BAKER-helmed ostensible post-match analysis, which through its hosts’ love of esoterica became the first stirrings of that strange mid-nineties drive to make football ‘accessible’ to non-sports fans. Phone-ins about inexplicable terrace fashions and the current whereabouts of retired players abounded, though by 1993 it had been rebranded – under the guardianship of David Mellor, no less – as a straight ahead ‘just the facts’ opinion-driven show providing endless coffer-swelling for libel-happy referees.
TV CREAM SAYS: "SO WHY DID YOUR SEVENTIES REF ALWAYS USED TO HAVE THE
UNFAIRLY forgotten gem in which Mark Radcliffe and Marc ‘Lard’ Riley, with their presenter and sidekick roles strangely reversed in a never-repeated gambit, took to the road in a Triumph Dolomite to assemble ad-hoc documentaries about various ‘cult’-inspiring phenomena – The Prisoner, Led Zeppelin, UFOlogy, deranged Wicker Man fans et al – and usually getting comic dialogue-inspiringly lost en route.
TV CREAM SAYS: "SCUSE ME MATE, HAVE YOU SEEN A LOAD OF FUNNY BLOKES LOOKING
FOR A BIG STATUE?"
FIRST headlining outing for the Collins & Maconie double-act, presenting witticisms about the music industry through the ambitious vehicle of pretending that they’d been miniaturised and injected into a human bloodstream a la Raquel Welch in the film of the same name. Also featured novelty interlude of guest musical turns playing acoustic, apart from in the last show, when Billy Bragg amusingly threw a mock-diva strop and refused to play without a full orchestra.
TV CREAM SAYS: "RAGE AGAINST THE WASHING MACHINE, MORE LIKE!"
QUIETLY forgotten original ‘fans only’ iteration of the popular footballing pisstake-fest, hosted by Dominik Diamond and concentrating far too heavily on the ‘league’ aspect instead of just almost forgetting to refer to it in the closing minutes of the show. Picked up, probably for all the wrong reasons, for BBC2, where it ended up in the hands of David Baddiel and Frank Skinner, who got the balance right (ie they just joked about football) and allowed non-fans to join in the party, and got Jeff Astle to sing Earth Song at the end to boot.
TV CREAM SAYS: "BIT OF AN 'OWN GOAL' FOR YOU THIS WEEK!"
INEXPLICABLE attempt to make science ‘hip’, variously presented by Sue Nelson, Jez Nelson and Quentin Wilson, with the preferred tactic of quizzing the fat bloke from PM Dawn about his favourite classroom experiments and playing clips of Captain Scarlet And The Mysterons. ‘Lab Chic’ conspicuous by its failure to suddenly catch on.
TV CREAM SAYS: "SHOULD BE AVAILABLE IN SHOPS BY THE YEAR 2000"
MIRTH-INDUCING EU-anticipating English Language version of the European Top Forty chart show, providing not-particularly-needed exposure for MC Solaar, Fool’s Garden, Edelweiss, Die Da, Big Fat Wah and loads of rappers going “ahh yeah” in French.
TV CREAM SAYS: "WE CHEER YOU UP, CHEER YOU UP, CHEER YOU UP AT THE PIN-UP CLUB"
NOISY yoof-slanted and inevitably doomed to failure attempt at creating a hit new soap opera on the radio, as if Waggoners’ Walk and Mrs Dale’s Diary hadn’t ground to a humiliating halt over a decade ago after all. Even the ahead-of-its-time setting couldn’t do much to prevent it from committing the dismal crime of being as unsuccessful as Eldorado but almost unnoticeably so, and these days it’s only remembered for a bizarre cameo appearance by a So Tough-plugging Saint Etienne. No, really.
TV CREAM SAYS: "THERE'S SOMETHING ODD ABOUT THEIR PRICING POLICY"
‘MARK THOMAS WITH JOKES’ series of heavily politicised sideways looks at thorny sociocultural issues, with the titular Left-Wing Comic ((c) Daily Mail) boasting “give me thirty minutes and I’ll convince you of anything”. Jumped ship after just one series to Radio 4, where it resides to this day.
TV CREAM SAYS: "ANYONE BORN IN ENGLAND SHOULD BE DEPORTED"
MISLEADINGLY-titled arts magazine show with nary a ‘break’-toting DJ within earshot, initially presented by Mark Thomas but he soon scarpered, possibly due to need to tell actual ‘jokes’, and it ground to a halt shortly afterwards.
TV CREAM SAYS: "...AND CHUMBAWUMBA'S NEW EP IS IN THE SHOPS ON MONDAY"
LEGENDARY where-it-all-started morning miscellaney presided over by Danny Baker, considering playing records very much secondary to heavily retro-slanted need to ruminate over the possible uses of the Ronco Bottle Chopper and the current whereabouts of Phil Daniels. Holiday cover by such luminaries as Nick Hancock and Chris Morris only serves to highlight general ‘if you weren’t there, you missed out’ nature of proceedings. Didn’t really catch on when shunted over to Radio 1, but then that’s why we had the original Radio 5.
TV CREAM SAYS: "FADE HER DOWN, SHE'S A LUNATIC!"
OSTENSIBLE late-night surfing of chart ubiquity of Guru Josh and Adamski, soon trampled all over in glorious style courtesy of regional programming quota-fulfilling outsourcing to BBC Radio Wales, and their subsequent employment of a Before They Were Famous Rob Brydon as host and general larker-about; one of his ‘characters’ was a certain rambling taxi driver…
TV CREAM SAYS: "DID YOU SEE THAT LOT ON TOP OF THE POPS WITH THE BIG DANCING ORANGE?!"
FLY ON THE WALL view of office life in Smoking Jackets-era NME conducted by Mark Thomas, which just happened to be present when one of The Manic Street Preachers cut his arm up a bit. All of the Midway Still-bashing regulars were present and correct, though the real stars of the piece were a certain Andrew Collins and Stuart Maconie, whose witty interchanges (“why’s he written T-Rex on his arm?”) saw to it that the offers of work started rolling in.
TV CREAM SAYS: "BY THIS TIME HE WAS BEGINNING TO STAIN THE CARPET A BIT"
SIMILARLY point-yet-to-be-grasped companion piece to the original radio incarnation of Fantasy Football League, coming across as a relatively polite mildly raised-eyebrow-enhanced version of A Question Of Sport with Des Lynam in the presenter’s chair and a brace of Rorys, McGrath and Bremner, as team captains. Subsequent TV adaptation could be said to have got it ‘right’, depending on which way you look at it.
TV CREAM SAYS: "CAN WE ALL JOIN IN THIS DISCUSSION?"
LONE surviving outpost of witticism in post-reinvention ‘Five Live’, with Stuart Maconie presiding over a multi-participant satirical look back at the week’s events. As variable in quality as you’re imagining, but still funnier than all the stuff that the ‘proper’ news reporters pretended to guffaw over.
TV CREAM SAYS: "NEW LABOUR, NEW DANGER, OLD JOKE I THINK YOU'LL FIND, H-HO!"
NORMSKI-propogated dance music ‘news’ roundup, joining in with all the hoo-hah about clampdowns on ‘illegal warehouse parties’, but also having a bit of a laugh at the expense of bangin’ choons, which was kind of frowned on in those days. Presumably not required listening for Graham Bright MP.
TV CREAM SAYS: "SPACIOUS!"
TOKEN children’s series narrated by national treasure and ‘Wiggly Park Wally’ Andrew Sachs, which trundled along quite happily until the dreaded Radio 5 Relaunch, when it bowed out with an insane final episode in which the park was demolished to make way for newspaper offices and a sports centre. Now that’s satire.