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Anatomy of a Wogan

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[This was first published on TV Cream in 2010]

Thanks to that unexpected repeat of a 1987-vintage episode of Wogan the other night, it was possible to take a good, hard look at the armoury Tel deployed on telly to such effect for so long.

And what an armoury. Many were on display during that episode, as indeed they seemed to be during every episode. There always was a lot more to old Wogan’s act than merely the “I don’t know what’s going on here but I wish it would stop” stuff.

Anyway, TV Cream has sallied forth, as the great man himself would say, unto the technological interface that is the screengrab in order to assemble an anatomy of a Wogan.

First, the opening gambit:

Note how our host doesn’t simply walk on set; rather he engages in some visual badinage with his first musical guests, simultaneously acknowledging and patronising them with a mock-bow. Cheeky, but charming. Then instead of walking to the front of the stage, our man gambols and skips into position, gently tickling the conventions of chat. Once in place, the gurning can begin:

Two examples of how to pull off the tricky task of engaging with the camera, yet not actually looking into it. Tel looks a little undignified to begin with, but soon finds his poise, hands clasped in front, ready to discharge another peroration. Time to look the viewer straight in the eye:

Now we’ve stepped up a gear and are witnessing Wogan’s wheezes at full pelt. First we have the nonplussed shrug of the shoulders, deflating whatever pomposity was evident in tonight’s line-up. Note the slight tilt of the head – we’ll see more of this shortly. Second, the wide-eyed stare of delightful desperation. Old Tel’s up to his old tricks again! But wait, there’s more:

Wogan cranks up the corn still further, essaying first a worried glance to the heavens, then a toothy explosion of hilarity. Phew! Now that the climax has been reached, our man can move to the conversation area and deploy his next battery of whimsy…

…whoa! Wogan goes for not simply a tilt of the head but an entire body swerve. This is masterful stuff, coupled as it is with feigned gestures of falling asleep at the prospect of meeting tonight’s guests. Speaking of which, let’s introduce the first batch, with a little kick of the leg to reassure viewers that he is actually enjoying things after all. Tch! Once the music is done with, it’s time for the chat. Let’s examine two examples of the Wogan-as-questioner pose:

First, a tightly-framed shot of the man at ease with his surroundings and supplicants. His interlocked hands rest on crossed legs, to help put his guests entirely in a state of good grace. In the wide shot we see Tel is resting his hands on the arm of his swivel chair, legs splayed in front in a manner that seems to have disarmed Messrs Peel and Blackburn completely. Note the shiny shoes – every inch of Wogan seems perfectly groomed for early-evening telly. Finally, two examples of Wogan testing the BBC Television Theatre to destruction by virtue of a bit of multi-media magic and some good old-fashioned prop silliness:

Smitty and Bungalow are totally upstaged by our man, even though he’s barely a couple of inches high. Then, for good measure, Tel pretends an ordinary garden rose is some kind of joke flora that is about to emit a stream of water. The ideal note upon which to bid viewers farewell.

And there you have it: an anatomy of a Wogan, where all aspects of the man – expression, appearance, pose (both standing and sitting) and presence both alone and in company – are functioning in harmony.

Hope you were taking notes, DG.

Next week: Anatomy of a Jameson*.

*No it isn’t.

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2015

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“The world is a different place”

Downton Abbey
Despite declining ratings and the rise and rise of other entertainment options, festive telly continues to have something of a mythical status. There’s an expectation the schedules on 25th December should have something special about them rather than the usual workaday programmes we watch the rest of the year. Hence the importance of the big event – a last-ever episode, a big revival or the appearance of a host of special guest stars to lure you away from the turkey and cement Christmas Day’s role as a showcase of British television at its best.

With the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime apparently cannibalising the audiences of the existing broadcasters, there’s surely an even bigger need for must-see TV that simply has to be watched. Perhaps surprisingly the biggest event on Christmas Day 2015 came from ITV, a channel that had often made a minimal contribution to festive cheer. Its renaissance in recent years has been thanks to Downton Abbey, and five years on the show came to an end with its last-ever episode.

Unsurprisingly the last outing for this phenomenally popular series pulled in the biggest audience of the day. This was good news for ITV, though it’ll be fascinating to see what will take its place both in autumn 2016, after a few years where it seemed to have been single-handedly holding together the ITV schedule, and on Christmas Day itself. Will ITV be happy to return to the pretty nondescript drama and light entertainment that cost-effectively filled the big day up until 2010, or will they aim to continue being competitive?

Certainly outside of Downton there doesn’t seem to have been much effort made in finding a replacement from their existing slate of programming. The rest of primetime on Christmas Day was inevitably filled up by the usual hour-long episodes of Emmerdale and Coronation Street. All sturdy enough, of course, and a fixture for millions, but it doesn’t suggest a great deal of long-term thinking at the light channel.

The rest of the schedule seemed pretty familiar as well – Santa Claus The Movie and Happy Feet were unspooled again in the morning, followed by an hour of highlights from their Text Santa charity initiative. After The Queen, while BBC1 catered for a young audience, ITV aimed old with a profile of royal correspondent Peter Wilkinson going under the banner of Cameraman To The Queen, and then a festive episode of its Countryfile-like series Countrywise, with another dispatch from Paul O’Grady at Battersea Dogs Home and You’ve Been Framed – now a quarter of a century old – leading us into the evening.

After Downton came something a bit more interesting, with a special tribute to a fixture of ITV Christmases past, Cilla Black, rather thrown away in a late evening slot when you’d think it may have merited a primetime airing on another night. With Dr No the midnight movie, ITV seemed very content to spend much of Christmas Day looking back, though while pleasingly nostalgic, this schedule didn’t seem to suggest much in the way of innovation over recent years.

Still, at least thanks to Downton delivering the goods, ITV came out of the big day with the most positive headline. Over on BBC1, surely the home of Christmas telly, the headlines were less impressive, with shows down year on year and a general lack of enthusiasm about their offerings. On paper, though, things looked absolutely fine – the channel was all-new from 2pm until after midnight, while the schedule was stuffed with some of the Beeb’s biggest names in its biggest shows. But somehow there was something lacking. It seems that it was missing that special ingredient which turns a good Christmas Day into a great one.

The early part of the day motored along in familiar style, including BBC1 outings for the revivals of The Clangers and Danger Mouse, which had debuted during the year and quickly proven as loved and cherished as the original series. After the religion came yet another outing for one of The Santa Clause films, this time the third in the series, followed by the third Madagascar movie. Then at 2pm came the Christmas Top of the Pops. As per, this one-off show was preceded by the news that the BBC were seriously considering launching a new music show to take the place of Pops on a regular basis, but we’d heard that before and the old stager is still with us. And we’re probably more likely to see TOTP in this spot at Christmas 2016 than anything else…

The animated film premiere that follows The Queen is now almost as much a tradition as the royal message itself, and Brave, though perhaps not one of Disney’s finest, turned out to be a pretty good choice with its British theme engaging a large audience. Following that and the news came Stick Man, a new adaptation of the childrens’ book by Julia Donaldson, which was great fun for adults and kids alike. Perhaps some of it was thanks to anaemic opposition from ITV, but these two hours were hugely successful for BBC1 and Stick Man in particular trounced a number of primetime programmes.

Then came the festive juggernauts, starting at 5.15pm with Doctor Who, celebrating its 10th anniversary as a Christmas Day staple. The show was very enjoyable and notable for the first appearance of Alex Kingston’s River Song alongside the current Doctor, but after the regenerations, new companions and huge guest stars of previous specials, this didn’t jump off the screen with excitement – not helped by the fact the most recent series had ended less than three weeks previously.

Strictly Come Dancing followed at 6.15pm, again with a host of previous contestants returning for a lap of honour, but sadly not featuring the return of Sir Bruce Forsyth as host, who was unwell. Brucie did at least make a short recorded appearance, but that perhaps wasn’t enough to ensure this special will live long in the memory. It did at least ensure it was BBC1’s most successful show of the the day, which given it was originally placed in the schedules to offer token opposition to Coronation Street is pretty good going.

The now familiar double-helping of drama followed with the fourth annual Call The Midwife special, pleasing the series’ many fans but not doing much to lure in any floating viewers. EastEnders followed for an hour at 8.45pm, although it perhaps inevitably found itself playing second fiddle to Downton, and even the show itself seemed to expect it, with most press attention diverted to the Carters’ wedding taking place in seven days time.

Mrs Brown’s Boys followed, one of three new outings for Brendan O’Carroll over the festive period with the two new episodes (and the stack of repeats that are a mainstay of the BBC1 schedules) accompanied by the premiere of the movie version on New Year’s Eve. The usual fun and games abounded, and if you liked it usually, you’d like this, and if you didn’t, it wasn’t going to convert you. After that Michael McIntyre was back for the third year in a row, and the fourth time in five Christmas Days, this time back at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane for comedy and variety with a guest list headlined by Dame Edna Everage and Tom Jones. Perhaps the most interesting programme on BBC1 came after that at 11.45pm – ensuring they continued transmitting new programming after midnight, a rare occurance – with Comedy Bloopers, a compilation of clips which had apparently managed to dig out some very rare footage, although how many of the audience were still sober enough to appreciate that is another question.

Overall it’s hard to argue with the BBC1 schedule which in terms of the amount of original British material and entertainment is probably as good as it’s been at any time in its history – there’s certainly no sign of anything like the episodes of Changing Rooms and Ground Force that found their way into primetime a decade or so ago. But nothing this year stood out as demanding to be watched – a solid schedule, but seemingly in the face of increased competition, solid isn’t quite enough.

Certainly increased competition is one obvious reason for the lower ratings on BBC1. Less than a decade ago Channel 4 would barely scrape a few thousand viewers on Christmas Day as it devoted its schedule to religion, history and the fine arts in a self-consciously alternative fashion. This year the audience stayed above two million for most of the day with a schedule as populist as BBC1, including the films A Muppet Christmas Carol, Scrooged and Home Alone 2, plus a kids’ spin off of the hugely successful Gogglebox. Alan Carr was back too.

BBC2 also managed to capture a million or so that might otherwise have opted for BBC1 with its Dad’s Army and Two Ronnies repeats, plus a new episode of QI. Chris Packham’s new series on the World’s Sneakiest Animals found itself starting on a rather unusual day, though one echo of the more traditional BBC2 Christmas came with Darcey Bussell reflecting on her Ballet Heroes.

Channel 5, as is so often the case, found itself straddling the sublime and the ridiculous, as it so often does. The Wizard of Oz was shown exactly 40 years after its first appearance on TV back in 1975, preceded by Scrooge and Seven Brides For Seven Brothers, while most of the rest of the day was cost-effectively filled up with compliations of Britain’s Favourite Christmas Songs and ABBA Songs. After last year’s primetime repeat of Chas and Dave’s Christmas Knees Up from 1982, you may have thought that was the ultimate bit of bizarre scheduling, but Channel 5 surprised us by… repeating it in primetime again! And then again 24 hours later!

With ITV2 also managing to pull in an audience of over a million for their umpteenth screening of Quantum of Solace – suggesting a lot of people still can’t have a Bank Holiday without Bond – and BBC3 (in its last festive season as an actual television channel) almost getting to the million mark with another run of Toy Story, it’s clear the Christmas Day audience is now more fragmented than ever, and programmes need to shout louder to make an impact. It isn’t a good idea to write the main channels off completely, though – a new companion for Doctor Who, a big movie and a return visit to Dibley or Barry Island next year, and things could be very different.

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Merry Christmas Creamguide!

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creamguidechristmas2015
Here is the news: It’s Christmas!

How do we know? Because the Christmas Creamguide is wending its way down the nation’s chimneys. Well, part one, is. Part two will be with you tomorrow. Don’t ask.

You don’t subscribe to Creamguide? Seems silly, but as we’re feeling festive, you can read part one right here (even though it says part two – don’t ask). And part two here.

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Creamguide(Films) Commentaries: The Box of Delights (3/3)

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boxofdelights03

It’s CHRISTMAS! And here to tap and unwrap is the final instalment of Chris, Craig and Jack talking a load of hoary old bobbins while THE BOX OF DELIGHTS plays in the background. We suggest it is the perfect accompaniment to any number of cliches about peeling sprouts and will most certainly be preferable to ‘jokes’ about Willesden on Radio 2. So it’s a Merry Christmas from us and a Happy New Year from them. Goodnight!

To listen, click on the thing above if your browser so allows it. Or download it here (it’s 58 meg this week). If you haven’t already, you could also subscribe. And this is our RSS feed.

And here it is on Soundcloud…

THIS COMMENTARY IS RATED ‘AA’

SPOILERS: Creamguide(Films) will be back! Back! BACK! in February with some more hoary old bobbins.

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Creamguide(Films) Commentaries: The Box of Delights (2/3)

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boxofdelights02

It’s the second part of three of six covering three and four with five and six to come in three. Once again join Chris, Craig and Jack as they talk over, around but not necessarily about THE BOX OF DELIGHTS. Once again press play at the wolfy eyes and neck a posset.

To listen, click on the thing above if your browser so allows it. Or download it here (it’s 59 meg this week). If you haven’t already, you could also subscribe. And this is our RSS feed.

And here it is on Soundcloud…

THIS COMMENTARY IS RATED ‘AA’

SPOILERS: the mystery and terror of the box are hard centres

1. That being Wednesday 21st November 1984
2. She is in fact from (West) Belfast and the petition is here.
3. Merlin of the Crystal Cave was 1991
4. Maid Marian and Her Merry Men ran from 1989 to 1994 and 26 (count ’em!) episodes
5. That was Nicky Croydon
6. 1986
7. Shot at close range with a .357 Magnum
8. Maybe ‘worthy’ was the wrong word. We’ll stick with ‘interesting’
9. Doc Morrissey
10. St Ronan’s Preparatory School. Now defunct. Amazingly.
11. Naturally though you would return it to a gentle heat or it won’t be anything but lukewarm milk with raw egg in it: FACT
12. Sing Lofty: Thoughts of a Gemini. 4 1/2 stars on Amazon! (no copies available)
13. Joanna Dukes, she was Tiddler in 30 episodes of Press Gang from 1989 to 1993
14. She was alright in Watching

Next week: Creamguide(Films) will be back with part three of three next week!

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Creamguide(Films) Commentaries: The Box of Delights (1/3)

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boxofdelights01

It’s nearly Christmas! Count down the days to the Creamguide Double Issue with Creamguide(Films) in the varying heights and shapes of Chris, Craig and Jack as they watch the epic BBC children’s drama serial THE BOX OF DELIGHTS from 1984. Enjoy further defamatory comment about Patrick Troughton, reminiscence about killer geese and giants and listen in detail to the Christmas Day plans of people you’ve never met. Click it on as the wee star comes tumbling down the screen and enjoy. Cheers!

To listen, click on the thing above if your browser so allows it. Or download it here (it’s 57 meg). If you haven’t already, you could also subscribe. And this is our RSS feed.

And here it is on Soundcloud…

THIS COMMENTARY IS RATED ‘AA’

SPOILERS: Contains poetry

Creamguide(Films) will be back next week with part two

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The six best Christmas TV Times covers

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Granted, Radio Times has a history – a now fading history – of terrific Christmas covers, but what of its downstairs rival? We submit that thanks to its more capricious art-editing, and ITV’s lacklustre seasonal schedules, TV Times’ own festive frontispieces present a rather more lurid and appealing advent calendar than the RT.

So Merry Christmas one and all, as we celebrate TVT’s half-dozen greatest Yuletide covers!

6: 1987

1987

A Dr Lowther-bound Hilda Ogden, plus an ebullient Bet ‘Listen Lady’ Lynch, are perfect cover fodder, for once making TVT’s ITV allegiance feel like something approaching a boon. Yes! Their own cover shoot! Of TV’s biggest story! And doesn’t everyone look happy? NB: Don’t miss Ghost Busters!

5: 1977

1977

Harry didn’t have to go to Paris to get an eyeful! Although he’d go on to helm one of the worst ever TVT covers, here he is in another quintessential ITV diorama, shipping, indeed, with George, Mildred and Violet Elizabeth Bott. As the coverline makes clear: glittering entertainment.

4: 1975

1975

The Christmas hats aside, one could argue that this has a more Easter-ly vibe. But we care not! It also feels indicative of those mash-up-of-characters covers Fleetway comics would do when two of their titles merged, so it’s an aye to that. Sooty pumping the balloon an additional genius detail.

3: 1969

1969

An art department triumph! There’s nothing here to indicate TVT even so much as met Des for this cover image, but the appropriation of his mugshot into a Santa face is masterfully done. And the concept of O’Connor-themed wrapping paper – YES. Also, very much appreciate the little telly themed Father Christmasses. Look! One of them is actually a tiny oven with a turkey inside.

2: 1985

1986

Although Minder On The Orient Express would be duffed up in the ratings by Only Fools, who cares when it provided inspiration for this terrific winterscape? Tel and Arthur (holly sprig in trilby band) getting into some bother in Santa’s sled while a discomfited owl looks on. What’ll I get for Christmas for ‘er indoors? This! A smashing painting!

1: 1980

1980

A lavishly budgeted restaging of the 1978 cover, this one has got the lot! Yes! ITV has a Bond, The Man With The Golden Gun actually, plus M&W arguably returning to the near-peak of their powers and – of course – Janet Brown as Mrs T. Roger: “I’ve pulled a few powerful ladies in my time before, but never pushed them…” Janet: “I push Denis around all the time!” Plus, a hint of appropriate shilling to the network, with the inclusion of that for-one-season-only ITV Christmas tag alongside the logo. ALL CHRISTMASSES SHOULD LOOK LIKE THIS!

NOW SEE THE SIX WORST TV TIMES CHRISTMAS COVERS

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The six worst TV Times Christmas covers

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Christmas is not all about Radio Times of course. Because whenever John Craven craned out from a festive Back Page so too did a limpid-eyed Katie Boyle. But while the BBC always decked its schedules with the very merriest fare, that’s never quite been the case on ITV, meaning the Christmas TV Times has, if anything, a more eccentric run of covers than its upstairs rival.

We’ve already waxed a little wry over RT X-mas duffs here. But now, come all ye faithful, here are TV Times’ worst ever efforts.

6: 1981

1982

Slap-bang in the ‘so much more than TV times’ magazine era, Harry Secombe, there, firmly on the highway to getting sozzled, in a perfunctory photo-shoot of the ‘let’s just split for lunch’ variety. Sack the art ed who married those red and white hues with a lime flavoured logo.

5: 1976

1976

The concept – to bring together the TV Times family of stars in one Christmas super-shoot. The realisation – hastily scissored faces slapped upon stock Santa hoods. Many, not even looking into camera (“Frankie, over ‘ere!”).

 4: 1967

1967

“Christmas Morning service comes  from the ancient parish church of Bierton in Buckinghamshire.”

3: 1978

1978

M&W mark their first, desultory, Braben-less, Christmas on Thames with a TVT cover. Again, strong concept (and one they’d revisit with far more success in 1980) but shockingly poor realisation. There’s even a light reflection off the cardboard Connery’s shoulder. And as for Eric seemingly about to blow his own head off… well, perhaps the realisation of all of this was just sinking in.

2: 1965

1965

Who’s that? A young Jan Leeming perhaps? “Here’s the news: It’s Christmas!” In fact it’s – as the cover caption tells us – The Boy Jesus by Florence Kroger. Turns out that shit vanity covers by ‘name’ artists aren’t just the province of modern day RT.

1: 1983

1984

We’re fans of the over-sized heads school of caricature, but, in all charitableness, that’s probably an inadvertent feature of this horrid imagining of a – we’re going to say it too – ‘right royal Christmas’ with Charles, Di and William. What’s that Wills is reaching for? And is Di really leaning on a mattress, adjunct to a Ferguson TV set?

Dishonourable mentions for…

Everything generic, creepy Santa illustration which they’ve run in perpetuity since the mid 1990s.

NOW SEE THE SIX BEST TV TIMES CHRISTMAS COVERS

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The six best Christmas Radio Times covers

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IT’S NOT HARD. You’ve all year to think about it. You’ve been doing it for almost a century. And it’s not like the occasion hasn’t been responsible for inspiring, at the last count, 134,932 carols, songs, films, plays, musicals, myths, costumes, jokes, rituals, foodstuffs, fluids, religious fables and drunks shouting.

And yet the Radio Times Christmas cover is often so poor, so throat-narrowing, colon-clenching, Scrooge-besting poor, you have to wonder just what the magazine has been up to over the past 12 months*.

Anyhow, let’s not dwell on the periodical equivalent of a Brussel sprout dry fart. Let us instead look back to half a dozen festive fancies we’d drop everything to save from the flames of an Advent crown, fireproof tinsel or no fireproof tinsel. Doff your paper hats to the six greatest Radio Times Christmas front covers.

*Aside from not watching TV programmes, of course.

6: 2005

Oh, and by the way...

Celebrating Dr Who’s return to Christmas Day after 40 years, the Tardis gets plonked in a globe along with a snowman sporting Tom Baker’s scarf, the inevitable pepperpot, and blobs of space junk looking like baubles. Nobody would’ve expected this 12, even nine months earlier. Sod Narnia; please Mum, can I have a Dalek for Christmas?

5: 1959

Claus for thought

Not for the last time, RT puts a bunch of pricks on the cover. But there’s Claus for thought in the shape of not one but two Saint Nicks, one vaguely resembling Alan Whicker, the other crouched behind a camera thumbing a red nose at the electricians’ union. Why can’t you give Santa the sack? Because he’s already got one. Ho bloody ho.

4: 1964

Er...Ponce alert! Radio Times goes a bit way out as it dips a toe into the cold Serpentine of mid-60s abstract art. It could be the British Isles, it could be a dove of peace, it could be what happens when one of your Woolworths baubles falls on the floor. Whatever, it’s rather splendid.

3: 1927

A dose of the clap

Got your number, ducky. RT goes gay with a swinging toast to the roaring 20s, offering up its own Christmas Reith in the guise of a bell ringing out – huzzah! – radio waves. ALL THE CHRISTMAS PROGRAMMES too, should there be any doubt.

2: 1968

Hanging looseGroovy typeface adorns a preposterously pendulous bauble, star-encrusted with the famous and not so (who’s the chap on the far left with the teeth and suit?). It looks like a poster for the original (and best) Casino Royale. If only this HAD been the cast of the original (and best) Casino Royale.

1: 1963

Toppermost of the poppermostThe most imaginative seasonal cover ever – and the most gorgeous. Carol singers with no eyes, a clump of Lowry parishioners trudging to worship, reindeer that look like the Black Rabbit from Watership Down, and an angel with a bouffon. Bold, unique, and utterly baffling: the true spirit of Christmas.

Honourable mentions for…

A hard-working family, yesterday

1923: a hard-working family

What fascist undertones?

1926: what fascist undertones?

That's what they call you

1929: that’s what they call you

Christmas Deco-rations

1933: the Deco in decoration

Pop goes Christmas

1966: taking Christ out of Xmas

Oh no it isn't - oh yes it is!

1988: oh yes it is, oh no it isn’t

Now see the six worst Christmas Radio Times covers

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The six worst Christmas Radio Times covers

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Worried about heating your home this Christmas? Dig some of the following disgraces out of your attic, douse with a bit of brandy, then WHOOOMPH: a conflagration that’s both physically and sanctimoniously satisfying.

Alternatively, use these covers as an alternative to wrapping paper – on presents for people you dislike deeply.

6: 1949

What the..?

Let’s be charitable and say this was done for a dare. On the other hand, let’s not, and wonder how the hell this grisly confection ever made it past the proofs. As if 1940s Britain hadn’t had enough of terrifying things falling from the skies.

5: 1936

By golly

Not merely a gollywog, but a gollywog looking desperately pissed off. The tree’s fallen to pieces as well, while a box of cigars lies ready for a child to begin a lifetime’s addiction to narcotics. Merry fucking Christmas.

4: 2009

Pro - cras - ti - nate!

What could be funnier that a Dalek in a Santa hat? Quite possibly everything. But look: the RT Christmas issue has now somehow become LEGENDARY. Who could have known? We prostrate ourselves in front of your biblical self-righteousness, oh mighty tome of insufferable cant.

3: 1993

Grow some teeth, kid

An ugly kid pulls a gormless face, and we’re meant to feel festive? Come back when you’ve grown some teeth, son – not to mention some manners.

2: 2010

Legendary

Ah look, Wallace and Gromit are back. Well, yes, in the sense they were on the front of the Christmas Radio Times just 12 months earlier. But no, in the sense of them starring in a brand new adventure that’s the centrepiece of the Christmas schedules. In fact there was no new Wallace and Gromit on TV at all. This was just an idle, lousy reworking of the previous year’s cover. Thank heavens they never tried that again. Oh, wait…

1: 1974

A failure, yesterdayBritain’s unfunniest comedy creation gestures at a tube of tatty shiny paper. To pour piss into the wound, look at that long, long list of names, any one of whom would have been 100 times better as cover star. “I’m a failure!” And so say all of us.

Dishonourable mentions for…

No, us neither

1952: fright before Christmas

Oh no, it's "me"

1978: oh bollocks, it’s “me”

Plonkers

1985: plonkers needing stuffing

Get back in your box

1996: typographical trauma

Not wild about Harry

2000: not wild about Harry

Get out, Claus

2007: call Crimestoppers now

Now see the six best Christmas Radio Times covers

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Creamguide(Films) Commentaries: Lifeforce

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Lifeforce

Come back to the ’80s with Chris, Craig and Jack as they watch Tobe Hooper’s splendid dance of the space vampires LIFEFORCE. Shot into space by Cannon films, join in the repetitive ridicule of Dan O’Bannon and the spotting of obscure tourism campaigns while we are treated to Aubrey Morris and Patrick Stewart: together at last! Turn on the commentary as the Cannon logo appears and try to spot the ‘brash guard.’

To listen, click on the thing above if your browser so allows it. Or download it here (it’s 109 meg). If you haven’t already, you could also subscribe. And this is our RSS feed.

And here it is on Soundcloud…

THIS COMMENTARY IS RATED ‘A’

SPOILERS: Frank Finlay appears courtesy of the Garrick Club

Creamguide(Films) REVERSE FAQ

1. No idea
2. This was the first of his three picture deal with Cannon
3. Colin Wilson thought it was the worst film version of a novel ever made, it says here
4. The Stuntman, basically
5. No, he isn’t
6. Tom Atkins
7. Brian Marsh
8. Joe Claro
9. 80
10. Freddie and Max
11. Actually, he was a newsreader for the BBC between 1968 and 1973
12. Albert Hague, wrote four Broadway musicals and the score for ‘The Grinch Who Stole Christmas’ but not ‘Starmaker’
13. We actually meant Jack Warden. But Jack Warner works as well
14. ‘thanatology’ θanəˈtɒlədʒi/ noun: “the scientific study of death and the practices associated with it, including the study of the needs of the terminally ill and their families”
15. Top 50 dramas and it was No.16 actually, in between Six a Feet Under and Smiley’s People. But since Six a feet Under was above Smiley’s People the list is clearly a pile of shite
16. We were getting confused with the Australian films featured in the documentary feature ‘Not Quite Hollywood’ by the same guy which is also great
17. Great as Aubrey is, that was meant to be Ronald Lacey
18. 1986 – 1989
19. Still wasn’t
20. Nope
21. He isn’t
22. That was actually meant to be Johnny Sconney Gielguid. Turned out they couldn’t afford him
23. 1987 – 1994
24. No he isn’t but he was in The Mallens
25. Nope, nothing to do with him. Good play, mind
26. It might actually be Elstree
27. He was

Creamguide(Films) will return with a festive treat

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Creamguide(Films) Commentaries: The Five Doctors

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fivedoctors

To Creamguide(Films) would go, must choose above, between, below. Join Chris, Craig and Proper Fan Jack as they wallow in the majesty of the greatest Doctor Who story ever told (oh yes it is): THE FIVE DOCTORS. And on the 32nd anniversary of its UK broadcast which, after all, is the big one! Turn it on as Hartnell appears and join in the sweary mockery of a programme so dear to so many generations.

But, how to listen, child? HOW TO LISTEN? Why, it’s as easy at Pi. Click on the thing above if your browser so allows it. Or download it here (it’s 85meg). If you haven’t already, you could also subscribe. And this is our RSS feed.

And here it is on Soundcloud…

THIS COMMENTARY IS RATED ‘A’

SPOILERS: Jack is a Proper Fan

1. On the Chicago PBS station WTTW and various other PBS stations on 23 November 1983. We imagine no one shouted “We’re number 1!” at those affiliate meetings like Faye Dunaway in NETWORK
2. 25th November over here. Where the people who actually paid for it live
3. Doesn’t exactly happen all the time but they still put special previews and stuff on at Comic-Con in America before we get them which is all wrong
4. It was shown on BBC One, one part a night between 14 August and 17 August 1984 at 6:15 p.m.
5. 1981 episode “Assassin”
6. And the only story with all the footage, out takes etc. still extant in broadcast quality
7. 7.7m viewers
8. 65 at this point
9. She was meant to be in it but the divorce put the mockers on that
10. And represented McGann when he got the gig
11. Which was the cliffhanger (ho ho) for one of the serialised episodes
12. VHS release was in 1985
13. The ‘Lifestyle’ department
14. If there is this is out of sync
15. This section was MOGGED
16. Or is it a bit of pineapple?
17. They’re all on Gallifrey, actually. ‘Proper Fan’
18. DOCTOR WHO: CYBERMEN. Keep it in mind for Christmas, Proper Fans!
19. What constitutes a Proper Fan (apparently):
1 – into Doctor Who by aged 8
2 – stayed loyal through the wilderness years
3 – know who Alister Pearson, David Burton and Gary Leigh are*
20. Keith Hodiak. Also in the telly Lion, Witch and Wardrobe which is quite a double
21. Virtual Murder was 1992
22. He wasn’t available apparently
23. Knightmare was 1987 onwards
24. Actually it was 1994
25. And the Doctors Latimer did indeed kick off in 1983
26. Released on VHS in 1985
27. And this was the first DVD release, in 1999
28. Made a bit of an arse explaining that. What we meant was that when Tennant says to Sarah Jane in School Reunion that he has regenerated half a dozen times since they last met, it was only five at that point (Baker, McCoy, McGann, Ecclestone, Tennant) cos she met Peter Davison in this. It’s six now cos of Hurt but that didn’t count then. Oh no it didn’t.
29. Neverwhere was 1996. Sir Lenworth was not attached
30. It says here Charles Gray was offered The Role Of Rassilon
31. It says here it’s only ‘jokingly’ referred to as the Flavia Theme. By whom we have no idea.

*(Creamguide(Films) has no idea who these people are)

Creamguide(Films)will be back with a superlative adventure shot from a Cannon.

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Creamguide(Films) Commentaries: Alien3

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creamguidecommentaries03

It’s time to go back into space for an interstellar adventure – but unfortunately not INTERSTELLAR- with Creamguide(Films) as Chris, Craig and Martin canter through David Fincher’s ‘troubled production (copyright everyone) ALIEN3. Listen as they drop profanities, trot out wobbly analysis and ridicule Gorden Kaye’s tragic accident.

This is how it works. You might be able to listen to it above. Or download it here (it’s 106meg). If you haven’t already, you could also subscribe. And this is our RSS feed.

And here it is on Soundcloud…

THIS COMMENTARY IS RATED ‘A’

SPOILERS: Martin talks a lot of shit.

Creamguide(Films) will be back with a ‘timely’ adventure! (and maybe even a Reverse FAQ)

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Creamguide(Films) Commentaries: Prometheus

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creamguidecommentaries04

Back with even more shouting and in-jokes – and taking combination swearing to dangerous new levels – join Chris, Craig, Martin, Jack and Rose for a raucous roller-coaster ride of profanity and derision so big, only the biggest of the big screens can do it justice. Yes, ‘Sir’ Riddler Scott’s monumental Alien sequel (prequel?) PROMETHEUS. Please check for level before playing just as the ident fades away.

Here’s the usual script, you might be able to listen to it above. Or download it here (it’s 114meg). If you haven’t already, you could also subscribe. And this is our RSS feed.

And here it is on Soundcloud…

THIS COMMENTARY IS RATED ‘R’

SPOILERS: [INSERT ANY JOKE ABOUT ENDLESS VACANT SPACE HERE] 

CREAMGUIDE(FILMS) REVERSE FAQ: 

1. Millions of years ago, apparently.
2. But this is 2089.
3. So did they come back at some point and pose for cave paintings? No one notice the space ships?
4. He died in 2005. Callous bastards.
5. Patrick Wilson.
6. Apparently he modelled his performance on a mingling of Peter O’Toole, Greg Louganis, David Bowie and Dirk Bogarde. Which sounds like a mingling that may have occurred to Dirk Bogarde at some point. Just as well we can’t view those dreams.
7. Sigh
8. …
9. …
You know what? There’s just too much for this. So we’ll leave you with two points:
– He played ‘Trey’ in SUNSHINE. He hung around this set long enough to appear in THE MARTIAN.
– “Our timeless recipe made with quality dark chocolate, infused with mint oil and blended with our unique, melt-in-the-mouth honeycomb crisp. Individually wrapped in foil to make every chocolate feel as special as the last. Arranged in the iconic Elizabeth Shaw octagonal box, we think they make the perfect accompaniment for a dinner party with friends, or indeed an indulgent treat for yourself as you work your way around the box, one by one!” (no mention of deep space exploration)
That’s enough of that.

Creamguide(Films) will return with a film they actually like… in SPACE!

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Creamguide(Films) Commentaries: Ghostwatch

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creamguidecommentariesghostwatch

It’s time! IT’S TIME KIDS! Creamguide(Films) does Hallowe’en but doesn’t ‘do’ Halloween. Instead Chris, Craig and Jack have been watching, commenting on and swearing along to the superlative BBC drama from 1992 GHOSTWATCH. But! Is it really a drama? (Yes)

Turn it on when Parky’s name appears and enjoy the miserable old scrote do something useful for a change (and this is the BFI DVD release which we think is the same as the BBC one.)

Should your browser allow, you’ll be able to listen to it above. Or download it here (it’s 93meg). If you haven’t already, you could also subscribe. And this is our RSS feed.

And here it is on Soundcloud…

THIS COMMENTARY IS RATED ‘PG’

SPOILERS: The rustling noise isn’t Pipes, it’s us demolishing a box of After Eights

CREAMGUIDE(FILMS) REVERSE FAQ:

1. It didn’t go out live of course. It was pre-recorded.

2. That’s a mock OB unit, the BBC wouldn’t let them use a real one.
3. We’ve no idea.
4. Stars Reunited: Blue Peter, July 9th 2003.
5. Google it.
6. HOSPITALWATCH went out in 1988. We think Rail Watch was THE TRAIN NOW DEPARTING also from 1988, which was about activists fighting to keep the line from Settle to Carlisle open. The film version is in turnaround.
7. She only got half an hour into THE CONJURING the other night.
8. John Craven is 75, Michael Parkinson is 80.
9. Both Richard and Judy are fine, upstanding people with no stain on their characters.
10. Give Us A Clue in 1992.
11. In Suspicious Circumstances, 1991.
12. Clive Robertson, as detailed on Saturday Night Clive in 1989.
13. Cyberspace was 1996
14. Michael Lush was 1986
15. The lovely Sarah was still on Going Live in 1992. So was the rubbish Forbes.
16. Creamguide(Films) does not endorse any scurrilous nonsense about Most Haunted which is marvellous entertainment.
17. No she isn’t.
18. SOIL TRIMS DELIVERY or RIM IDOLS RESTIVELY
19. No it’s the one where Parky calls the woman a bad mother.
20. Published in 1995.
21. Just after 9 so post-watershed.
22. Either Yentob or Jonathan Powell in 1992.
23. No fucking clue. Let’s go with 89p.
24. Elstree.
25. Released by the BFI on DVD in 2002.
26. Banned from broadcast by the BBC for ten years, it says here.

Creamguide(Films) will return with a journey into SPACE!

 

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Creamvote play-offs! Doctor Who vs World in Action

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A curly-haired, scary man in space vs a curly-haired, scary man in space, in…

TV Cream’s Most Unforgettable Theme!

This’ll be too close to call, surely?

This poll will close on 29th October 2015 at 1700.

  • Which is the most unforgettable theme?

    • Doctor Who (60%)
    • World in Action (40%)
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      Creamguide(Films) Commentaries: Superman III

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      Superman III

      Creamguide(Films): Rise of the Robots!

      It’s another instalment of swearing and getting Roshan Seth’s name wrong as Chris, Craig and Allan watch the sequel to the sequel to Superman. Yes, it’s top-notch Salkindery ‘SUPERMAN III’ layered over with sexual imagery and impressions of George Chisholm and Windsor Davies. Turn on the commentary as the Warner Brothers logo fades out and stand by with a sausage roll and a tin of Schlitz.

      Should your browser allow, you’ll be able to listen to it above. Or download it here (it’s 115meg). If you haven’t already, you could also subscribe. And this is our RSS feed

      And here it is on Soundcloud…

      THIS COMMENTARY IS RATED ‘A’

      CREAMGUIDE(FILMS) REVERSE FAQ
      1. Pinewood, Canada and, erm, Milton Keynes
      2. That’s probably the Milton Keynes bit
      3. ‘Salami slicing’ apparently
      4. –
      10 PRINT “YOU ARE A JOBBY”
      20 GO TO 10
      RUN
      5. We used to do that in Laskey’s
      6. He isn’t
      7. The Daily Star kicked it off in 1981. No idea if it ever featured in the New York Times or Cleveland Plain Dealer
      8. Tomorrow Never Dies
      9. It was the episode called “Don’t Tug on Superman’s Cape” in which his actual wife played his wife
      10. Most fire engines are self-pumping, including the Green Goddess. However, we don’t think Diana Moran is.
      11. It’s Gavan
      12. And it’s Conal Cochran
      13. Earth Angel. This used it first.
      14. Bill Reimbold (and so is John Bluthal; see below)
      15. $60m domestic gross
      16. And Mario ‘no froff?’ Fabrizi, Dave ‘Cockleshell Heroes’ Lodge, Norman ‘Simon, Simon’ Rossington
      17. Shirley Knight and Caroline Mortimer, it says here
      18. And it’s still Roshan Seth
      19. Ronnie Brody. He was, for example, the head chef in the Grace Bros canteen who says, “rissoles!” and puts his fingers up to Captain Peacock
      20. David Daker. It’s not him
      21. He actually started on telly and got his first film role fucking about behind Yul Brynner in The Ten Commandments
      22. She went when she was four
      23. Cecil Gaybody
      24. He is
      25. There is a Canadian ice hockey team called the Wheat Kings. Early European settlers in central Canada who cultivated the wilderness were referred to as ‘Wheat Kings.’ Neither group has had at any time control access to satellites which have functions to control weather systems.
      26. It’s ‘vs’ not ‘saves’
      27. He has 127 credits on imdb. Mind you, that includes telly. But that’s a lot of films.
      28. Built in 1975 it sailed under a Bermudan flag and was scrapped in 1999
      29. Robert Beatty
      30. For some reason they seem to call them ‘Irish sausage rolls’
      31. It grossed half as much as this at the box office proving that it ought to have found room for Bob Todd. Or a giant foam cowboy hay
      32. We’re still not sure. We can’t be arsed watching it again with the sound up
      33. It was in 1980

      Creamguide(Films) will return with a Hallowe’en treat (that isn’t HALLOWEEN)

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      Creamvote play-offs! Magpie vs Grandstand

      Posted in Posted in Blog | 5 Comments »

      Two, indeed, for joy…

      TV Cream’s Most Unforgettable Theme!

      Pitching Thames TV’s Blue Peter-beater against BBC1’s World of Sport-retort…

      This poll will close on 22nd October 2015 at 1700.

    • Which is the most unforgettable theme?

      • Grandstand (74%)
      • Magpie (26%)
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        Creamguide(Films) Commentaries: Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

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        "Call that a knife?"

        Creamguide(Films) is back! Back! BACK!

        No longer confined to print – finding new ways to write different things about Day of the Jackal and The October Man – join Chris, Craig, Rose and Jack for an adventure in critical evaluation and swearing as they watch Steven Spielydrawers’ 1980s teatime classic ‘INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM.’ Turn the commentary on just as the Paramount logo turns to the gong and enjoy as much shady Orientalism as you can handle in one sitting.

        THIS COMMENTARY IS RATED ‘AA’

        SPOILERS: They don’t like it much.

        Should your browser allow, you’ll be able to listen to it above. Or download it here (it’s a little over 100meg). If you haven’t already, you could also subscribe. And this is our RSS feed

        And here it is on Soundcloud…

        Okay? So…

        CREAMGUIDE(FILMS) REVERSE FAQ

        1. They married in 1991. Still married.
        2. Douglas Slocombe was 71 (at time of writing he’s 102.)
        3. The Chenjeh kebab is the most popular Xianjing dish in China. Traditionally made with mutton or mutton fat it is often now made with pork or chicken. But not like this.
        4. The Revenge of the Pink Panther
        5. Next year’s International Poultry Expo is in Atlanta. We don’t know where it was in 1935.
        6. Still alive, he’s 69.
        7. It was riding the elephants.
        8. Apparently he practices entertainment law.
        9. Willard Huyck.
        10. She was a character in Prisoner: Cell Block H.
        11. It’s Roshan Seth.
        12. Kenneth Williams’ boss was Mr Robinson.
        13. Didn’t Gillian McKeith once pretend to faint to get out of doing her night?
        14. Creamguide(Films) says: The middle film is always the best of a trilogy, except for Jaws and Indiana Jones (and Terminator.)
        15. And his wife was Kate Capshaw’s body double.
        16. He plays a Gestapo goon in Indiana Jones and His Dad as well.
        17. Amrish Puri. He died in 2005.
        18. Jake Steinfeld did it this time. Dave Prowse sorted Ford out for Raiders. We read somewhere.
        19. The A-Z of Cool Computer Games by Jack ‘Railton’ is still available on Amazon.
        20. We recorded this back in April so that was a topical joke then.

        Creamguide(Films) will return with SUPERMAN III

        See post

        Creamvote play-offs! Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads? vs The Sweeney

        Posted in Posted in Blog | 2 Comments »

        Oh! What happened to you?

        TV Cream’s Most Unforgettable Theme!

        Seriously, though, what did become of the people, we used to be. Tomorrow’s almost over, the day went by so fast. And so forth. That, or: The Sweeney, the Sweener, ner-ner-ner-na-ner-ner-ner-ner-ner

        This poll will close on 15th October 2015 at 1700.

      • Which is the most unforgettable theme?

        • Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads (55%)
        • The Sweeney (45%)
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