Creamguide

PICK OF THE DAY

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BBC4Top of the Pops
Friday, 19.30, 00.00, BBC4

We know he’s bloody useless at it, but actually quite a lot of the shows from 1982 we’re looking forward to seeing are presented by Simon Bates. It’s not for him, obviously, but he just happened to be hosting episodes featuring cracking line-ups or hugely memorable performances. His first edition of the year isn’t perhaps one of them, especially as a number of performances you’ll already have seen on the clip show, though that does emphasise there are lots of famous songs about.

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PICK OF THE DAY

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BBC4Top of the Pops
Thursday, 19.30, 01.00, BBC4

Some great stuff under this banner in recent weeks, we’re sure you’ll agree the Christmas Eve show was an absolute spectacular, with Zoo dancing to Yellow Pearl on the two-tier stage surely the enduring image of eighties Pops. We also love the idea of all the family together on Christmas Eve being confronted by the brilliantly bizarre Ant Rap. Some fantastic clips in the documentary as well, while the clip show illustrated some fine fare we’ve got coming up. Sadly we’ve already skipped our first episode of the year so there’s a lot of familiar tracks here, but on the plus side Kid’s in charge again and there’s also the ever welcome sight of XTC.

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PICK OF THE DAY

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Sky Arts 1The South Bank Show
Wednesday, 20.00, Sky Arts

Lots of Sky Arts and Radio 3 in Creamguide this week, but all the shows we’re highlighting are suitably lowbrow, we’re sure you’ll agree. And we’ll probably be watching football instead of them as well, to be honest. In any case, in this programme Melvyn meets Russell T Davies, who’s always a hugely engaging and entertaining interviewee. We always love hearing about his early career, not least because we used to be very fond of kids shows from BBC North West, though he’s equally good value discussing his current stuff, not least because he’s always candid and is perfectly happy to talk about his flops as well as his hits.

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PICK OF THE DAY

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Sky Arts 1Soundbreaking
Tuesday, 21.00, Sky Arts

This series began last week but, er, we didn’t notice it. It’s how advances in technology have changed music, as the producer’s role developed from just moving people closer and further away from the microphone to playing a major role in the composition of the song itself. And with Macca contributing and some intriguing Beatles footage promised, they don’t appear to be messing around.

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PICK OF THE DAY

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BBC Radio 3The Earl Grey Whistle Test
Monday, 22.45, BBC Radio 3

Stand to attention, everyone! We’re billing a Radio 3 programme! But don’t worry, because it features eighties pop very prominently. Over the next five nights, we get to enjoy some radio essays from Mark Ellen and David Hepworth, who between them more or less invented the modern era of music journalism, moving away from the earnest nature of the weeklies to the arch irreverence of the monthlies, and certainly for their pivotal role on Smash Hits they have earned our eternal respect. Over the week they’ll talk about journalism, television and the music industry, and we think Mark will be slightly easier on the ear thanks to David’s usual habit on TV shows of shouting all his anecdotes.

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PICK OF THE DAY

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BBC1Countryfile
Sunday, 18.30, BBC1

Casualty last night, Countryfile this? We know this sounds a bit more like TV Times than Creamguide, but this edition looks particularly intriguing, and not just for Uncle Matt-related reasons. No, it’s because it’s based around that brilliantly Creamy event, the summer of 76! It’s not just an exercise in nostalgia, either, because there’s also a look at how in some ways it changed our environment forever, and a chance to ponder what might happen if we had the same kind of thing again.

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BBC1Casualty
Saturday, 21.25, BBC1

Well, bit of an odd way to begin, but we’re including it here, not just because thanks to the football it’s a bit of a quiet week, but because it’s the thousandth edition – and to celebrate we get the triumphant return of Cathy Shipton as Duffy. To be honest, whenever we watch Casualty, like Emmerdale, we always say either “Oh, are they still in it?” or “Oh, are they in it now?”, so maybe you thought Duffy was in it every week, but if you’re a regular viewer we suppose it’s quite big news. However, rather awkwardly, this landmark has been reached right in the middle of the Schedule A and Schedule B business, so it might be tomorrow and many people might miss it completely, so we’re not sure why they didn’t just “accidentally” miscount and say a more conveniently scheduled episode was the thousandth. It’s the thirtieth anniversary in three months anyway, so there’s chance for more celebrations then.

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PICK OF THE DAY

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ITVWhen Ali Came To Britain
Friday, 23.00, ITV

As the obituaries have mentioned, while his home country was often cool towards him, mostly thanks to his views on Vietnam, in Britain Ali was always hugely popular, and he appreciated that as well, coming back as frequently as he could. Often that would be to appear on TV but he also did lots of work to help charities and promote the value of sport, the most famous man in the world thinking nothing of nipping off to a grotty gym or boys’ club to meet his adoring and often unsuspecting public, as this repeat illustrates.

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PICK OF THE DAY

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BBC4Top of the Pops
Thursday, 19.30, 02.15, BBC4

Simon Bates plumbing new depths of ineptitude the other week with his reference to “Saturday Swap Shop”. Anyway, on we plough straight into 1982, which we’re really looking forward to because there’s absolutely loads of great records and performances to come over the next twelve (six) months and a wonderful atmosphere in the studio. Maybe not so much on this one, the January lull (and doubtless the awful weather, one of the worst winters ever) meaning not many people can be bothered coming into the studio so it’s mostly videos and repeats. But the most important band in the charts are there, as well as Zoo with a surprising new member which means the first thirty seconds are absolutely hilarious.

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ITV4The Hand of God – 30 Years On
Wednesday, 22.15, ITV4

If England have gone out of the Euros by the time this show is on it might enjoy a slightly cooler reaction than it could have. We’ve seen so many documentaries about Euro 96 it’ll be quite odd to recall another football tournament, but here’s a look back at Mexico 86. England did OK but haven’t been as celebrated as other successful England outfits, possibly thanks to most of them going on to be appalling managers. From a telly perspective, the tournament itself enjoyed rather ragged coverage, not helped by an earthquake in Mexico that destroyed the media centre and meant in the early days pictures and sound regularly went missing, and the poor direction saw Brian Moore suggest that by the end of it Maradona was probably the only player anyone would recognise, mostly thanks to his antics in this match where he wasn’t distracted by the giant spider hovering over the pitch.

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Channel 4Born on the Same Day
Tuesday, 21.00, Channel 4

This week the series rewinds back to 19th September 1949, a birthday shared by among others Twiggy. Everyone’s forgotten Twiggy’s disastrous spell as host of This Morning in 2001, although for a while there it looked like the show was going to be axed. Nevertheless, given how early in her life she became famous it’s hugely impressive she’s managed to enjoy success in a number of fields to this day. Here she looks back at the twists and turns of her career alongside some people who were elsewhere while London was swinging.

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PICK OF THE DAY

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BBC2Cunk on Shakespeare
Monday, 22.00, BBC2

Not much on this week other than football and politics, hence the appearance in here of this repeat from the other week, though if you don’t like either, Simon Farquhar has pointed us in the direction of BBC Store’s new Prejudice and Pride collection of programmes, which includes a fascinating selection of Plays for Today and other notable series and one-offs, many of which haven’t ever been available to buy and indeed watch for many years, if ever. In fact there’s loads of other great stuff on BBC Store which is worth a couple of quid, from the bowels of the archive as well as stuff that’s recently been on TV. And yes, you may have already paid your licence fee, but they never used to send you free VHS videos, did they?

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BBC Radio 4Plastic Revolution – 50 Years of the Credit Card
Sunday, 13.30, BBC Radio 4

It’s half a century since the first people in Britain gained a flexible friend, and in the past we always found the likes of Access and Visa impossibly glamorous, and looked forward to the day when we could ask a shop to get out the unwieldy machine that processed the whole business. Of course, these days they’re totally ubiquitous and take seconds to use, which though highly convenient is perhaps a bit of a shame.

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BBC2The Liver Birds
Saturday, 19.20, BBC2

Sad to hear of the death of Carla Lane recently, as while some of her later work wasn’t very good – and her complaints the BBC wouldn’t let her do what she wanted sounded a bit daft – she was a hugely popular and important writer in the seventies and eighties, doing loads for women in comedy. Creamguide used to love Butterflies when we were young – although we went off it a bit when they stopped the bit of business with the cars in the drive – but her longest-running and most cherished series is probably The Liver Birds, so in tribute it’s an imperial phase Beryl and Sandra episode from 1974 followed by Comedy Connections, which sadly now only appears for obituary purposes, from a while back.

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PICK OF THE DAY

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BBC4Top of the Pops
Friday, 19.30, 00.00, BBC4

After the excitement of yesterday, sadly we’re not getting Christmas Day for obvious reasons, but it’s all on YouTube and is worth a look because it’s got a fascinating line-up including loads of synthpop and Laurie Anderson. What we do get, though, is the second festive programme, first shown on New Year’s Eve, where Mike Read presents all the number ones of the year. He does this via repeats and videos, and of course in the early screening we won’t even get them all, but it’s an effective whistle-stop tour of an interesting year, and best of all it means another outing for The Giant Simon Bates. But that’s not all the Pops-related excitement tonight! Yes, we plough straight on into a new year and launch it in the traditional manner, although it seems a bit odd not having these on the first Friday of the year. Still, we’re delighted to see it, because everyone knows pop achieved perfection in 1982, it’s a scientific fact! You know how these things work by now, and though we probably won’t get anything as fantastic as 1981’s behind the scenes footage of the title sequence, we’ll doubtless enjoy a host of amusing anecdotes and fascinating clips in the documentary at ten, followed by the usually hugely enjoyable compilation at eleven.

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PICK OF THE DAY

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BBC4Top of the Pops
Thursday, 19.30, 01.10, BBC4

So how come Boy George in the audience hasn’t been plundered for thousands of clip shows over the past thirty years, instead remaining unknown until just the other month? But enough of that because we’re absolutely delighted to get this far in the run as we are prepared to suggest it’s possibly the greatest episode of Top of the Pops ever made – even though we never expected to see it at this time of year. Christmas Eve was a Thursday in 1981 and Pops was on such top form at the time it continued as usual, but for the occasion they absolutely threw the kitchen sink at it, broadcasting live and with a ton of neon and streamers, and it’s absolutely the essence of eighties Pops, an absolute spectacular. Add to that Kid Jensen on top form and a chart that includes some of the shiniest, most exciting pop songs of the decade, and it’s the most thrilling forty minutes or so (so get that late one recorded) of music television you’ll ever see. If you only watch one Pops repeat this year, make it this one.

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BBC4From Andy Pandy To Zebedee – The Golden Age Of Children’s TV
Wednesday, 20.30, BBC4

Because we haven’t had time to say it elsewhere, this is where we congratulate BBC Parliament for their fantastic evening of archivery last Sunday, and especially producer Ros Ball who was on Twitter saying how pleased she was to have got more disco on BBC Parliament in one night than the rest of its entire history, and pointing out they had to edit The Rock’n’Roll Years a bit to remove an unclearable clip of Rutland Weekend Television. All top stuff, and here’s another outing for the show from Christmas which could happily be repeated every night of the week to great acclaim.

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Channel 4Born on the Same Day
Tuesday, 21.00, Channel 4

Bit of a dull day in the Euros, so you may find yourself drifting off to something else, and this is the start of a new series that connects people who were, yes, born on the same day. The idea is to see what effect major events had on their lives and how they all took a different turn based on their surroundings and decisions. First of all we head back to 7th March 1944 where among the bouncing babies making an arrival was Sir Ranulph Fiennes.

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ChallengeFamily Feud
Monday, 19.00, Challenge

Well, Creamguide’s real telly pick today is three football matches, but presumably that’s not considered within our jurisdiction, worse luck. So we have to look further afield, and that takes us to Challenge who have decided that now, forty years after it originally began and 36 years after we got our own version, is the optimum time to show the original American version of Family Fortunes (we like the American website which suggested the name was changed because we thought “heavens, a feud, there’s no need for all that”). No, they’re not starting from the beginning, but it’d be interesting to see what Bob and Brucie made of it all those years ago that sparked off an undignified scrap for the rights, though perhaps only once as a novelty. And if you want umpteen episodes of an American series, Challenge, Bruce Forsyth’s Hot Streak is sitting there waiting for an outlet!

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BBC4Top of the Pops
Friday, 19.30, 00.00, BBC4

And bring on the Christmas records! A couple of novelty affairs get an outing here, although we’re sad to say it looks like we’ll have to wait until midnight for the triumphant return of one of this show’s former presenters making their first and only chart appearance. It’s also Simes’ birthday, so we might let him off a couple of his usual balls-ups tonight.

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