Your right and obligation
Welcome again to another edition of Creamguide, the listings guide that’s a bit fed up that England won their group because if they’d come second they’d have played on Saturday and BBC1 wouldn’t have had to show Tonight’s The Night. Do keep writing in via email@example.com.
Saturday 23rd June
09.00 Blue Peter’s Big Olympic Tour
No question what the big news was here last week, as because the gang were in the North East they put in a call for a relevant celebrity and were honoured with… Uncle Matt Baker! Back in his spiritual home and as you’d expect he was on top form, throwing himself into the items and working well with Helen and Barney, and in fact the three of them would make a great team. We do hope he enjoyed himself. They’re in Burnley this week though despite being in his home county we don’t suppose Pete Purves will show up.
20.00 The Good Life
20.30 Dad’s Army
Last week we mentioned the fact that on YouTube there’s a complete episode of The Late Late Breakfast Show from 25th October 1986, three weeks before it finished, which starts here and continues in three further parts. We’ve been studying it still further this week and one thing that really strikes us is that we all assume now the light entertainment is on one giant plunge downmarket but this was a show where features included a kid making farting noises with his armpit and an attempt to see how many people can fit into a toilet cubicle, and Reith would surely have been thoroughly amused. We also like Mike Smith’s pronunciation of the word “slalom” and the rather pointless appearances of Victor Kiam and Cyndi Lauper. But what do you make of it? We thought we might try and launch a regular new bit where we point you in the direction of a show on YouTube and then invite your views, like a book club, for those who don’t wish to venture into the YouTube comments. So do pass on your views at firstname.lastname@example.org” and next week we’ll either include some or never mention this ever again.
21.00 Sex and the Sitcom
Terrestrial outing for this documentary that’s been on BBC4 a couple of times which looks at how telly comedy has changed over the years based on changes in attitudes in real life, and is presumably the reason for the appearance of…
22.00 Men Behaving Badly
Remarkably this show started twenty years ago so we think we can officially include this in our jurisdiction. We used to love it at the time although, possibly thanks to massive over-exposure in the nineties, we ended up going off it for a bit. It was far more subtle and intelligent than people ever gave it credit for, mind, and we reckon the best series is the first BBC run in 1994, the first episode of which is here. Dunno if we’ll get the others.
Looks like we are getting the whole series and that’s all to the good as we’re sure the combination of Claire and Friends and Echo and The Bunnymen makes for perfect post-pub viewing.
23.05 Those Were The Days
There hasn’t been enough royal stuff on telly recently so ITV3 are having a monarchy weekend, of which this is the most interesting bit, an episode of the entertaining series from a few years back which combines footage from a famous day in history with the stories of what some of the Great British Public were doing at the same time, here going back to 29th July 1981, including plenty of clippage of Angela Rippon manning the Beeb’s cosmetics counter.
BBC Radio 2
13.00 Pick of the Pops
Happily Tony was back last week, though less happily we have another pre-Beatles year this week in 1960, which is surely the modern day equivalent of old people on Blind Date in terms of its crushing disappointment. Then it’s 1981 though unfortunately it’s the one week of that year when the chart was full of snoozesome ballads rather than ace electropop.
BBC Radio 4
10.30 The Stardust Memories
So much for One BBC as twelve hours after BBC4′s tribute to Ziggy Stardust, Radio Four does exactly the same thing, and Gary Kemp’s in it again as well, though it does have the best presenter in Midge Ure.
20.00 Meeting Myself Coming Back
As you may have heard this week, sadly Clive James is suffering from very poor health, though his mind is certainly as sharp as ever and, while he’s unable to perform these days, he’s still writing excellent stuff, and indeed is currently doing in the Telegraph what he did to such acclaim in the Observer in the seventies, reviewing the week’s television with amazing wit and erudition. His comments about his illness are taken from this programme, though while it’ll doubtlessly be a very moving hour, there’ll be plenty of laughs from throughout his brilliant career.
Sunday 24th June
16.45 Points of View
As we’ve said before, if this programme can’t find any problems to moan about it just makes one up, hence the idea that BBC1 is spending too much time talking about Britain thanks to Griff Rhys Jones’ new series and some One Show clip shows, like that’s an issue – and quite why we needed a long discussion about what a clip show is we don’t know. We’ll ignore the moans about Euro 2012, in any case, because unless you watch BBC1 every single night and no other channel, it is of no relevance if they’re showing football in primetime, unless you want us to complain every night we don’t watch anything on that channel.
23.30 Ray Bradbury – The Illustrated Man
As with last Tuesday, nobody wants to show anything half decent up against an England match, though BBC4 have taken the opportunity to pay tribute to the author who died the other week with this Omnibus profile.
Monday 25th June
22.00 Sounds of the Seventies
Been a good series, this, mixing old favourites with some fascinating oddities, including last week’s fantastic X-Ray Spex performance from what appeared to be a Welsh language programme (well, you could barely understand what Poly Styrene was singing in English, maybe they thought it was Welsh), performing in front of some posters with their name spelt wrong and an audience consisting of five people, though they were clearly really enjoying it. Last one tonight and it’s that new rock phenomenon again, new wave. We’ll never tire of that line.
20.30 London on Film
Some equally fascinating clippage here, although sometimes it might be nice to have an unobtrusive caption explaining what and when it’s from because we’d love to search out the full show. It’s all really nicely compiled anyway, and this week we’re in the East End. Don’t forget there are some intriguing shows on the London Collection on the BBC4 website too.
21.00 Alan Partridge – Welcome To The Places Of My Life
And yet again, why is this on Sky Atlantic, we thought it was supposed to be all American shows, blah blah blah. If you can put aside your unease at Coogan accepting the Murdoch shilling, this promises to be a highly entertaining hour because the recent book has proven once again that Partridge remains one of the greatest ever comic creations, still relevant and funny two decades on, and we hear this is certainly up there with his best work. And if, like us, you’re a woolly liberal who wants to have their cake and eat it by getting Virgin so they can take the moral high ground but still watch Sky channels, it’s also shown on Sky One on Friday at ten.
Why is this on Sky Atlantic, we thought it was supposed to be all American shows… oh, it is. It’s kind of The Thick Of It USA, natch, and from what we’ve heard from our US correspondents it’s jolly good though don’t go expecting straight facsimiles of Malcolm and the like.
22.30 Walking and Talking
And on a night where we’ll probably bill more things on this channel than the rest of the year put together, this is the new autobiographical sitcom from Kathy Burke which tells the story of her growing up in the seventies, which is apparently very nicely done and it’s nice to see Burke, one of most likeable comic actors, back on the telly even if she only plays a minor role on screen. There’s also a recurring role for that less than regular TV presence, Jerry Sadowitz.
BBC Radio 2
22.00 Is It Worth It?
The Falklands have been in the news again recently, and not just because it’s three decades on from the War. Perhaps the most famous work off art inspired by the conflict was the song Shipbuilding which continues to inspire and resonate to this day, and here’s Annie Nightingale to discuss how and why it all came about.
5) KENNY EVERETT
Cuddly Kenny Everett was everyone’s furry-faced showbiz chum in the seventies and eighties and there was absolute devastation when he died so young. The juvenile Maurice Cole liked nothing better at home in Liverpool than to make his own tapes and, hoping for a future career, sent a copy of The Maurice Cole Quarter Hour to the Beeb, which amused them so much they invited him on the air but said that if he wanted to do it full time he should go and get some experience on the pirate ships. This he promptly did, getting a job on Radio London, having changed his name, where he quickly gained a reputation for being fabulously inventive and silly on air, plus also prone to landing himself in trouble. He followed The Beatles on their American tour, producing a practically incoherent but fantastically exciting bulletin each day, and indeed is one of the many Fifth Beatles for his role producing the Wackers’ Christmas records. But having been told off for saying the word “orgasm” on air – in all innocence, he’d never heard it before – Ken then got the sack for slagging off syndicated religious show The World Tomorrow. He went off to Radio Luxembourg and then was one of the first recruits to Radio 1, where his technical brilliance was utilised in creating many of the trailers for the station, but when it began he was barely on air. Eventually he got proper shows which were again incredible examples of music radio, mixing amazing sound collages and Ken’s beautiful singing voice to great effect, but then one day in 1970 a joke about the Transport Minister’s wife was excuse enough for the Beeb to get rid of this loose cannon. So it was off to the telly for a bit, first on Granada’s series Nice Time and then a lucrative – three separate series in six months – but not particularly distinguished stint on LWT, The Kenny Everett Explosion featuring a notorious episode where for want of any other ideas they simply gave Ken a chimp in the hope it might do something funny. His first love remained radio though and after local radio purgatory he was back on Radio 1, albeit on pre-recorded shows from his wireless workshop, allowing them to be cut to ribbons (not helped by Ken failing to possess a working clock so they were all the wrong length), but after six months he was poached by the newly launched Capital Radio where he reached new heights of silliness including his momentous World’s Worst Record Show.
During his spell there Jeremy Isaacs, Lord Thames himself, asked his son what he wanted to see on telly and he was told it was Kenny, so it was time for another go at the box – and The Kenny Everett Video Show was a fantastic series. More pop-dominated than you remember (especially series one which featured three or four bands a week), this show broke down barriers with Ken simply messing around on the telly, famously performing to the crew alone and often broadcasting cock-ups instead of the intended sketch if they were funnier. As we’ve said before working on the Video Show must have been the best job in the world. At the same time he was also lending his voice to PIFs and Celebrity Squares, and making some iconic appearances on Blankety Blank (“athlete’s… phut?”). When he was getting bored of Thames, he was poached by the Beeb, apparently much to his horror as he used to “write” the show in the car on the way to the studio but he only lived five minutes away from TV Centre. The Television Show was a more conventional sketch show with a studio audience, and a bit less silly, but there were still great bits in it like Cupid and Reg Prescott (however much that used to terrify us). Radio work at this point had gone to Radio 2 and than back to Capital Gold when that opened, and there was the unpleasant bit at the Tory rally which apparently he was sorry he did because he didn’t really like them. In 1988 he stopped doing TV comedy but he remained a regular face on the screen including hosting fondly-remembered science quiz Brainstorm and being a team captain on That’s Showbusiness. Sadly, though, at the end of the eighties Kenny was diagnosed with HIV. He carried on his radio show until his health deteriorated to the point he had to give it up, and died in 1995 aged just fifty. Anyone who’s been funny on radio and telly in the past forty years owes it all to the Cuddy Ken.
4) BOB MONKHOUSE
Much shock in TVC Towers as Lord Bob only makes it to number four in our chart but we can confirm he’s the highest-placed dead celebrity, and they’re all great anyway. Number 100′s just been knighted. A precocious talent as a schoolboy Bob drew cartoons and wrote jokes which he sent to all the stars of the day, sometimes with less than enthusiastic response (“please do not send me any more of your nonsense”). He kept trying, though, and after the war became the first comedian even to land an exclusive contract with the BBC. In the early days Bob’s work was in tandem with Denis Goodwin, excelling in the comedy crosstalk, though Bob was always by some distance the funny one. In the fifties the pair hosted a famously shambolic series called Fast and Loose where at the end of show one Bob pretended to collapse because they hadn’t got round to writing show two, while later Bob managed to shoot off part of Charlie Drake’s ear (but he came back later wearing a hat at a rakish angle). Also regular viewing in those days was the sitcom My Pal Bob but the partnership split in the sixties and Bob was now a solo star. This meant numerous things including acting, like Carry On Sergeant and The Big Noise, and presenting shows including Candid Camera, but eventually he became most prolific as a game show host. This didn’t initially include The Golden Shot as Lew Grade saw Jackie Rae playing a quiz show host on The Charlie Drake Show and didn’t realise it was scripted and gave him the job, where he made a bit of a hash of it. Bob guested early on and stole the show to such an extent he was signed up full time, and for the next few years he was the only person who could ever control this ludicrous series, creating gags while the set went on fire, guests fell down its deathtrap of a staircase and people who didn’t own televisions tried to join in. But after being spotted accepting a mucky book from Wilkinson Sword, he got the sack, doing a few shows for Thames instead like Quick On The Draw. But his replacements were so bad, ATV gave into the pressure from the numerous correspondents demanding Bob’s return (most of whom were actually Bob anyway) and brought him back to the Shot, and when that finished he did Celebrity Squares instead. In 1980 that begat Family Fortunes but at the party to celebrate its hundredth show, his careless aside to the Head of Light Entertainment about hoping for a hundred more saw him told there might not be any more, so Bob started looking for new horizons.
That meant a return to the Beeb, and as well as the masterful quiz Bob’s Full House, he also hosted The Bob Monkhouse Show, a kind of chat show that was basically an excuse for his comedy guests – starting with his hero Bob Hope – to do their act, with more or less every major name in comedy taking a turn on the show and cementing Bob as an elder statesman of the art. His obvious delight in encouraging new talent, too, saw him the perfect host of the revived Opportunity Knocks and many who participated spoke of his generosity in offering suggestions and support. He returned to ITV in the early nineties but this wasn’t quite so successful with dull formats like Bob’s Your Uncle and The $64,000 Question (“should you wish to piss”) and he was getting a bit pigeon-holed as a smarmy host. But then in 1993 came a memorable appearance on Have I Got News For You when he came out with a string of topical and hilarious gags and reminded people he was actually a bloody good comedian. That saw a return to the Beeb and a return to comedy with the fantastic Bob Monkhouse On The Spot, one man and his microphone, establishing himself as a funny and relevant star for the nineties (although few were as adept as Bob at recycling old jokes for new targets). What with his autobiography and An Audience With at the same time, Bob was enjoying critical acclaim the likes of which he hadn’t received for decades. He even managed to make the otherwise tedious business of the lottery draw interesting by stuffing it with gags (once improvising a completely new stand-up routine when the autocue bust) and keeping it going brilliantly when the machine broke. Towards the end of his life TVC was fortunate enough to get to speak to him and he was hugely generous with his time, talking at great length to a website he’d never heard of asking him questions about years ago. As popular and successful as he’d ever been, Bob’s health began to suffer as he was diagnosed with cancer, but he continued to work, producing the fascinating series Behind The Laughter where he discussed some of the millions of people he’d worked with during his glittering career. There were plans to make more of these but Bob died at the end of 2003, surely the blackest day for comedy this century. The man was just a genius.
Tuesday 26th June
21.00 Turn Back Time – The Family
The original incarnation of this series was the one where they recreated a High Street over the years, though the follow-up seems less distinctive as there’s been a couple of shows in recent years recreating the family home of the past, not least one that’s currently running over on Channel Four. They’re always fun, mind, though we’re only billing this first episode to let you know it’s started and that we’ll rejoin proceedings later in the run given that at the moment we’re in Elizabethan times, which is not quite our specialist area.
BBC Radio 4
11.30 John Barry – The Lost Tapes
Those tapes don’t include any music, mind, but instead an interview he did where he talks at great length about the songs that he wrote throughout his career.
Wednesday 27th June
21.00 The Secret History of Our Streets
Aside from Caledonian Road, which was and remained a bit of a dump, every episode of this series seems to entail the street being the complete opposite of what it was a hundred years ago, which is the case again this week when we alight on a road that was once one of London’s worst slums and is now the middle of boho Notting Hill.
BBC Radio 2
22.00 20th Century Boy – The Marc Bolan Story
It’s nearly the 35th anniversary of Marc’s death so here’s a show first made for the thirtieth anniversary. We’ve seen quite a lot of Bolan in recent months on Pops 76 and 77, where he was still faithfully showing up even if the chart positions were getting lower, and at the time of his death he was well into an interesting new phase of his career, touring with The Damned and enjoying proper critical acclaim for possibly the first time ever.
Thursday 28th June
21.00 The House The Fifties Built
Could be an England match tonight (though don’t set your recorder just yet) but the last episode of this series is living dangerously by sticking in its slot, even though it seems to have petered out a bit by venturing outside the house and looking at the likes of cars and planes, which seems to be contrary to the point of the programme. Never mind.
19.30 Top of the Pops
We liked the increased topicality on Travis’ show last week with his football references, his closer presumably worked out at the last minute as Liverpool would have been munching Gladbach while the show was being recorded. The studio looked absolutely tiny as well, even more cramped than usual, though The Stranglers setting up in front of Blue’s white grand piano was a pleasing juxtaposition. This is the week with the most famous number two in the history of the chart though Pops decided Neil Innes was the better bet to mark the occasion.
17.45 Blue Peter
It’d be around this time this series would usually be packing up for the summer though we don’t believe that’s going to happen this year and they’re going to run all year, and the following year and so on and on for all eternity, we can assure you. A vintage item today as Helen rounds off their mini-expedition of Ukraine and goes to Chernobyl.
BBC Radio 2
22.00 Blowing My Own Trumpet – The Kenny Ball Story
“Give me some joke music, Kenny! Give me some joke music!” Happily ken’s still with us and he’s contributing to this documentary, talking about his pop success and then, when the hits dried up, his wise move towards light entertainment, hopefully including all those Saturday nights at the Mill.
Friday 29th June
21.00 Quadrophenia – Can You See The Real Me?
We suppose The Who achieved the impossible in the seventies by making concept albums that were actually quite interesting, of which this was the second. We’ve got the story of how it all came about, and then the film inspired by it where every single member of the cast went on to become really famous.
That’s if for this week, and if you’re wondering it’s the usual business on Challenge who did indeed show the turkey episode and we were just amused at how furious the bloke was when Garrett Fitzgerald wasn’t on the board in the epic Name A Famous Irishman round, rather overestimating the public’s interest in current affairs. More of this kind of thing next week, especially if you subscribe here