FLIMSY FROLIC revolving from NBC around teacher (WILLIAM KATT) getting “magical” superhero suit from ghost of an alien (or something) and being forced against will to “fight crime”. Despite title, not great.
G is for…
SKINFLINT BASTARD offspring of JACKANORY-esque “storytelling” format based round already-tiresome eye-popping/shrieking RIK MAYALL cocooned in elaborate armchair with ostrich legs and puppeted hands, reheating appropriately morbid fables replete with stop motion animation.
TV CREAM SAYS: "CHAIR" LATER EXHIBITED IN A GLASS CASE AT MUSEUM OF MOVING
IMAGE. SADLY MINUS ERTSWHILE OCCUPANT.
UNRULY AND indeed unwelcome animated argy-bargy from America ripping off ROWAN AND MARTIN’S LAUGH-IN stock gimmicky, something which obviously had bags of resonance over here. Titular ensemble goofed and gooned through 20 minutes of overloud sound effects, shitty animation, laughter tracks, baddies-as-goodies, pratfalls, slapstick and all the sodding rest, linked together with that characters-opening-doors-within-giant-wall-to-deliver-shit-joke business (“Why didn’t the skeleton go to the ball? Because he had no body to go with!”).
TV CREAM SAYS: POTENTIAL OF BASIC PREMISE - DRACULA, A MUMMY, A WOLFMAN - ALL CO-HABITING WAS EXHAUSTED BY END OF OPENING TITLES
MORE TEATIME travails in same lineage and above average quality as BAD BOYES and WHO SIR ME SIR, with bar lifted even higher due to titular prankster being played by KIERAN O’BRIEN, admittedly some way off being Robbie Coltrane’s son and making dodgy shagging-as-art films, but still a notch above your usual kids comedy drama hero. Episodes majored on Stephen Gruecock (to give him his full title) repeatedly thwarting comedy Machiavellian antics of schoolyard nemesis “Nidgey” Jackson (SCOTT FLETCHER) more through help from twin stooges “Wooly” Wollsmith (DANNY COLLIER) and “Quidsy” Rahim (AYESHA HUSSAIN) than own skill and scheming. Uptight dad PAUL “ANOTHER ANGRY FATHER ROLE” COPLEY shouted from behind newspaper, dithering mum (JANE LEE) re-filled the teapot.
TV CREAM SAYS: BREEZY SINGALONG THEME SEALED THE DEAL: "GRU-EY, GRU-EY, NAH
NAH NAH NAH GRU-EY..."
EXCEPT IT’S ON TV. Do you see? Some fucking chance. Lousy comedy troupe who transferred from radio, “hilariously” keeping old show name for no comic reason whatsoever. One was bald and fat, and ran around on the floor in an inflatable smock with an airhorn. Another looked like Noel Edmonds and did the sub-Barron Knights songs. Another dressed up as the Milky Bar Kid. Another did Jimmy Savile going on “now then now then” for three fucking minutes. All were shite. Did that crappy thing of inviting a singer on (PATTI BOULAYE, BARBARA DICKSON, someone of that calibre) then arsing around in the background. Two ‘Weeds pissed off c.1987 and were replaced with lookalikes. No discernable improvement noted.
TV CREAM SAYS: "WHOA WHOA WEEEEEEE ARE THE GRUMBLE WEEEEEEDS..." FUCK OFF
RARE SERIOUS sci-fi drama from LWT, in which a near-future Britain comes increasingly under the rule of riot-helmeted military police known as The Guardians, and their mysterious “general”. The PM’s hands are tied. The Queen is told to piss off. A ramshackle alliance of terrorists under the name “Quarmby” put up resistance. The death penalty makes a comeback as public entertainment. The PM’s son is arrested for smoking pot. One of the first of the 70s police state dystopias, with mass unemployment, food shortages, strikes and galloping inflation all present and correct. Famously not shown in Northern Ireland, as the terrorist sub-plot was deemed “not appropriate at this time”, so they bunged THE COMEDIANS on instead. This rather sedate and talky low-budget, ideas-driven series admirably tried to look at the situation from all sides, rather than just go for a scaremongering bit of polemic. Very much a portent of sci-fi series to come.
TV CREAM SAYS: "SOMEWHERE IN THE FUTURE, NOT SO VERY MANY YEARS FROM NOW..."
CUT TO WAVY LINE EFFECT TO DENOTE TIME PASSING
FIVE MINUTE FLEABAG originally on Westward then the channel that sank it. Gus was the worst puppet in the world: an expressionless toy rabbit quite clearly being manipulated by a hairy, chunky wristwatch-wearing arm under the table. A succession of oh-so-local presenters uneasily provided the “sanity” by reading out birthday requests from kids, showing pictures, your usual cheap-as-cheap-can schtick. Mr. Honeybun, for his part, did his characteristic “birthday bunny hops” marking out years attained by each kid, sometime “anarchically” showing his arse as well. His only moving part was an eyelid which could wink at the gathered masses. Also there was a mushroom-shaped “magic button” which, when haphazardly hit, caused some weird psychedelic effect on the Chromakeyed background. Even had a theme song – “He’s a star on TV, just for you and for me.” Got taken along to ITV head office as “lucky mascot” when TSW was trying to get franchise renewed. Station went bust shortly afterwards.