We’re on top of this math
Hullo again and welcome to this week’s edition of Creamguide. These days this seems to be the week Christmas officially begins because after Bonfire Night there’s nothing more interesting coming up, but we’re going to try and hold off thinking about that for a while. Wonder what the Christmas Day film will be, though? Anyway, as per, letters should be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Saturday 3rd November
20.15 Dad’s Army
And first this week it’s a letter from Ian Lambeth. “Reading the obituary of John Clive this week brought to mind what I think is my earliest TV memory. It took me many years and the wealth of information that is the TV Cream website to work out that the dream like image I held for many years of a man in glasses who enunciated somewhat strangely and a large, looming silver man could only have been Robert’s Robots. From the transmission dates I must have been just over four years old when I saw this. I wonder what other readers’ earliest identifiable TV memories might be?” Well, Creamguide can definitely identify their earliest TV memory to the day because it was watching Crackerjack at Russell Prince’s house on his birthday, but if anyone else would like to make their own suggestion, whack them over.
20.45 The Late Great Eric Sykes
22.55 Arena – Sykes and a Day
It took a few months but thankfully Eric is getting the obituary he deserves with this new documentary, with the likes of Michael Palin and Eddie Izzard paying tribute to a man who at one time appeared to be writing every single comedy show on TV and radio. Then later, after QI, it’s a repeat that, gasp, isn’t the Peter Sellers episode, though it is from the very last series in 1979. Following that is a programme first shown on Christmas Day 2001 which got a rare chance to look into his office and find out how he managed to still regularly write and perform despite being, at that point, almost totally deaf and blind.
18.05 The Golden Rules of TV
We probably won’t be billing this again having only lasted five minutes with show one when we realised it was basically clips from The X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent for the umpteenth time, interspersed with clips of the protagonists explaining what we can already bloody see for ourselves. We know we shouldn’t have expected anything better, but we do try and make the effort in hunting out this stuff.
01.40 The Big Match Revisited
Looks like the 1982-83 season has ended so they’ve moved the remainder of 1978-79 from its Saturday morning slot to that series’ repeat slots as well, this late night screening also accompanied by a slightly more civilised Sunday breakfast screening too. Make sure you do catch it, though, if only for Brian’s confusion between ATV and HTV which we think is the best thing in the series. But then, we would.
20.00 Bob’s Full House
We love how Bob always touches the logo on his arrival on stage, like the This Is Anfield sign. We think last week’s episode might have been the pilot as Bob seemed to be explaining the concept more and there were a few slight differences to the set and graphics, presumably being buried later in the run as the bloke didn’t win the holiday to a place nobody have ever heard of. Ian Lambeth also said, “I happened to come across the first Thunderbirds film on TV the other week and kept on hearing a familiar but unplaceable voice amongst the regular cast. When the credits came up I was surprised to see that it was Bob Monkhouse. Was there no area of light entertainment that man didn’t touch? In a good way.”
21.00 30 Years of Comic Strip
So, Channel Four’s only acknowledgement of their thirtieth anniversary will presumably be on Friday’s Countdown, though it’s being marked elsewhere, not least on wwww.tvcream.co.uk, and also here where their first and possibly most influential comedy series gets the retrospective treatment, which isn’t the only occasion when the gang get together this week, as you’ll se. Channel Four’s second comedy series, The Cut Price Comedy Show, never gets this kind of treatment, alas.
BBC Radio 2
13.00 Pick of the Pops
No Pops 77 this week, though you’ll be pleased to know 35 years on Tony’s voice is better so he can bring us the hits from 1964 and 1985. Stewpot was a bit livelier than he was a year ago, helped by the programme belting along with most of the records being faded out as swiftly as was politely possible, which was good news when it meant we didn’t have to see so much as that tit from Ram Jam.
BBC Radio 4
20.00 Tuning In
Another anniversary this week is being marked on the medium that’s celebrating it, as BBC Radio is ninety years old. Here’s Dominic Sandbrook on those pioneering days when listeners coaxed a cat’s whisker to hear Reith’s often curious ideas of entertainment and the other pioneering attempts at transmitting soundwaves to the nation.
Sunday 4th November
16.30 Points of View
If Nick Poyntz, producer of much-acclaimed BBC1 documentary Golden Oldies, is reading this, he should make a formal complaint to BBC management after Vine’s script – not the letters, which were all positive, but Vine’s actual script – announced this programme was “cashing in on the trend for programmes about the elderly”, which is an insult to his professionalism and this programme has no business undermining its BBC1 stablemates in this fashion. It’s outrageous. Meanwhile our heart bled for Head of Entertainment Mark Linsey who had to answer Vine’s interrogation about why they don’t do a what happens next for Dragon’s Den by politely pointing out they’d already done about fifty. What an ill-informed, arrogant show this is.
18.00 Fawlty Towers
John Moore’s written in this week to say, “You know that stuff about secret television that you’ve been asking readers to send in. Well, I don’t know if this counts but one weekday morning in the mid-seventies whilst I was off school with an upset stomach or something I came across a schools programme which has stuck with me after all these years because, quite frankly, it was the most bonkers thing I’ve ever seen. I have no idea what the programme was called as it was just some bog-standard show but suddenly these two characters called the O O Men popped up. They were two rubbish superheroes played by Sylvester McCoy and David Rappaport, both dressed in yellow and if you needed them you had to blow a big raspberry! I was desperate to see the show again but could only pull off the old upset tummy routine for a day as my mum sneakily watched me through the window to see if I continued groaning and clutching my belly once she’d left the room. Has anyone else got any info on this programme?” Well, John, we know the pair were the same characters on Jigsaw, but if anyone would like to elucidate further on what schools programme it may have been, do let us know.
21.00 JFK’s Road to the White House
John Peel used to say that the reason he sped to Dallas when he’d heard JFK had been shot – and eventually ended up in the same room when Jack Ruby shot Lee Harvey Oswald – was not just because he was desperate for something interesting to do, but because in 1960, when he’d been on a motorcade campaigning, Peel had wished him luck and JFK, having noticed his accent, spoke to him for about thirty seconds, whereas when he’d said the same thing to Nixon he ignored him , so as far as he was concerned someone had shot His Pal Jack. Sadly we won’t get to see that conversation on this programme as it features footage of his campaigning in Wisconsin in that election, but it’ll still be worth a look.
Monday 5th November
21.00 Nigel Slater – Life is Sweets
One of our favourite passages in Boy by Roald Dahl was the chapter about visiting the sweet shop, rightly pointing out what an important venue it was for a young child at the time, and just the other day Creamguide got a Proustain rush when he was queuing in the newsagent behind a kid taking his pick from the sweet jars. Nigel Slater certainly knows the feeling as he takes a look at the origins of some sweet shop staples and considers why the smells and tastes remain so potent.
BBC Radio 2
22.00 Petula Clark – In My Own Words
Very much a TV staple in the past, Pet was so famous in the sixties she was chosen to be the star of the first official colour programme on BBC1, which rather brilliantly was shown at midnight as the earliest possible time they could show it on the official launch day and presumably to get a jump on ITV who were starting colour the same day. She’s about to turn eighty and to mark that she’s granted a new interview.
Tuesday 6th November
23.35 US Election Night
“What’s going on? Democracy is going on!” The US elections are never quite as much fun as you’d like, mostly because the whole business of declaring the results is very boring and just involves David Dimbleby reading out a handful of states every half hour, rather than all the fun of hapless returning officers, not to mention the fact the Beeb are always in a cupboard and nobody knows who they are, which we don’t like. In addition we can’t have a repeat of the best moment of last time as Gore Vidal’s dead. Nevertheless, we’re staying up regardless because it’s bloody big news, we like Dave having six hours to kick back and hang loose and, er, some of the pundits are quite bewitching, even if they’re evil Republicans. Especially if they’re evil Republicans. Sorry.
23.35 America Decides
America flips a coin over here as well, though they’ll be based in London. It’s usually the tradition now that people smugly pipe up on Twitter to say ITV’s coverage is actually really rather good, but so it should be, they’ve been doing this kind of thing for over fifty years – although it’s only very recently they’ve started doing all-nighters for this again, they didn’t bother at all in the nineties. If you can put up with six and a half hours of Alastair Stewart, you’re welcome to it, or there’s Sky News and all that, natch.
20.30 Britain on Film
It’s slightly confusing that BBC4 seem to have two series going at once under the ‘…on Film’ banner, one with the plinky-plonky theme tune and no narration and clips from numerous documentaries up to the present day, and one with no theme tune to speak of but including narration and talking heads with all the clips coming from mostly monochrome newsreels. This is a new series and it’s the latter, based around Look at Life, a series of shorts shown in cinemas throughout the sixties, which they’re plundering to discuss how things changed during its run, starting this week with the role of women.
BBC Radio 4
09.30 In Alistair Cooke’s Footsteps
Appropriate that we start a series celebrating one of the UK’s most familiar guides to the USA on Election Day. Alvin Hall’s presenting it, and he’s going to listen to some of Cooke’s most famous letters then travel to the places he talks about to see if what he said is still relevant today.
00.00 America Decides
As we always say, we always think that one year we’re going to listen to the radio coverage of an election from start to finish as whenever we tune in at about three in the morning on the way to bed, it always sounds good fun and we wish we’d listened to more. We suppose the optimum time to do it would be a US election as it’s a bit more sedate and you’re less likely to have booked tomorrow off so it should help you drift off to sleep. James Naughtie’s in charge or you can listen to Five Live where it’s Richard Bacon who’s a massive anorak about this kind of thing but who might be a bit too noisy. Can’t you see we’re trying to sleep here?
Wednesday 7th November
21.00 The Comic Strip Presents… Five Go To Rehab
It’s a new Comic Strip film, though it’s not perhaps as exciting as it could be given that they’ve already done a follow-up to Five Go Mad In Dorset a year later, and it was rubbish, and in addition the last new Comic Strip film was only last year anyway. Still, the original gang are all back and it’s a rare chance to see Ade Edmondson doing comedy on the telly because the mooted Bottom reunion has been abandoned as he and Rik had a go at writing something and then decided they weren’t getting anywhere and it was going to be crap, which is a shame, but at least they were honest enough not just to grab the money and do it anyway.
BBC Radio 2
22.00 Barbara Windsor’s Ladies of Song
Last one of these and it’s about Dorothy Squires, who unlike the other subjects in this series lived to a ripe old age, but sadly endured various personal and professional problems that kept her off record and screen for a long time. But that’s why she’s the subject of a documentary, no doubt.
Thursday 8th November
20.30 Emmerdale at 40
This one’s about weddings, usually held at Christmas on this show even though, as Harry Hill pointed out, in real life nobody gets married at Christmas, because it’s Christmas.
17.45 Blue Peter
Ian Lambeth didn’t write in three times, we’ve just chopped his e-mail up to fill otherwise dull billings. “Recent talk of Kenny Everett prompted another childhood recollection. During the early seventies my dad was doing some charity work which led him to being interviewed on Capital Radio. He came back and told a tale from the production staff that Everett always locked himself in the studio and that the only way anyone could communicate with him during the show was by sliding pieces of paper under the door. Suffice to day the young me was suitably impressed by this.” This has nothing to do with Blue Peter but last week’s wasn’t that interesting.
BBC Radio 2
22.00 The Kinks at the BBC
Looks like this is becoming a regular thing now, but that’s all to the good, as we get to hear various sessions that you probably won’t have heard for a while in between Ray’s notoriously grumpy interviews.
Friday 9th November
Another sort-of celebration of Channel Four’s thirtieth here as someone’s answering questions on Mapp and Lucia, the adaptation of which was a celebrated early C4 success. Someone else is quizzed on Steely Dan.
21.00 Queens of British Pop
22.05 Songs of Sandy Denny at the Barbican
23.35 Fairport Convention – Who Knows Where The Time Goes?
A bit of an odds and sods collection of archivery this week, the first programme having been shown here umpteen times. Denny isn’t featured but she was certainly an influential singer, as not only are her folk rock peers involved in this concert, but so are the likes of Green Gartside.
17.00 12 Again
We’re billing this series again because it continues to surprise us, not least in last week’s Halloween Special when top Creamer Ed Petrie announced his most memorable bit of spooky telly was only bloody Ghostwatch – and they showed a load of clips from it! Wow! Let’s hope it put the willies up today’s kids just as much as it did those of a generation ago. We love hearing Cream-era stuff being explained to an audience of baffled kids so let’s hope this series runs and runs.
Yeah, Ghostwatch on CBBC, who’d have thought it? Don’t worry if you’re a bit jealous of America getting to vote as next week most of us will be nipping down the polling station ourselves in the police commissioner elections, or at least the half dozen of us who like voting that much. Don’t suppose we’ll get hour after hour of rolling Dimbleby for that, but it could still surprise you, so why not join us next week? If you want to, subscribe here