Creamguide

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BBC Radio 4Marc Riley’s Musical Time Machine
Tuesday, 11.30, BBC Radio 4

When we walked past MediaCityUK a few months back we were amused to see that there’s a big picture of Mark Radcliffe and Stuart Maconie in one of the windows and then right next to it is a tiny picture of Marc Riley, rather replicating the concept of Scrawn and Lard’s much-missed double act. Here’s Marc back on the Home Service, though, introducing a new series of archive clippage, first picking out interviews with Bowie from 1977 and Iggy Pop from 1990.

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BBC2Churchill
Monday, 14.05, BBC2

More Churchillalia later in the week, which is like Futurama technically out of Creamguide’s dateline, although at the opposite end, but we’re including this biography of the great man because it’s actually from the Cream era, being made in 1992. It’s on for the next four afternoons and we recall Harry Enfield discussing it on Have I Got News For You because he was fascinated by the revelation Churchill used to like walking around Downing Street naked, even in the presence of visiting dignitaries. Although we’re not entirely sure if that’s in here or Harry made it up.

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Sky1Futurama
Sunday, 21.00, Sky 1

A bit out of our jurisdiction here but since we were reminiscing about 2000 earlier on we may as well point out that one of that year’s big shows has reached its final episode – er, again, because of course it was axed a decade ago and then reprieved. This is almost certainly the end of it, though, and that’s a shame because we’ve always been fond of it, it can still come up with some nice stuff – Fry meeting his family the other week was a lovely episode – and even the worst episodes are nowhere near as bad as the worst episodes of The Simpsons. It never really took off like it might have, though, either in the USA or indeed in the UK, not helped by Channel Four’s atrocious scheduling of the original run – with new episodes broadcast at any time between 9am and 1am – and then no terrestrial channel bothering to buy the revived series and relying on Sky who themselves have booted in from pillar to post, right up to abruptly moving it from half six to nine o’clock last week. We’re not going to be desperately broken-hearted at its finale because it’s had a decent run, especially if they bring it back yet again, but even if you’ve drifted off over the years it’ll be worth a look, we’re sure.

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BBC2FA Cup Rewind
Saturday, 11.00, BBC2

Another pair of these programmes for the fourth round. The last set were entertaining, with a rare chance to see something else of Hereford vs Newcastle than just the two Hereford goals – we’re not entirely sure if we’d ever seen the Newcastle goal before – and for added fun they even dig out some of the accompanying Football Focus features from the time, although we’re not sure how many other people are interested in watching Garry Richardson accompanying Kevin Ratcliffe down the A5 in 2003. Good fun, anyway.

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BBC4Sound of Song
Friday, 21.00, BBC4

Second part of this which reaches the moment when the success of a song was now judged not by how many copies of the sheet music had been sold, but how many recordings of it had been sold, although of course in the early days of the charts it wasn’t unusual to see umpteen recordings of the same song by different performers all charting at the same time. This was also the time when technology meant a record wasn’t just a microphone pointing at the band but involved proper mixing and production, as Neil Brand will explain.

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BBC4Top of the Pops
Thursday, 19.30, 01.35, BBC4

The first episode of 1980 was good fun although it seems to have been particularly plundered for clips, especially over the last few weeks, so a lot of it was a bit familiar. The Christmas records seemed a bit odd too but if you’ve got the 1979 Christmas Radio Times or looked it up on Genome you’ll notice it was actually five minutes longer than originally planned, the show being extended to accommodate a Panorama special on the invasion of Afghanistan, hence presumably Macca being whacked in to pad it out. The chart moves quite slowly at the start of the year so some of the stuff we’ll see tonight got an outing on the strike-bound show which now feels like it was months ago, but there’s some new, interesting stuff as well.

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ITVThe National Television Awards
Wednesday, 19.30, ITV

Although we bill these every year, we’re afraid we haven’t actually watched them since the turn of the century, perhaps not unconnected with them no longer being a Grampian production and hence no longer giving us the chance to see a lesser-spotted logo. It’s easy to moan about who wins these things, but it’s nothing more than a popularity contest and they have been devised by ITV to do nothing more than entertain the mainstream ITV audience and feature stuff they know and like. It’s not the BAFTAs, but it was never meant to be, it’s a bit of fun for a miserable January night. Unless Doctor Who wins any awards in which case it’s a genuine honour.

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BBC Radio 2Somerset Blues – The Story of Acker Bilk
Tuesday, 22.00, BBC Radio 2

Or Mr Acker Bilk as he was usually billed, in case you couldn’t work out if Acker was a man’s name, we suppose. He died a few months back, and while it’s hard to imagine he was ever at the cutting edge, back in the fifties he was very much a leading light in the trendy trad scene. While his heyday was very much pre-Beatles he still sold loads of records and was on one of the earliest Pops repeats from 1976 that we saw on BBC4. Here’s the official BBC tribute, with Clarke Peters presenting.

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BBC Radio 4Can You Spot The Hidden Message?
Monday, 16.00, BBC Radio 4

Along with the baying audience we mentioned the other day, here’s another staple of fiction about the future of television, subliminal advertising. Although it’s been discussed for decade it was quite big news in the eighties when Norris McWhirter began campaigning about it for no real reason other than he liked campaigning about things, leading Spitting Image to show an subliminal message of Norris’ head on a naked man’s body, which led to them being sued. Here’s David Aaranovitch looking at whether it ever works anyway.

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BBC1Celebrity Mastermind
Sunday, 17.35, BBC1

Christmas is now officially over as we now finally reach the last episode of this series, a day later than last year as well. We’d have seen this one much earlier, though, as it’s the episode that was planned for 23rd December but was swapped for another one as there’s a round on Joe Cocker and he’d just died. It’s well worth the wait, though, because it does of course feature, and we’re again delighted to write these three words, Sir Richard Stilgoe.

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BBC Radio 4Mustn’t Grumble – The Noble British Art of Complaining
Saturday, 20.00, BBC Radio 4

The general consensus regarding the future of television is that everything will plunge downmarket and an increasingly feral audience will be baying for more humiliating and exploitative programmes than ever, but we think that’s pretty much rubbish as the audience these days seem to be quicker than ever to complain, with umpteen complaints to Ofcom when The X Factor is considered too nasty and in recent weeks loads of fuss on Twitter about a sitcom that’s not even been written yet. Anyway, here’s some notable outrages from over the years.

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BBC4Sound of Song
Friday, 21.00, BBC4

The history of songs, all of them, ever. In fact it’s a more forensic examination of the science of songwriting than we normally get, with Neil Brand dissecting songs from all era and styles to work out what makes the classic so irresistible, and how genres and styles were often brought about by changes in technology, including tonight how crooning came about when they invented the microphone so songs no longer had to be bellowed out.

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Sky Arts 1Monty Python’s Personal Best
Thursday, 21.00, Sky Arts 1

Says here this is a new series although further inspection suggests that it might be almost a decade old, but we have no recollection of where or when it might have been seen before. What we’re promised is a show where the Pythons pick their favourite bits, which could be worth a look as they might choose some less familiar fare, starting here with Eric.

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BBC Radio 2Paper Cuts
Wednesday, 21.00, BBC Radio 2

In the build-up to the Wimbledon vs Liverpool match earlier this week, the Beeb put the 1988 Cup Final on the red button, and not just the match but a good hour or so of the build-up to boot. As well as allowing us to get nostalgic at the moment the Wimbledon bus went past a garage selling four star for 37p a litre, we also enjoyed the presence of Russ Abbot and Les Dennis joining Des in the box. We were always puzzled why Les was always billed as “Special Guest Star” on The Russ Abbot Show when he was on every week. Les was certainly a regular in the tabloids over the years but he seems to doing alright for himself now personally and professionally, with a happy marriage and his role in Corrie, so he can join Kate Thornton to talk about some of the less savoury moments.

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Channel 5The Secrets of the Tea Chimps
Tuesday, 20.00, Channel 5

Seems a bit after the event to do a documentary looking behind the scenes of the PG Tips adverts given they stopped doing them about 25 years ago, but that’s what we’re getting, as we get to find out exactly what kind of tricks they pulled to make the chimps lift pianos and smoke fags, no doubt with plenty of wouldn’t-happen-now shockers. Perhaps next time they could do a documentary explaining how their current ads have helped Johnny Vegas progress from one of the strangest and most unsettling comedians on the circuit to a bona fide national treasure.

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ITVMel & Sue
Monday, 16.00, ITV

Brillag! Amazingly it’s now eighteen years since Light Lunch, a show that for all it remains a fond memory was extremely short-lived, lasting less than a year before making way for the inferior Late Lunch which itself ended after less than twelve months. Great show in its day, though, with a fantastic mix of guests – who can forget Lee and Herring alongside the Ice Warriors – and the irreverent style a hugely appealing diversion from the rest of the daytime fare around at the time. Then Mel and Sue went off to do other stuff, and an attempt at recreating the magic during the desperate final days of RI:SE failed to attract anyone’s attention. But now the pair are back together and dead famous again, and back on daytimes. The pair have said it won’t be Light Lunch II, mostly because two decades on they think it’d be a bit tragic, but we’re promised a similar mix of cooking and chat and it does at least look like it might be a bit of a change from the million identical programmes that fill up the rest of ITV daytime. If you’re not able to fit the whole series in your schedule, though, the one to watch looks to be Wednesday when Light Lunch warm-up man Dermot O’Leary is back to reminisce.

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BBC1Celebrity Mastermind
Sunday, 18.00, BBC1

Still another one of these to go, which presumably will be next week and will be the episode which was supposed to be shown on December 23rd but which was swapped with another when Joe Cocker died 24 hours before they were intending to ask questions on him. Before that Gemma Cairney, whose rictus grin managed to last throughout the entire last hour of 2014, talks about the Spice Girls while Breakfast business bod Dominic Laurie tackles one of Creamguide’s pet subjects, the London Underground.

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ITVHarry Hill’s Stars In Their Eyes
Saturday, 19.00, ITV

It’s amazing to think, after it became one of the most cherished light entertainment shows of all, how bizarre Stars In Their Eyes sounded when it began, especially as Leslie Crowther had returned from obscurity to host it. We imagine some of that oddness might return in this revival, thanks to the presence of Harry Hill, and we’re sure it won’t have any pretentions of being taken seriously and will be played strictly for laughs, and we hear that Harry will be doing some singing of his own in it. All sounds good fun, actually, because while his film and album were pretty awful, we still like Harry a lot and we think this’ll be a good format for him, and as long as you don’t expect it to be a total facsimile of the original – which would be pretty pointless, especially when it’s up against The Voice – this should be all be an entertaining way to switch your brain off and while away an hour.

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BBC4Meat Loaf – In And Out Of Hell
Friday, 21.00, BBC4

Like Sparks, Blondie and Suzi Quatro, Meat Loaf has always enjoyed greater popularity in Britain than his native country, no doubt because we can spot that his tongue is firmly in his cheek during much of his work. Despite Bat Out Of Hell being one of the most famous LPs ever made it hasn’t always gone swimmingly, though, as we’ll find out in this documentary to which he contributes.

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BBC4Top of the Pops
Thursday, 19.30, 01.00, BBC4

This has been the most seamless switch into a new year yet, as whereas in previous years we were still pondering if they’d continue well into December, the 1980 episodes were announced ages in advance and here we go with the first. A pretty entertaining episode it is too, as well as kicking off a theme for at least the first half of the year of some very striking studio sets indeed.

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