It was launched during the second world war and still goes on in a big chilly shed somewhere in the world, but this never-ending (in all senses) ‘ice spectacular’ will forever be associated in the British mind with that period from the late 1960s to the early 1980s, when it was guaranteed a sizeable chunk of a particularly drab bank holiday afternoon on BBC1, ensuring a mass exodus over to the film of Bless This House on the other side. Initially a feathered homage to Busby Berkeley (but on ice skates), latterly a bunch of people in rubbery costumes falling over a lot (but on ice skates), it’s chiefly remembered, aside from stinking out the schedules, for that ever-increasing ‘let’s all link arms and spin round the rink in a big long line’ climax that was so easily replicable round your local rink. Holiday… didn’t exist in its own sequinned time bubble, however, latching on to flavours of the moment such as Snoopy in 1976 and disco in, er, 1985.
H is for…
Nowadays your recordable DVDs and iPods allow you to store your favourite music and TV in whatever format you want. However in the pre-VHS era, if you wanted to enjoy your favourite TV show again, you either had to invest in a bulky, expensive reel-to-reel video recorder, or, rather easier, hold the microphone from your tape recorder to the telly speaker and make an audio recording. Inevitably you’d hear your sister shrieking in the background, but given the theme to Windmill was unlikely to make it onto seven inch, this was as good as it got. Similarly, if you couldn’t afford to buy your favourite current singles, Sunday teatimes would see you crouched over the radio, taping what you wanted off the Top Forty on Radio One. Inevitably this meant keeping your finger over the stop button, desperate to avoid getting any of the DJ’s voice on the tape – adding that extra sheen of professionalism. As any Musicians’ Union member would tell you, recording such copyrighted material was illegal, and clearly not to be encouraged. However in later years, the BBC managed to retrieve a substantial amount of stuff no longer in the archives, thanks to a home-taping amnesty. Sadly there was no call for low-quality copies of Shakin’ Stevens singles drowned out by your mum shouting you down for your tea.
TV CREAM SAYS: IT’S KILLING MUSIC, BUT IT'S ALSO SAVING YOUR FAVOURITE SID SNOT SKETCHES
Oversized blue featureless head – er, kind of – on legs, famed for ‘his’ unerring ability to get hit by an ambulance and then rescued by an ambulance in the epochal HORACE GOES SKIING (1982) ZX Spectrum game, the road-crossing level of which was much more exciting than the actual skiing itself. Also good at battling spiders (HORACE AND THE SPIDERS, 1983) and park-keepers (HUNGRY HORACE, 1981).See post
Despite sounding like a minor European royal family from a Dynasty end of series special, the House of Dübreq was, initially at least, three blokes called Ted, Burt and Brian, who augmented their film sound dubbing and recording business (dub-req, see?) with the invention of the Stylophone in 1967, got Rolf Harris on board, and never looked back. Paul Daniels was the next celeb to lend his face to the firm, endorsing a collectible series of rhomboidally-packaged magic tricks with colour-coded difficulty ratings, which he plugged in a basic telly campaign shared with Rolf’s squeezy paint-filled art brushes. ‘All from the House of Dübreq!’ chanted the unlikely pair in unison. But these were mere diversions from their flagship product, the truly inspired Top Trumps. Sadly this wasn’t enough to keep the business afloat, and the early 1980s saw the company close, flogging the Trumps to Waddingtons. A new incarnation, however, recently rose from the ashes, helmed by Brian’s son Ben. What fresh aural mayhem they’ll unleash remains to be seen.