ROBIN IS ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE who appeared on television for several decades, yet never really gave over the impression that he knew anything about it. He started off as a radio producer at the Beeb, but legged it to ITN when it started up in 1955, reading the news and fronting some embryonic current affairs shows. He left in 1959 to stand as Liberal candidate for Hereford, but failed to win the seat. Instead he went back to the Beeb and stayed there for the next 30 years. His biggest exposure came, of course, on Election Night, when he’d sit in a paddock smoking a huge cigar and bark at anyone who showed up, or as he put it, “I shall be performing my usual humble function”. Memorable moments included the time in 1979 when he was due to appear on the Election QUESTION TIME panel (“If you have a question, send a postcard to David Dimbleby, BBC Television”) but turned up late because he was on the phone. He was also about on the coverage of the Party Conferences, barking at the politicians on NATIONWIDE – there were more than just John Nott, although nobody can remember who they were. In 1979 he fronted Question Time, partly because he was whinging about not being on telly enough, and partly because they’d already booked the Greenwood Thatre to do PARKY five nights a week before that plan was vetoed by the governers, so needed to make up a programme to fill it. Robin sat around the round table for a decade, but was eventually told to stop telling the viewers to “Sleep well” at the end of the show because there were other programmes on after it. He retired in 1989 and then took his bow tie to anyone who wanted him – he was on ITV on the night of the 1992 election, and the same year also appeared on BREAKFAST NEWS during the campaign, bantering with people like Lord Jenkins and Lord Tebbit. Robin died in 2000, and it was a sad loss. May we call him brother?
Creamguide's Pick of the Day
Mick McManus died this week, alas, and remember him this way with another outing for this absolutely brilliant documentary from just before Christmas about British wrestling at its earthiest. There are some hilarious bits in it, like Johnny Kincaid being told he had to pretend he was from Barbados even though he’d never been there, Klondike Kate reminiscing about the fishwives throwing foot-and-mouth-disease injections at her, an interviewee saying “excuse my language” after he’d said the obscene word “bum” and the fantastically good value Max “brother of Shirley” Crabtree, the big kahuna in the “sport” in its imperial phase, explaining how they came up with the concept of Big Daddy after Shirley complained to him that “me whole career’s gone to cock!”. Great stuff.
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Points of View
- In 'Grand Prix ', Tom says: "I always like the random shot of Jim Clark, named no less, halfway through. It’s like they think “Hey, we’ve got to have Jim in it,..."
- In 'McCloud', Applemask says: "Chief?"
- In 'Mann’s Best Friends', Applemask says: "Was the main character called “Ian Mann”?"
- In 'Man About the House', Applemask says: "“What’s on the box? Man About the House with Paula Wilcox”."
- In 'Make ‘Em Laugh', Applemask says: "Hey, fuck you, voiceover man, it was Harold who did the real work, and you know it, you pussy!"