“OH, I MUST say, Princess Diana looks really scrummy in that picture, don’t you think so Nick, really gorgeous.” Main, indeed for a time only, plank in ITV’s half-built semi-bodged creaking edifice of a breakfast television service, responsible for making household names of ANNE “TODAY’S NUMBERS ARE 3, 15, 26…” DIAMOND, NICK “…27, 33 and 45” OWEN, WINCEY “AND SO IS WINCEY WILLIS” WILLIS and a host of other day-glo undesirables. Whole thing almost sank with all hands after a mere two weeks on air thanks to original boss PETER JAY’s demented policy of ultra-earnest mithering, having the weather forecast at 7.52 and 13 seconds precisely, and letting fellow investor DAVID FROST do interviews that went on for five hours. Frostie was one of original “Famous Five” supposedly destined to piss all over rival BREAKFAST TIME business thanks to “sexual chemistry” of ANNA FORD, ANGELA RIPPON, MICHAEL PARKINSON and ROBERT KEE. Only chemistry evident on screen was that of rapidly combusting careers and evaporating viewers. GREG DYKE showed up to save the day, not before JONATHAN “HE LIED AND LIED AND LIED” AITKEN had sacked Anna and Angela (big news) and made Robert quit (nobody noticed). Parky hung about sulking for a year before pissing off. In came Anne, Nick (promoted from sports presenter), Wincey, ROLAND “RUN VT!” RAT, GYLES BRANDRETH, JIMMY GREAVES, CHRIS TARRANT, HENRY KELLY, JAYNE IRVING, MIKE MORRIS, RICHARD KEYS, ULRIKA JONSSON, LORRAINE KELLY and, over in the kids corner, TIMMY MALLETT, TOMMY BOYD and MICHAELA STRACHAN: basically your entire gamut of harmless mid-80s ITV faces who could hold their own on a shit-brown coloured sofa for as long as necessary going on about a) which members of the royal family were in the tabloids today b) the weather c) what happened on telly last night d) where they were going for their holidays e) Gyles’s knitted jumpers. And people watched in their millions. Genuinely ace opening titles had GOOD MORNING BRITAIN spelled out by pigeons in Trafalgar Square, crew of a Royal Navy ship, load of people on the Bristol Downs and so on. Loads of memorable stuff ensued: Rat On The Road, Tarrant going round the resorts, John Stapleton reporting on the Brighton bomb in a call box, industrial action every other week meaning endless repeats of FLIPPER and BATMAN, Anne quitting, Anne coming back, Anne quitting again, the eggcup copyright slide at the end of every programme, Mallett’s Mallet, After Nine, Mad Lizzie, Commander Philpott doing the weather, GORDON HONEYCOMBE doing the news… Party came to an end when Mrs Thatcher decided GMTV would do a better job of things, except she had second thoughts and wrote BRUCE GYNGELL a letter saying how sorry she was. Too late! Fell off the air on New Year’s Eve 1992 with Mike Morris blubbing to the sound of ‘Simply The Best’.
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Creamguide's Pick of the Day
Thanks heavens for Frank filling up some otherwise barren days in the early part of this week. This sounds the most interesting of the various programmes marking his centenary as it looks at Frank when he was down the dumper in the early fifties, when he was having a tough time financially, romantically and professionally. As we’ll hear tomorrow, it all worked out OK in the end but in the meantime here’s the story of how he trudged around Britain performing in front of not especially enthralled audiences, interspersed with a couple of appearances on the Beeb.
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Points of View
- In 'PICK OF THE DAY', Darthflanflinger says: "I used to stumble in late to Simon Frith’s seminars at the University of Strathclyde, reeking of chicken pakora that I used to buy at..."
- In 'Insight', Scott McPhee says: "Another segment on Insight was ‘Joe’s Gang’. The only thing I remember from this, was how Joe and his friends helped out an elderly..."
- In 'Only Fools and Horses', Richard Davies says: "It drifted a little into drama with the 50 minute episodes & annual extended specials, but the quality of the series was there right..."
- In 'Only Fools and Horses', Barbersmith says: "If this had finished after series four it would stand up there with the greatest sitcoms ever. Sadly, it didn’t. Mawkish, over-long,..."
- In 'One Man and his Dog', Barbersmith says: "Absolutely spot on Jim."