How blissful. It’s Joanna Lumley, in a jumpsuit, on a boat. With summer days driftin’ away for all of us, we thought we’d share some picture postcards from other Cream era celebs on holiday, or just relaxing. Click on the images below to see them in their full glory.
THE GREAT DIGITAL SWITCHOVER (and that really should have been its official name) is almost over.
Only south-east England, north-east England and Northern Ireland are still to make the change.
By the autumn of 2012, we’ll have said goodbye to analogue – or, if you’d rather, Anna Logue – for good. But we’ll also have said so long to Digit Al: mascot, icon and safely asexual children’s entertainer.
This approachable android with a penchant for transmitter frequencies and gigantism has only a few months of service remaining.
How he will be missed, from billboards and full-page advertisements to school assemblies and citizen’s advice bureaus across the land.
He even had his own favourite words, including doobiwotsit, spagcable (“delightfully un-PC”, as Radio Times’s Alison Graham would say) and anazapper.
We’re not entirely sure if the Digit Al toys on eBay are legitimate. We’ve just been on the phone to Nick Ross, who tells us that if you’re thinking of snapping one up, remember to look for the government’s official “digital tick”. Failing that, a John Major Citizen’s Charter “Charter Mark” will do. (In fact, if it has one of those, it could be worth double!)
Anyway, by way of a salute to Al and to mascots of national consciousness-raising campaigns down the decades, we present a few snapshots from his tireless travels.
SPOILER: Contains one of ITV’s Daybreak presenter-failures.
1) Here’s our man on the very first of his roadshows. If you want come down, the local bus routes are 19, 35 or 46:
2) That Albert Square sign doesn’t look canon. Then again neither does Dot’s outfit. Who knew Al was so tall?
3) If only our assemblies had been like this. The best we could hope for was a visit from the local lollipop lady:
4) Al’s mission has taken him across the nations and regions, those all-important props always by his side:
5) Every transmitter tower should have one:
6) Oh dear, this is no good at all. Perhaps our man was suffering from Al-titude sickness. At least there’s no sign of the Midlands miserablist:
7) Boris Johnson promised to send one of these over-sized calculators to every home in Greater London*:
8) A man and his people. We’ll miss you, Digit Al!
*This might not be true.See post
It’s been three years since we last did this, so let’s see if we can’t get those search queries shooting up once again.
1) Man on far right: “No Norman, the pig’s not the one up there…”
2) Ted Heath provides the Not The Nine O’clock News scriptwriters with an easy win:
3) White heat not pictured:
4) Obligatory picture of John Prescott looking undignified:
5) Rumours that John Major was merely a puppet prime minister are proved true:
6) Uncle Jim acknowledges the crowd; Luigi Vercotti looks on:
7) Hair apparent:
8) Evil Edna makes a surprise guest appearance:See post
It’s a truly historic week for British TV. Blue Peter has broadcast its last ever episode from Television Centre. The show has now shipped off for its summer expedition, and when it returns it’ll be based in shiny Salford. To mark the occasion, here’s a quick pictorial tribute to… The TV Centre Years.See post
From 1979, a big TV Cream no-prize for whoever is first in the comments to identify which TV show Harry H Corbett was appearing on, as pictured here, in 1979. CLUE: It was screened again one afternoon on BBC1 in 2002.
FURTHER CLUE: It’s not GIVE US A CLUE. He did that in 1982.See post
It’s the new money, you know!
Move over Meryl, it’s Maureen!
Yes, here’s our very own Lipman with *lippy man* (do you see?) Ken Livingstone in one of the GLC’s many many publicity shots to promote some anniversary, concert, initiative or other.
We’ve multiple gimmicks to enjoy here, as not only is Ken about to be “beheaded” by “Maggie”, but towering behind them is an enormous birthday cake seemingly as big as County Hall itself. If you look closely, you’ll see it’s not even a birthday of any consequence, just 95 years of local government in London. Yet frankly who cares, when you’ve got *four* 1980s icons jostling for attention.See post
A few months back Lionel Blair clocked up 60 – count ‘em, Cliff – years in showbusiness.
He’s still going strong, albeit most often as the target of jokes on I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue (cue deafening audience response), and through the years has never been backwards in coming forwards (cue deafening audience response) when it comes to photo calls.
So by way of a belated tribute, here’s a picaresque, if not especially picturesque, saunter through Maestro Blair’s back pages.
1) It’s April 1990, and here’s one Lionel a-leaping to publicise a forthcoming attempt at the world’s largest tap dance, scheduled for 6 May outside Allders department store in Croydon. Whether the mass hoof was a success, whether it involved the Coldstream Guards and/or the Roly Polys, indeed whether it took place at all, doesn’t really seem to matter now:
2) Back to July 1979, and here’s Lionel breaking open the bubbly to celebrate Sir Clifford’s 21st anniversary in “the business”. Five Simon Mayo mystery year points if you can name the complete set:
3) Now we’re in July 1996, and the twilight years of John Major’s government. But there’s clearly one *Blair* John’s only to happy to see in his back garden:
4) June 1969 in Leeds city centre, and Brucie is greeting his people. These were the days when it was enough for a celebrity to go on a mere motoring excursion for an entire municipal borough to grind to a halt. Or maybe they just wanted to see Cilla. Step inside, love!
5) We’re now in June 1998, and Lionel is consorting with lords (steady!) in order to promote Help the Aged, specifically a grand public line dance on piers across the country. Personally we’d rather see a line dance on peers, Melvyn Bragg and Dickie Attenborough excepted:
6) June 1995, and the society wedding of the year! No, not Lionel and Sue, but Les Dennis (40) and Amanda Holden (24). In his role as usher, Lionel’s chief task was preventing Sue from launching into a lusty chorus of We’re Starting Together:
7) Last but not least, here’s an undated snap of Lionel trying to out-Charleston the World Charleston Champion of 1928. Lord Grade appears to be attempting to pull a ‘duh’ face, so beloved of primary school playgrounds c. 1982, while Lionel merely grins while taking it from behind:See post
Atten-shun! It’s a PICTURE BOX special investigation, into the photographic habits of one Alistair Gordon Chunky Splink Lethbridge Hyphen-or-no-Hyphen Stewart of the Government’s Killing Aliens Division, UNIT! And if you ever thought the Brig was a bit of a Colonel Blimp character, think again – it’s Colonel Blink, stuffing up not one but three Doctor Who photoshoots circa 1970, by failing to have his eyes open at the all important “cheese” moment. Damn his optics!
Here’s the next piece of evidence….
C’mon Alistair, one more try…
Oh, for the love of…! Dunno about UNIT. More like nit!See post
Text from us almost wholly redundant in light of the visual joyfulness. So, let’s give you this: It’s 1968 (just Cream era, then) and Val, Pete and John are in the studio indulging in a spot of ‘foal’ play…See post
The second portrait in TV Cream’s occasional series of lovely-pictures-without-a-remit. And look who it isn’t? Good old Justin Bennett off of GRANGE HILL!
Played by Robert Craig Morgan, Justin propped up the first five series of the school soap performing a kind of guileless Walter the Softy-type role. Then he fell off a wall and regenerated into Matthew Pearson. Er, that is right, isn’t it?See post
Taking advantage of the acres of pixel space now opened on the front page of TV Cream, we start an occasional series of lovely-pictures-without-a-remit.
This time around it’s this snap from a photoshoot for the first series of NOT THE NINE O’CLOCK NEWS. Rowan Atkinson, of course, absent. Presumably he was busy somewhere with the “first team” of comedy. But, from left to right: a rare cigar-less Mel Smith, Chris “Anything we put in here by way of a descriptor would be ill-advised” Langham and Strictly Come Dancing’s Pamela Armstrong.
Keep watching TV Cream for another lovely-picture-without-a-remit soon!See post
Thanks to that unexpected repeat of a 1987-vintage episode of Wogan the other night, it was possible to take a good, hard look at the armoury Tel deployed on telly to such effect for so long.
And what an armoury. Many were on display during that episode, as indeed they seemed to be during every episode. There always was a lot more to old Wogan’s act than merely the “I don’t know what’s going on here but I wish it would stop” stuff.
Anyway, TV Cream has sallied forth, as the great man himself would say, unto the technological interface that is the screengrab in order to assemble an anatomy of a Wogan.
First, the opening gambit:
Note how our host doesn’t simply walk on set; rather he engages in some visual badinage with his first musical guests, simultaneously acknowledging and patronising them with a mock-bow. Cheeky, but charming. Then instead of walking to the front of the stage, our man gambols and skips into position, gently tickling the conventions of chat. Once in place, the gurning can begin:
Two examples of how to pull off the tricky task of engaging with the camera, yet not actually looking into it. Tel looks a little undignified to begin with, but soon finds his poise, hands clasped in front, ready to discharge another peroration. Time to look the viewer straight in the eye:
Now we’ve stepped up a gear and are witnessing Wogan’s wheezes at full pelt. First we have the nonplussed shrug of the shoulders, deflating whatever pomposity was evident in tonight’s line-up. Note the slight tilt of the head – we’ll see more of this shortly. Second, the wide-eyed stare of delightful desperation. Old Tel’s up to his old tricks again! But wait, there’s more:
Wogan cranks up the corn still further, essaying first a worried glance to the heavens, then a toothy explosion of hilarity. Phew! Now that the climax has been reached, our man can move to the conversation area and deploy his next battery of whimsy…
…whoa! Wogan goes for not simply a tilt of the head but an entire body swerve. This is masterful stuff, coupled as it is with feigned gestures of falling asleep at the prospect of meeting tonight’s guests. Speaking of which, let’s introduce the first batch, with a little kick of the leg to reassure viewers that he is actually enjoying things after all. Tch! Once the music is done with, it’s time for the chat. Let’s examine two examples of the Wogan-as-questioner pose:
First, a tightly-framed shot of the man at ease with his surroundings and supplicants. His interlocked hands rest on crossed legs, to help put his guests entirely in a state of good grace. In the wide shot we see Tel is resting his hands on the arm of his swivel chair, legs splayed in front in a manner that seems to have disarmed Messrs Peel and Blackburn completely. Note the shiny shoes – every inch of Wogan seems perfectly groomed for early-evening telly. Finally, two examples of Wogan testing the BBC Television Theatre to destruction by virtue of a bit of multi-media magic and some good old-fashioned prop silliness:
Smitty and Bungalow are totally upstaged by our man, even though he’s barely a couple of inches high. Then, for good measure, Tel pretends an ordinary garden rose is some kind of joke flora that is about to emit a stream of water. The ideal note upon which to bid viewers farewell.
And there you have it: an anatomy of a Wogan, where all aspects of the man – expression, appearance, pose (both standing and sitting) and presence both alone and in company – are functioning in harmony.
Hope you were taking notes, DG.
Next week: Anatomy of a Jameson*.
*No it isn’t.See post
Posing for this world exclusive shot in the gardens behind Downing Street are the individuals who are to comprise the senior ministers in the first coalition government this country has had for almost 70 years.
We’re sure you’ll agree this is a historic photograph.
But just who are these noble practitioners of statescraft, hoping to guide Britain into a brave new world of cross-party huckstering?
A gonk personally signed by Ramsay MacDonald to the first person who can successfully name all (or as many as possible) of the figures featured in the picture.
And for the second person… a gonk personally signed by Ramsay MacDonald to share for five years with someone of diametrically opposed political opinions to yourself! (SATIRE)See post
By way of a tribute:
1) Ludo launches, and lunches, his splendidly-titled autobiography, On The Way To The Club:
2) Back when the mark of a man was the size of the podium microphone:
3) A by-election in Rochdale in 1958; John E Parkinson (Conservative), Jack McCann (Labour) and Ludo (Liberal) wait for the green light:
4) …see?See post
By way of a hat-doff to the party conference season, here’s Shirley Williams (“a dear gal, a lovely sweet gal”) hoping to break the mould with a few mates. But who are they? Three points plus a life-size cut-out of Bill Rodgers to whoever gets the full set.See post
Meet Pudsey Bear mark 1. Save for this photo, he seems to have been airbrushed out of history – perhaps wisely.
Presumably Michael Grade arrived at the Beeb, took one look at this scruffy unkempt ragamuffin and demanded a makeover. And then he ordered a new Pudsey as well.See post