CREAMGUIDE: 19th-25th January 2013

People just write to say you make me feel so happy

Hullo again, and welcome to another exciting edition of the ever-popular Creamguide, from off of out of www.tvcream.co.uk – now with T-shirts! They certainly are handsome affairs and we haven’t sold out, honest, because we don’t expect to make any money out of it whatsoever. And we’ve spent the past dozen years giving people good reviews because we think they seem like nice people or have nice hair in any case, so we’ve always been easily swayed. So here’s your 100% independent guide to what’s on this week.

Saturday 19th January

BBC2

12.30 Talking Pictures
David Niven here, but of course it’s what’s not on this week that’s important because as you may have noticed last week was the final episode of the first series of Bob’s Full House. As you’ll have seen from the front page of TV Cream, at the moment Challenge have no concrete plans to show any more, but they are going to show them again in March and if all goes well hopefully we’ll get another run. Indeed, given the other Challenge news this week is that they’ve bought the first series of Bullseye, they’re clearly happy to show any old rubbish.

17.30 Winterwatch 1963 – The Big Freeze
As this issue goes to press, we see the media are getting the nation prepared for snowmageddon at the weekend, despite the fact the Creamguide Office has been enjoying flurries all week and on Monday it took us an hour and a quarter to drive four miles. But it’s not in the South East, so nobody cares about that. It does seem to be the case that it snows more often these days and it’s far worse when it does, but we wonder if that’s because when we were young we didn’t have to heat a house, drive a car or go to work in it. In any case we shouldn’t really be surprised at wintry weather in the winter, and it will probably never top the notoriously freezing winter of 1963 when rivers froze over and no football was played for about three months. Here’s a documentary about it from the time, presented by the reassuring Cliff Michelmore, and then after it Chris Packham ponders what would happen if we had a repeat.

18.30 Dad’s Army
This won’t make any sense if you only read this on the website, but Chris Orton, referring to last week’s Creamguide, writes, “Did Radio Times really bill Peter Davison as “PETER DA VISON”? Makes the Fifth Doctor sounds as if he was played by some sort of gangsta rapper.” And that’s why you need to subscribe.

BBC Radio 2

13.00 Pick of the Pops
Happy memories of this week, er, twelve months ago as Tony brings us 1977 – as he also did this week last year, funnily enough – and then a slightly less familiar set of records from 1988.

BBC Radio 4

20.00 Rugby’s Greatest Try
One of the interesting things about the famous Barbarians vs New Zealand match forty years ago, and specifically the try by Gareth Edwards that we’re celebrating here, is that the commentary by Cliff Morgan is one of the factors that makes it so special, but Morgan was only doing that match because Bill McLaren was off sick. In any case as well as being one of the most famous moments of one of the greatest rugby matches ever played, it also had a major impact on the tactics of the game for many years to come, as Cerys Matthews will explain here.

Sunday 20th January

BBC2

19.30 Fawlty Towers
Much of BBC2 could go for a burton this weekend if the snooker overruns, though it’s not like the scheduling for this current repeat run is making much sense in a normal weekend, and again they’re all over the place. It’s The Germans this week, and Comedy Review magazine correctly pointed out that the best bit doesn’t involve the titular characters at all. “Wish it was an ingrowing tongue!”

BBC Radio 2

06.00 The Sunday Hour
The big news on Radio 2 this year is that Sunday Half Hour is being shifted from the mid-evening slot it has held since, remarkably, 1940, to what at first glance appears to be a massive demotion, though we wonder if that’s the case because, what with the competition from the telly, there are probably just as many people listening to the radio at half past six on a Sunday morning than there is at half past eight on a Sunday evening. To make up for it it’s been doubled in length, hence the new name – and the old name was rubbish anyway, let’s face it. We mention it here because it’s nice to know about these fixtures in the schedules and also if you were wondering what Diane Louise Jordan was doing at the moment, here’s your answer. Of course this does put it head to head with Hour of Power, the televangelism series that has been on Sky One every Sunday since the channel began over two decades ago, which we recall stayed in the schedules by special request of Rupert Murdoch.

Monday 21st January

BBC4

20.30 Britain on Film
As we mentioned the last time this show was on, there’s confusingly two series on BBC4 with the “On Film” suffix, the one with the plinky plonky theme tune, no narration and clips from any era, and the other one with a narrator, talking heads and clips exclusively from Pathe News. This is the latter, continuing its epic run, though this one’s a bit out of the ordinary as it looks at how the Cold War was covered.

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

9th-15th September 1972

ON THE COVER: “The new season of programmes on BBC1 starts this week on Monday, after the Olympics end, with 24 new and retuning series.” And the flagship show from the new season was undoubtedly the first new series of Till Death Us Do Part for four years. To mark this, RT tells the story of Johnny Speight, and invites friends and colleagues to offer their views. Ray Galton says, “He is one of the most original writers around. Till Death Us Do Part is very popular but one mustn’t confuse popularity with greatness. But in Johnny’s case, he’s great.” Warren Mitchell says, “He has extraordinary taste in clothes – very garish and nothing matches. He’s got awful taste in everything! He’s just bought a Rolls Royce from Max Bygraves and got it registered as MOO 16. Appalling!” As for Samantha Speight, aged eight, “He’s a nice dad, he’s all right. I like him, but I’ve never seen anything he’s written.” But while we know Alf Garnett’s views on British society in the seventies, what of Speight’s views? “In school now they’re all taught to be sincere and to be honest and all that. But it’s ridiculous to teach them all those values in a capitalist society. What they have to learn is how to con the next man before he cons you. You can’t teach a man socialism unless he’s in a socialist society. Myself, I really think that Chairman Mao is the only one to have got it right. And I think China’s the place of the future.”

THAT’S AFTER YOUR OWN PROGRAMMES: After three years as a thrice-weekly affair, Nationwide goes daily with new presenter Frank Bough joining Michael Barratt (“The personality is dry rather than bubbly, smacks more of dry sherry than Barratt’s warm pint of bitter”). Discussing the move from sport to news, he says, “People for some reason tend to assume that sports commentators are somewhat deficient. But I’ve always believed it is wrong for a man to flash his personality at the public. If they’re watching a game they want the vital information about who’s playing, the score and its importance in the general scheme – and then they want the bloke to shut up and let them enjoy it. Once, when Stoke City were playing, I said that they were my team. They came down on me like a ton of bricks. Some viewers expect you to be some sort of neutered cat.”

WHERE ARE THE QUIZZES?: It’s certainly not the most heralded show of the new season, going out on Monday at 10.45pm, but the new “brain game” Mastermind is exciting enough for RT to run a quiz to mark its arrival. “Are you a Mastermind? What exactly is a Mastermind? This week’s new quiz on BBC1 is a nationwide search for just that. Challengers on the programme include a dentist whose speciality in Tudor history, a pig farmer who will defend his claim he knows all there is to know about pigs, and a greengrocer who feels he knows as much about French literature.”

FIRST IN A NEW SERIES: So although the Olympics have delayed the start of the new season from its familiar first week in September, business starts in earnest on Monday with the return of Transworld Top Team and Z Cars, plus Blue Peter at teatime. On Tuesday Animal Magic is back, while on Wednesday it’s the return of Softly Softly Task Force and a new wildlife series Animal Stars (“wild animals with built-in appeal” plus the much-heralded return of Till Death and Midweek, “first night of the new current affairs programme that deals with the people behind the stories, the people the stories affect and the people with something to say”. Tomorrow’s World and Sykes are back on Thursday, while NJ Crisp’s thriller The Man Who Was Haunting Himself begins, and on Friday it’s Michael BenTine Time with the first appearance on TV of the Potties.

NOT A REPEAT: That new run of Sykes is big news as it’s Eric and Hat’s first series since 1965, and even though most of the episodes are remakes of the sixties shows, nobody remembered them anyway because videos didn’t exist. Eric points out it’ll be fun for the whole family. “There’s no necessity for swearing to achieve humour. Quite often it’s just a cheap way of getting a few laughs. Swearing is a vulgarity.” Not much new on BBC2, with their new season to come later, but on Wednesday at nine is the first episode of Betjeman in Australia where the great man explores his love affair with the country. He’ll miss Corrie, though.

TANTALISING-SOUNDING PROGRAMME WE’LL NEVER SEE: Late Night Line-Up is still going, though there’s only a few weeks left. It’s not on every night, giving way on Tuesday to Whistle Test and Thursday to a long film we’ll mention in a minute, but it is on Sunday, posing the question “Protest or Anarchy?”, and introducing “Antony Wedgwood Benn MP vs William Rees Mogg on the right of groups or individuals to challenge the law”, with a chance to offer your views via telephone, though you have to write in and they’ll call you.

ROB BARKER’S ADVERT SPOT: Grundig take over the entire middle four pages to ponder the developments in TV and radio technology. “Instead of pushing buttons on a TV set, you’ll simply be touching them. Channel change will be instant. Silent. Computer precise. And you’ll even be able to control your TV set from yards away without any connecting wires at all. New developments in circuitry could make servicing your TV as simple as replacing a lightbulb. And radio technology will have advanced to the stage where a portable set will put pit as much power as a present-day radiogram – and radiograms will sound like hi-fi sets.” The point being that all this is available via Grundig’s range of white goods now, such as the “Satellit 1000 VHF-LW-MW & nine band SW band radio. The ultimate!”

THE SO-CALLED GOLDEN AGE: Everyone says there’s too much dull procedural drama on telly these days, with Casualty and Holby every week, but BBC1 offers up both Z Cars and Softly Softly – or to give it its clunky full name, Softly Softly Task Force – which went on for months and months and months. Loads of imports as well, including Mission Impossible on Wednesday and The Virginian on Friday, plus Trouble In Store starting off a season of Norman Wisdom films on Tuesday nights.

WOULDN’T HAPPEN NOW DEPARTMENT: How long do you think BBC1′s documentary about what might have happened if the Nazis won, If Britain Had Fallen, lasts on Tuesday night? That’s right, two hours and fifty minutes, kicking off at 8.15 – “with a special introduction by Lord Chalfont” – and then after a break for the Nine O’Clock News, another two hours until closedown at 11.30. On BBC2 on Thursday at 9.25, meanwhile, is three hours of Seven Samurai – with five minutes of news at eleven so you can nip for a piss – and as Philip Jenkinson points out, “This version is 45 minutes longer than any print previously seen in Britain and BBCtv has prepared special new subtitles for the whole film.”

HOUSEKEEPING: The Olympics take up the weekend, of course, although we’re not sure how accurate the schedules are given the tragedy that happened during the Games. The plan was on Sunday for coverage to run from 1pm to 8.30 – with a bijou hour long closing ceremony – while on Saturday coverage began at 12.30 and lead into a sport-heavy Saturday schedule of 5.50 The Best of Bruce Forsyth and The Generation Game (in preparation for next week’s new series), 6.40 High Adventure: Invasion, 8.00 The Olympic Boxing Finals, 10.00 News with John Edmunds, 10.10 Match of the Day and Today at the Olympic Games, interspersing action from Munich with “one of today’s top First Division matches in England”. On Radio 1 during the week it’s 7.00 Tony Blackburn, 9.00 Jimmy Young, 11.00 Dave Lee Travis, 1.00 Noel Edmonds (“It may be a little late in the year, but holiday time has come around again for Johnnie Walker so it’s substitute time at the turntables”), 3.00 Alan Freeman, 5.00 What’s New with Alan Black, 6.00 As Radio 2, 10.00 Sounds of the Seventies. Val, John, Pete and Les are your expanded Blue Peter team and it’s Savile on the Pops.

THEY’VE HAD LOTS OF LETTERS: Angela Cooper, aged thirteen, and Sarah Cooper, aged fourteen, of Fetcham, Surrey, say, “I am writing to you because of the bad manners of the It’s A Knockout commentators Eddie Waring and Stuart Hall and the referee Arthur Ellis. During the game on 4th August, when the Italian competitor fell over, he could have scraped his leg badly, but the English commentators just laughed and thought it was very funny. When it came to the turn of the English person he got sympathy.” Meanwhile, Ann George, aged fifteen, of Manchester, says, “Does Stuart Hall always laugh when someone breaks a leg on It’s A Knockout?” Producer Barney Colehan replies, “It is not the intention of our commentators to make disparaging remarks about the other competing countries, but obviously one endeavours to highlight, wherever possible, the British competitors. I think you were to find if you were to listen to foreign commentators that they tend to present a similar type of commentary, giving preference to their own country.”

NEXT WEEK: More new season treats in the next issue, including the return of The Two Ronnies and The Onedin Line, plus BBC1′s new sitcom My Wife Next Door, and Hannah Gordon tells RT, “People in the studio audience said they had never laughed so hard, while others said they had never cried so much…”

Tuesday 22nd January

Gold

21.00 Yes Prime Minister
We’re not sure it was very fair of the BBC News site to run a story about the first episode of this new run being “slammed” by critics as most of them seemed more lukewarm than anything else. They do appear to be united in their suggestion that this show is a bit stagey, unsurprising given it’s adapted from a stage play, though we wonder how much of that is simply dickhead TV critics lazily writing off anything with a studio audience. Maybe they’d have been better off just filming the play. Maybe if they’d done a pilot they could have spotted any potential problems that before they committed to the series, eh?

Wednesday 23rd January

BBC2

21.00 Funny Business
We’ve not seen the first episode of this yet but we hear it was fascinating. The same will undoubtedly be true of this episode which looks at the management of comedy. It’s not a new thing and back in the fifties Rediffusion contracted its entire light entertainment output to the agent Jack Hylton so if you weren’t signed up to him you were nobody. It seems a bit similar these days with a handful of management companies seeming to have most of the stand-up scene sewn up – hence every series of Live At the Apollo seems to have exactly the same line-up as the previous one with comedians appearing again and again despite nobody seeming to like them – and Stewart Lee perceptively pointed out that these kind of package deal is sometimes to the detriment of the comedy, as “not every comedian benefits from being presented like The Rolling Stones”. The shady world of the dealmakers is, hopefully, unravelled here, apparently including a delve into a previously unopened file of Beeb contracts to find out exactly who got what and why.

ITV

19.30 The National Television Awards
We wish people wouldn’t moan so much about these awards not featuring the likes of The Thick Of It and The Killing, they’re a popularity contest, pure and simple. It’s an awards show for people who watch the soaps and The X Factor and reminds us of some industry bod defending the Brits a few years back by saying that if you wanted to know what records the public thought were the best you looked at the charts but if you wanted to know what the industry itself thought was the best, you looked at them. The two things can co-exist. This is filling exactly the same role the TV Times Top Ten Awards did in the eighties and we can accept it without having to like it, which we don’t. Especially since it stopped being a Grampian production, yes.

BBC4

21.00 The Joy of Train Sets – The Model Railway Story
We’re pretty sure that in any street in Britain there’s a good chance at least one attic houses a model railway set. Surely the least sexy and most male-dominated pastime at all, famously Christopher Trace got the job on Blue Peter because he was mad about them, as was the producer John Hunter-Blair, and in his interview they talked about nothing but. Here are loads more enthusiastic men – and we’re almost certain they will all be men – talking about the sheer enjoyment of this unglamorous hobby.

BBC Radio 2

22.00 The People’s Songs
“What are you going to do when you grow up, take up skiffle?” It’s Rock Island Line tonight, though not the original but Lonnie Donegan’s cover in 1954 which inspired a generation to get out their washboards and form bands in a youth explosion that could be considered the forerunner of punk, and certainly influenced just as many big names.

BBC Radio 4

11.00 In Living Memory
The series that looks at recent history returns with the fascinating story of Lymeswold. These days British consumers always seem to be put off by products that appear unnatural – the aborted Dasani is a good example – and that seems to be the case here as the cheese was basically invented to use up a load of surplus milk and given a faux-rustic name and backstory, and though initially successful soon disappeared from the shelves due to lack of interest, as we’ll hear.

Thursday 24th January

BBC4

19.30, 01.30 Top of the Pops
Bit of a leap here, firstly because we miss the week of 12th January because it was never made due to a strike, with luckless viewers instead getting a repeat of the Diddy-fronted episode from exactly twelve months ago, the one with the endless Julie Covington video. Then we seemingly miss another week – which would have included Love Is Like Oxygen and the next in a long line of pretend punks in The Radio Stars – because of Travis, and we’re not sure what’s going to happen with those as we go through the year. What it all means is that apparently we’re already onto the end of January though we won’t get too broken-hearted about the hasty leap forward because this is an ace episode with a familiar TV theme, a notoriously hopeless orchestral arrangement of a famous number one, the second and final power pop hit, a new performance from Tel where he corpses in exactly the same place as the last one and the triumphant return of half of Fox as the fantastic Yellow Dog, accompanied by some fine visual comedy by Kid Jensen.

CBBC

17.45 Blue Peter
Caitlin Moran turned up here last week as a judge of this year’s Book Awards and we thought, if she wanted to, she could probably make a decent fist of being a kids TV presenter with her enthusiastic and engaging manner in front of the camera and her exciting hair and clothes. We might even accept Helen leaving – which she isn’t, and never will – if that was the case.

BBC Radio 4 Extra

19.00 It Sticks Out Half A Mile
Here’s an oddity from the archives which we’re not sure has ever been broadcast before, and has an extremely convoluted lineage. It started when Dad’s Army was adapted for the radio, with Perry and Croft regulars Michael Knowles and Donald Hewlett writing the scripts, which then begat this series in which Ian Lavender and Bill P’twee were demobbed and ran a pier. That was then piloted for the telly, minus the Dad’s Army connections, as Walking the Planks and when the Beeb turned it down, they did it on ITV instead as High and Dry with Bernard Cribbins and Richard Wilson. And before all that, it was piloted on the radio with Arthur Lowe and John Le Mesurier, but Lowe promptly died soon after recording this single episode. So, an intriguing footnote, if nothing else.

Friday 25th January

BBC2

20.00 Mastermind
We had a round on Python over Christmas where Chris off CBBC did fairly well, so let’s see how the public manages with some presumably tougher questions. Someone else answers questions of HEEEERGEEE’S AAAAADVEEEENTUUUUURES OOOOOOF TIIIIINTIIIIIIN, to give it its official name.

BBC4

21.30 Simon and Garfunkel – The Harmony Game
BBC4 appear to have shown this in exactly the same slot last year. Is it one of their birthdays or something? By this time everyone who wants to know the story of the making of Bridge Over Troubled Water has probably already heard it, but it won’t hurt to hear it again.

22.45 Arena: Dave Brubeck – In His Own Sweet Way
00.15 1959 – The Year that Changed Jazz
01.15 Ronnie Scott and All That Jazz

Dave Brubeck, one of the pioneers of the jazz we know today, died the other week so here’s another outing for the profile from the other year, to which he contributes, and then some other repeats about him and his peers.

That’s it for this week, and though there wasn’t any Bob’ s Full House we hope you enjoyed it. If you think this is better without it, though, subscribe here

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