Posts Tagged With '1975'
THAT’S WHAT BILL COTTON wanted to call it, and who are we to disagree? Format pickled in time: automatic chair, square tin medallions, Mr Cigar, “guys and gals”, letters on corkboards, kids on beanbags, Mr British Airways, “what we have ‘ere”, extra special surprise, celebrity guest, “this very brave/beautiful young man/lady”, everyone waving at the end, “Now you’ve done it”, etc. Watched by everyone, and if you didn’t write in or dream of writing in you’re lying. Doesn’t hold up at all well nowadays, appearing tired, wrinkled, hugely contrived and plain dull.
But enough about the host: what about the Fixes? In no particular order: scouts eating packed lunches on a rollercoaster; kid playing for Liverpool FC replete with Match of the Day graphics and John Motson commentary; kid whose Gran had made him a Dr Who costume and got to appear in specially written mini-story In A Fix With The Sontarans; kid playing drums with Adam and the Ants and ending up with a drum kit of his very own; kid getting to “drive” the Lotus from The Spy Who Loved Me (stunt driver hiding under his feet); kid getting to wrestle in a Tag Match with Big Daddy (because, as he explained in his Nice Letter, “Big Daddy never loses”), Giant Haystacks and AN Other, with Big Daddy still winning because it was the 1970s and that’s what always happened.
Plus the blind lady who sent Jim a piece of music composed by herself which was subsequently arranged by Bob Sharples and conducted by Ted Heath; people who always wanted to stand on the wing of an aeroplane; kid who wanted to make his own computer game, resulting in an isometric affair involving going round a supermarket with a shopping trolley (it was in the Virgin 1.99 range – bearded photo-opportunity ahoy!); that kid who wanted to be in TERRY AND JUNE and got a scene aboard a cross-channel ferry wherein T Medford, for some reason or other, had a ripe Camembert in his coat pocket – cue Fix-It girl walking past on deck: “Pew! What a smell!” Tezza: “I think it’s the age.” F-IG: “Well, I don’t want to get old, then!”.
Not forgetting the kid who actually got her own record released, to wit ‘I’m A Girl’ by Stephanie Davies, which unsurprisingly failed to chart; kid who transformed her back garden into a show-jumping course, at which point Harvey Smith, David Broorne and Caroline Bradley showed up pretending to take part minus horses; kid who wanted to read the football results, which they wouldn’t let him do on GRANDSTAND obviously, so Len Martin came into the studio to coach the sprog who was then positioned in a miniature version of one of those cardboard results boards they used to use and the whole thing beefed up with getting him to guess the missing score from Len’s tone of voice, as in “Leeds nil, Brighton and Hove Albion (measured tone)…” which would be nil, of course, except the kid fucked up the one involving his own team, which was supposed to have won 2,645 – nil, or something.
Finally, perhaps the most outrageous moment in the show’s history: the kid who wanted a new bedroom. If you recall, some design/furniture firm provided him with thousands of pounds worth of stuff – TRS-80 computer, telly, bed with ladders going up to it (oh no, hang on, that’s just a bunk bed), and remote-control curtains. For the grand handover, the comp drew the Jim’ll Fix It logo on the screen. What made kids utterly sick was the boy’s casual acceptance of everything, particularly the computer, which would have cost a fortune on its own.Read More
“I SOMETIMES hate this bastard place.” Casually sweary, casually violent, casually clothed crotchety crimeathon that briefly passed into parody but the last time we checked had emerged out the other side pretty much unscathed. JOHN “REGAN” THAW and DENNIS “CARTER” WATERMAN belt round London in a succession of tatty cars and suits hunting “big tickles” and “monkeys” off the back of “gen” from “smudgers” and “snouts”. Boss GARFIELD MORGAN inhabits world of bad shaves and old coffee cups.
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The genesis of SWAP SHOP, according to Noel, in the shape of a weekly half-hour live phone-in discussion for kids every Wednesday throughout June and July of 1975, concentrating on a different topic each week. They were: Appearance, Friends, Parents, Pocket Money, School, Fears, Fashions, Brothers & Sisters, Pets, and, er, Friends again. Already with an eye for a recyclable format, the man Edmonds was soon fashioning the chattiness and discussion elements into a “What’s your question for Toyah?” and “What have you got to swap?” agenda. Cheers Noel!Read More
INTO THIS durable east-is-east effort came, from over the water, ELAINE STRITCH as irascible novelist Dorothy McNab, and, representing Blighty, playing gadabout silver-tongued Robert Hiller – why, it’s DONALD SINDEN. Potayto/potahto verbalese lasted four seasons.Read More
GEORGE “HANNIBAL” PEPPARD strolls around Boston collecting rewards from insurance companies. On a 10% cut, so bigger the loot, greater his take-home pay. A Mystery Movie strand, but not as popular as the ones that involved actual murders. There’s a lesson there.Read More
MODERN DAY Chaucerian slapstick in the shape of a new Canterbury-style Tale of six rugby supporters on the way to Wembley for the Challenge Cup final meeting up and reeling off the usual “bawdy” stories to each other. Featuring BRIAN GLOVER and BILL “SELWYN” MAYNARD in a bobble hat.Read More
COMEDY PLAY for kids written by FAY WELDON about a standard issue BBC posh well-to-do son and his bent property dealer dad, who has to move into one of his father’s crappy flats when the old man gets thrown in jail. The confrontation with the various residents results in 1970s-style humour, i.e. nothing funny at all.Read More
WILL AND JOE need a new hit and fast. Tell you what, they muse, that schtick with the dopey dog and the gang of ghost-hunters is doing the business. Let’s do precisely the same thing again, except change the name, and make the dog blue in a red hat and scarf and have the ability to disappear when frightened leaving aforementioned clothes ensemble bobbing in mid-air. Nobody will notice!Read More
CAMBRIDGIAN UNDERGRADUATION, fifties style. FREDERIC RAPHAEL wrote, TOM CONTI and LEONARD “GOOD OLD DAYS” SACHS arsed about doing Goon voices and shagging badly.Read More
PART OF THAT 1950s revival which seemed to stretch from, well, 1959 right through to the final death cry of HI-DE-HI. Only this was quite good, thanks to the presence of Esmonde and Larbey (EVER DECREASING CIRCLES) on script duties and the likes of TONY SELBY, DAVID JANSON and ROBERT LINDSAY doing the gags. “Three ration coupons for a packet of nylons? Blimey!”Read More
BETWIXT ROOBARB and NOAH AND NELLY, Sir BOB GODFREY gave us this tribute to the man who, as we are told in a song so ace you can’t believe it’s from the mid-70s (in the style of Kate Bush, no less) “opened up the West”. RICHARD BRIERS voiced Brunel, HARRY FOWLER was your chirping Cockney narrator and PETER HAWKINS (NOAH AND NELLY, CAPTAIN PUGWASH etc) a good many others. Script by, among others, JOE McGRATH, mastermind of DIGBY, THE BIGGEST DOG IN THE WORLD.Read More
UNTIL THE arrival of I’M PASQUALE, HE’S WALSH, the most delirious coupling in TV history. For your lunchtime viewing pleasure, please welcome Messrs MATTHEW CORBETT and GERRY MARSDEN. Yup, from The Pacemakers. Plus Bobo the computer.Read More
SUPERLATIVE SUPERNATURAL derring-do dished out over teatimes for kids and adults alike pitting battery of cross-generational ghouls FREDDIE JONES (po-faced Victorian general Sir George Uproar), ARTHUR ENGLISH (court jester Bodkin), NICHOLAS LE PROVOST (fey foppish gambler Sir Francis, aka Fanny), SHEILA STEAFEL (depressive wailing White Lady) and SEAN FLANAGAN (stable lad) up against property tycoon PETER SALLIS. Aforementioned band of spirits repeatedly conspire to deny sale of titular hall to unassuming local types thanks to much pulling-out-chair things-flying-through-the-air antics. Exceptional stuff all told, and written by the same bloke responsible for the decidedly less impressive CATWEAZLE to boot.Read More
ANOTHER ORIGINAL odd couple. Take a policeman who’s very sombre and stuffy and repressed, and make him live with…a dropout hippy student! JONATHAN LYNN and GEORGE LAYTON were the ill-matched siblings. And the ill-advised writers.Read More
WORTHY DRAMATISATION of the comings and goings of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, with PETER EGAN playing himself and a youthful BEN KINGSLEY as a wild-eyed and wilder-haired Dante Gabriel Rosetti. Usual period palaver involving artists, garrets, consumption, resurrectionism and cholera. Title misled adolescent boys to sneak it on when mum and dad were out of the room, but apart from an amusing spotlight thrown upon John Ruskin’s ‘marital’ problems, they were to be disappointed.Read More
THREE PLAYLETS courtesy of ALAN “COALHOUSE DOOR” PLATER wherein LES DAWSON has various brushes with petty bureaucracy and the like as character simply named DAWSON. ROY KINNEAR, BRIAN WILDE, CYRIL LUCKHAM and co on the receiving end of more than one gurning grimace.Read More
CHIRPY, GAP-TOOTHED scouser JIMMY TARBUCK waffled chummily through this tatty provincial gamblo-general knowledge quiz. Multiple choice questions had answers going from Evens to risky 10-1, with contestants gambling virtual money on the outcome. Done on the cheap; sets coloured a drab grey with no flashing lights, no revolving score boards nothing. Voiceover question-setter and game deviser GEOFFREY WHEELER took over as main host when the Tarbmeister moved on to TARBY’S FRAME GAME.Read More
PERMANENTLY RAISED eyebrow-enhanced anthology of PG’s scribblings with spats, flappers, cummerbunds and blaggards well to the fore. Every episode starred Mr and Mrs PAULINE COLLINS and involved mistaken identities, mistaken engagements, mistaken social niceties, mistaken trousers and tiffin. Early editions introduced by the man himself, Hitchcock-style, looking discomfited.Read More