VERBOSE VOYAGES in a double-breasted suit. “Here, the streets of Bombay team with a multitudinous morass of sociological strata, the profligate penny-pinching panjandrums rubbing skyscraper-shoulder pads with rag-clothed ruffian roisters.” Began as a well-attired segment in the middle of the TONIGHT programme, wherein our hero flew off – via BOAC – to a former colony and chatted with natives on scratchy film with the sound dubbed on afterwards at Lime Grove. Obvious spin-off potential was too good to resist, however, and so the series proper was born, replete with fantastic titles featuring a giant jet aeroplane taxiing off a runway to reveal a massive WHICKER’S WORLD logo underneath. Episodes invariably revolved around Alan earnestly trying to make sense of some new counterculture or other (“they call themselves flower children, though from what I could see, few would want this kind of fauna decorating their back garden”) or jawing with a former dictator in cloth-backed chairs on the front lawn of an imperial villa, or riding in some glamorous means of transport with an equally glamorous starlet. Defected to Yorkshire TV in 1968 taking the brand name with him, ditto an increasingly fawning, alliterative-obsessed attitude to his eponymous planet. Filmed about a million boring jaunts to the Far East. Came back to the Beeb in the 1980s for spruced up theme (the one that went nah-nah-ner-nah, nah nah nah nah nah-ner ner, BANG BANG) and incorrect title sequence that showed an aeroplane taking off and Alan not on it. Series now branded with subtitles – Living With Uncle Sam, Living With Waltzing Matilda – implying the Whicker wanderer couldn’t be arsed to travel around much anymore. Famously knocked back AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS, preferring AROUND WHICKER’S WORLD: THE ULTIMATE PACKAGE, a dreadful transglobal gander in the company of obnoxious zillionaires. Brand “rested” during much of the last 15 years, only to return in the form of Whicker’s War, featuring the old bugalugs revisiting his days as a journo in Italy in the 1940s. Further jaunts are promised, despite Alan now into his 80s. Britain’s finest export after The Beatles and the penny post.
New! From K-Tel!
TVC on Twitter
Creamguide's Pick of the Day
We wish someone would put on the internet the brilliant interview with Stock Aitken and Waterman from Smash Hits in 1990 where they were asked if they were going down the dumper and they bitched about some of the less successful artists they’d worked with like Kakko (“she simply couldn’t sing the songs we gave her”) and Yell (“they did themselves so much damage in interviews they could never have another hit”). We think the biggest problem with the trio was that for every great record they did, and they did do plenty of great records (we’d cite Happening All Over Again, Love In The First Degree, Better The Devil You Know, When You Come Back To Me and You Spin Me Round as our top five), there were about half a dozen crap ones because they spread themselves a bit thinly. Regardless, Sir Pete is still, rightly, very proud of their legacy, as he will debate here alongside Sinitta, Jase and regular Hit Factory collaborator Phil Harding.
Subscribe to Creamguide!
Points of View
- In 'Ask the Family', THX 1139 says: "There’s an episode from 1982 on BBC iPlayer at the moment, and if anyone these days can answer more than five questions from it right, if that,..."
- In 'Grange Hill', Graham Pearson says: "I recall watching the episode in which Gripper was finally expelled for a grim catalogue of bullying, harassment and demanding money with menaces...."
- In 'PICK OF THE DAY', Andrew Dexter says: "I also seem to recall the announcement of Karl Wallenda’s death on Blue Peter in March 1978, they did indeed show the clip, quite..."
- In 'Crackerjack', jabberwocky says: "This isn’t the first time I’ve come across an article on here purporting to be amusing, but isn’t. Where does TV Cream get..."
- In 'Maths-In-A-Box', Matthew says: "Is there anywhere we can see clips from this? I can find any on YouTube!!"