Some lovely guitar work on that
Yes, it’s Creamguide time once again, and you’re welcome to it. Plenty to get on with this week, including on Tuesday a particularly important moment in the history of British television that you may not have spotted, so, after a quick reminder that firstname.lastname@example.org is open for business as usual, let’s immediately press on with those listings.
Saturday 20th October
20.30 Dad’s Army
And we start this week with Adrian Fry in the mailbag. “Secret TV memories? Well, I was at primary school in the late seventies and a story did the rounds in the playground to the effect that if you put the telly on in the early hours of the morning you could catch silent films of Nazi concentration camps. Quite why you’d want to I’ve no idea, but it was something the BBC did (the light channel must have had scruples). Anyway, I determined to see one of these broadcasts, setting my alarm and hardly being able to sleep for fear of it going off and waking Mum or Dad. I got downstairs at 3am and – after a lot of blundering about in the dark plugging in – got the telly on. Nothing. I stared into the snow and white noise for awhile, anticipating Poltergeist by some years, before Dad stomped in saying ‘What the bloody hell is going on?’ I didn’t fully explain, just mumbled that I ‘thought there might be something on.'”
21.45 The Thick Of It
Last week’s episode was a right racket, and perhaps a bit too over-frantic for its own good, but it was intriguing to see Malcolm being a thoroughly unlikable bastard – compared to his usual role as a thoroughly likeable bastard – because he’s so charismatic it’s easy to forget he’s really quite horrible. If you thought there was too much shouting, though, this should be more your scene, and it looks fascinating as it’s an hour long and devoted entirely to the protagonists taking part in that inquiry.
00.30 How The Brits Rocked America – Go West
Last part of this. Adrian also says, “I fondly remember the ITV strike of 1979 and how the apology card was required viewing. I thought you weren’t supposed to watch it, so did. What you mostly got was an unintentional education in funereal Russian classical music, but what stays with me most is an episode of schools programme Experiment ‘shown’ in sound only. Weird and uniquely pointless. There was a story in the press about some technician, I think, who replaced the apology card with a shot of his face for a while one day. I wish I’d seen it, but it wasn’t on in the Harlech area. Like Space 1999, but that’s another grievance.”
08.00 The Big Match Revisited
Everyone moans about modern football but we doubt there’s been anything quite as entertaining as ninety minutes of primetime ITV this week being devoted to Adrian Chiles looking out of the window and moaning, which was the case on Tuesday until they finally decided to call off the England match. We much prefer Chiles presenting matches that aren’t happening to those that are, such is his ability to wax a little wry, and we were a bit disappointed when it finally got played, although the 4pm kick-of was a pleasing reminder of the traditional Eastern Bloc teatime kick-off. Here we’re back in the winter of discontent when matches actually were played, and here are two of the FA Cup quarter finals, and the only two anyone saw because the Beeb were supposed to show the other two and were on strike.
20.00 Bob’s Full House
Excitingly we’re getting this from episode one in 1984, and Bob was clearly right up for it, punching the set with excitement when he arrived on stage. We like how the contestants had their own physical cardboard bingo card they could keep an eye on during the game, but it’s a testament to the umpteen revisions to the format that it was all there from the start and it was so easy to get the gist of. And the final Full House round is brilliant fun as it goes out at about a million miles an hour, with Bob rattling through the questions. As great today as it’s always been.
BBC Radio 2
13.00 Pick of the Pops
This week’s Radio 2 news is that Mike Harding’s on his way out, apparently because he was told they wanted to do the show live, even though he says he would have done it live if they’d asked, but his replacement Mark Radcliffe certainly knows his folk so we’re sure he’ll make a smashing job of it. On this show last week Tony managed to play a version of World In Union by Kiri Te Kanawa that didn’t have any Kiri Te Kanawa on it, so let’s hope he keeps an eye out in 1962 and 1981.
Sunday 21st October
16.35 Points of View
Aargh, for heaven’s sake, they CANNOT show stuff when BBC3 and BBC4 are not on air because they’re showing CBBC and Cbeebies, HOW many times must they point this out? If they need it explaining again, though, get Cbeebies executive Ewan Vinnicombe to do it, whose easy manner in front of the camera was surely just as appealing as his presenters while he was telling us the rules to getting your birthday card shown, including one about not featuring any non-Cbeebies characters to avoid embarrassment.
18.30 Fawlty Towers
Last week we were so busy billing programmes made in 2012 we completely neglected to bill one from 1975, which is rather the point of us being here, never mind the fact it’s the one of the most famous programmes in the history of television to boot. Still, it’s not like you haven’t seen it before, but it looks like we’re getting the whole thing again. No Radio Times cover this time, though, like in 1995.
19.00 Surprise Surprise
ITV were planning to bring this back as a one-off but it looks like they’ve had so much fun making it, they’ve turned it into a series instead, and they’ve already sold the format to American telly too. Never mind no Cilla, there’s also no Bob Carolgees or Gordon Burns either, but it’s a sturdy old format and it’s nice they’ve put it in more or less the same slot it had in its imperial phase (though it won’t do much against Strictly). We probably won’t watch it to be honest but we’re quite pleased to know it’s here because we need more warm-hearted light entertainment on the telly that involves people crying tears of joy, rather than sadness.
19.30 A Night in With Fanny
Everyone’s talking about Fanny Cradock! Or at least, there was a round about her on Mastermind the other day and now she’s the subject of this sort-of theme night on More4. It’s not much about her, though, it’s mostly the same shows starring Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsey this channel shows every day of the week, but in between Debra Stephenson is going to play the role of Fanny and cook some modern dishes in her own inimitable fashion. We don’t know why.
Monday 22nd October
20.00 London on Film
Best one of the lot, this, it’s the story of the East End and it’s full of hilariously stilted newsreels with cheeky chappies unconvincingly relaying tales of Cockney life. “Righto, Guvnor!”
BBC Radio 4
We think Are You Dancing by Hudson-Ford has just about left our consciousness now but here’s Shaun Keaveney to look further at the phenomenon of tunes you just can’t get out of your head, including meeting a woman who has spent the last 25 years or so constantly singing Nathan Jones by Bananarama. Not even a good Bananarama song! Cruel Summer we could understand.
Tuesday 23rd October
22.35 The Magic Box (Northern Ireland)
And so to that big moment in British TV we mentioned earlier, as tonight analogue television finishes for good after nearly eighty years. For many people, of course, this moment will pass them by because the switchover has been and gone, but Northern Ireland have the honour of seeing it off for good. BBC2 went the other day but tonight the rest are off, and so honoured is the province that not only are BBC Northern Ireland showing this special programme… but so are UTV simultaneously! Unsurprisingly for such cross-channel dominance, Eamonn Holmes is hosting, but hopefully he keep his links to a minimum in this history of Norn Iron telly in particular, and analogue telly in general.
Wednesday 24th October
21.00 Voyager – To The Final Frontier
Space travel certainly captured the imagination in the Cream era, not just in July 1969 but also throughout the seventies and early eighties, when the exploits of the Space Shuttle were big enough news to justify Newsround specials and live inserts into Saturday SuperStore. It’s 35 years ago that NASA sent up the Voyager spacecraft to take a closer look at the universe, the result being a host of fascinating images, and here’s how they did it and what it ended up telling us.
BBC Radio 2
22.00 Barbara Windsor’s Ladies of Song
Here’s Babs with a new series looking at leading ladies of the past, this time turning her attention to those of a muscial persuasion, beginning with Alma Cogan. Very much the epitome of Radio 2 in its eighties and nineties Radio Quiet era, her ubiquity disguises the fact she was only 34 when she died, but she certainly churned out the recordings, this programme including some that have never been heard before.
Thursday 25th October
20.30 Emmerdale at 40
We’re sure when news of the England match being postponed arrived in Leeds there were some furrowed brows wondering if they’d have to reschedule the entire live Emmerdale at the last minute, but they got it out and it seemed to all go very well. What was perhaps most surprising was that ITV didn’t make more of a night of it, all being done and dusted by eight, and given how many times they’ve wheeled out the first ever Corrie, it’s perhaps surprising they elected not to show the first ever Emmerdale, especially as it has the advantage of being in colour. But no, just these clip shows instead.
19.30, 01.35 Top of the Pops
Here’s someone we haven’t seen for a while, Stewpot, last seen on this channel almost exactly a year ago inviting us to get a pencil and paper ready to write down our suggested names for their new dance troupe. He’d done another episode since then but we didn’t see that because it was wiped, and this is his last hurrah before concentrating on the juvenile end of the market. Unfortunately we don’t get any punk, which is a shame as we’d love to see how he’d have dealt with the likes of The Adverts, but we do have Donna Summer’s trillionth single of the year.
17.45 Blue Peter
We’ve not seen last week’s episode yet but we do more or less know what this year’s appeal will involve, and we can report that sadly it’s not something older viewers can join in with directly, which is a bit of a shame because we’d have happily collected cans or stamps and taken them down to Tesco (or Crazy Prices in Northern Ireland, of course). Presumably now everything’s reycled as a matter of course they’ll never be able to do appeals like that again, so it’s to their credit they’re able to come up with new ideas year after year.
Friday 26th October
The Waltons is one of the subjects this week, which rather happily gives us the chance to mark the passing of T4, being axed at the end of the year, because when it began fourteen years ago the big controversy came from the fact The Waltons were included in the line-up – which certainly wouldn’t happen now, and came about as the strand enveloped the entire morning from 6am – and they got thousands of complaints from Waltons fans about the maassive DOG. In fact, Creamguide almost appeared on Right to Reply to put the boot into T4 in general, although we got replaced at the last minute by Andrew “625 Television Room” Wiseman, which is for the best, because we don’t care about DOGs anymore and we had a rather ill-advised haircut at that point which we’re glad was never committed to film. In any case, soon after they streamlined T4 to start after The Waltons and remove all the other non-teen stuff and the rest is history. None of this will be mentioned here, obviously.
21.00 Chas and Dave – Last Orders
22.00 Jools Holland – London Calling
23.15 London Songs at the BBC
Chas and Dave were always written off as a novelty act, but of course they were proper time-served musicians who had spent many years as session men for virtually everyone in rock, and their songs are great as well, not least Ain’t No Pleasing You which is a genuinely beautiful song. This new documentary will presumably mostly be about the music, though we hope for some mention of the ITV shows they did, including their special on Christmas Day 1982 most notable for the fact LWT built a Cockney boozer in their studios that was accurate in every way, including serving proper drinks, apart from the fact it didn’t have a toilet. As they realised after they’d served the first few pints. After the new stuff is some suitable repeatage from the other month.
BBC Radio 2
22.00 Magical Mystery Tour
23.00 Paul McCartney at the BBC
Well, Magical Mystery Tour didn’t make much sense on the telly so let’s see if it’s any more coherent in audio form. This documentary seems a bit after the Lord Mayor’s Show given the Arena special the other week, though it’s produced by Wackers expert Kevin Howlett so we’re sure it’ll be well worth hearing, then after that it’s various clips from the bonny one’s jaunts to Broadcasting House.
That’s it for this week, and we do hope BBC NI and UTV’s farewell to analogue will be as dignified as the end of 405 lines. Remarkable to think it took 21 years to move everyone over to 625 lines while we’ve migrated to digital in just over a decade, and with remarkably little fuss, it appears. Apart from our parents’ PVR consistently switching from North West to Wales, but then we had twenty years of grainy Channel Four pictures so it’s no great hardship. If you have any memories of telly closing down, starting up or just generally broadcasting in a funny way, do let us know. Or if you want on this list, click here