“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’.
TVC on Twitter
Creamguide's Pick of the Day
“Need money for food? Eat your fucking dog!” This biopic of Tommy Cooper tells perhaps a familiar story, fitting right into the tears-behind-the-laughter template we’ve come to expect from this kind of thing, but apparently David Threlfall’s performance as the man himself is a tour de force, and with Simon Nye on scripting duties we’re sure it’s going to be well worth watching. It does go right up to the end, and the cast list does include actors portraying Les Dennis and Dustin Gee.
Subscribe to Creamguide
Points of View
- In 'Fast Forward', Richard16378 says: "I used to like the way the logo would turn into a racing car & zoom off. For some reason a clip of a lizard walking on water would randomly..."
- In 'WITHERS, Googie', WiChi says: "Night and the City – another performance to remember! She also had a number of tragicomic roles in the 80s-90s, like in Ending Up, Hotel du Lac..."
- In 'Screen Test', Glenn A says: "Michael Rodd came from the same place as me, North Shields."
- In 'An A-Z of BBC2′s first 50 years', Glenn A says: "No Open Door, surely the Albion Free State caper is worthy of mention."
- In 'Play Chess', Graham Pearson says: "Play Chess was generally broadcast during the school holidays. I also remember BBC2 coverage of two senior chess players in action."