A bit of business

The 50 Greatest Things About Match Of The Day

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The warhorse of football highlights turns fifty years old on 22nd August. It’s had its ups and downs along the way but remains, despite everything, the place we turn to of a Saturday night between August and May. Time, then, for us to pay tribute to its finest moments…

1. “As you can hear we’re in Beatleville”
Highlights had been shown on Saturday nights since 1959 and ITV had actually shown a live league game in 1960 as part of an experiment the Football League instantly brought a halt to, but it wasn’t until Kenneth Wolstenholme and a BBC outside broadcast unit pitched up at Anfield on 22nd August 1964 that football highlights became a standard part of television culture.

2. The 1967 Charity Shield
It was supposed to be the first game ever shown in colour, but the special VT machine broke down. Never mind, we did get Ken being completely confused by Pat Jennings scoring from a long kickout and then hailing Bobby Charlton’s howitzer as “good enough to win the league, the cup, the World Cup and even the Grand National”

3. Sandy Brown’s own goal
A moment everyone seems to recall, Brown headed into an open net in the Merseyside derby. “He must wish the ground could open up” declared a sympathetic David Coleman.

4. Barry Davies
Poetic of linguistics, stern of moral, appealingly clipped of description (see the first comment here from his first commentary on the programme), it’s hard to think Barry was was originally an ITV man, covering Granada and working the 1966 World Cup. When Brian Moore was brought in from BBC radio he saw he wasn’t required, jumped ship and became the purist’s choice until leaving in 2004. Refused to state his birthplace until after his retirement from the programme lest he be accused of bias (Islington, for the record)

5. Ronnie Boyce’s volley
The cameras were at West Ham’s game at Manchester City to catch Jimmy Greaves’ debut; they got that, and a goal, but better still was City’s Joe Corrigan booting the ball downfield on an allotment patch of a pitch only for Boyce to smack the ball straight back from near enough the halfway line.

6. Barry Stoller’s masterwork
Debuted in 1970 by the library music composer, the theme was named the most recognisable TV theme in
the country by PRS For Music in 2010 but it’s never been officially released – if you have a version, it’s most likely former Manfred Mann member Mike Vickers’ cover from a year later.

7. The donkey kick
Willie Carr flicks the ball up between his heels from a free kick, Ernie Hunt volleys in. The first ever goal of the season, and practically banned on the spot.

8. “Leeds will go mad! And they have every right to go mad!”
Jeff Astle ends Leeds’ 1970-71 title charge with a goal that isn’t offside (it’s not even passed!), Barry urges on the fans and coaches invading the pitch to protest.

9. John Motson
Brought in from the radio in 1970 at Coleman’s suggestion. Never the stats automaton of legend – see the end of the 1979 Cup final or Spain-Yugoslavia from Euro 2000, where he lets the occasion carry him along. Though actually he remained quite prosaic in the face of…

10. Ronnie Radford
Despite the legend not his first commentary for MOTD (he’d already covered the leading game twice) but that which made his name as the Radford rocket stirred a nation. BBC bias, though – Ricky George, a mate of Motson’s from when he played for Barnet and John was a local press reporter, gave Motson a lift to the ground and went on to score the winner.

11. “Every man jack of this Leeds side is now turning it on”
Imperious Leeds, 7-0 up against Southampton, keep the ball between themselves in increasingly extravagant ways for more than thirty passes. “Poor old Southampton just don’t know what day it is” a spellbound Davies remarked.

12. George Best against Sheffield United
A commonly replayed clip from Best’s Mancunian dotage, running across the defence before slotting home from an acute angle.

13. Jimmy Hill
Invented the modern way of football presentation on LWT’s The Big Match alongside Brian Moore (not to mention John Bromley and Bob Gardam offscreen) and was the region’s deputy controller of programming for a while to boot but got asked what he was doing these days by taxi drivers outside London one too many times so jumped channels in 1973 so he could speak tactically and forthrightly to the nation. The beard lasted another decade until Gillette paid him £100,000 at a charity auction to shave it off.

14. Francis Lee sends Barry Davies over the top
“Interesting… very interesting! Oh! Look at his face! Just look at his face!” Davies’ favourite moment of his storied career, voice cracking as he goes.

15. Keegan and Bremner’s fight
Entertaining Charity Shield spat followed by shirt disposal somehow filled out by Davies’ scented-handkerchief moralising.

16. Mickey Walsh
“Ainscow coming square, that’s the ball…” A great example of how MOTD exposure could make a local hero into a national figure, Walsh’s turn and drive for Blackpool against Sunderland in 1975 was a totemic goal of the season.

17. “A quality goal by a quality player”
Motson could turn words on a dime too, watching Tony Currie turn a West Ham defender inside out in that same season.

18. The penalty spot repainting
Doesn’t sound like the greatest television as the mark gets lost in a notorious bog of a pitch at Derby’s Baseball Ground, but you haven’t seen the groundsman’s little run to the penalty area. Tape measure and everything. Motson sounds positively enthralled.

19. Andy King
Scored the winner in the Merseyside derby, got pushed off the pitch by a policeman. A full day’s work.

20. The annuals
Entertainingly scattershot around the turn of the Eighties. 1979, for instance, features Eric Morecambe admitting he “sneaks a look” at MOTD despite his LWT contract, Jimmy on campaigning to enforce the non-movement of keepers at penalties, a competition to match the players to a photo of their knees and Archie Macpherson described as “a man with hair resembling rusty steel wool”.

21. “Look at that! Oh, look at that!”
We already are, John. Liam Brady’s strike lit up a 5-0 derby win for Arsenal even further. John Radford told MOTD after the game he’d be celebrating the win with champagne. Jimmy: “I can well remember the day when players celebrated with a light ale on Saturday nights”

22. ITV couldn’t do this
And we mean that literally. After one of many protracted contractual disputes, this one after Michael Grade’s LWT had attempted to snatch the lot in 1978, ITV’s regional programming was obliged to switch to Saturday nights with MOTD taking up Sunday afternoons. ITV struggled and lost viewers, BBC settled into shirt sleeves and more time for Jimmy to work his oracle, and once the contract was up Central’s Gary Newbon declared “we don’t want Saturday night football ever again on ITV”. If only Brian Barwick had listened in 2001, eh?

23. Attempting to tamper with the theme doesn’t end well
1979 – synthesiser pre-set. 1990 – ambient post-Madchester. Both dropped within a month, the former, according to Jimmy, complained about by “a lot of gentlemen and even more ladies”.

24. Justin Fashanu
Norwich might have lost the game 5-3 to Liverpool, but Fashanu’s flick up and volley was named goal of the season and stayed in the opening titles for an age.

25. Clive Allen hits the stanchion
Improbably, all three officials managed to miss Allen’s free kick for Crystal Palace going in as it rebounded from the support at the back of the Coventry net.

26. The game of three goalkeepers for one team
First choice and first outfield reserve injured by the same player, at that. And Leicester still beat Shrewsbury 5-2 – Gary Lineker’s favourite game as a City player, apparently.

27. Ian Rush’s four in the Merseyside derby
Not to mention Glenn Keeley being sent off on his Everton debut, and it turned out swansong.

28. Commentators introducing their matches in-vision
For a while at the start of 1983-84 Motson and Davies would preview the games they were covering with predictions. Very much a Jimmy idea, this.

29. David Pleat runs across the pitch
After saving Luton from relegation. Makes that Derby groundsman look confident.

30. Kevin Keegan’s farewell
No, the first one, as a player at Newcastle, where he seemingly attempted to shake the hand of everybody in the stadium.

31. Graeme Sharp’s volley
A monumental strike in the… Merseyside derby. Some games are more equal than others.

32. Match Of The Day Live
Highlights fell out of favour with television so after plenty of toing and froing the league allowed a number of games to be shown live on Friday nights from 1983. The first ended Manchester United 4 Spurs 2. Before too long BBC1 was running Wogan over the first fifteen minutes of “live” games.

33. Guess Who’s Been On Match Of The Day?
He has, in his big shorts.

34. Sutton United
The BBC lost the league rights to ITV in 1988 but kept hold of the FA Cup and were on hand to witness a famous giantkilling of Coventry. Sutton manager Barrie Williams quoted Kipling in his programme notes; the programme ended with the goals accompanied by Richard Burton’s reading of If, perhaps the only time poetry and football action have actually worked well together.

35. 15th April 1989
The best broadcasters adapt to their surroundings. Lynam had been at Hillsborough that day intending to host the show from the ground. When tragic events transpired as they did he returned to London and expertly marshalled and questioned a series of interviewees while attempting to make sense of what had happened.

36. Motson makes the sheepskin coat iconic
Caught in a sudden snowstorm while waiting to tell Football Focus viewers that the FA Cup game at Wycombe had been postponed, the image of warming outerwear made the man.

37. 1990 FA Cup semi-finals
The first year both were shown on live TV, with a return of thirteen goals and Crystal Palace beating Liverpool.

38. “Is Gascoigne going to have a crack? He is, you know…”
“Schoolboy’s own stuff”, Barry mixing metaphors, as Gazza puts all he’s got into a free kick against Arsenal in the FA Cup semi-final and then goes completely to pieces in an entertaining way with Ray Stubbs afterwards.

39. Mickey Thomas
“The magic little man at the venerable age of thirty-seven” indeed.

40. “Stands the church clock at five to three, and is there football again to see?”
It was never going to be Alan Parry quoting Rupert Brooke by way of introducing a new top division, was it? The BBC got the rights back for the Premier League and had a subtle new approach to show off, chiefly involving…

41. Alan Hansen
He’d done some work for Sky on Italian football but hated it and was only too keen to take up the offer from editor Niall Sloane, where he was given free reign to redesign the art of sharp football punditry at a time when Andy Gray, who always had much more time to work out his analysis, was still faffing about with counters on a Subbuteo pitch.

42. The discreet charm of the editor
Gerald Sinstadt voicing over a goals round-up. Pitchside post-match nterviews with distracted players. A shot of a man eating a pie to denote half time. Now that every game is cut to the quick we miss all this.

43. “Bruce! Yes!”
The 96th minute goal that tipped the first Premier League season Manchester United’s way. Yet more of Barry carried away in the moment, if not half as much as Brian Kidd, who he then proceeds to ignore.

44. Everton’s escape
A nuts game in which Everton beat Wimbledon 3-2 to stay up, but also one of the first instances of MOTD, now they were able to show action from every Premier League game rather than just two or three, being able to switch between games to heighten the last day tension.

45. The BBC videos
101 Great Goals. The 60s-70s-80s double VHS pack. The Entertainers. The club-specific histories. No shelf was complete without them.

46. Blackburn winning the title
More smart cutting between two games, Rovers’ and Man Utd’s, and with a twist in the tail, topped with various Blackburn players in assorted states of inebration while being interviewed.

47. Matt Le Tissier against Blackburn
Southampton actually lost the game but it’s the Goal Of The Season-worthy jinking run, lazy top corner chip and non-celebration that people remember.

48. Manchester City taking the ball to the corner
Drawing with Liverpool they chose to run down the clock erroneously believing the score would prevent them from being relegated. Hansen’s apoplexy can only be imagined from his face.

49. Match Of The Day 2
Especially in its first year or so when Adrian Chiles and Gordon Strachan made every week a combination of knowledgeable debate and post-modern double act.

50. It’s still there
And perhaps uniquely, especially when you consider all the Trojan-friendly online streams, pub satellite hook-ups of borderline legality and lunchtime and early evening live games, still with roughly the same number of viewers as it had twenty years ago. Fifty more years!

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The Creamup Christmas Number 2013

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The Great British Flake Off

The moon is right! The spirit’s up! We’re here tonight! And that’s enough of a reason for us to unleash a little something upon you – a special Christmas edition of TV Cream’s long defunct Creamup ’emag’.

This one comes sporting a ‘tribute or trash’ vibe, as we battle 20 festive favourites against each other to discover the best in show. So will that be Merry Xmas (War is Over) or Wonderful Christmas Time? The Christmas Radio Times or the Christmas TV Times? Scrooge or Scrooged? You get the idea.

Subscribers to our Creamguide service will already have received an email with details about how to obtain this organ. But now you can dive in too and download the 1.8meg PDF right here.

Merry Christmas!

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The Creamup Summer Special 2013

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The Creamup Summer Special 2013

It’s fun-in-the-sun time as our sometime ’emag’ returns to brighten up the last few weeks of summer!

Subscribers to our weekly Creamguide email have already been notified of Creamup’s return, but now it’s your turn, common-or-garden TV Cream reader, to download the rays! It’s 24 pages of pop lists and nothing but (well, except for the front and back cover) and comes in PDF form.

A mighty 20.1mb, you can download it right here.

NB The PDF can look screwy in some browsers (Firefox for one) so best download it and then open it in whatever PDF-reading application you have.

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Great news for all readers!

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La la la la la TV Cream!

Hi pals!

Ever wondered what TV Cream would have looked like if it had been published in the 1970s as a weekly comic? Of course you have, right? Well, courtesy of yet another old abandoned TVC pet project, you can now find out!

Click on the cover below to download our six-page supplement in smashing PDF format! (Just 820k!). But don’t place a regular order with your newsagent.


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The Seven Cs of Wry

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The other mighty titan and his troubadors, yesterday
What happened to the comedy song? We don’t mean the two-a-penny pop parodies that ailing sketch shows knock out with dreary regularity, but the fully-paid-up, bowtie-wearing, whimsical ditty slotted into That’s Life! or a great big national event special. As a craft it was unfairly maligned even while it was still a going concern, and now it’s all but died out in the mainstream, we think a reappraisal is long overdue. So come with us, as we challenge the mighty titan (Miles Kington) and his troubadours (Instant Sunshine), and with a smile, we’ll take you to… THE SEVEN Cs OF WRY


As Pete Baikie pointed out, whatever the ostensible subject of a wry comedy song, the overarching message is, more often than not, a slightly self-satisfied “Clever/I’m very clever!” on the part of the singer-songwriter. Composing whimsical ditties on scientific subjects was a good wheeze for Tom Lehrer (The Elements) and Flanders and Swann (The First and Second Law of Thermodynamics – “Oh, I’m hot!/That’s because you’ve been working!/Oh, Beatles, nothing!”) to playfully show off their intellects. Stilgoe, of course, on top of his anagrammatic expertise, was a hire-a-wit par excellence, often called upon to compose an on-the-spot ode at major events, none more notable than his break-neck summary of Decision ’79, The Man Who Voted Don’t Know in the Election, a rhyming catalogue of the night’s gains and losses (“Commander Boaks got twenty votes/There were more for Hatters-ley/And Tam Dalyell did awfully well/So he can’t blame that on me!”) after which Sue Lawley marvelled “I don’t know how he manages to get his tongue round it!”


Well, you’ve got to earn a living, and what better way of keeping your oar in the public’s boat race than scoring a nice, airplay- garnering topical tune or two? It’s a grand tradition, from Flanders and Swann (“There’s a hole in my budget, dear Harold, dear Harold…”) through Cy Grant and Lance Percival’s topical calypsos for Tonight and TW3, to that man Stilgoe again. From musical musings on politics and consumer affairs on Nationwide to his own “musical satire without the nasty bits” series And Now the Good News (sample song/sketch – The Stilg as Natural History Museum attendant sings a tearful goodbye to the Tyrannosaurus skeleton – represented by a Dr Who and the Loch Ness Monster-style blue-screened glove puppet – due to be moved into storage). He even dipped a tentative toe into post- modern media analysis in the famed ‘Wide slot where he itemised the foibles of the various regions’ political interviewers, who, arranged on a bank of monitors, joined in live with their collective catchphrase – I’ll Have to Stop You There (“But Stuart Hall in Manchester, he gets the whole thing wrong/He just says “Shut up minister, you’ve gone on far too long!”)


It’s a golden rule – never use one syllable where ten will do. The very presence in a wry song of the sort of vocabulary usually given a wide berth by ‘proper’ songwriters provides – or at least ought to provide – a chuckle or two, so bizarre linguistic constructions abound. This may help contrive a tricky rhyme (Stilgoe’s Towels – “The Americans made explorations lunar/And they prayed the Russians wouldn’t get there sooner”), or create comic confusion (First and Second Law – “That you can’t pass heat from the cooler to the hotter/Try it if you like but you far better notter/’Cos the cold in the cooler will get hotter as a ruler/’Cos the hotter body’s heat will pass to the cooler”). But mostly it’s just the love of language for its own sake. Jake Thackray liberally anointed his earthy tunes with this sort of vocal relish (“Country bus, north country bus/Clumsy and cumbersome, rumbustious…”) and knew just when to drop the right word in for comic effect (a copulatory description in the excellent On Again, On Again – “Not even stopping while we go hammer and tongs towards the peak/Except maybe for a sigh and a groan and one perfunctory shriek”). Now, that’s verbal engineering of Kingdom Brunel proportions. Where’s Thackray’s Revolution in the Head, then?


Since George Formby elbowed Frank Randle out of the limelight and shoved his little banjulele in the nation’s chops, the cheeky chappie persona has been a staple of that sector of the whimsical song contingent that doesn’t hail from within the M25 or have access to a piano stool. Formby begat, by some tortuous conjugal process, Doc Cox, but never mind him, Mike Harding’s our main candidate for this category. Stripy, stripy blazer, funny face, funny face, big glasses. And, unlike Simon Fanshawe, some laughs into the bargain. OK, haunted curry house humour like the accordion-backed Ghost of the Cafe Gunga Din may not cause the shade of Noel Coward much concern, but sheer jauntiness makes up for the comparative lack of sophistication. And when he delivers the line about King’s Cross’s “street of a thousand norks” in Aussie expat picaresque She’ll Be Right, Mate… well, you’ll have to trust us that it’s with the ultimate “ooh, crikey!” expression all over his silly old face. Moving up the taste ladder, the sainted Jake Thackray wasn’t above some superbly stylish sauce. Sister Josephine detailed the life of a big burly crim hiding out in a convent (“Oh, Sister Josephine/Founder of the convent pontoon team/They’re looking through your bundles of rare magazines…”) while North Country Bus was sung with a crafty emphasis on, well, certain syllables. And Bantam Cock is a great album title. And lest we give the impression this is a purely male ballpark, there were also Fascinating Aida (and, er, Hinge and Brackett) and of course Victoria Wood, whose “beat me on the bottom with a Woman’s Weekly!” shtick may have been dulled by over-familiarity, but still, we love it.


With a small “c”, we hasten to add. While Stilgoe visibly grinned when crooning of Callaghan’s defeat, he also trilled with some relish – “One more thing to add – what was it?/Oh, the National Front lost its deposit”. Then again, any hoary old observational cliché was grist to his mill – Towels was a tower of fancy built on the ancient made-up phenomenon of Germans colonising sun-loungers, which he was still doing in the late ’80s. Similarly, a wistful air of longing for a more innocent past informed Richard Digance’s infamous Spangle-mentioning verse list of lost ephemera. And with its roots in folk and/or Noel Coward’s tinklings, the musical accompaniment of choice for all our acts is unashamedly old hat. We’ve no idea why this should be the rule, but there it is. However, if anyone knows of a whimsical Trotskyite songwriter who had a stint on The Braden Beat or some such, do let us know.


We never understood why The Simpsons writers thought the idea of a wave of topical barbershop quartets in the late ’80s was so hilarious. Over here we’d already had over a decade of Instant Sunshine, the medically-qualified purveyors of harmonious sideways looks. Even solo performers managed to double up via studio trickery. Peter Skellern’s wry lovelorn paeans often found him accompanying himself on the multitrack in a twenties crooner style, none more liltingly than on his Me and My Girl theme. But top of the tree is, yet again, Stilgoe, for his superlative performance of Statutory Right of Entry to Your Home, a song composed in honour of a Nationwide consumer unit viewer who enquired after which authorities possessed the titular trespass entitlement. Not only did Dickie act out the part of his astonished self returning home from work to find his domicile infiltrated by an ever-increasing mob of state-sponsored snoopers, he used the wonders of colour separation to impersonate each of the unwelcome governmental gatecrashers (the Customs and Excise clerk, for instance – “Where’ve you stashed the stolen jewels?/Do you take us all for fools?” – was appropriately rendered in piratical cod Cornish). Truly, this was the apotheosis of the genre. And all to placate some miserable old sod who objected to his gas meter being read. That’s value for money!


Whether in concert, in the Nationwide studio or (in Instant Sunshine’s case) on the hard shoulder of the M1, it’s the mirthful minstrel’s job to inject an atmosphere of classy bonhomie, as if a well-appointed cocktail party or cabaret evening were just getting underway. The ironic donning of the dinner jacket (The Sunshine, Stilgoe), the bowtie (Stilgoe again) or the straw boater (Sunshine, Mike Harding) was the first step. Second, jolly musical syncopation – the chirpily-strummed banjo, the hoppity squeezebox refrain, the bouncy “ba-dum-bum-bum” of The Sunshine’s double bass. Or a bit of dainty ivory tinkling, utilising the full range of the keyboard for comic effect, punctuating the gaps between each jokey line while the audience takes it in with a brisk plonk-plink, and of course, augmenting the final punch line with a showy glissando up the keyboard, ending with the right hand pertly raised above the head in a fey lampoon of the concert virtuoso. Thirdly, the vocal delivery should feel free to waver in between ‘proper’ singing and, when the comedic moment arises, a sort of staccato spoken delivery accompanied by a sly twinkle in the eye. In fact, Keith Michell went the whole hog and delivered the Captain Beaky songs – surely the very definition of whimsy – entirely in this manner, archly twisting his tongue round that final line about “a flying um-ba-rella” while the brass band backing came to a respectful halt. That’s the classic whimsical song payoff – never knowingly undersold.

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Logopolis! The greatest ever TV logos

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"So we need something for Keith Chegwin - commonly known as 'Cheggers' - new game show which, as I understand it from Edward, will have a kind of popular music theme."

Above, an exclusive still from the actual creation of the Cheggers Plays Pop emblem. Arguably the finest TV logo ever created. It just is. But which other programme-ushering-in wodges of typography are fit to touch its sequined hem? Glad you asked, as we’ve prepared a bit of a list…

Marion, get your hit records out!Pebble Mill at 1

A happy sign for millions that you’d successfully wangled a sick day off school, the imperious Pebble Mill at 1 logo takes the cursive style of the show’s original 1972 caption card for a veritable spin! Look how the loop of the capital P winds around itself, connoting the dizzying smorgasbord of light chat, ecclesiastical cookery, grumpy gardening and stick-mic pop music it’s about to usher in.

"Mr Policeman, see if you can ram your bicycle into that freaky youngster standing on the edge of the wharf!"The Tomorrow People

Although Thames TV’s boys-in-pants sci-fi series most often played out as farce, it was blessed with a stentorian title caption that alluded to a harsh, futuristic world, but without resorting to the Data Seventy font. And the way it used to ‘split’ at the start of each episode somehow captured the TPs’ habit of legging it… for a bit, before then ‘jaunting’, only to leave a bicycling copper to (chortle!) career headlong off that jetty! So good, Marvel comics lifted it in full some decades later.

"Phwoar! Looking at that smashing lady walking through Covent Garden... hold on, aren't I supposed to be juggling right now? Lor!"Gems

C’mon! Look at that! A perfect fusion of 1980s design, playing with that era’s twin obsessions for pastel colours and floaty shapes. It also perfectly evoked the essence of this shortlived daytime soap – it’s flighty, it’s informal and it’s about sewing, you dummy! We like to think even now ‘breakout star’ Tony Slattery still owns a stonewashed denim jacket with that logo stitched onto the back.

George & MildredHis and her's

A title-case that pays due respect to its Man About the House lineage, plus there’s a rare subtlety that perhaps isn’t always present in the show, with the ‘M’ slightly domineering the ‘G’. The fusion of those fancy caps with a rather more proletariat typeface is also pleasing – yes, there’ll be some fun here, but it will be straightforward, not-too-fancy fun!

 "...from the BBC!"The Six O’Clock News

While Martin Lewis lay in wait behind a beige-y, mixed case font at lunchtimes, Sue and Nick were ushered onto screen via this slab of a logo, seemingly chiseled from a plutonium brick. This is how we want our news! Bold and with beveled edges!

"And in a few minutes - log rolling from Vancouver!"World of Sport

It’s the bravura logo Department S was too timid to do! So confident, a single letter – a single letter on a banner – suffices. That was Dickie Davies, Fred Dinenage and Kendo Nagasaki flying those planes, by the way.

"Death on Delos!"Captain Zep – Space Detective

Stay Alert! For unexpected restraint in TV titling! In a show that features Roger Dean-style fantasy art and a New Wave theme tune, the graphic designer could have been forgiven for reaching for the neon tubing. But instead we get this. And look, also, how it sits left of centre. So understated. Another winning case for the SOLVE (Simple Onscreen Letters Very nicely Executed) academy.

"Back to Desmond in the studio"Sixty Minutes

So the Sixty Minutes Rubik’s Snake gets a nod, but the Nationwide mandala is nowhere to be seen? Yes – deal with it! As a simple spot of branding, you have to admit, this is rather effective. All ruined, of course, when you cross-fade to Desmond Wilcox.

Kick it up the arse! The Old Grey Whistle Test

Or how to taken an unpromising programme name and, with the selection of just the right font (plus, let’s be honest, that harmonica doesn’t hurt), give it a kick up the arse. Much like that man does to that star.

 visionthumbVision On

Pat Keysell! Tony Hart! Wilf Lunn! Sylvester McCoy! Of course! Tony Hart’s finest hour, and, yes, we’re aware of his work on the Blue Peter badge. The mind genuinely boggles at the thought process that led to the programme’s name becoming an eyes-a-popping grasshopper/frog fusion. Or whatever that thing is.

The fonts of all wince-dom

A word in passing for a few or our perennial least-favourite logos. Such as the Doctor Who ones the show has sported since it came back to telly. Both the taxi cab version and the current effort erroneously market the programme as being the Carpet Right of the sci-fi world. Then there’s this iteration of The Golden Shot, which – much as we love the show – feels like it’s trying to capture the essence of a migraine. Meanwhile, when sans serif and serif fonts met it was moiider! Virtual Murder, in fact. The Open Air title card is a classic case of one that’s working too hard (so, right, we’ll put TV-type lines across the ‘Air’, have that three-coloured thing that somehow means telly, put it against television static…), while The Time The Place just seem like two competing shows. Bagsy we’re ‘The Time’ and you’re ‘The Place!’ Worst of all, though, the revamped 3-2-1 logo. Oh Dusty! Look at you now!

NB. We’re also announcing a ban on all lower-case only logos, and any that appear on screen with the letters gradually drifting apart.

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B’Bye Television Centre

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A short video we made. Sniff…

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Win Sammy’s Super T-Shirt!

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"Oh what has happened to our Sammy?"
The Race Is OnTV Cream has joined forces again with its pals at the BFI to present another smashing giveaway!

To mark the release of DVD The Children’s Film Foundation Collection: The Race is On on 18 February (which compiles 1957’s Soapbox Derby, starring a fresh-faced Michael Crawford, 1967’s The Sky-Bike and – yes! – 1978’s Sammy’s Super T-Shirt), we’ve arranged a prize pack comprising the  DVD and, holy cow, a limited edition replica of Sammy’s lucky tiger t-shirt to be made available to three lucky TV Cream readers!

All you have to do is answer this question:

What’s the name of the ’70s and ’80s film-based quiz show for kids that often featured CFF footage in its observation round?


This competition is now closed. The answer, of course, was Screen Test. Our three lucky winners should expect an email from us imminently.

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We NEED more Bob!

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Our doors are always open to him

If you read Creamguide you’ll know that the current re-runs of Bob’s Full House on Challenge have ushered in  – to quote the man himself – “a period of great joy” for us. Alas, that might be about to change.

Thanks, @sherbertavenger. So, prompted by that, we dropped Challenge a line (already this is turning into an episode of That’s Life!). They said:

The next exchange then read…

So that’s the news. On 22nd March, Bob’s Full House moves to Friday nights. Tell all your friends to clickety-click their remotes and tune in to Bob en masse. We don’t want to leave the great man with droopy-draws ratings. And hopefully, if things pick up and they get a ‘lotto’ viewers, Challenge might buy series two…

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Tee-Vee Cream!

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To a tee!
Well, here’s a happy scene!

And it’s all because TV Cream has decided to launch a clothing line. Well, kind of.

Actually, what we have been doing is creating a load of t-shirt designs which you can now purchase through Red Bubble. (That explains the unwelcome Flash widget that’s appeared in the site’s sidebar, advertising not only our designs but also the work of Twitter sensation Steve Berry)

Below, you can find a sample of our wares (or, chortles, wears!), which include tributes to Record Breakers, Look and Read, Dr Who, Lymeswold cheese…

NB. Our Baldwin’s Casuals-style workplace is currently putting together a Glens, Hutchison, Robertson and Stepek t-shirt. But we’ll take requests!

Some of the range of exciting new TV Cream t-shirts!

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Christmas 2012: Logged!

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Sorry for putting a modern-day show on TVC's front page...

Call The Midwife on TV Cream? What madness is this? No, we’re not trying to claim fifties-flavoured epidural incidents as the right kind of nostalgia. Instead, it’s here to flag up the fact that, continue the tradition (“All websites should have a tradition”) 2012’s Christmas Log is now online.

It’s available to read here.

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It’s the double-sized Christmas Creamguide number 2012!

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It's the Christmas Creamguide!

Something special landed on the metaphorical doormats of Creamguide subscribers late on Wednesday night… The Christmas Creamguide double issue!

Every issue of Creamguide is available to read right here on you’re ever lovin’ TV Cream website. But we thought it worth flagging up the fact that our pick of festive telly viewing is now available to read here and here.

Merry Christmas from all your pals at TV Cream!

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The Creamup Christmas Number

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The first Noel!

“Hello, I’m Noel Edmonds, and in an ’emag’ first, we’ve brought back Creamup for a very special Christmas edition, which I’m hosting, and currently carrying in my sack right now as depicted by this image!”

Thanks Noel! And that’s right, subscribers to our emailed-out TV and radio listings service Creamguide received a special surprise down their chimney today – a new issue of Creamup! Following our Summer Special earlier in the year, we thought we’d reconvene to drone on about festive pop music, films, The All Star Record Breakers from 1980, some Dr Who bits and lots of other ‘stuff’.

If you’re too hoity-toity to subscribe to Creamguide, you can still read Creamup. We’ve put it online, in its own special web page outside the normal TVC template (which would have played havoc with the design). Want to read it? Of course you, so follow this link here!

And watch out, because on Wednesday the double-ish Christmas Creamguide will be published. We’ll also put a copy of that right here on good ol’ TV Cream. So, we’ll see you later in the week!

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Reg Harcourt: 20% off!

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From Headlines to "Tight Lines"Here is the news!

Our good friends at The Media Archive for Central England, who previously brought us the sublime DVD release From ‘ATV Land’ in Colour have now released a new four-part/two disc documentary, tracing the history of Britain’s first regional TV news programme – which was called lots of things, but mainly ATV Today.

Called From Headlines to “Tight-Lines”, it begins, naturally, in 1964 and takes us all the way through to the 1980s. Highlights include: Reg Harcourt, who took an ATV camera team to film Enoch Powell’s Rivers of Blood Speech; Wolverhampton locals John Swallow and Sue Jay who reported  on the people and places of the communities they were passionate about; Anne Diamond and Nick Owen!; Derek Hobson, who went on to be the host of New Faces; Chris Tarrant, who started his  career as the ‘wacky’ one on the news; plus sporting legend Terry Thomas (twas he who coined the phrase, “tight-lines”); and Bob Warman, who is still the face of the Midlands on ITV today.

The release RRPs at £19.99, and is available here. But TV Cream readers can enjoy a special 20 percent discount on that price (plus any other DVD title they stock, including From ATVLand in Colour and any of their Midlands on Film collection) by entering the following discount code when prompted…


The offer is valid until 31st December 2013 (so just over a year).

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Free Steve Berry!

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The Linx effect, anyone?

Here's his book in book formHas Steve Berry-TV Cream (his full name) been taken captive by a Dr Who monster?

Perhaps not. The fictionally-named Hilton Fitzsimmons looks rather friendly, and out of these two, he’s the looker! Coo, don’t fancy yours much! Nonetheless, Steve’s got something Hilton hasn’t A book to plug. An old book at that. And he’s offering it up… For Free!

That’s right, his 2007 smash nostalgia-hit TV Cream Toys: Presents You Pestered Your Parents For (see left) is currently available free of charge on Amazon as an eBook!

Simply follow this link to trouser your copy, while stocks last!

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The Trial of a Time Lord – Unseen Evidence

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If your Sagacity will pardon us, we would like to submit for her consideration some unseen evidence from a future episodic interface in the life of… Colin Baker!

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“Cut the crap, bring back Greg!”

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Bring Back Greg

We’re probably a little late – the BBC hasn’t made anyone redundant for a few days and the fervor has diminished – but nonetheless, we’re offering up this jolly banner (above), which you can feel free to appropriate and hang in your front room windows. Bring Back Greg!

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“Number 10? Maggie’s Den!”

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Our Monkhouse master card!
Are you enjoying the re-runs of Bob’s Full House on Challenge as much as we are? (That’s every Saturday at 8pm)

In all seriousness, it’s probably the least-dated TV show from the 1980s, a quiz that zings along with plenty of ‘funny putty’ from Bob, likeable contestants, brilliant music stings and fun questions. Plus the nerve-shredding final Golden Game Card.

So, now, roughly 30 years on from when Radio Times was supposed to print play-along-at-home cards (for some reason, the plan was scuppered), TV Cream is bringing you its very own Bob’s Full House bingo game. See the image above. Simply cross off any time any of the items are referenced in the show. Have fun! And remember, our doors are always open for you.

NB. As the repeats continue on Challenge, feel free to suggest your own categories we should add to our Monkhouse Mastercard
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“Ah, list o’ Bond, I’ve been expecting you” – part five: 0010-001

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"Ah, list o' Bond, I've been expecting you" - 0010-001

TV Cream concludes its countdown of the 50 greatest moments from the James Bond films…

0010: Bond listens to a performance of a Bond theme

Linda McCartney not pictured

Great that they managed to get Linda McCartney to appear in person. (Live and Let Die, 1973)

Linda McCartney pictured

009: Bond meets a smart Alec

Bean counting

The only people who should ever call attention to Bond’s life outside MI6 are those who would have reason to have read up on him (agent XXX, Tiffany Case, Robbie Coltrane) or secret service staff who have been petitioned in person by outraged chefs and humiliated tailors. 007’s treacherous ex-colleague Alec Trevelyan (Sean Bean) falls into the second category when he delivers a brilliantly bitchy prediction of Bond’s funeral: “A small memorial service, with only Moneypenny and a few tearful restauranteurs in attendance.” (Goldeneye, 1995)

008: A pigeon does a double-take in time to a Viennese polka while Bond drives through St Mark’s Square in a motorised gondola

Fowl play BLINK!


What do you mean it’s not in the book? (Moonraker, 1979)

007: “…close, but no cigar!”

Close, but no cigar

“James!” exclaims the best Moneypenny of them all, as 007 walks into her office. “Have you brought me a souvenir from your trip? Chocolates? An engagement ring?” Bond sidles over to her desk. “I thought you might enjoy one of these,” he declares, producing what can only be described as a tumescent metal tube. “How romantic,” observes Moneypenny, suggestively. “I know EXACTLY where to put that.” She promptly throws the container into her waste paper basket. “The story of our relationship,” sighs Bond. “Close – but no cigar.”  (The World is Not Enough, 1999)

006: Bond gives a driving lesson

The eyes still have it Some men don't like being taken for a ride

007 and XXX are in a van being methodically chewed to pieces by Jaws. Bond decides to pass the time by methodically chewing the scenery, settling back into the passenger seat and rifling through his repertoire of gags about women drivers. “Try the big one,” he informs Mrs Ringo Starr. “Can you play any other tune?…Let’s try reverse, that’s backwards… Would you like me to drive?” Of course, he’s not just being a sexist pig. Oh no. His jibes contrive to whip up XXX into a spot of Jaws-baiting road rage, while setting up the perfect retort once out of harm’s way. “Shaken,” she informs her companion coolly, “but not stirred” – at which Bond rolls his eyes, wonderfully. (The Spy Who Loved Me, 1977)

005: Bond considers a couple of points

Bond considers a couple of points

While posing as a businessman in the office of petrochemical megalomaniac Mr Osato (Teru Shimada), 007 finds talk turning to matters anatomical. After his host cautions him on the dangers of smoking, his host’s assistant Helga (Karin Dor) decides to reinforce her support of this position by referencing her own reinforced position. “Mr Osata believes in a healthy chest,” she flexes. “Really,” digests Bond, pointedly. (You Only Live Twice, 1967)

004: “It’s late, I’m tired, and there’s so much left to do.”

No rest for the wicked

Blofeld (Charles Gray) bemoans the lot of diabolical masterminds everywhere. (Diamonds are Forever, 1971)

003: The definition of safe sex

The definition of safe sex

It’s wise of our hero to remain armed in what appears to be a Russian leisure centre. It’s even wiser of him when it turns out the facilities are being shared by Xenia Onatopp, the Esther Rantzen of the anarcho-erotic underworld. “You don’t need the gun, commander,” she purrs. “That depends on your definition of safe sex!” retorts Bond, conscious of her predilection for swapping a pout for a bout. Sure enough, much verbal and physical petting ensues, until 007 has had enough. “No, no, no!” he states triumphantly. “No more foreplay!” (Goldeneye, 1995)

002: “Your problems are all behind you now!”

A little more cheek than usual

It’s the scene that always got cut out of ITV’s bowdlerised daytime versions of Bond, and one that has helped get the entire film bumped up from a PG to a 12. Both of these decisions were and are as ludicrous as the sequence itself, which is the second most flippantly yet amusingly outrageous moment in the whole of the official 007 canon. There is nothing suggestive here; just silliness. Heavens, it’s pure Carry On Bond, with our man pretending to call someone a bitch before slipping a cassette down their pants then making a joke about bottoms. Loose Women is a thousand times more offensive. (Diamonds are Forever, 1971)

001: The James Bond all-male close-harmony singers

Nobody does it wetter

“Do you think there’s a danger of the bends?” wonders Sir Frederick Gray, as the capsule containing Bond and Amasova bobs its way casually into the ledgers of cinematic legend. As the 007 “family” cluster round for a peek, somewhere off camera, clearing their collective throats, are the James Bond all-male close harmony singers, waiting for Roger Moore to deliver one of the greatest innuendos of them all. And waiting in line next to them, there’s only bloody Carly Simon and the greatest Bond theme of them all…

Baby's got the bends

Two minutes of (double 0) heaven ensues. (The Spy Who Loved Me, 1977)

Heroes one and all


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“Ah, list o’ Bond, I’ve been expecting you” – part four: 0020-0011

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"Ah, list o' Bond, I've been expecting you" - 0020-0011

TV Cream continues its countdown of the 50 greatest moments from the James Bond films…

0020: “I’m afraid you’ve caught me with more than my hands up.”

Talking cock

Yes, he is talking about what you think he is, and yes, he has done it before. But never with this much elan and, well, balls. (Diamonds are Forever, 1971)

0019: “Look after Mr Bond. See that some harm comes to him.”

The spy who loved tea

For someone preoccupied with launching a new civilisation that is literally out of this world, Hugo Drax (Michael Lonsdale) is a diabolical mastermind who is also remarkably down-to-earth. He is forever bustling about the place being all domestic and fussy, whether it’s looking after his pet dogs, doing a bit of business over the phone, or – as here – sipping a nice cup of tea while instructing his henchman to trap Bond in a centrifuge machine until his face melts. But he’d never dream of saying as much out loud, oh no, hence this winningly decorous turn-of-phrase. What a guy. (Moonraker, 1979)

0018: For your eyebrows only

Eye? Aye!

Mrs Ringo Starr may not be the world’s greatest actress – in fact, she’s not even an actress – but anyone who can move Roger Moore to essay not one but two class displays of acrobatic face furniture in quick succession more than deserves top billing. “We’ve really got to stop meeting like this,” cracks Bond when agent XXX joins in him the back of Jaws’ van. No, please don’t. (The Spy Who Loved Me, 1977)

The cold war gets hot

0017: Bond raises his hands

This time it really is just his hands

…in the most camp and insouciant manner as is possible while standing in a cave full of mudbaths opposite someone who’s murdered your wife. (Diamonds are Forever, 1971)

0016: Simply having a wonderful Christmastime

Having a wonderful Christmas time

Fine, she exists purely to enable one of the greatest closing lines of any 007 film. But Christmas Jones (Denise Richards) is more than just a jokey pay-off. She is one of the biggest and best jokes in the Bond franchise, right from the moment she first appears, disrobing her oh-so-serious nuclear overalls to reveal an oh-so-not-serious pair of hot pants. We are all in on the joke, including Bond. When six kilos of weapons-grade plutonium go missing, she wails: “I have to get it back, or somebody’s gonna have my ass!” 007 waits a well-timed beat before countering: “First things first.” (The World is Not Enough, 1999)

0015: Push-button pedagogy

Push-button pedagogy

There is absolutely no need for Auric Goldfinger (Gert Frobe) to have turned one entire wing of his lair into a collection of massive automated ooh-look-at-this models, but the fact he has done so, and all for just one five-minute chat with some mobsters, impresses them, us, and above all himself, immensely. After all, why bother with the back of an envelope when you can wield a giant pointing-stick at a hundred miniature trees? (Goldfinger, 1964)

0014: Bond meets a woman

Like you've never seen one before, 007 "Not married by any chance, are you?"

Not just any kind of woman. “I’m looking for Dr Goodhead,” Bond announces, with only the trace of a smirk. “You’ve just found her,” she replies. “A WOMAN!” 007 deduces tartly, apropos of nothing and everything in particular. “Your powers of observation do you credit, Mr Bond,” she acknowledges, with only a well-judged modicum of outrage. (Moonraker, 1979)

0013: Bond outlines his Middle East peace plan

Bond outlines his Middle East peace plan

“When one is in Egypt, one should delve deeply into its treasures.” So that’s where Tony Blair has been going wrong. (The Spy Who Loved Me, 1977)

0012: Klaus Hergersheimer, G section

The "G" stands for gloriousness

His job is checking radiation shields. He is “Klaus Hergersheimer, G section.” He is Bond’s alias for slipping into Blofeld’s laboratories and annoying the comedy Cher-man scientist Dr Metz. He is told to “please leave, you irritating man.” He does so. The real “Klaus Hergersheimer, G section” then enters. He’s checking radiation shields. Look, all of this is damn funny in the film, go and watch it. (Diamonds Are Forever, 1971)

0011: Desmond Llewelyn’s farewell


Vexed by the apparent idiocy of Q’s inferred successor, Bond has an important question. “You’re not retiring any time soon,” he asks the old man, “are you?” “Now pay attention 007,” Q replies gently. “I’ve always tried to teach you two things. First, never let them see you bleed.” “And the second?” “Always have an escape plan.” And with that he presses a secret button and sinks slowly out of sight. We will never see his like again. (The World is Not Enough, 1999)


…tomorrow, when we complete our countdown and discover the greatest 007 moment of them all.

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