is the most famous one here and we’ve had to Google the rest of them. Still, we’re not watching it for the A-listers, and it’s bound to be loads of fun regardless.
You know how we like our Cold War spies battling big supercomputers with red lightbulbs in a cage on them around here, and they don’t come much better, nor indeed much more Portishead-sampled, than this debut outing for Michael Caine’s espionage expert Harry Palmer, who investigates the brainwashing of UK scientists whilst making tea, thereby unwittingly providing the template for the entire Jon P’twee era of Doctor Who, only with the Silurians standing in for the ‘Russians’. This is the one you really don’t want to miss today.
Sweeney Todd – The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street
It isn’t really in Creamguide (Films)’ remit to ‘big up’ more recent cinematic offerings, especially as the vast majority have horrible compressed sound and that annoying colour scheme that make them look like they were all shot on that weird blue-ish film stock they used to use for Public Information Films only with the contrast and brightness both turned right the way up (and less Patrick Mower voiceovers), but here’s one that both looks and sounds like it hails from a much more aesthetically satisfying timeframe and is well worth checking out. Tim Burton takes the chair with his name stencilled on the back for this sixties Brit-horror pastiching (there’s even a bit of Carry On Screaming in there) adaptation of Stephen Sondheim’s stage musical based on the life and crimes of London’s most macabre hair-clipper, with Johnny Depp in the title role doing his best impersonation of David Bowie singing The Gospel According To Tony Day (and speaking of early Bowie, check out the recent DVD release of Anthony Newley’s deconstructionist sitcom The Strange World Of Gurney Slade, which more than lives up to the promise of its title). That said, no adaptation of the Sweeney Todd legend could ever be as unintentionally terrifying as the Two Ronnies”Teeny Todd’.
Well this sounds fascinating, as it’s delving into the archives to bring out all kinds of stuff, including long-forgotten Saturday teatime miscellany Clunk Click, and, we hope, a bit of Quiz Bingo (“Aberdeen are assisted by cheeky Chris! How about that! And Glasgow Royal Infirmary are helped by Heather! Hnuuugh!”). Then at half eleven is his obit from the other week which, like the man himself, is intriguing and eccentric, and is worth it for Nicky Campbell’s brilliant impression of him (“That is like right good!”). If only he’d done that as a career and not his awful radio shows.
RKO-shotputted Film Noir-hued attempt at ‘doing’ voodoo for the Brief Encounter demographic – you can keep your Walking Dead, pal – which would easily win CREAMGUIDE (FILMS) FILM OF THE WEEK for that reason alone, yet also comes accompanied by the hilarious tale of a hapless TVC staffer once excitedly setting the timer for an overnight showing in the mistaken belief that it was one of them there Video Nasties.
Another festive staple that has bounced around the channels in recent years, we reckon it’s found the right home here, its mix of brain-bending fun feeling just right on BBC4, until Delivering Quality First messes the whole channel up completely. Enjoy it while you can, today, tomorrow and Thursday.
Finally here’s some unexpurgated Eric and Ern, off of 1976, the one with the Sweeney and Angela Rippon, and also one we don’t think was written by Eddie Braben, which begs the question as to why they flopped so badly when he wasn’t there on ITV. Clearly it was the rest of the production working in such harmony, as we’ll see again here.
22.00, Channel 5
Surprisingly, despite its Cream-era ubiquity soundtrack-led ubquity (doubly so if you have sisters), it seems that we’ve never actually billed Patrick Swizzle’s finest filmic hour before now. Though there was once a bit of mailout excitement about George And The Dragon, a 2004 film which paired Swayze with none other than Bill Treacher, a combo which “we can only hope led to discussions on the relative choreographical problems of dancing with Jennifer Gray in a lift and thrusting bananas off the sideboard in one’s pyjamas and dressing gown”. Anyway, Dirty Dancing is quite fun if you’re in the mood for mindless nostalgo-romantic choreographed chicanery, and (I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life is pretty good as these sort of film themes go, especially the bit where it sort of goes into You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’. Did Bill Medley own a copy of Neil’s Heavy Concept Album then?
We’re thrilled to see this moved back in the schedules compared to recent years because it means it won’t clash with Mince Pie Time much at all. Anyway, here’s the big news from our spy at the screening – this year’s episode is the best Dr Who Christmas Special since Dr Who and The Satsuma. Sure, as per recent efforts there’s no proper monster, but otherwise The Doctor, The Widow And The Wardrobe (we would have gone with Na-na-Narnia, Na- na-Narnia, Wahey, Goodbye) is perfect fare for today. It looks pretty, it’s quite soppy, there’s a needless reference to a Peter Davidson adventure in there, plus Dr Who Matt Smith and gang arsing around in a time-travelling snow globe. Enough, in short, to stop viewers nipping off for a mini pizza or a slice of orange cheese.
Big screen adaptation of Costa cop drama pitting Tony Haygarth against terrorists intending to blow up Granada TV headquarters with drums of olive oil which he foils by waving his walking stick at them and looking out of breath and sweaty before he goes back to his boat. Oh no wait, it’s Charlton ‘Wigg’ Heston. As you were.
It’s that series of ‘audio reports’ badged up as TV Cream’s 10 Favourite Christmas Telly Treats now compiled into one big fat podcast (with some fun little extra bits)!
And so this is Christmas TV. Across a fun 53 minutes, we bring together our 10 favourite shows to have aired during the festive season. Although we shan’t reveal here which programmes turn up in which position, we can advise you you’ll be hearing a bit of: Sir Jim’ll, the Nativity wrought in paper puppetry, offal tubes, Colin Baker, Cuddly Ken, Edward Heath’s ding-a-ling, “Cupid!”, some television firsts, an inch-worm and, of course, “And a h-happy Noo Year!”
You can download TV Cream’s 10 Favourite Christmas Telly Treats from TV Cream; you can subscribe to it via iTunes; or you can listen to it right here:
Finally, we’d just like to say: HAVE A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS!Read More
12.00, Channel 4
Nice to see this mob have finally shrugged off their annual post-ironic scheduling wank when they put on hopelessly self-conscious ‘alternative’ films. At last they appear to have grown up and have taken to rolling out this, the perfect Christmas film. Michael ‘unusual stain’ Caine has never been better (not hard) and although the Rizzo-to-Sam ratio is way out there’s nothing to find fault with. What’s not to like about a giant furry spider Miles Malleson?
Now there’s a title and a half! John’s never really got the credit he deserves over the years as the friendly face of facts of kids TV, because while he always came across as a bit square, he was clearly hugely enthusiastic about his work and genuinely interested in what kids had to say, and was equally affable on Swap Shop and SuperStore as well. He’s been on Countryfile for even longer, and perhaps unexpectedly now finds himself as the star of one of BBC1′s most successful shows. The likes of Noel and Martin Bell are contributing here, and we do hope it includes the story about when he stopped saying “hello again” for a bit but had to bring it back as parents were writing in complaining their kids were distraught they couldn’t say hello back.
And so this is Christmas! So, what is TV Cream’s Favourite Ever Christmas Telly Treat? Simply click on this link to discover, or listen to it below.
Thanks for joining us this week. All our ‘audio reports’ (plus special extra fun bits) will be able to download compiled into one handy podcast tomorrow from 10am.Read More
23.10, Channel 5
There is clearly no finer way to spend the first hour of Christmas Eve being seriously disturbed by Hugh ‘exquisite flopply-dopplys’ Paddick talking about his Lincoln Green cutting into his hips. Still, of all the subsequent Ups this is the best one. Which isn’t much of a recommendation. Especially since for another three quid they could’ve had Pompeii.