COMEDY VEHICLE FOR for Simon Munnery’s ultra-leftist lover of meaningless sloganeering and punk shouting, full of pretty good gags and pretty bad music, most of it by Sham 69. Later extended to 59 Minutes Of Truth, with about the same amount of comic material and the rest of it filled up with yet more bloody Sham 69. “Get a job get a job, earn yourself a few bob, buy a cooker or a fridge, then smash it up – we don’t need machines!”.
TV CREAM SAYS: "THE BIRMINGHAM SIX ARE FREE - WHEN WILL THE REST OF BIRMINGHAM
VARIOUSLY ANDY KERSHAW/MARK KERMODE-FRONTED genre-driven rifle through the nation’s Record Fairs, usually with some geographically relevant (ie available) pop person in tow; Pete Shelley in Manchester, that sort of thing. Title-busting conceit was that collectors would bring along their already-valued purchases for a quick spin, giving the listener tantalising hearings of rare pre-fame Marc Bolan waxings, Stones producer Glyn Johns doing unspeakable things to his charges’ compositions, and Sammy Davis Jnr singing the theme from Hawaii Five-O. Nowadays, of course, you can find all this stuff through Google in about five seconds.
TV CREAM SAYS: "IT'S EVEN GOT THE SOUND OF THE LIFT DOORS OPENING ON IT!"
ANOTHER IN A LONG LINE of ‘music magazine’ shows (cf Studio B15, Walters Weekly, Soundbite), in the unmemorable form of a T’Pau-swamped late eighties effort presented by the not-exactly-dream-team of Liz Kershaw and Ro Newton.
TV CREAM SAYS: "OOOH I CAN'T WAIT TO HEAR WHAT PRINCE DOES WITH THE BATMAN THEME!"
GOD-BOTHERING magazine show with Simon Mayo as lead sermon-giver, given a curious twist by its often unlikely roster of guests, which included John Peel and Elastica (doing post-punked up versions of Christmas carols). ‘Religion Is The New Rock’n'Roll’ mantra conspicuous by its non-adoption by the broadsheets.
TV CREAM SAYS: "I WANNA BE A KING OF ORIENT-AAH"
SEEMINGLY NEVER-ENDING weird pseudo-comedy made up of faked purported clips of strange radio shows ‘from around the world’ (why bother making them up when the real thing is usually funny enough?), linked by Greg Proops, who somehow managed to record about a million shows in the week before his work permit expired.
TV CREAM SAYS: "THIS IS HOW IT WAS COVERED BY KCWFJ TEXAS"
BASED ON THE MISGUIDED THEORY that, if you were alone on Christmas Day, listening to a tape of Mike Read giving DLT a box of pipecleaners would somehow make you feel better; however, seething inter-DJ loathing was never far from the surface, and ultimately the only saving grace of the whole debacle. Also notable for dominance by the ‘Welly Boot’ mafia, with the more specialist presenters – normally contractually forced to attend – paid the merest of lip service; John Peel recalled being asked “you’ve got a family – how will you be spending Christmas?” every single year. Eventually began to buckle under the changing nature of the network, leading to an inexplicable last-ditch bid was made to save it by having the meal ‘at’ Grey Gables, during the darkest hours of The Archers when they’d do anything to get a few column inches, so not only did everyone have to pretend to like Simon Bates, but also pretend they were in a restaurant run by Jack Woolley. Who isn’t real. The other side of this link up saw John Peel – supposedly at school with Robin Snell – visiting the village (strangely, the rest of the DJs never made it down to The Bull) and sounding like a particualy poor impression of himself. Before you could say ‘Quack Quack Oops’, we had the likes of Take That presenting the pre-recorded festivities instead.
TV CREAM SAYS: "SO DAVE, DLT, WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR CHRISTMAS?"
POST-TARANTINO hipper-than-thou movie review show pairing tried and tested hummer and harrer Mark Kermode with incoming ‘larging it’-friendly journo Mary Ann Hobbs, which, apparently, “had the movie world all wrapped up”. Incorporated baffling tendency towards running features on visual effects.
TV CREAM SAYS: "NOW, I'M GOING TO HAVE TO GO AGAINST WHAT EVERYONE ELSE IS SAYING ON THIS ONE..."
BATES-FRONTED weekly phone-in discussion-driven ‘youth issues’ early evening magazine show (drugs, sex, Space Invaders, bodypopping, that sort of thing). See also Mailbag from the same era, basically Annie Nightingale and/or Richard Skinner reading listeners’ letters out for a whole hour.
TV CREAM SAYS: "ARE WE RIGHT NOT TO BE PLAYING INVISIBLE SUN? WRITE IN, TELL US
WHAT YOU THINK..."
BIZARRE ‘SIDEWAYS LOOK’ at Glam Rock from a media career-courting Noddy Holder, coinciding neatly with Reeves & Mortimer’s ‘Slade In Residence’ sketches, who played hits and obscurities (i.e. Barry Blue) and bookended them with a combination of anecdotally personal tales of hi-jinks and Radcliffe-inspired punnery. Presence of Marc Riley in the producer’s seat explains the latter, along with incongruous appearance of Pathe News-parodying Radcliffe show character Cyril Dorricot.
TV CREAM SAYS: "NOW I REMEMBER THESE BOYS WHEN WE PLAYED WITH THEM IN
BURNLEY IN 1972..."
RADCLIFFE AND KERMODE-alternating Walters’ Weekly-inspired arts show, preferring to concentrate on the more oddball and ever-so-slightly Guardian-neglected ‘Art Gallery in site of former public convenience’ side of things.
TV CREAM SAYS: "SO DOUG ANTHONY ALL STARS, WHAT'S THIS NEW SHOW ALL ABOUT?"
EARLY ATTEMPT at half-hour speech comedy format with the aid of Patrick ‘Marby’ Marber, John Hegley & The Popticians, and sundry up and coming guests (Nick Hancock, Jo Brand etc) doing their thing in front of a polite-sounding audience. Sort of came and went without making much noise, but did focus a bit of attention on four individuals who, a couple of months later, would revisit the format as The Mary Whitehouse Experience.
TV CREAM SAYS: "IT'S A COMEDY AND MUSIC SHOW, IT'S CALLED HEY RRRADIO!!..."
HISTORICALLY and technologically-displaced ritual with unchanging regular-as-clockwork format; Band Everyone’s Talking About gets one hour (or thirty minutes of a shared slot, depending on their relative status) to cram in as many of their as-yet unreleased compositions as they can, ‘serious minded’ presenter makes a few largely uninformative scene-setting comments at start and end, onstage ‘patter’ largely edited out, inattentive fans spend years trying to track down someone with a wobbly C60.
TV CREAM SAYS: "JUST GREAT - AND THEY'LL BE TOURING IN THE AUTUMN SO CATCH THEM THEN"
‘RED BOX’ fiasco-presaging stint as a phone-in Agony Uncle, responding to listeners’ answerphone-preserved tales of woe, and employing the services of a roving Hugh Jelly to locate missing items or elusive services, or else just giving strict parents or sadistic teachers a stern telephonic telling-off himself.
TV CREAM SAYS: "WHAT YOU PEOPLE WILL GET UP TO WHEN GIVEN A PLATFORM!"
DEEPLY ODD show in which the titular ivory-tickler, who was regularly to be found cavorting on the fringes of comedy shows around then, overdubbed his favourite beat-jazz waxings with a ridiculous story about he and regular comedy mucker Rowland Rivron getting involved in an Ealing Comedy-style police chase across several continents after innocently setting out to discover the meaning of some lyrics indecipherably growled by grizzled old bluesman ‘Archibald’. Friendship with Vic Reeves may not have been coincidental.
TV CREAM SAYS: "POLICE DESCRIBED THEM AS TWO TWATS IN A CART"
AUDACIOUSLY fancying himself as the network’s answer to Alistair Cooke, gurning baseball-capped Genesis-discovering and all-purpose self-appointed ‘music industry expert’ Jonathan King filed regular five-minute reports from the Big Apple on many an early eighties Saturday afternoon, later translated to BBC2 for the long-running Entertainment USA. Heavy on breathless introductions of ‘the latest craze’ which invariably failed to catch on.
TV CREAM SAYS: "YOU'LL ALL BE HUMMING IT BY NEXT MONTH"
FLUFF-FRONTED mockery of all things History Of Rock-slanted, retelling The Rock’n’Roll years to incorporate James Brown building the Forth Bridge, Jimi Hendrix playing the theme from Coronation Street, and the radio edit of a half-hour Meatloaf song about making a cup of tea. Celebrated its third week on air with a special ‘retrospective’ show Solid Gold Knowledge, complete with congratulatory messages from Take That. Veritable parade of Before They Were Famousness included impersonated voices courtesy of Peter Serafinowicz, and scarily convincing approximations of The Clash covering Boney M by future volume-crazed Doctor Who scene-spoiler Murray Gold.
TV CREAM SAYS: "UNWOE IS ROCK... UNWOE IS ME!"
HIGH-CONCEPT Iannucci-instigated ‘Political Comedians Do Question Time’ gambit (i.e. Frank Skinner and Linda Smith chuckle at headlines about the European Monetary Union), jointly fronted by heavyweight preventers-of-words-from-getting-in-edgeways Mark Thomas and Kevin Day, started off well but over the years degenerated into laddish babbling just in time for post-Loadedness to come along.
TV CREAM SAYS: "I THOUGH JOHN MAJOR SAID WE WERE JOINING REM!"
SHORT-LIVED attempt at courting LBGT listenership to audible MP consternation, somewhat shooting itself in the foot by employing future Word-botherer Huffty as frontswoman, which at least succeeded in uniting everyone across the sexuality spectrum in embarrassment. Renaming of Christmas Special as ‘Loud And Proud On Ice’ says it all about attitude towards progressive politics, though balance was restored the following year by Kevin Greening’s controversy-free coverage of the Gay Pride festival.