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
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
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
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.
Tuesday 22nd January
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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