THE EEC, eh? What a bunch of paperclip-filing, expense-filling winos. So said MALCOLM BRADBURY in this of-the-moment glossy gallivant around the plazas and piazzas of Brussels where talk of Ecus and ERMs flowed as freely as money-stuffed paper bags and bungs, and who were we to know any better? Dapper satire at its best, with CHRISTOPH WALTZ as Hans-Joachim Dorfmann who arrives at the made-up Directorate of Information and Culture full of Hacker-esque naive idealism only to find IAN RICHARDSON-orchestrated chicanery at full pelt involving shady ladies, kickbacks and the European plum mountain. Subsidised-halcyon days indeed. JUDY PARFITT was Ian’s wife, ALEXEI SAYLE played himself (i.e. a shifty East European oik spouting bollocks). Sequel set in fictional newly-liberated Eastern state of Slaka with all principal protagonists still up to no good.Read More
Posts Tagged With '1990'
POST-APOCALYPTIC SITCOM with JOSIE LAWRENCE based around the premise that JUDITH HANN drops a flask of green virus on the TOMORROW’S WORLD TV studio floor, thus annihilating the human race. Several poor comic actors survive (MIKE GRADY, STEPHEN REA, RONALD PICKUP). Jokes do not.Read More
FROM THE prolific pen of BOB (THE GOOD LIFE/GET SOME IN/EVER DECREASING CIRCLES) LARBEY, ON THE UP was a pretty typical BBC sitcom, albeit one broadcast at the fag end of the Corporation’s love for conventional 2.4 set ups. Here the sit involved rough-diamond-made-good Tony (DENNIS WATERMAN) and his various and tedious run-ins with “‘er indoors”, namely his wife Ruth, (JUDY BUXTON). All the while sidekick extraordinaires SAM KELLY and JOAN SIMS were wasting their immaculate comedy timing on material that was never better than average. Sadly, ON THE UP was pretty much completely forgettable. It wasn’t even sufficiently of-its-time (unlike series such as THERE’S NO PLACE AT HOME or JOINT ACCOUNT) to latterly gain a retrospective museum-piece curiosity value. Eminently unmemorable.Read More
SHOESTRING SPECTACULAR from a time when pointing a camera at anything and allowing people to see it was somehow the most thrilling thing in the world. Utilised by a cash-strapped C4 to clog up some of its daytime schedules when schools programmes weren’t on. Early editions had either MICHAEL GROTH or PADDY HAYCOCKS spending a couple of hours strolling around London Zoo or the West End with camera and microphone in tow, seeing what happened and broadcasting the entire proceedings live, erm, as it happened. Which, at times, was bugger all. Or involved something going wrong. But that was why you watched, frankly, rather than for the pre-arranged interviews with colourful people with stories to tell. Soon mutated into a trans-global epic, spending 90 minutes each Saturday night in a different foreign city. Now PETE MCCARTHY and ANDY KERSHAW alternated as hosts, the former ambling around like an innocent abroad, the latter forever heading down the first dark alley in sight and swearing profusely. Terrible things went wrong, and more than once a C4 continuity announcer back in London had to take over as pictures and sound were lost. Which was, of course, exactly what you wanted. One-offs continued through the 90s, but not in the same spirit or with the same point (Mark Lamarr ushering in the New Year “as it happens” from Jamaica?). Much missed.Read More