CREAMGUIDE: 10th-16th November 2012

What a nice way to take a laxative

Hullo Creamguiders, and off we go with another edition of the nation’s favourite pedantic Blue Peter-obsessed listings guide. Not Christmas yet, of course, but Mike Shinks has asked, “You were asking about the Big Film for Christmas Day, but surely the most important question is will the Radio Times cover Christmas and New Year in one issue. Whenever it’s split, I get a little depressed and a small part of me dies inside.” Well, the good news is that Christmas Day is a Tuesday this year so there’ll be one issue – and of course one double Creamguide for your whole holiday season. But that’s not for ages. Look, it’s November 10th.

Saturday 10th November

BBC1

10.45 The Lord Mayor’s Show
Though in the past, this was an important marker on the road to Christmas. Anyway, here’s Paul Pensom. “To answer your most recent appeal, my earliest TV memories are hopelessly confused, but there is one I remember a fair bit about but haven’t yet put a name to might be ripe for identification. It would have been late seventies, and fairly late in the evening, I know that because it was quite a treat to be allowed up to watch it. It was possibly part of a strand like Play For Today or the like, and concerned a blind man whose wife had left him for a younger partner. The blind man lived alone with his Alsatian guide dog, and somebody started to persecute him. I think the dog ended up drowned in a swimming pool if I remember right. The story ended with the lover attempting to kill the estranged husband, but being thwarted when the blind man fired off a camera flash, thus levelling the stakes. The final scenes involved some charred bodies being carried from the house, but I can’t remember who was the victim. Suffice to say it had a serious effect on me — Dad, what were you playing at? But then, this was the man who woke me up in my bed to tell me the plot of The Omen, which he’d just seen, God love ‘im.”

BBC2

20.30 Dad’s Army
Sad to hear of the death of Clive Dunn this week, though of course they don’t have to rush out the tributes because they’re already showing them every week anyway, which is testament to Dunn’s national treasure status. Conveniently it’s also a Jones-centric episode scheduled.

Challenge

20.00 Bob’s Full House
Nigel Fishwick says, “I’ve been watching the Bob’s Full House repeats with a great deal of pleasure. Not only does the show remain hugely enjoyable as a format almost thirty years later, undoubtedly assisted by Bob’s professional stewardship, but there’s great joy in seeing the selection of prizes on offer and then using 21st century hindsight to spot where the contestants made a duff selection – such as the ‘never to become popular’ Laser Vision player that someone chose last week.” We particularly liked last week’s music centre as it appeared to be accompanied by a Play Away tape. And don’t forget to play along at home!

BBC Radio 2

13.00 Pick of the Pops
It’s sixty years of the pop charts, an anniversary we’ll hear more about later this week, and this is obviously the perfect show to mark it, which they’re doing by, er, not playing a chart at all but instead presenting the first of two special shows playing the best-selling single from each year in turn. We’re not entirely sure about this because the fun of the show, for us, is hearing the records nobody ever plays anywhere else anymore, and as that standby episode the other month proved, their definition of “best-selling” often seems to be a bit muddled. In any case, here’s the first 34 which is a bit messy but records were a bit shorter in those days.

BBC Radio 4

20.00 Who’s Reithian Now?
Reith is always cited whenever the Beeb dares to show anything in the slightest bit raucous, though it’s likely he’d have been outraged with even the most high-faluting TV shows given he hated the medium completely, famously referring to it as a potential social menace of the first magnitude. Here’s a look at exactly what his views were with the help of mad former Radio 4 controller and Reith biographer Ian “Up To The Hour” McIntyre.

Sunday 11th November

BBC1

13.30 Points of View
Thanks to the rugby this is exiled to a hopeless slot to better reflect its unimportance in the grand scheme of things, with its irritating habit of making accusations about programme makers’ incompetence and then not bothering to check why they’re doing it. The annual moans about Strictly being too silly here again last week, but it’s not a dancing competition, it’s light entertainment, and if people wanted just endless dancing they’d still televise the World Ballroom Championships.

BBC4

21.00 Roy Orbison – The Big O in Britain
Last week we moaned about Channel Four’s miserable refusal to celebrate its birthday (though they have dumped Baggage to E4). Anyway, Stuart Ian Burns tells us, “Actually Channel 4 have marked their 30th anniversary but it’s all on YouTube. Here’s thirty heads talking about their favourite shows, or at least their favourite shows which are available online (so no Network 7 or Naked Yoga or Kabaddi) and here’s the thirty shows via 4od. You could argue that they trying to play down their origins as a better television channel because they’ve regenerated so many times since and they don’t want to remind people this was once the home of Club X. Perhaps there’ll be something better for 35.”

Monday 12th November

BBC Radio 4

21.00 The Naughty Pictures Committees
It’s a hundred years of the BBFC – though it went a bit soft when it changed from the British Board of Film Censors to the touchy-feely British Board of Film Classification. And surely the reassuring words of Simon Bates were way more fun before a film than those endless piracy warnings. Anyway, to celebrate here’s a look at how, if their views were considered too liberal, local councils were still able to ban films anyway, most notably those councils who banned Life of Brian even though there were no cinemas under their jurisdiction anyway.

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

20th-26th September 1975

ON THE COVER: Damehood recently bestowed, The Vera Lynn Show spearheads the new season on BBC2, every other Wednesday (with Twiggy in the other weeks, as RT points out) at 7.45 and with Bing Crosby in the first show, perhaps filmed at the same time he was on Top of the Pops. If he thought Pan’s People were exciting, wait until he saw the Young Generation. Radio Times dispatched Margaret Drabble to meet her, and she couldn’t be more impressed. “When Vera herself arrived, in a long cotton dress and flip-flop sandals, her arms full of shopping, it was obvious almost at once that nobody could ever wish to be unkind about her. For she is the most unpretentious famous lady that one could possibly hope to meet.”

ON OTHER PAGES: This is the time when BBC1’s new autumn season was launched over two weeks, then BBC2 did the same – with the radio following in the next week. Hence all the features are devoted to BBC2 programmes, including three pages on Making Faces, a Michael Frayn-penned, Eleanor Bron-fronted series of comedy playlets in the unimpressive timeslot of Thursdays at half ten. Frayn and Bron are old Cambridge pals, as too is RT’s reporter Claire Tomalin, and Cambridge features in one of the shows. “To Miss Bron (and to me) it reads like a violent attack on the Cambridge teacher FR Lewis. Frayn insists that no particular portrait is intended – all the same, it’s an episode that may puzzle viewers outside academic English literature circles.” Well, never mind them, how many are there?

BACK TO THE FUTURE: On Saturday evening BBC2 starts a series profiling six famous people who all have in common the fact they were, as the title has it, Born 1900. That includes Arthur Askey and the pianist, composer and Marxist Alan Bush and, it says here, “since the last war he has set out to popularise his style in line with Communist demand”. First under the spotlight though is artist Helen Bradley and RT’s Tim Heald takes her back to her home town of Oldham to see what’s changed and allow her to reminisce about the old days, including a favourite destination for family outings, the cemetery. “Mother said it was as good as a holiday. We used to get the east wind off the moors. It was darned cold but terribly healthy. I was taught to spell by reading the headstones.”

FIRST IN A NEW SERIES: Other shows making their debut on BBC2 this week are the US comedy Chico and The Man on Saturday teatime, sadly notorious for star Freddie Prinze Sr dying on set, while at 9.30 that evening is The First Picture Show, “a series presenting some of the best new films made by young film-makers at art colleges, film schools and polytechnics throughout Britain”. Nobody we can recognise among this week’s directors, though. The Waltons are back in the cushy opposite Panorama slot on Monday evening, followed by a lavish adaptation of Madame Bovary. There’s also the return of Face The Music on Wednesday at nine. A couple of new shows on BBC1 too, kids drama The Hill Of The Red Fox on Wednesday teatime and David McCallum is The Invisible Man, “a new action adventure series” launched with a feature length pilot on Friday evening.

NOT A REPEAT: This weekend one of the papers will have published their critic’s legendary “Long John short on laughs” review as the second ever episode of Fawlty Towers is on Friday at nine, rounding off an ace triple bill of comedy as on BBC1 before it is The Liver Birds and, at eight, Dad’s Army, the first showing of Come In, Your Time Is Up. On Thursday night at half nine, meanwhile, BBC1 is causing controversy with the next instalment of Jim Allen’s seminal Days Of Hope, which has reached 1924 in its tale of life from the Great War to the General Strike. I Didn’t Know You Cared always seems to be left out when we discuss vintage sitcoms but it was a big show in its day, and it’s currently on Wednesdays at 9.25 on BBC1.

TANTALISING-SOUNDING PROGRAMME WE’LL NEVER SEE: We do sometimes see it when they want to embarrass Tel but we’d love to see a whole episode of Disco, “a light-hearted pop quiz” in the unusual slot of Sunday at half past three on BBC1. Filmed in the palatial surroundings of Cinderella’s Discotheque, Sayers Common, Tel pops the questions to teams captained by Tim Rice and Roger Scott – why they didn’t use a Radio 1 DJ we don’t know – and “a special feature each week will be a live group”. Meanwhile here’s a show that seems to have fallen off David Frost’s CV, We British, on Sunday at nine on BBC2, which is edited by former BBC big cheese Donald Baverstock and broadcast from New Broadcasting House in Manchester, probably one of the first series to come from the newly-opened studios. Looks like a vintage Frost format as well, as Dave is joined by a studio audience to ask “Who are we? What are we? And if we are going anywhere, where are we going?”

ROB BARKER’S ADVERT SPOT: Ding ding ding! It’s a Save It advert from the Department of Energy, promoting “The 30% Investment”. “Where are you going to get that kind of return on your money? Try your builder’s or plumber’s merchant. Or your ironmonger, hardware or do it yourself shop. And invest in 3″ loft insulation. It’ll reduce your heating bills for life. And the return on investment will go up as fuel prices go up.” For more ideas on saving energy, write to the Department of Energy, Room 1678, Thames House South, Millbank, London SWI. Meanwhile, “Now at your butchers. The freshest, most tender lamb your family has ever tasted. It’s because Scotch Lamb comes direct to you from the hills and upland pastures of Scotland. So look for the Scotch Lamb sign.” And next time you’re in Scotland, don’t forget to refer to everything as “Scotch”.

THE SO-CALLED GOLDEN AGE: The BBC were very short of money in 1975, so all daytime programmes outside Pebble Mill had been scrapped, BBC2 was closing as early as 11.15pm and Radio 1 was only on air for twelve hours a day with three of those simulcast on Radio 2, with John Peel going out at the unusual time of Monday and Thursday at 5.15pm. Great drivetime listening, although this was the last week of this unpopular scheme as a bit of schedule shuffling moved Peel to eleven o’clock at night and allowed for a proper teatime show with DLT. This also means a stack of repeats including on Thursday, at 7.45 on BBC1, The Two Ronnies, first shown on BBC2 and, at nine on BBC2, Morecambe and Wise, first shown on BBC1.

WOULDN’T HAPPEN NOW DEPARTMENT: Gardener’s World at eleven o’clock!? It happened, on Thursday night on BBC2. There’s still black and white on primetime as BBC1 are showing a season of Johnny Weissmuller Tarzan films on Tuesdays at seven, but if anything sums up the kind of show that would never get even made today, never mind shown in primetime, it’s An Edwardian Childhood on Wednesday at 8.30 on BBC2 in which, “Lord Kenneth Clark talks about his life as a boy in the early 1900s and vividly illustrates the period with marvellously evocative photographs taken by the Clark family.”

HOUSEKEEPING: Saturday night BBC1 hadn’t quite settledd own for the autumn just yet, as we get 5.20 Doctor Who (Terror of the Zygons, FYI), 5.45 Bruce Forsyth and the Generation Game, specifically the Bruce’s Choice episode looking ahead to next week’s first show proper, 6.30 How The West Was Won, all of it, 9.00 Last Night of the Proms, 10.10 News with Peter Woods, 10.20 Match of the Day, 11.20 Parkinson. The woefully threadbare Radio 1 schedule is 6.00 As Radio 2 (which is Simon Bates, as it happens), 7.00 Paul Burnett in for Noel Edmonds, 9.00 Tony Blackburn, 12.00 Johnnie Walker, 2.02 David Hamilton, also on Radio 2, 5.00 Newsbeat, 5.15 Specialist shows including Peel, Alan Freeman’s Youth Club Call and Annie Nightingale’s review show (but “from next Sunday she takes over the request show”), 7.00 As Radio 2. John, Pete and Les are your vintage Blue Peter team and it’s Blackburn on Pops.

THEY’VE HAD LOTS OF LETTERS: Mrs Hilda Boothby of Aberdeen agrees with a previous correspondent as she writes, “We are being conditioned into thinking that the modern sex-violence plays are a reflection of present day life and that to have high moral standards is out of date. If more of us had the courage to protest against this situation, the standard of play might improve. This is still possible – consider the popularity of Survivors. The series was right up to date, but its leading characters were honest, decent people who managed to provide the necessary drama and suspense, without a preponderance of bad language and bedroom scenes.” The Editor says, “We have a number of several letters.”

WE’RE IN THE MONEY: It’s good news from BP. “It’s been a long cold fight to get the North Sea to give up her oil. But in a very short time British Petroleum will be piping North Sea Oil ashore. As a major British oil company, we hope that you’ll excuse us for being a little bit proud of this achievement. It represents the result of BP’s massive investment in the North Sea – and it’s just the start of things to come. Within a year or two we’ll be piping ashore fourteen million gallons of oil a day from this one oil field – the Forties Field. It’s oil that is vital to the British economy. Oil that can help Britain’s balance of payments and thus help us all.” If they can get it past the Scotch, that is.

Tuesday 13th November

ITV

20.00 Deirdre and Me – 40 Years on Coronation Street
Glasses ha ha ha perms ha ha ha, all that. But this might be a slightly classier affair than the usual clip shows as it follows Anne Kirkbride around her daily life, and the likes of Johnny Briggs return to recall the famous love triangle, the result of which famously got on the scoreboard at Old Trafford, though it must have annoyed you if you were taping it.

BBC4

20.30 Britain on Film
Even though this only started last week it’s down here as episode five, though we think there’s umpteen to come anyway. This one’s about recreation. Meanwhile, Mike Thompson says, “On the subject of being surprised by Bob Monkhouse, I was, ahem, ‘researching’ sitcoms on YouTube the other day, including a baffling Jimmy Eat World/Men Of The World mash-up. While checking out the first episode of You Rang M’Lord, I was delighted to find out that the title song was performed by none other than Bob himself – with gruff input from Paul Shane, of course. Was this common knowledge and I’d somehow just missed it? I’ve read both his autobiographies and you think he’d have mentioned it. Er, it is him, yes?” Yes it is. Bob’s agreeable baritone was never utilised on TV enough and his greatest musical performance is of course the Miss Anglia song. Looking for that we notice on YouTube we now have a complete BobKnocks as well!

BBC Radio 2

22.00 Music In The Air – A History of Music Radio
Well, a heavyweight subject gets a suitably heavyweight presenter in Gambo, and he’s not messing around. taking a whole six hours to look at the development of wireless on both sides of the Atlantic, with the first show starting in 1906 and going onto the developments up to the end of World War II when gramophone records became an important part of the schedules. Perhaps Gambo will also tell us about all the people he knew were up to no good but failed to tell the management about at the time.

BBC Radio 4

11.30 Swansong
15.30 Mastertapes

Radio 4 have been running two series about pop music we’ve completely neglected to bill, and the former has reached its final episode to boot. It’s about final albums and in this edition Stuart Maconie takes a listen to Strangeways Here We Come. Then it’s something that’s basically Radio 4’s Music Club in that we listen to an album – in this case The Gift by The Jam – and then next week Weller will join an audience to debate its best bits.

Wednesday 14th November

BBC2

21.00 The Hour
We got a bit bored of this drama recalling the pioneering days of Lime Grove last time because as spectacular as it looked and as classy as it felt we realised we didn’t give a bugger about any of the characters. But it’s back and they may have solved that problem because the wonderful Peter Capaldi, fresh from his spectacular performance in the last episode of The Thick Of It, has joined the cast, and if anyone can rescue this rather undercooked script, it’ll be him.

BBC Radio 2

17.00 Simon Mayo
Today’s the official ninetieth anniversary of BBC Radio, and we’re pleased that the Reverend Mayo is in charge of celebrations given he’s spent nearly three decades striding the Corporation’s airwaves. Today he’s at the Science Museum to be joined by guests including Tony Blackburn, and then at 5.33pm is something we’re always thrilled about, a pan-network link-up, as every single BBC Radio station across the UK, plus the World Service, marks the exact moment of the first transmission by broadcasting the same three minute piece specially composed by Damon Albarn. And then…

22.00 The Listeners’ Archive
…Father Simon returns clutching a bag of old tapes which have been contributed by listeners of otherwise lost programmes, which Simon will spool through and ask their recorders why they kept them in the first place.

Thursday 15th November

BBC4

19.30, 02.00 Top of the Pops
Despite the best episodes of the vision mixer throwing a pile of effects at it, the frantic floor manager constantly darting into shot in front of Steve Gibbons, the frantic Legs and Co routine where happily Lulu seemed to be the only identifiable one (make the most of it, she gets a horrible haircut in a few weeks) and Noel’s baffling “interview”, we thought last week’s was a bit dull, alas, though written like that it sounds quite exciting. This week’s is initially very similar as we’ve missed a week for obvious reasons and Smokie are on again, but stick with it for a very big star in the studio and a very famous performance you may not have expected to see in this run.

CBBC

17.45 Blue Peter
“Ssshh, Barney’s talking!” There aren’t many presenters who can get away with telling people to shut up on air but that’s Helen’s loveliness for you. We noticed Tim Levell on Twitter being very excited about last week’s show coming from a big studio, which is always good to see, while this week it’s officially the end of the appeal, which seems a bit off. We know it’s based around Children in Need and that’s happening now but they could get weeks more material out of it.

BBC Radio 2

22.00 The Rolling Stones at the BBC
As you’ll know we really wish the Stones would pack it in, but the Beeb have always been thrilled to have them on the premises, even letting Mick on the Pops while only at number 41. Happily we won’t have to see that on here, and hopefully we won’t have to listen to it either.

Friday 16th November

BBC1

19.30 Children in Need
We like the way this now starts at half seven to make way for The One Show because it’s the complete opposite of the days when Comic Relief used to have to wait until after Wogan had finished when that show had the responsibility of launching everything on the Beeb. Usual gubbins here anyway, including of course the Who special which will worry Scottish Whovians in case Jackie Bird talks to much and they show it two minutes late so they can’t immediately debate it online.

BBC2

20.00 Mastermind
Great category here, John Peel’s Festive Fifty, which we understand has been chosen by flame-haired quiz queen Rachael Neiman who only appeared about five minutes ago answering questions on John Shuttleworth, but we’re glad she’s back and this time she’s going to win, you watch her.

21.00 Attenborough – 60 Years in the Wild
Apparently when the Audience Appreciation Index came in at the Beeb, David Attenborough was the only presenter who had their own personal Appreciation Index which was really high and applied to every single programme he appeared in. This is the first of a series and he looks at why his shows are a million times better than they were in the days of Zoo Quest thanks to improvements in technology.

BBC4

21.25 Pop Charts Britannia – 60 Years of the Top 10
Blah blah it’s all rubbish now blah blah it doesn’t mean anything blah blah it’s full of rap music. If only there was some kind of list they could make to work out exactly what records people liked. There does seem to be a number of “chart fans”, quite apart from fans of pop music, who are more interested in the facts and the figures of the chart rather than have any interest in the music that’s in it, which strikes us as a little odd as the chart itself purely exists to promote the music in it. It’s more accurate than ever now, but there are a number of factors that make it less exciting – no Pops, of course, plus also it’s not revealed during office hours anymore so you didn’t have to go out of your way to find it out and it’s not the only chance you got to hear your favourite songs on FM. But it continues to resonate and here’s a fascinating-sounding tribute to find out why.

22.55 Sound It Out
We did hear they were going to try and sort out the backlog of Pops episodes as part of this evening and fling a couple out to get us back on schedule, but seemingly not. Instead we take a trip to a record shop in Stockton-on-Tees which is apparently still going strong today despite the gloomy predictions of the entire music industry.

Sky Arts 2

11.35 Pete Murray Looks At Nottingham
Eh? Here’s Nigel Fishwick. “This is the last of the Harold Baim ‘Quota Quickies’, and the third of Murray’s films – he also took us to Coventry and Hastings. It’s an absolute joy, not only unintentionally hilarious, but also chock full of the sights and sounds of a busy 1982 city centre, plus it has a brilliant theme song! A selection of stills from the film are available here.

BBC Radio 2

06.30 Chris Evans
As we always say, the Children in Need Music Marathon isn’t quite the same as it used to be when it ran for 24 hours and all the specialist presenters joined in as well, but we suppose we’ve got 2Day for that, and we enjoy listening to all the jocks kick back and welcome in a host of special guests. And oddly Steve Wright’s involved as he usually takes this week off, presumably as he has to interact with the public.

That’s it for this week, but we’ll be back in seven days with more of this kind of thing. If you want it hot off the press, subscribe here

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