AS WITH everything in 1982, originally presented by SIMON BATES. The first ever episode featured a probably fascinating insight into the diet of Princess Diana. But by only the fifth show, the Bates man was axed and RUSSELL HARTY, HENRY KELLY and SUSAN GROSSMAN helmed for the next couple of years (though JILLY GOOLDEN was there from day one). In 1984 a resolutely un-stunt piece of casting took place as KELLY, H was swapped for KELLY, C. With CHRIS at the helm FOOD AND DRINK entered its imperial phase. Tudor-faced MICHAEL BARRY nee BUKHT joshed with the aforementioned Goolden over the best wine to serve with a blue steak, while Chris Kelly presented items on food labelling from in front of an oversized can of baked beans. Meanwhile OZ CLARKE fannied around as was his wont. Thankfully the programme was cancelled in 2002 before it could receive a TOP GEAR style trendy makeover.
Posts Tagged With '1982'
MUCH LOVED BBC popular science series that seemed best served when stuck out after the NINE O’CLOCK NEWS. Although the title was mystifying to many younger viewers (“Kwed?”) ,Q.E.D. found the perfect route between the whisker stroking extremities of the OU and the too populist Doctor MIRIAM STOPPARD and that-bloke-with-the-nose helmed WHERE THERE’S LIFE. While “John’s Not Mad” is undoubtedly the strand’s best-remembered episode, Q.E.D. embraced a wide range of subjects, such as “Why things go wrong” metal bending, what it’d look like to fly all the way round the coast of Britain in a fighter jet, “Understanding Rape”, snooker, and (helpfully) “A Guide to Armageddon”. Q.E.D. also provided some of the first television exposure for Falklands Veteran SIMON WESTON. But best of all on 13 March 1985, that comic imp KENNY EVERETT was given thirty minutes of airtime in which to muck around with Quantel, CSO and other ace mid-Eighties video effects, all in the name of better acquainting Joe Public with how that “Goodnight goodnight goodnight” bit at the end of LES AND DUSTIN’S LAUGHTER SHOW was achieved. Not that all editions were great though; a 1991 episode in which Professor Ian Fells attempted to test “Murphy’s Law” consisted of little more than slices of jam on toast hurtling to the floor and various people switching from one checkout queue to another. However, it was always easy to forgive Q.E.D. the odd whimsical item, especially when an intriguing episode about panic attacks was served up the very next week. Axed in 1998, we fear we shall never see its whimsical-but-serious like again.Read More
THAT EXCLAMATION mark says it all. More perspicacious production line period palaver from the pens of David Croft – who with Jimmy Perry wrote the vastly overrated DAD'S ARMY and the endless HI-DE-HI! – and Jeremy Lloyd which never seemed to be off the telly and lasted longer than the war it was “gently lampooning”. Entire premise ripped off from SECRET ARMY. Rene (GORDEN KAYE), a moon-faced smart-alec cafe owner who spoke like someone doing a shit impression of Inspector Clouseau, reluctantly agrees to help the French resistance during WW2. Married to a prickly wife Edith who can’t sing (“Youuuuuu stupid woman!”) but also fancies the arse off barmaid Yvette, but who keeps being distracted by Michelle the “collaborator” (“Listen very carefully, I shall say zees only once”), who keeps trying to avoid the machinations of Gestapo goon with a limp Herr Flick, and Helga the blonde Nazi officer who took to appearing in only her underwear, and the gay Nazi officer, the stupid Nazi officer, British airmen in terribly unamusing inability to escape to “Blighty” and uproarious false accents (“I was just pissing by”), “Mother” upstairs called Fanny with comic ear trumpet, the French policeman next door… Oh, dear god. Entire seasons seemed to revolve around Rene being presumed dead and being replaced with his identical brother (GORDEN KAYE, unsurprisingly), or the location of the Fallen Madonna With The Big Boobies, or comically-shaped bratwurst. Each episode opened with Gorden looking stupid (standing in a bale of hay, or appearing dressed as a woman, or appearing dressed as a woman in a bale of hay) and asking us what we thought he was doing. How the hell did we know ? RONNIE HAZELHURST arranged the theme, which didn’t really fit in on account of it being really rather good.Read More
BOMBASTIC TEATIME behemoth which sprawled across half a decade before the BBC decided to “cancel this and all future editions of the programme. Tonight, instead of The Late Late Breakfast Show and Every Second Counts, we’re now showing the feature film One Of Our Dinosaurs Is Missing”. Noel would helm proceedings from a variety of none-more-80s pastel sofas, introducing, variously: MIKE SMITH on location at the sight of some “amazing stunt, never before attempted on British television”, usually involving stock-car racing, fighting the world’s tallest fire, or stock-car racing in the middle of the world’s tallest fire; The Hit Squad, secret camera stuntery wherein a man’s office gets rearranged while his back is turned; The Golden Egg Awards, basically a round-up of all the week’s “bloopers” including, one week, the time Phillip Schofield took the whole of the network off the air (Phil, gamely, showed up to collect the award in, of course, jacket and jeans); big guests like The Bee Gees, Duran Duran (who pretended to be commissionaires, so that all the audience members had their tickets signed by the band, only then had to give them in) and Phil Collins; viewers’ letters of the standard of “what’s that brown cakey slab that seems to float in the sky on Stevie Wonder’s ‘I Just Called To Say I Love You’ video, is it a piece of toast?”; the never-ending search for Mr Puniverse; and of course Give It A Whirl, wherein one poor sod on the other end of a phone would be encouraged to try some zany physical stunt selected by the Whirly Wheel. Usually involving something “never before attempted on British television” – or again, after Michael Lush. JOHN PEEL was involved during the early days, before falling out with Noel after – yup – a stock-car racing stunt went wrong. Show boasted textbook Edmonds titles: Noel is woken from his slumbers by a Noel-shaped alarm clock, “flies” across breakfast table covered in Noel-faced objects, then arrives in studio via convoluted journey in Noel-branded ultra-fast ultra-shiny transportation including helicopter, sports car, speedboat and assorted “television firsts”.Read More
The brilliance of Troy Kennedy Martin’s TV drama is known to all, or at least it darn well should be. Most agree that Edge of Darkness sits at the top of his considerably well-stocked pantheon of hits, but great as it is, we’d like to raise a glass case of rare insects to this adaptation of Angus Wilson’s weird Cold War parable.
Stuart Wilson plays Simon Carter, the young, modernising Secretary of London Zoo, a creaky institution staffed by irascible, cranky old duffers, most of them one concrete ledge short of a penguin house. Trouble begins when a much-loved old zookeeper is kicked to death in the bollocks by Smokey the giraffe, setting in motion a train of bickering sessions between the Dad’s Army of ancient oddballs, before our old friend World War Three turns up, and the zoo – and Britain – erupt into a post-apocalyptic fascist dictatorship where, appropriately enough, the population find out what zoo life is like at first hand.
OK, so if you’re after subtle, nuanced character study, best to look elsewhere. This is one of those affairs, like Lindsay Anderson’s later films, where in amongst the chaos, Big Things about the State of the Nation are assumed to be said. (Fortunately, in this case, they actually are.) But the slowly building zany menace of Wilson’s book is perfectly updated by Kennedy Martin into that sort of vague, just-like-the-present-but-somehow-scarily-not future that works so much better than your Bakelite-encrusted fantastical visions of scientific progress.
And most importantly, the eponymous aging gents are played by a cast to die for: from Robert Urquhart and Maurice Denham as the reactionary and progressive warring department heads, through meek Andrew Cruickshank’s insect specialist and Marius Goring’s Teutonic psycho to the mighty Lord Godmanchester, played with superlative stately fruitiness by – who else? – Robert Morley, it’s a masterclass in top drawer carpet chewing.
Throw in a militant, bestial young animal liberationist, a rather nifty animated title sequence of the coloured pencil variety that you just don’t get nowadays, a ‘good old rare old Armageddon’ and a stuffed Yeti, and you quite simply can’t do better in the bonkers satirical allegory department.Read More
PISH TOY-FLOGGING sword and sorcery cartoon. In “Eternia” blonde tosspot Prince Adam holds aloft his magic sword, says “By the power of Greyskull!” (half-arsed castle nearby) and turns into He-Man, shirtless Anna Wintour-bobbed preening oaf in strange man-bra-like support singlet. He’s accompanied in his hazily realised evil thwarting by stupid green tiger Cringer, who, while essaying a crap impression of the cowardly lion off of The Wizard of Oz, turns into “Battlecat”, a collision between an off-colour tiger and a Kawasaki motorbike, emitting the MGM lion’s trademark roar at distressingly regular intervals.
Mustachioed games teacher Man-At-Arms and floaty, faceless midget Orco joined their eternal (in the worst sense) battle against Kenneth Williams-voiced, confusingly buff bag of bones Skeletor and his army of hastily-drawn gimmick-ridden cronies. Tedious sub-Kalkitos transfer D&D swashbuckling, replete with obligatory moral message at the end (“be friends”, “share stuff!, “don’t be a cunt”).
Animation rarely reached the lofty heights of “will this do?”, most often settling for a combination of stationary head-plus-wobbly mouth exposition, or suspiciously side-on, traced-from-those-old-Edweard-Muybridge-Victorian-photographs running cycles. “I have the power”… to fill the schedules with ambition-starved macho pantomime cack. If fantasy is supposed to be the dominion of the untrammelled human imagination, how come so much of this sort of stuff all seemed the bloody same?Read More
“HAS ANYONE seen a clue, a pink clue?! It’s on a piece of pink card! Hello, have you seen it?!” Seminal parlour-game-meets-orienteering ordeal that helped Channel 4 stay in business and made household names of ANNEKA RICE, her cameraman Graham, her helicopter pilot Keith and WINCEY WILLIS who pasted up blue arrows and looked gnomish back in the studio. KENNETH KENDALL helmed proceedings in the least-excitable manner possible (“Hello”) from a replica drawing room with a log fire and a million bookshelves. Two contestants (middle class couples or mother/son pairs, drabbily dressed, earnestly spoken) rummaged through ancient tourist guides and encyclopedias to solve five “cryptic clues” that would lead Annie to some treasure, usually a Victorian thimble or Jacobean trouser press or something similarly underwhelming. The course would take in numerous sights within a particular region, usually popular attractions, resulting in ubiquitous “get out the way” moments as Annie battled through camera-hungry punters. “Watch out for the helicoper blades – stay back!” Clues often involved demeaning tasks like jumping into the sea, riding a frisky horse or interrupting a live performance of some kind (replete with the inevitable celebrity cameo – “why, it’s BRIAN BLESSED isn’t it?”) and always always required lots and lots of running and shouting. Pioneered lightweight camera technology and satellite gubbins. Whole thing would be filmed “as live” in 45 minutes with the occasional ad-break forced pause to get Annie back to the helicopter which had landed in the middle of a village fete presciently organised by the local parish council to cash in on maximum TV coverage. After one too many humiliations, culminating in being slapped in the face by a beer-soaked rag, Anneka quit to be replaced for one series by the lamentable ANNABEL CROFT.Read More
ASPEL-HELMED LONDON-ONLY weekend-starting magazine, notable for launching television careers of JANET STREET-PORTER and DANNY BAKER, while MASTERMIND’s FRED HOUSEGO, CHRIS TARRANT and, on the way home from County Hall, KEN LIVINGSTONE were also on board. GREG DYKE was the brains behind it all. Became the most watched regional programme in Britain – unsurprising, really, with items like Janet jousting with pigeon fanciers or trying to raise a replica matchstick Titantic from a pond, or a live OB on Southend beach where the tide came in early and wrecked everything, or an item invaded by a bunch of kids, one of whom was promptly picked up by the reporter and thrown across the street. Most memorable moment of all was furious contretemps at a railway station twixt an officious British Rail employee and a swarthy Baker who was attempting to elicit voxpops from the capital’s plebs. Official: “Come on Danny, you know you can’t film here.” Baker: “How dare you! Don’t you dare speak to me like that!”Read More
A PRE-BLUE PETER MARK CURRY moonlighted from MAKE ‘EM LAUGH (sadly not permanently) as the bizarre choice to helm over-reverential, whispered tours of stately homes and the crap inside them. Sponsored by the National Trust. Probably.Read More
BAFFLING KIDS DRAMA about a public schoolboy (just for a change) called Billy who learns his parents have been killed in a sailing accident, moves in with their solicitor, then finds out he was adopted and sets off to track down mum and dad #2. Trek took him across Europe taking in lots of lovely-to-film architecture and minging moaning locals. Kid (BENEDICT “A PERFECT SPY” TAYLOR) gets nowhere fast, plays the cello alot, falls in with po-faced characters with a penchant for staring into the distance after muttering they knew his father a long long time ago, and meets BRIGADIER ALISTAIR GORDON LETHBRIDGE STEWART. Each episode ended with the tyke learning fuck all and moving on to look at more distinguished architecture.Read More
“TICKLE ON THE WHAT?” Overweening whimsy for small children set in the shop of a stereotypical English hamlet (called Tickle) and touched by the string-picking hand of singer RALPH McTELL. A different professional character (postman, teacher etc) dropped by each week for the usual song ‘n’ story treatment. The milkman was played by KENNY LYNCH.Read More
BIG DEAL at the time. EAMONN ANDREWS fronts a whizzy satellite-based quizzer, pitting contestants from Britain, and on big screens, from Australia (contestant always sat in front of a big picture of Goonhilly Downs) and America.Read More
SKITS, SKETCHES and scumpoonery for kids, starring ubiquitous (in Manchester, anyway) parody band ALBERTO Y LOS TRIOS PARANOIAS.Read More
SAINTED SEMI-ALTERNOPOP show of a Friday evening live from Tyne Tees studios in Newcastle helmed, variously, by JOOLS HOLLAND, PAULA YATES, LESLIE ASH, MURIEL GRAY and GARY JAMES. Canonised in retrospect but a lot of it, at the time, was tedious at best, unwatchable at worst. Even the Pet Shop Boys appeared pissed. Nadir came when young oik FELIX HOWARD interviewed, of all people, MACCA. Ten regulator-ruffling moments:
1) C4 handing over to Tyne Tees 30 seconds early, to hear Paula Yates discussing popular literature – “And do you know there’s an entire chapter in Little Richard’s book about a man with a fifteen inch dick up his arse” – and the weather – “It really is fucking freezing out here.”
2) The 1985 five hour summer special, where Jools was busy and had to be replaced with Malcolm McClaren, but whose filmed contributions and an interview with Bryan Ferry were stolen, found dumped in a Soho doorway two days later, then the whole show was pulled because of industrial action.
3) A special late night edition showing the uncut Thriller video, introduced by Jools with a competition to estimate the proportions of Jacko’s pet hamster William – or as Holland announced, “Guess the size of Michael Jackson’s Willy.”
4) Rik Mayall popping out of the local next to TTTV studios to introduce that evening’s programme, including unscripted chunder action. “It’s Friday night, the pubs are open – Beeeeeooork!”
5) A Christmas special with Jools showing viewers how to make their own version of Blue Peter’s advent crown, involving pouring a tin of highly flammable explosive liquid over your dining room furniture before setting it alight. “Make sure you talk to Mum about this one before you do it,” cautioned Holland.
6) Jools suggesting to viewers the number of uses a plastic tube housing a Tube promotional poster could have, including collecting “elephants’ farts” and “hamster turds.”
7) Muriel Gray not being called before the show started, opening her dressing room door to find Paula and Jools introducing the programme right outside, cursing, then running out round the back of the Tyne Tees building to reach the place she was supposed to be.
8) Paula interviewing Steve Cram sitting on her mike throughout, with Jools shouting “I hope you fart” from across the studio.
9) The first ever interview Paula did, with Mick Jagger: “Mick Jagger, tell us – what HAVE you got down the front of your pants?” “That’s for me to know and you to find out”. The exchange was never transmitted.
10) “Groovy fuckers…”Read More
TRASHY HYBRID of Raiders Of The Lost Ark and The Maltese Falcon with STEPHEN COLLINS (as Jake Cutter) and company operating a seaplane service in the South Pacific circa 1938. On hand to fulfil “lovable rogue” duties was RODDY McDOWELL, bar owner and magistrate Bon Chance Louie, in white suit and panama hat.Read More
FRANKIE HOWERD vehicle that lay on a shelf for almost 20 years before, for some reason, being shown on BBC2. Premise found Frankie, as himself, “oooh”-ing and “aaah!”-ing as War Office secretary Private Potts, a lacky in the Cabinet War Rooms under Whitehall, who accidentally found himself moved to the front line – whereupon he encountered General Fearless Freddy Hollocks, who bore a remarkable resemblance to…Frankie Howerd. Whole thing originally postponed thanks to the Falklands War. Then everyone forgot about it. Perhaps wisely.Read More
GRIZZLED GRIM stop motion gadabout involving unnamed senior citizen and grandson. Cue endless roller-skating and other decidedly un-octogenarian antics, a la The Beano’s annoying Granpa. Cloying theme remains all-too memorable: “Hello Gran, how are you, how do you feel today, I just dropped by to see if I could be a help in any way. You really are the most, I think that I can boast, you really are the most amazing Gran.”Read More
RICKETY OLD 1950s Western gets revived for no reason other than to allow JAMES GARNER to say “thought you’d never see me again” while tipping back his hat and looking rakish. Original ran from 1959-63 and involved Garner and numerous brothers taking the piss out of bog standard Westernisms. 1982 resurrection was latest in a run of similar such endeavours, and the last.Read More