CREAMGUIDE: 3rd-9th November 2012

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 creamguide@tvcream.co.uk.

Saturday 3rd November

BBC2

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
22.30 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.

ITV

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.

ITV4

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.

Challenge

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.”

Gold

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

BBC1

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.

BBC2

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.

BBC4

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

BBC4

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.

Past Times This week's - ner ner ner -  Radio Times!

30th January-5th February 1982

ON THE COVER: You won’t be surprised to learn that this cover received hundreds of complaints from annoyed newsagents who had to convince purchasers it was supposed to look like that. A brilliant example of Radio Times’ propensity for self-parody at the time (see the Dave Allen cover from the mid-seventies that was then repeated a week or two later but with Mike Yarwood as Dave), this is of course a straight repeat of a cover from three months earlier for The Borgias. Now it’s The Borgs, “the epic story of one family’s struggle to speak in the same accent”, and the new series of Not The Nine O’Clock News, with the accompanying feature saying absolutely nothing about the programme. “The makers claim their product will leave the studio in perfect condition. If viewers are not entirely satisfied, they are asked to send their complaints direct to Sir Ian Trethowan, outgoing Director-General, when their licence fees will be refunded.”

ON OTHER PAGES: A slightly TV Times-esque piece announces that “The age of innocence is over for Olivia” as Ms Neutron Bomb’s latest US TV special is shown on BBC1 on Wednesday night. She tells RT, “At 34, I am too old to be innocent. It is time that I told my public that I have in fact lived up and down the spectrum. I’ve had lovers and I’ve been hurt and I’ve done all sorts of things that Doris Day wouldn’t have condoned. And I don’t regret a thing.” Radio Times’ Robert Ottaway gets a bit hot under the collar, saying, “This show is based on her new album Physical, which has been banned in Utah – and indeed it does suggest that love has less to do with the moon than with spring mattresses. I think it’s a marvellous display of talent that has so far been petrified in prettiness.”

DOCTOR WHEN: Doctor Who Peter Davidson kicks off Kinda this week, but the nation seems less concerned with how he’ doing as the new Who, but when he’s doing it, as the show’s new home is Monday and Tuesday evenings. Michael Trueman of Newark says, “Surely it is the first, most basic and overriding principle of broadcasting that Doctor Who=Saturday and Saturday=Doctor Who”, while G Ogden of Kettering breaks our hearts by saying, “My youngest son, aged nine, was extremely disappointed to find that his favourite programme has been switched from its normal Saturday placing to midweek, thereby creating the dilemma – miss Cubs or miss Doctor Who.” So what has crap BBC1 Controller Alan Hart got to say for himself? “The decision to move the Doctor from his Saturday slot was not taken lightly. We thought carefully about it and decided that he needed new times, and the hope is that more people will be able to follow his adventures. Time will tell whether the Tardis has landed on the right day. The Doctor will be calling twice a week until the end of March, then we shall discuss carefully on which day the Tardis will land next time around.”

FIRST IN A NEW SERIES: Les Dawson’s back on Saturday night BBC1 with his new eponymously-titled series, joined by “the multi-talented Kids International” who would sing, dance and play piano in a suitably precocious fashion. There’s a new run of One Man And His Dog on Tuesday at 9.25 on BBC2, while on Wednesday at 7.40 on BBC2 it’s a new series of The Master Game, “international chess with two of the world’s leading players” with £2500 up for grabs to the winner. Later that night at 10.20 it’s Out Of Court, with Nick Ross looking at “some of the odd, outrageous and far-reaching legal stories of the week”. The new Sunday teatime classic serial is Stalky and Co, though we’ve got the Welsh edition and Wales don’t show it for a couple of weeks because, thanks to Welsh-language kids’ shows (soon to shunt over to S4C), they’re actually showing Grange Hill on Wednesdays and Sundays, which seems absolutely bizarre. We don’t want to be reminded of school then!

NOT A REPEAT: Whatever day you’re watching it, though (it’s in the familiar Tuesday and Friday slots in the rest of the UK), it’s certainly imperial phase Grange Hill at the moment, and on Sunday, “Suzanne is in more trouble about her uniform, but Scruffy McGuffy looks just as untidy”. Elsewhere, Monday at 9.25 may seem an odd slot for Last of the Summer Wine, which is surely the ultimate Sunday show, but it’s currently at the peak of its powers, pulling in enormous ratings and being seen as something like The Royle Family, we suppose. After that at 9.55 is the next episode in Roger Graef’s seminal series Police. Iris Murdoch’s The Bell, meanwhile, is the latest major drama on Wednesday night BBC2.

TANTALISING-SOUNDING PROGRAMME WE’LL NEVER SEE: As usual Russell Harty sounds amazing, as on Thursday at 8.30 on BBC2, “world-famous medium Doris Stokes, who claims to have the gift of talking to the spirit world, makes her national TV debut before an audience in Manchester”. But instead we’re alighting on the latest heavyweight review of the state of Britain, Two Nations, which fills up ninety minutes from 7.15 on Sunday night BBC2. Presenter Eric Robson sets up shop at Preston, and he says, “Why Preston? An average sort of town, with average unemployment and an average gloss of prosperity. It’s no Brixton or Moss Side, it hasn’t the haunted look of Clydeside or Consett. Even proud Preston people are surprised to hear that unemployment in the town has gone up 150% in three years. But Preston is like a hundred towns, home of Britain’s two nations. That’s why we went there.”

ROB BARKER’S ADVERT SPOT: If there’s an advert about prices, we’re all over it, and Fine Fare has reduced the prices of fifty of their Yellow Packs products, “by selling more of them, cutting out all the middleman, and sticking firmly to simple no-frills packaging”. It’s certainly good news for cat owners as solid moist cat food has gone down from 17 1/2p to 12p, though the canine equivalent is only reduced from 14p to 13 1/2p. Still, save up your ha’pennies, perhaps investing them in the Co-Op Bank (“we care by letting you get cash where and when you need it most, while you shop – through Handybanks and Cash-a-Cheque points in Co-Op stores throughout Britain, even on Saturday mornings in some areas”), and maybe you could afford the Hotpoint Top Loader Automatic, “the only genuine top loader made in the UK”.

THE SO-CALLED GOLDEN AGE: This Welsh edition illustrates why S4C couldn’t come soon enough, not just for Grange Hill on a Sunday but Whovians having to stay up much later with a 7.45 slot to make way for the Welsh language news. One thing you don’t get anymore on BBC1 is complete runs of drama series being repeated in primetime, so even in a freezing cold February they’re flinging out all thirteen episodes of the last series of Shoestring at half nine on a Thursday.

WOULDN’T HAPPEN NOW DEPARTMENT: Children’s BBC is currently saying Welcome To Wodehouse with Paul Eddington reading some of his stories on Friday at 5.20, just a posh Jackanory of course. In terms of subject matter, this week’s episode of Open Door on Saturday on BBC2 is made by Schools Against The Bomb. and seventeen year old Giles Perritt, who’s been involved, says, “We are not short on facts, People do not know all the information that is available to governments.” A few weeks later someone would complain to Radio Times that this was shown opposite Jim’ll Fix It in an obvious pro-government move to ensure nobody watched it.

HOUSEKEEPING: On Saturday night BBC1 it’s 5.45 Kung Fu (“selected episodes”, which sounds classy, like a proper retrospective), 6.35 Jim’ll Fix It, 7.10 Nanny, 8.05 The Les Dawson Show, 8.40 Dallas, 9.30 News with Jan Leeming, 9.45 Match of the Day, 10.45 Parkinson, 11.45 Golden Soak. On daytime Radio 1 it’s 5.00 As Radio 2, 7.00 Mike Read, 9.00 Simon Bates, 11.30 Dave Lee Travis, 2.00 Paul Burnett, 3.30 Steve Wright, 5.00 Peter Powell, 7.00 Feature programmes like Mailbag, 8.00 David Jensen, 10.00 John Peel. Peel also makes his triumphant return to Top of the Pops this week while it’s the Si, Saz and Pete Golden Age on Blue Peter.

THEY’VE HAD LOTS OF LETTERS: It’s certainly all go at teatime, not just Doctor Who on the wrong night but also a new look to Nationwide. DC Pugh of York says, “OK, admit it. Turning Nationwide into a diluted Panorama has meant the worst of both worlds. Apart from objections to the sight of our old friends being elbowed aside by Mr Dimbleby, what made anybody think that we would like to come home from work to be instantly bored to death by politicians? It doesn’t take a professional programme planner to know that early evening audiences want lightweight human interest stories. What we don’t want are the tiresome irrelevancies of SDP/Liberal quarrelling and still less, demonstrations of the inadequacies of Sir Keith Joseph and his ilk.”

MAKING OUR OWN ENTERTAINMENT: It had been a shit January weather wise, but John Craven’s Back Pages kept us occupied. “The anagram of JOHN RAYMOND CRAVEN posed before Christmas proved very difficult for readers, especially for those who tried to do it without using names, initials and abbreviations. Innumerable references to JR kept a television flavour – JR CAN REV ON MY HONDA sent in by both A Bates and J Dolby. No one really managed to make total sense of the meagre words available and certainly nothing came out which was relevant to John, although JNR VYDEO ANCHORMAN by Mrs Lawson was pretty good. The two best configurations of words were by Ivy Russell of North Harrow with a JAVAN HYMN ON RECORD and AS Brewis from Sunderland with DRY JAM ON RANCH OVEN, who will each receive a £5 book token.”

Tuesday 6th November

BBC1

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.

ITV

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.

BBC4

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

Gold

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

ITV

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.

CBBC

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

BBC2

20.00 Mastermind
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.

BBC4

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.

CBBC

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

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