In association with the David Dryer Organisation
Happy new year, and welcome to another exciting twelve months of Creamguide – unless this is the year we finally get fed up with it, of course. We probably won’t. We hope you had a lovely Christmas and that you enjoyed at least some of the telly. We’ll be mentioning it throughout this issue but if you have any reviews of the stuff you encountered in a Baileys-fuelled haze, don’t forget to let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org. Anyway, don’t be too broken hearted the festive season is over as there’s some interesting stuff in this new season, including a fascinating weekend, but first…
Saturday 5th January
17.30 Celebrity Mastermind
We can probably take this final episode as the official end of Christmas telly. Mark Thompson is billed here but, despite our initial thoughts, it’s not that one (who has undergone rather tougher questioning in recent months), but an astronomer, apparently. Adding the requisite glamour is Cheryl Baker and the fine Tim “The Thick Of It series one episode one” Bentinck.
12.30 Talking Pictures
The departure of kids shows from the main channels has most impact on afternoon BBC1, of course – where the ratings inevitably shot up by about 400% this week now the likes of Flog It are there – but there’s also a big gap to fill in BBC2’s mornings, and some cost-effective clip shows have been employed to fill some of the gaps. This one appears to be a compilation of film stars’ appearances on Parky and Wogan and the like, which should make for entertaining viewing, and Bette Davis is the first to be unspooled.
19.30 Dad’s Army
We’re still not sure if Call The Midwife was quite right for Christmas Day, because it was a bit gloomy and not really the acme of family fun, and indeed hungry for distraction, Creamguide’s household ended up watching this in the middle of Christmas Night. Wasn’t a bad choice, anyway.
20.00 The Many Faces of Stanley Baxter
After enjoying The Greatest Ever Light Entertainment Line-Up In The History Of Television on BBC1 on Christmas Day 1977, you could have switched over to ITV and continued the laughter with Stanley Baxter, albeit in compilation form, whose stuff was just as popular as his peers at the Beeb. Famously he fell foul of the more stifling TV environment of the eighties where the bottom line was as important as the belly laugh, but he’s still much-loved and so this new documentary about the great man is a welcome sight indeed.
09.25 Mike and Angelo
Oh boy. The documentary celebrating the thirtieth anniversary of Children’s ITV was good in parts but we got bored every time they went out of the eighties and, really, we know it’s existed as a brand since 1983 but they’d have been better off just using it as a jumping off point to cover all ITV kid’s shows ever because ignoring Tiswas but spending an age on Ministry of Mayhem (which nobody ever liked, and was only included because Holly Willoughby is now famous and turned up) was completely ridiculous. Still, never mind, because here come fun as over the next two days this channel is devoting all its daylight hours to archivery! God alone knows what today’s kids will make of it, but there’s some intriguing stuff. Not this, though, which is rubbish.
10.50 Engie Benjy
The archivery does come from all of the three decades, mind, so it might be worth recording the whole thing to pick and choose from. You can spot the highlight here, though T-Bag’ll be an interesting watch some 25 years on, and the latter does at least remind us of the highlight of the documentary, Ant’s obvious disgust at how little he got to do in the voice-over, to the extent Dec suggested they invented a new character he could voice, but “he still wasn’t in it much”.
11.05 The Raggy Dolls
11.15 Puddle Lane
11.35 Count Duckula
12.00 The Sooty Show
Not sure if this Neil Innes double bill is deliberate but if we’re never going to see Rutland Weekend Television again it’ll have to do. Ace Cosgrove Hallage follows – as memorably complained about in One Day In the Life Of Television for including “images of the occult” – and then a proper imperial phase Thames Sooty from the mid-eighties, though we don’t know if Nicko McBrain is involved.
12.25 Art Attack
12.40 The Big Bang
13.00 Finders Keepers
13.30 Fun House
A double helping of Neil Buchanan sandwiches a fairly forgettable pop science show from the nineties that does at least have the benefit of featuring the great Gaz Top, presumably alongside Mrs Top Violet Berlin. We can’t get too excited about the latter as it seems to be repeated a hell of a lot, and we think it’s post-mullet to boot. That’s not what we want.
14.30 Fraggle Rock
15.00 The Worst Witch
Another staple of Challenge, then an interesting repeat if only because the Fraggle archive is all over the place thanks to TVS’s paperwork being in a complete state, and we think some of them have been wiped as well. Mind you, it is out on DVD, so seemingly it’s not an insurmountable problem. The latter is the first ever episode and is therefore in almost the exact same slot as it was a quarter of a century ago.
16.30 Press Gang
17.00 The Tomorrow People
17.30 Children’s Ward
As was the case with Children’s ITV when it was a going concern on ITV itself, the target audience age abruptly leaps up for this final session. The first show is actually the pilot of the last show, which is quite neat. In between there’s a chance to guess how much of the snappy crosstalk between Lynda and Spike will be reused for the Doctor and Clara, and then don’t get too excited because it’s the nineties remake, not the seventies original. But it’s better anyway. Same time tomorrow?
20.00 Bob’s Full House
Who says telly was getting worse? This is almost like imperial phase UK Gold all over again. This episode is billed as lasting fifty minutes, the longest so far, so we’re hoping for a particularly engrossing Full House round. It’s supposed to be followed by Big Break, but that might not be the case now, we feel.
BBC Radio 2
13.00 Pick of the Pops
Bloody hell, is it still Saturday? The Christmas issue was shorter than this. 1973 and 1990 here, though don’t forget it’s now January so it’s Jimmy Osmond, not Slade, and Band Aid II rather than Cliff. Ooh, let’s hope he plays When You Come Back To Me by Jason Donovan which they don’t play for eleven months of the year because they think it’s a Christmas song and then don’t play at Christmas because it’s by Jason Donovan.
BBC Radio 4
20.00 40 Years in Europe – How Was It For You?
We’ve been watching the Fist of Fun Series 2 DVD – and not just the studio tapes of the episode we were in the audience for to stop ourselves – and we’re really enjoying it, especially as Stew can’t remember any of it so in the commentaries just ends up constantly going “What’s this? Who’s that?”. Both suggest, rightly, the Shrewsbury Pie Pie sketch is the best thing in the whole series, a great parody of the “bonkers Eurocrats” rubbish everyone bangs on about to Jeremy Vine, and here’s a look at our relationship with the continent since we joined forty years ago.
Sunday 6th January
00.00 The Sky At Night
It’s all too easy to refer to stuff as the end of an era but this is the final show to feature Patrick Moore, one of the few remaining links back to the pioneering days of the Beeb. The fact he was still able to make a contribution to it, allied to the fact he’d been in poor health for some time before he died, illustrates that in recent years the programme has moved away from a single presenter to a team effort, so it’s highly likely it will continue, such is the absolute loyalty it’s held in by its audience. Which is probably the best epitaph Patrick can have.
09.15 The A to Z of TV Gardening
Hmm, this isn’t likely to be as fascinating as yesterday’s clip show, but maybe Carol “Billy” Kirkwood will unearth something intriguing from the archives. Perhaps.
18.30 Blackpool – Big Night Out
19.30 Fawlty Towers
20.00 Neil Armstrong – First Man on the Moon
Two repeats of some superior documentaries from Christmas sandwiching a repeat from most Christmasses. The Blackpool one is particularly good with loads of fantastic clips and Cannon and Ball talking about how they brought the entire town to a standstill because they were so bloody famous.
09.25 Mike and Angelo
And away we go again, although both of these are completely missable, though are good examples of the weird mid-Atlantic air that permeated Thames’ kids shows at the end of the eighties, both with prominent North American characters and the latter seemingly filmed in NTSC to boot, we recall, even though they never left Teddington.
10.10 Huxley Pig
10.50 Button Moon
11.05 The Riddlers
And it’s imperial phase Rainbow, too, post-scary Bungle but with Geoffrey and psychedelic wig-out of a closing theme intact. Both that and the show after it we associate vividly with getting our video recorders repaired as the handyman we used to visit on a regular basis (before everyone just threw malfunctioning machines out) used videos of both to test them out. We’re sure you’ll agree that’s a pleasingly evocative story. At half eleven is the best thing of the entire weekend.
12.00 Sooty and Co
12.25 How 2
12.40 Finger Tips
13.00 Jungle Run
The former is we think the first episode when Matthew and the gang defected to Granada after Thames lost their franchise, before another show that did the rounds of the regions but with Fred and Gaz intact throughout. Then there’s too more modern shows of less interest, Finger Tips not even one of the episodes presented by Fearne Cotton which would have at least been embarrassing for her and the latter more famous for having its set reused for Naked Jungle on Channel Five.
13.30 Fun House
14.30 Fraggle Rock
15.00 My Parents Are Aliens
Same as yesterday, then probably ITV’s most successful kids’ show of the 21st century, the axing of which was a real ravens-leaving-the-Tower moment as far as kids shows on the light channel was concerned.
16.30 Press Gang
17.00 The Tomorrow People
17.30 Children’s Ward
And finally all these again and, while yesterday’s were mostly all opening episodes, these are more or less all final episodes, which seems a stupid way to do it. Still, it’s been an intriguing weekend and fair play to them for doing it. Everyone will presumably have their own ideas about what should have been included – we’d have gone for Your Mother Wouldn’t Like It and Round The Bend, which will probably have stood up better and have been of more appeal to the potential audience than some of what’s being shown – but you can’t fault them for ambition and we hope CBBC do the same thing in two and a half years’ time. And now it goes back to being a channel actually aimed at kids again.
Monday 7th January
19.30 Watching Ourselves (Scotland)
Useless Sassenach bastards that we are, we neglected to point out this series celebrating sixty years of Scottish television has started a second run, and worse still this is the last episode – though there were only three so maybe they’re just left over from the last run. Check out last week’s on iPlayer for clips of the majestic Live Into 85 which we’ve all seen before but are always absolutely brilliant (“There are no cameras on me!”). This one’s about the arts.
22.35 The World In Action Years
“This week, the investigate team report on the serious unrest caused every Monday night at half past eight when there’s only this and Panorama on the other side.” Some good stuff on ITV this weekend, all of it celebrating stuff they can’t really be arsed with anymore, so after its kids’ TV retrospective here’s a look back at its dedication to popular but authoritative current affairs. It started fifty years ago this week and was massively important not just for what it reported on but for all the top talent it cultivated behind the scenes, and when they were on at the same time it used to thrash Panorama week in week out because it actually talked about things people wanted to know about in an engaging fashion. At ninety minutes long this is a suitably weighty tribute.
BBC Radio 2
22.00 Blowing My Own Trumpet – The Kenny Ball Story
“Give me some joke music, Kenny!” Of course the Jazzmen’s most famous engagement was as house band on Saturday Night At The Mill and their appearance on Sings Disney Songs illustrated that they were a great band in their own right, thanks to Ken’s strong ear for a jazzy melody. He certainly found the appropriate music for Ollie Reed to piss about to, anyway. Here’s his story.
Yes! It’s that time of year again – the time we desperately pretend we haven’t wasted yet another year and actually done something a bit productive. Here are some of the things we got up to during the last twelve months, written up in a frantic style that makes them sound funnier than they actually were at the time.
At the start of JANUARY we reflected on the Christmas schedules and suggested the best thing was the Jimmy Savile tribute, little realising that would later lead to the virtual collapse of the Corporation. We’re pretty sure they didn’t need to spend two million quid on a report to work out they didn’t supress the story to avoid having to drop a show at teatime on BBC2 on December 28th they could easily have replaced with a repeat of Coast. We’re quite pleased they got it out before all the unpleasantness anyway. The New Year telly brought us the ace Sherlock and The Channel Four Mash-up which was supposed to be the start of a year of celebrations for their thirtieth anniversary but somewhere along the line they forgot about that. They’re doing another one this year, of course, but just to say the Loose Women on The Million Pound Drop isn’t a “mash-up”, it’s a celebrity special. Loose Women isn’t even a C4 show! We were staggered the Pops repeats carried on into 1977 as we were sure BBC4 would have lost interest. Blue Peter meanwhile moved house to CBBC and Helen completed her fantastic South Pole mission which got her all over the papers and saw her end the year as the star attraction on Christmas night BBC1. And still on Blue Peter, hooray.
FEBRUARY brought us the shock news that a compilation of monochrome clips from Opportunity Knocks wasn’t the kind of thing that pulls in a mass audience on Saturday night ITV, so the last episodes of The Talent Show Story were booted to a late night slot, though they’ve repeated them umpteen times since. CBBC brought us the fantastic 12 Again, where grown up celebrities relive their childhood and led to the likes of the Munich Air Disaster and Ghostwatch being explained to a juvenile audience. “The KLF did some funny things!” Ten O’Clock Live also came back, somewhat inexplicably, and the second series was a bit better too. It’s coming back again, and maybe by Series 25 it’ll be really good. The Pops repeats saw Gary Glitter shown on two occasions – and repeated on BBC2 – and yet people on forums still moaned about the Beeb. And for some reason one edition of our Centurions middle bit was completely obscured. Don’t forget, if anything is obscured on TV Cream it’s not for legal reasons but because we’re completely incompetent.
Baffling programme billing of the year came in MARCH when the finalists on Masterchef had to make afternoon tea for The Goodies. A Creamguide staple came to an end this month with the last TV Burp which had gone off the boil a bit towards its conclusion but was still one of the best things ITV have ever done. They tried to immediately replicated its success with You Cannot Be Serious but that flopped massively, which was a real shame because it was quite good, but putting a sport comedy show opposite sport is not, perhaps, the best idea. BBC4 ran a chat season of which the obvious highlight was the whole of the legendary episode of Russell Harty starring Grace Jones – or at least, minus the first few minutes which hadn’t been recorded because of a fault. And the rest of the show was even more demented than the fight, with octogenarian mountaineer-cum-cosmetics-expert Walter Poucher and the whole thing just becoming Knowing Me Knowing You with a non-more 1980 fashion designer arriving on stage on roller skates and Russ going off to change into an outfit he’d made for him. Just A Minute’s umpteenth TV adaptation was its most successful by miles because it was exactly like the radio version. Which sort of undermines the whole point of putting it on the telly, really. We also saw the end of The Weakest Link though bizarrely it was still being repeated on BBC2 for the rest of the year – with episodes from 2001! Think it might have finished now, though.
Well, it all went downhill after that, but it is a fact that APRIL saw The Voice get a rating that was bigger than any episode of The X Factor this year, and it wasn’t even for episode one either. Challenge brightened up with the arrival of episodes of Bullseye from 1983, the oldest they could possibly show, with terrifying titles and out-of-vision Tony intact. We were pleased not to annoy all our Scottish readers by remarking on Greg Hemphill’s accent, as it turns out it isn’t a proper Scottish accent as he’s half-Canadian. Though we annoyed all our Canadian readers by saying it sounded American. Breakfast moved to Salford, a move that made no different to the quality of the show or the ratings, and the quality of the set has nothing to do with it as there are plenty of shows in London with horrible sets. The BBC4 Pops repeat run incredibly included a wiped episode David Hamilton had taped off the telly, and still people moaned about it. Though we thought it felt a bit like that moment in Threads where an episode of Words And Pictures was the only thing to have survived The Event. BBC2 ran a seventies season including period continuity and a new series of Sounds of the Seventies (“We went to some dis-cos!”), while Ten Things I Hate About wasn’t bad as Channel Five clip shows go. Praise indeed.
MAY always means election time but for most of us it was just boring elections, though the London mayoral election was a bit glamorous and, after saying they’d definitely announce the result earlier than five to midnight on the Friday as was the case in 2008 they were as good as their word. By announcing it at ten to midnight. Our countdown of the 100 Creamiest people ever included Jimmy Savile at number 25 and nobody said anything about it. More innocent days indeed. Challenge didn’t just bring us the new Blockbusters – which wasn’t that sensational, but we just liked the fact it was an unambitious quiz with people being nice to each other – but also <=== MAX Family Fortunes, which were as you’d expect. Never mind the turkey, the best thing in that episode is the families taking seven attempts to name a famous Irishman. Especially the bloke furious nobody said Garret Fitzgerald. The best night’s telly ever on BBC4 included two Pops plus a complete Blue Peter from 1974 and Richard Marson’s majestic Tales From Television Centre. He’s now working on a show about the business of comedy that’ll be equally great. TOTP2 came back for no reason and the Beeb announced a live touring version of Pops, proving they’d do everything with that show except make a new series. Not doing it now, anyway.
JUNE saw the start of the Great Summer of Sport and Blue Peter got us in the mood with their Swaporama-esque roadshows, which would have been great fun even without the one that had to be remounted at MediaCity reception because of the rain and the one that fell off the air after ten minutes and they just started again. Before all that was the Jubilee, where everyone put the boot into the Beeb even though the much-heralded Sky coverage was just Eamonn Holmes moaning about how cold he was. And of course ITV’s coverage was going to be good, they’ve been going for nearly sixty years. So it bloody should be. Euro 2012 once more proved how much better Adrian Chiles is presenting football that isn’t happening than that which is, as he got a whole hour to wax wry after France vs Ukraine was abandoned after ten minutes due to a thunderstorm. BBC4’s punk season was great fun though the best example of the punk spirit came when CBBC ran an episode of 12 Again opposite the Jubilee coverage where they said – not claimed, said – the chart was fixed to stop the Pistols being number one. Sky Atlantic showed a load of British comedy shows and everyone said how brilliant it was they were doing them, in the same breath as complaining at the BBC “burying” shows that can be seen by anyone with a television.
JULY saw the end of the Centurions chart and Brucie was officially named the Creamiest person who’s ever lived. We’re just thrilled he didn’t announce his retirement during the Strictly final, we were bracing ourselves every time he was on camera. In its place came Past Times where we browsed through an old Radio Times each week and will be back in this spot in the next Creamguide, if we get our arse in gear and scan some more in. Early drafts of the schedules suggested the build-up to the Olympics opening ceremony would begin at 9am, which it didn’t alas, but we’d have enjoyed it if it had and the whole event turned out to be the greatest moment in the history of British television, and indeed Britain Unless you’re that tit Aiden Burley, who complained about rap being a fad. Rapper’s Delight was a huge hit in 1979. Aiden Burley was born in 1979.
AUGUST was mostly devoted to the Olympics, and great they all were too, especially as it was possible to listen to Barry Davies and Uncle Matt Baker all day every day. Despite the non-appearance of those two, the Paralympics were good fun as well and C4 unearthed some ace new presenters including the lovely Daraine Mulvihill and Arthus Williams who completely overshadowed his so-called senior host in Georgie Bingham with his weird faces and inability to decide whether she wore glasses or not. Opposite the opening ceremony ITV got 700,000 viewers at nine o’clock which is truly awful and should not be happening, even if another channel is getting seven million viewers. That happens most weeks. Channel Four’s comedy fortnight gave us our first ever chance to see The Weekenders after our mum forgot to put the tape on twenty years ago, plus some other oddities like Popadoodledandy and Chelmsford 123 and some new stuff that got completely overshadowed.
SEPTEMBER saw the end of the Paralympics and hence the end of anything exciting ever in London or indeed ever in our lives, until it snows again. Election 74 got another outing as a belated tribute to Alastair Burnet and it was fascinating to see it again now a hung parliament’s happened again. As for whether we are still in “an economic 1940″, we’re not sure. Doctor Who was back and everyone moaned it was only five episodes, seemingly still expecting 39 episodes a year like when Patrick Troughton was in charge. That’s not how they make telly anymore. ITV4’s World of Sport retrospective was a bit half-arsed after The Big Match Revisited with the same old clips (“because we play against peasants!”) and Ned Boulting’s dull narration. Comedy of the year was, natch, The Thick Of It. “Human inter-railers? That’s inter-railers!”
OCTOBER included BBC4’s Cuddly Ken Night, with the new biopic which is apparently the last one BBC4 are ever going to do, but it was a nice way to go out, despite them getting the facial hair chronology all round. And to go alongside it was an episode of Pops from 1973 which had to be edited together because it only existed in the form of its raw studio rushes. And still people aren’t bloody happy. Our favourite letter of the year came from Adrian Fry who told us, “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.” Dick and Dom were back with Hoopla which got a glowing review in The Times and got the Bungalow gang back together with Ian Kirkby and Dave Chapman, but at the end of the day it wasn’t the Bungalow, not least because it wasn’t live. Anyway, never mind all that, Challenge started showing Bob’s Full House, a dream come true, and it hasn’t disappointed yet. And then there was that business about Jimmy Savile which ruined everything for everyone.
Hence in NOVEMBER the Beeb found themselves hunting for another Director-General after the last one resigned approximately ten seconds after the BBC1 news finished. Incompetent to the last. The BBC4 Pops repeats were therefore a little shaken up, but just to point out, they’re still showing most of them and they don’t have to. So shut up. Frankly now they’ve shown the Black Betty routine we don’t need to see any more. It somewhat overshadowed the Corporation’s ninetieth birthday celebrations and their mass pan-network simulcast, with Simon Mayo rightly getting the honour. Harry and Paul were back with a bizarre series of five 25-minute episodes so who knows what went on behind the scenes, though we love the idea of it fitting in with the image of two grumpy old men doing what they want.
And so to DECEMBER, and never mind the Christmas fare, the highlight of the month was BBC4’s Secret Life of Rubbish including some hilarious archive clips (“Take a look at this!”) and interviewees like the man who so loved being on the dust his birthday present was to do the bins while on holiday in Cyprus, and then he even forced his way onto the rota for the rest of the week. The wrestling documentary was good as well, with Shirley Crabtree’s brother admitting he came up with his act as he bemoaned “me whole career’s gone to cock!” and a very polite interviewee apologising for saying “bums on seats”. And then it was Christmas, of course. Who knows what 2013 will bring? And who knows how much we talked about this year will look rather less amusing in twelve months’ time? But remember, don’t have nightmares.
Tuesday 8th January
Sky Arts 1
20.00 Living The Life
Not much on today, perhaps thankfully after the epic weekend, so we’ll highlight this low key Sky Arts series in which two people of different generations get together for a chinwag. Here it’s David Bailey and Tim Marlow to expand on the contracts and connections from their respective lives in the visual arts.
Wednesday 9th January
BBC Radio 2
22.00 The People’s Songs
We said we weren’t going to bill this every week but there isn’t much to talk about today, and indeed by the time we got to it in the Christmas issue you’d probably have long bailed out. So we’ll explain again that this is the series where Stuart Maconie highlights a song that an esteemed panel thinks reflects an aspect of the history of modern Britain and invites memories from listeners. This week it’s Two Tribes and Stu ponders the shit-scary world of mid-eighties nuclear paranoia, both on record by the likes of Kate Bush and Sting, and on the telly, though hopefully Threads is less horrendous in audio form.
Thursday 10th January
For what it’s worth, we are now 99% sure that Pops is carrying on into 1978, though with the weeks we miss for strikes, sport and Savile we’ll still need The Sky At Night to hold the fort once a month, as is the case here. A more familiar though no less welcome item from the archives tonight.
17.45 Blue Peter
The Christmas show gave us all we could have wished for – presents for the pets, the Christmas crib, an extended role for the Salford branch of the Salvation Army Band and, best of all as far as we’re concerned, lots of shots of the studios with the entire show being conducted in the open air in the plaza of MediaCity, and the fact it was chucking it down throughout (as was still the case when they knocked off the links for the Review of the Year straight after) just added to the fun. Back in the warm this week, but we dunno what they’re doing.
BBC Radio 2
21.30 Suzi Quatro’s Detroit Profiles
Suzi’s trip to Detroit turned out to be particularly cost-effective as not only did she get a Christmas special out of it but also a whole series profiling leading figures in its musical heritage. It’s not all the obvious ones, either, as here it’s the story of the MC5.
Friday 11th January
Don’t be the millionth person on Twitter to make a flip remark about the celebrities on this show not being very big celebrities, as not only is it a pointless and irritating comment to make – it’s not going to be Bono vs Kylie, is it – but also we’re back on the civilian edition. The questions are the star here, including rounds on William Walton and Wallender.
22.15 Shirley Bassey at the BBC
The former is a repeat about the star of the latter, a new show, which will be good fun because it’ll include a host of clips from fabulous old showbiz, and if you want to liven it up you can pretend you’re Stewart Morris, who presumably directed most of it, and swear at all the cameramen. “Roller!”
That’s it for this week, which sort of peaked on Sunday and then petered out, but we’re sure over the next fifty weeks that 2013 will have some surprises which we’ll be able to tell you all about. If you can’t waiti for that, subscribe here