OMNIPOTENT CHILDREN’S odds-and-sods odyssey delivered by three-quarters avuncular quartet of friendly faces, in a split-level-desks-and-shelves-of-stuff format which survived two generations largely unchanged. “The home encyclopaedia delivered to your fireside”, they said. They also said: “Facts become fun as the team lark their way through another fascinating show.” Or better yet: “Facts, fun and mystery in television’s fastest free-for-all of fact!” And fact you certainly got; the sheer conviction with which the original delivered its often charismatically dull factoids (HOW d’ya get a ship in a bottle? HOW d’ya balance an egg on the rim of a milkbottle with only a cork, four forks, twelve feet of cotton and a tampon? etc.) and the sweltering AmerIndian theme plus unseen chief “How” “How!” marked this out for greatness. Participants started off as: FRED “GAMBIT” DINENAGE, of course – the eager but slightly goofy manchild of the bunch; JACK “GNOMIC” HARGREAVES – knowledgable but cosy ruralist pipe man; JON MILLER – science a speciality; and BUNTY JAMES – a lady, therefore craft and cookery were on the cards, plus the token non-stereotypical How for balance. Bunty was replaced by JILL GRAHAM (who was “a player with the Salisbury repertory theatre”) in ’69, and JIM KELWAY and hapless DIY expert BARRY BUCKNELL even did the odd stint replacing Hargreaves. Come 1970, and Bunty was welcomed back into the fold, cementing the “golden age” line-up that would be most strongly identified with the programme. In ’77 MARIAN DAVIES replaced her, for such delights as “How can Fred get rid of his warts? Ideas from Jon, Jack and Marian don’t help – until Fred finds a magical cure.” Behind-the-scenes fact: the final series was produced by NIGEL PICKARD. Later revived by TVS, then Meridian, then Scottish, with the likes of CAROL VORDERMAN and GAZ TOP playing jesters to the court of the evermore regal Fred.
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Creamguide's Pick of the Day
Top of the Pops
Friday, 19.30, 00.00, BBC4
Back to the double headers, we’re pleased to see. We all know Pops now is better than at any point during this repeat run, although one downside has been in the hosts where they’re failed to fill the hole left by our favourite host Kid Jensen. But now they’ve done that in the shape of, er, David Jensen. Back from a year on CNN, Kid is back on Radio 1 and back on the Pops, and he takes to the current format, and the vibrant pop scene, like a duck to water, so it’s a treat to see him again. Sadly someone else from earlier in this repeat run is also back, which means the extended version probably won’t have all the acts in either. But rather that than not at all.
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Points of View
- In 'PICK OF THE DAY', Richard16378 says: "This has been up for a week is there a glitch or most of TVC on holiday?"
- In 'Creamvote quarter-final #4', Des E says: "Grandstand’s probably going to win fairly comfortably, so I’ve given the ‘busters a consolation vote. Hopefully, though,..."
- In 'Creamvote quarter-final #3', TV Cream says: "Dunno what happened with the voting function on this one. Sorry, everybody! We’re just going to tally the Twitter votes instead,..."
- In 'Creamvote quarter-final #4', Richard16378 says: "Tough choice, but Grandstand just squeezed through, helped by being used on that Vincent Price film about roller coasters that..."
- In 'Creamvote quarter-final #3', Des E says: "Hey! Can’t we vote here or is it all being done on Twitter on this occasion?"