It’s only a guide, no substitute
Hullo and welcome to this week’s Creamguide. We promise, not much about the Euros this week because we have been thinking about other stuff too, albeit also of a footballing bent. The biggest news as far as we’re concerned about this new Premier League TV deal is what it all means for ESPN’s Rebecca Lowe. That really should have been taken into account. Anyway, with a doff of the cap to email@example.com, on to the listings.
Saturday 16th June
10.30 Trooping The Colour
The wretched thing about the Jubilee coverage is now everyone’s going to bang on about it for years to come, like when they didn’t show that bloody awful Queen Mother birthday pageant when she was a hundred and everyone ignored the fact they showed a load of other Queen Mum-related flannel that nobody else would touch with a bargepole. Similarly they’re on their own covering this less dynamic affair. The Birthday Honours are out today as well, which are always that bit more glamorous than the New Year ones, we feel.
09.00 Blue Peter’s Big Olympic Tour
BBC1 North East have to opt out of the build-up to Friday’s England match to show the arrival of the torch in Newcastle, of all the days for it to turn up. You’d think they could have hung on in Scotland for one more day. Today it’s in Sunderland and Helen and Barney are there too.
18.00 Dad’s Army
One show we won’t be billing this week is A Short History of Everything Else, as mentioned last week, because it’s bloody awful, basing a show around clips of Freddie Flintoff being drunk in 2005 just means Marcus Brigstocke doing all the same jokes about it he did in 2005, and you could probably hear them on Have I Got News For You on Dave most nights. And so much for Channel Four’s “creative renewal”, commissioning another derivative and unfunny panel game with Micky Flanagan like we need that.
The first episode of the recent series again, presumably because it’s pretty cost-effective and this show does quite good business in this slot, perhaps with the rest to come. Not bad, this series, either, tonight giving us XTC doing Making Plans For Nigel, which isn’t the clip of them doing it on Crackerjack they showed on Punk at the BBC the other day but is still exciting because it’s from during the ITV strike when the show was getting twenty million viewers, which are startling figures to conjure with.
BBC Radio 2
13.00 Pick of the Pops
Last week we didn’t get the billed episode because Tony was taken ill, so instead they flung out a standby episode, presumably recorded for just this instance, counting down the best-selling singles of the seventies and eighties – or something like it anyway, as it appeared to include all-time sales, hence the appearance in the seventies chart of Another Brick In The Wall (released December 1979) and Imagine (which never got higher than number six in the seventies) which didn’t seem quite right. If Tony’s fighting fit this week we should be getting 1973 and 1988, the latter with Doctorin’ The Tardis at number one which was at the top spot when we came back from holiday in Majorca and we were completely baffled.
Sunday 17th June
17.10 Points of View
No surprise at what dominated the agenda last week, though we also had a load of complaints that there weren’t enough Horrible Histories sketches, so the Beeb can’t do anything right. As we know this show lets its viewers get away with saying anything even if it’s completely wrong, but the pedant in us would like them to take more care over the branding, given one letter referred to, correctly, “BBC FOUR”, all in capitals, but the next mentioned “BBC Four TV”. Keep it consistent, that’s what they pay consultants all that money for!
22.00 The Art of Tommy Cooper
23.10 Time Shift – Hotel Deluxe
A few odds and sods from the cupboard to fill up an evening here on BBC Four TV. We’re sure there are more Parky compilations they haven’t shown yet but this is one they have, with Tommy Cooper and Frankie Howerd, then it’s the documentary about the role of the mythical Hotel Du Poshes in culture.
20.00 Family Fortunes
The weekday showings of this series have come to an end and, if you’ve been watching closely you may have noticed one particular episode didn’t appear. We hear, though, that we may well get it here, and don’t forget that as well as including that Big Money game – and even if he had guessed one of the answers would be “turkey”, it still doesn’t explain what possibly could be gained by ignoring all the other questions – that episode also includes the equally ridiculous Name A Famous Irishman round. “Jimmy MacFee!”
Monday 18th June
22.00 Sounds of the Seventies
Last week, in a view no doubt shared by his doctor at the time, we could have done with a bit less Meatloaf, but the rest of it was great fun, no matter how many times we’d seen the clips before, especially Alvin Stardust’s hilariously unfashionable backing band and the special effects which saw him perched on a cymbal. In addition we think the excitement of the Mott The Hoople performance is intensified by the incredibly haphazard camerawork which offered up such visual feasts as a mike stand and the back of the set, and it surely takes some skill to cut to the guitarist at more or less every time he’s just stopped playing. Back to Mondays this week, and we’ve had quite a lot of punk on telly in recent weeks, but it’s always exciting and here’s some more, including the perennially entertaining Rezillos.
20.30 London on Film
So big is the capital this latest jaunt through the archives by BBC4 is a fully-fledged series of its own, starting off this week in the West End with Harrods sales, Tom Baker in the pub and, presumably, a jaunt to London’s Pervy “So” “ho” to give it its full name.
11.00 The Krypton Factor
19.00 Play Your Cards Right
Just to sum up the state of play on this channel at the moment, the former is the same episodes they always show and we assume the same is true of the Krypton Factor, and given its frequency we must surely be on that notorious 1995 series soon enough. We believe the Brucie bonus is the fact that these episode haven’t been shown on this channel before and they’re always fun but they’re nineties rather than eighties so they’re a bit boringly slick.
BBC Radio 2
22.00 England’s Still Dreaming
Almost a simultaneous broadcast with BBC2 tonight, and given we had the story about the Pistols’ Jubilee boat trip twice in three days recently (on Punk Britannia and C4′s Royal History of Pop, though on the former John Lydon said it was bollocks and on the latter Julien Temple said it was brilliant), we’re not sure what else this can tell us, though it does look at punk after its great flowering including the terrible Oi! business. Incidentally The Royal History of Pop also included a clip of Elton John at Diana’s funeral, which we didn’t think they were allowed to show anymore.
To further ratchet up the excitement as we get to number one in this chart, and definitely not because it gives us more time to think of what might replace it, we’re going to stretch out the final few places with extended profiles and two rather than three people featured each week. Easier to scroll through as well, we suppose.
7) NOEL EDMONDS
Noel’s career has had its up and downs but these days he seems to have established himself as a respected, if not necessarily well-loved, face on our screens, though we think his current beard is all wrong and makes him look weird (it should be a tidy beard, Noel, not a full unkempt one!). In any case he certainly deserves a high placing in this chart for his masterful performances on live TV and reinventing the role of the light entertainer. Born in Ilford, Noel was an only child and spoilt rotten, though his parents were a bit concerned when he decided to eschew going to university in favour of joining Radio Luxembourg. Initially employed as a newsreader, his continual corpsing during bulletins saw him swiftly reassigned to the role of DJ, and in 1969 he was poached by Radio 1, making his first broadcast in the week of the moonwalk. Noel filled in around the schedules until Kenny Everett got the sack and he was parachuted into his slot, self-deprecatingly apologising for not being half as good as Ken and hoping listeners wouldn’t hate him too much. In fact he became very popular very quickly and by 1972 was given the breakfast show, much to Tony Blackburn’s disgust, where he became one of the most famous people in the country. Eager to get onto telly, he fronted Come Dancing though Top of the Pops was more his scene, where he almost always wore a suit to add a touch of class (and to make him look less short). One important show, though, was Z Shed, a live kids’ phone-in, where a light failed one week and he promptly moved next to one that was working, which he thought was a pretty logical thing to do but he got huge acclaim after the show for coping so well, and this professionalism saw him considered when they were casting for a new Saturday morning show.
It was Swap Shop that was the making of Noel on TV, the first time he could relax as much as he had on the radio, and his intimate approach was phenomenally successful, getting him on the cover of the Radio Times two weeks running in 1977. The following year he gave up daily radio to do a Sunday show, set in a faux stately home, that might have inspired a later project, and only for six months a year because he was so famous. It wasn’t long until primetime beckoned, and he more or less invented factual entertainment with Time Of Your Life, recreating memorable moments in a celebrity’s career, which proved a sturdy hit for a few years. Noel was slagged off a bit for not being a traditional light entertainer but his skills at live telly and his role in the creation of his shows were just as impressive as any other talent he might have. Then came Saturday nights and The Late Late Breakfast Show, though sadly the first series was pretty hopeless, with an attempt to bring his slow-paced, intimate Swap Shop style to primetime looking hopelessly out of place, with clunky gear changes and plain boring features (not least some utterly tedious celebrity interviews), while a disastrous car jumping stunt almost got it taken off air. However much hard work later, the show became a hit, ramping up the silliness with items like The Golden Egg Awards and Mr Puniverse and feeling more at home at teatime. Noel still loved live telly too, so relished his Christmas Days at the top of the Post Office Tower, setting up ridiculously overcomplicated feats of engineering, like live broadcasts from a jumbo jet, which he’d suitably hype up. Less dynamic, though entertaining, was the launch of Telly Addicts in 1985 which ran successfully for a decade. But in 1986 it all went wrong after a fatal accident on The Late Late Breakfast Show, leading to its immediate axing and a memorable morose appearance on Wogan. A dull quiz in Whatever Next kept him busy and then in 1988 he was back with the Saturday Roadshow, where nobody was going to get hurt because nothing serious happened, with the gimmick being that the show was coming from a different location every week via a hilariously unconvincing studio set. Features like the Gotchas and the gunging actually began here, but they didn’t become national talking points until the Roadshow mutated into Noel’s House Party in 1991, adding that familiar setting and regular live broadcasting (we think the Roadshow might have been pre-recorded), plus NTV (which doesn’t stand for Noel TV, that exactly what it isn’t), which saw ratings skyrocket. This was Noel’s imperial phase, thrashing the opposition, winning BAFTAs and watching serious critics queue up to commend his skill at live telly and his ability to construct a successful light entertainment show, and everyone slags it off now but it was perfectly acceptable to stand up and say how great it was. Sadly in around 1996 it all started to fall apart a bit, with items running out of steam, new ideas not being very good and a sense of the show imploding, thanks partly to Noel spending too much time arguing about who owned what and who was in charge rather than concentrating on the show, reaching a nadir at the beginning at the end of 1998 when Noel hated it all so much he refused to do the show. Panicked discussions and a revamp papered over the cracks but from then on it was a soiled brand and it was no surprise it was axed in 1999. Sadly at the same time too Telly Addicts got an equally rotten revamp which saw ratings plummet and by the end of the nineties he’d left the Beeb and had no shows on telly, and for five years he concentrated on his business roles – with a brief resurfacing on Radio 2. Then in 2005 he was back with Deal or No Deal, which was a massive hit and cemented himself as a consummate presenter. Primetime beckoned again, though the less said about Noel’s HQ the better, and these days he’s more or less realised that he should just shut up and get on with his proper job, at which he remains a master.
6) JOHN PEEL
John Walters said that John Peel was the most important person in the history of British music, and whether you believe that or nor, it’s impossible to argue he was one of the most intelligent, amusing, likeable and dedicated broadcasters we’ve ever had. One of his teachers wrote that it was possible that the young John could fashion some “nightmarish career” from his delight in listening to awful music and writing long and self-indulgent essays, which shows remarkable prescience. Eager for some excitement after national service, the young John Ravenscroft moved to the USA, working in Dallas when JFK was shot and after lying that he was a reporter for the Liverpool Echo (who promptly printed one paragraph under the headline ‘Heswall Man In Dallas’) being invited into the press conference, being in the room when Lee Harvey Oswald was shot. Getting work on radio, Ravenscroft was apparently too complicated to pronounce so he became, er, John Ravencroft and, as he came from near enough to the Mersey, sold himself as a Beatles expert and got work on KMEN. Later he became John Peel but left the USA pretty sharpish after he got married to someone he was led to believe was far older than she actually was. Coming back to the UK he started working on pirate radio and introduced The Perfumed Garden on Radio London which became highly influential listening, although Peel was later hugely embarrassed at his affected presentation. When the pirates were sank Peel joined the Beeb to give the new Radio 1 some credibility, hosting the progressive-leaning Top Gear and realising there was actually some benefits from the requirement to play live music by inviting bands in for sessions. As with all the jocks on the new station he was invited to present Top of the Pops but forgot the name of the Amen Corner and was told he would never be invited back, much to his delight, though there was occasional telly work including a memorable guest appearance on The Goodies (though they later beat him up when he slagged them off, and was forever embarrassed he wasn’t attacked by someone more credible) and a satirical spot on How It Is where he met his future wife in the audience. In 1975 a Beeb cash crisis saw his shows moved to a hugely unsuitable teatime placing but by the end of the year he was back in his familiar late night slot and the following year his producer John Walters was asked by the Controller to confirm he wasn’t playing any punk, to which Walters replied they’d played nothing but for a month, such was Peel’s enthusiasm for – and pivotal role in – this new rock phenomenon.
In the eighties Pops came calling again, and his droll presentation was a huge success, and while the show may have seemed an unusual platform for Peel he was smart enough to realise what the show was about and had the support of producer Michael Hurll to take the piss when required, especially when he was paired with his Rhythm Pal Kid Jensen. Indeed he was never as humourless or as precious about music as his reputation suggested, saying he’d happily play Kylie on his show because he’d met her and she was very nice. However a stint on The Late Late Breakfast Show was less successful, especially when he seemed to be blamed for the car jump going wrong and was never asked back. He didn’t always have a happy time on Radio 1 in the eighties either, occasionally thinking he was only kept on because he’d gone to public school and there’d be too many complaints if they got rid of him, and being flung into increasingly hopeless slots. But in the nineties the people who’d grown up with his show were becoming the people who were employing him and he enjoyed much greater prominence, coming back before midnight and seemingly summing up the new credible Radio 1. His regular Radio Times column helped, which showcased his thoroughly amusing comic writing, his thoughtful approach and his generosity – his friends often said he would cry tears of joy or sadness at virtually everything – and this lead to excursions to Radio 4 with Home Truths. When he became sixty in 1999 he was surely one of the most loved and respected figures in broadcasting, thanks to his unassuming and endearing personality, continued enthusiasm for new music and the fact he still never appeared to know what he was doing. His sudden death in 2004 was utterly devastating, meaning we would never be able to find out what he’d be like, as John Walters once memorably suggested, when he reached puberty.
Tuesday 19th June
19.30 Time to Remember
With an England match on today, absolutely every channel has decided to pack up and make virtually no effort whatsoever, which leads us to pick this as the only thing of any real interest. It’s a series we occasionally stumble across but we’re never quite sure what it entails, as it’s a look at pre-war Britain from an immediate post-war perspective, re-edited by the Beeb just the other year.
Wednesday 20th June
21.00 The Secret History of Our Streets
This series crosses the river this week to take a stroll down the Caledonian Road, in recent years we think the epitome of the drab and functional London thoroughfare and certainly it’s never quite enjoyed much in the way of glamour or romance, but as usual there are some interesting stories to be told.
BBC Radio 2
22.00 The Glory of Glam
Turkey and all that hasn’t the most eye-opening bit of Bygraves on our screens in recent times thanks to “DISCO MAX” on Sounds of the Seventies. The theory is that glam more or less died in the summer of 1974 when Top of the Pops was on strike and when it came back disco was the dominant force, though as we’re seeing on BBC4 the prime movers kept plugging in there, moving into new directions with The Rubettes going country, Slade turning more metal and Mud seemingly flinging every genre they could think of onto vinyl.
Thursday 21st June
21.00 The House The Fifties Built
All the fun of Schedule A and B on BBC1 and ITV tonight, though it’s a bit of a letdown as both channels have identical schedules for Thursday and Friday which they’ll just cut and paste into the night the other channel has a match on. No such problems here, of course, as this week Brendan Walker moves to the bedroom.
19.30, 01.00 Top of the Pops
Noel Pops are always that bit more interesting, we think, not necessarily in terms of quality – indeed, they often include the worst line-ups of all – but intriguing in terms of his cryptic links and the rather odd selection of artists, often by luck or judgement including a fair number of flops. As is the case this week, plus watch out for number eleven in the charts.
17.45 Blue Peter
Helen and Barney’s jaunt to Poland and Ukraine has more or less turned into a mini-exhibition as it’s being strung out over a month, so that’s good news if you were disappointed there wasn’t a trip last summer. They’re going Cossack dancing this week, which won’t be as much fun as Matt and Simon’s lederhosen antics from the other year but hopefully just as embarrassing.
BBC Radio 2
22.00 Barbara Windsor’s Clubland
They may have already shown it but one of the episodes of 3-2-1 they show on Challenge showcases the winners of the Club Mirror Awards, including musical comedy group Schooner, for those times when one Grumbleweeds just isn’t enough. We doubt there’s the same vibrant club circuit these days, and in this episode Babs will ponder why.
BBC Radio 4
11.30 Staff No Fee – The Other Life of Brian
One of the most loved broadcasters in the history of radio is almost certainly Brian Johnston, thanks to Test Match Special and Down Your Way, but intriguingly he didn’t take on either of those roles until he’d actually retired from the BBC staff – and indeed only took on the radio commentary when he was dropped from the telly roster. Here’s his son Barry to recall some of his earlier jobs including his roving microphone on In Town Tonight and commentating on all kids of occasion from royal funerals to bomb disposals.
Friday 22nd June
21.00 David Bowie and The Story of Ziggy Stardust
22.00 The Genius of David Bowie
23.00 Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders of Mars
00.30 David Bowie at the BBC
Well, we’ve had plenty of The Queen in recent weeks, so now it’s time for The Duke to take centre stage. We had a radio documentary about the Ziggy Stardust LP the other week and Gary Kemp who presented it is in this as well, though obviously the visuals are an important part of its appeal. We have no idea what the second show is as the billing we have hear says, in its entirety, “the genius of David Bowie”, so maybe it’s a clip show. Then it’s the famous film and finally something that sounds like a clip show but is actually a recent-ish concert at Broadcasting House.
And that’s it for this week, but we’ll be back at it again in seven days, so if you want it first, you can subscribe if you click here