“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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Friday, 19.30, 00.00, BBC4
We know he’s bloody useless at it, but actually quite a lot of the shows from 1982 we’re looking forward to seeing are presented by Simon Bates. It’s not for him, obviously, but he just happened to be hosting episodes featuring cracking line-ups or hugely memorable performances. His first edition of the year isn’t perhaps one of them, especially as a number of performances you’ll already have seen on the clip show, though that does emphasise there are lots of famous songs about.
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Points of View
- In 'Raising of the Mary Rose, The', Applemask says: "I daresay I still would have preferred it to actual school work."
- In 'Dempsey and Makepeace', THX 1139 says: "Ray Smith was Welsh, not Scouse, hence the Welsh accent. This series appeared to have been designed for those who believe Brannigan is the..."
- In 'Duncan Dares', Richard16378 says: "Peter tried driving a modified VW Beetle at sea (can’t remember if it was the Channel or the Irish Sea) but it sunk on the way."
- In 'Duncan Dares', Marc Ricketts says: "I remember Duncan dares. Whats this bit he drives a car at sea. And it didin,t work out?"
- In 'Butterflies', Glenn A says: "The Liver Birds had reached its natural conclusion by 1978, so the BBC wanted a successor from Carla Lane. Butterflies was actually quite good in a..."