Posts Tagged With 'Noel Edmonds'

The Creamup Christmas Number

Posted in A bit of business by TV Cream | 1 Comment »

The first Noel!

“Hello, I’m Noel Edmonds, and in an ‘emag’ first, we’ve brought back Creamup for a very special Christmas edition, which I’m hosting, and currently carrying in my sack right now as depicted by this image!”

Thanks Noel! And that’s right, subscribers to our emailed-out TV and radio listings service Creamguide received a special surprise down their chimney today – a new issue of Creamup! Following our Summer Special earlier in the year, we thought we’d reconvene to drone on about festive pop music, films, The All Star Record Breakers from 1980, some Dr Who bits and lots of other ‘stuff’.

If you’re too hoity-toity to subscribe to Creamguide, you can still read Creamup. We’ve put it online, in its own special web page outside the normal TVC template (which would have played havoc with the design). Want to read it? Of course you, so follow this link here!

And watch out, because on Wednesday the double-ish Christmas Creamguide will be published. We’ll also put a copy of that right here on good ol’ TV Cream. So, we’ll see you later in the week!

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Top of the Pops’ Christmas Party

Posted in T is for... by TV Cream | 4 Comments »

“NOW FOR SOMETHING BIG IN GREECE… BBC POTATOES!”: The glory years of TOTP at Christmas

The font of all wisdom
IT’S 25 DECEMBER. It’s 1400 hours Greenwich Mean Time. It can mean only one thing. The unmissable pop almanac that is the Christmas Day edition of Top Of The Pops. The massed ranks of Radio One DJs jostled for position on the Television Centre scaffolding, poised to introduce the biggest hits of the past 12 months.

And of course, more often that not, the start of this kaleidoscope of sights and sounds coincided precisely with the turkey-and-pud banquet in the dining room, rendering the Christmas Pops experience little more than a brief glimpse of GARY DAVIES in a leather blouson pointing at THE THOMPSON TWINS.

In case you’re still wondering what you missed back then, TV Cream has unspooled the tapes to chronicle the glory years of the seasonal pop jamboree, from Edmonds to Goodier and Baccara to Beats International. So position that armchair precisely two inches from the screen, clear a space in front of the fire for your sister to do “her dance”, and enjoy…

1977: “It’s written in the moonlight, painted on the stars”

The Kid and the cad - we're sayingBritain is in the grip of a cultural revolution. The Sex Pistols are jousting with Bill Grundy as mohicaned teens flick the V’s at the tourists in Trafalgar Square. Punk was about to sweep away everything the nation held dear and Leo Sayer’s chances of survival seemed slim. So how did the Pops intend to protect and survive this imminent popmageddon? By getting LEGS AND CO to dance to EMERSON LAKE AND PALMER’s Fanfare For The Common Man, of course! The luxuriantly coiffured pairing of NOEL EDMONDS and KID JENSEN compered a Christmas bill that might as well have been prefaced with the instruction, “Move along sonny, no punk here!”

DAVID SOUL wandered around in cardie and slacks imploring Don’t Give Up On Us Baby on video, while THE BRIGHOUSE AND RASTRICK BRASS BAND parped through The Floral Dance. No Tel, alas, although he’d have tapped a sturdy brogue to Lucille by KENNY ROGERS. The family could join in on the “ratty-tatty tat!” bits on Chanson D’amour by MANHATTAN TRANSFER, who’d have felt at home on lunchtime telly, thanks to their permanent residence on Pebble Mill at One. And WINGS recalled those “nights when we sang like a heavenly choir”, though the proto French disco of Magic Fly by SPACE might have appeared a bit out of place between HOT CHOCOLATE and BACCARA.

ONE FOR THE DADS: Knowing Me Knowing You by ABBA caused ructions over the brandy butter as your dad and uncle argued over whether “the blonde one” or “the dark one” was best.
ONE FOR THE GRANS: JOHNNY MATHIS puzzling over the eternal theological conundrum that is “Black? White? Yellow? No-one knows” in front of some pot plants in When A Child Is Born.

1978: “When he plays guitar, at the disco bar”

"No, not Showaddywaddy... Darts!" Yes, he really didIn a radical change of format, NOEL EDMONDS hosted the 1978 proceedings from the Top Of The Pops office (or a painstaking recreation of it, at any rate), enabling the Swapmeister-in-chief to unleash a barrage of visual gags. If he wasn’t opening a BBC cupboard to reveal a torrent of plastic limbs (“Here are… LEGS AND CO! Ooh, that’s where they go for Christmas!”), he’d be admiring the TOTP office plants (“Oh look, it’s a bush… and it grows small kites on it. It’s a… KITE BUSH!*”). It had been the summer of Grease and Saturday Night Fever, so JOHN TRAVOLTA AND OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN and THE BEE GEES held dominion over the British Market Research Bureau, but neither act could match three appearances from BONEY M, thanks to Rivers Of Babylon, Mary’s Boy Child and Rasputin (“What a strange man!”).

Having spent the last hour or so perched on an MFI dining room chair, you could watch ABBA do something similar in the video for Take A Chance On Me, and if that wasn’t enough two-hairy-blokes-and-two-birds continental pop, then here come the sweatshirted BROTHERHOOD OF MAN and their cautionary musical tale of guitar-strumming Ambre Solaire lothario Angelo.

LEGS AND CO flounced around to Three Times A Lady by THE COMMODORES, while SHOWADDYWADDY and DARTS went toe to winklepickered toe in a battle royale of the Cheggers Plays Pop doo-wop merchants. And FATHER ABRAHAM ruthlessly interrogated THE SMURFS over their ability to crawl through keyholes and water taps.

ONE FOR THE DADS: Ms “Neutron Bomb” herself, in black lurex pedalpushers thrusting around a load of fairground test-your-strength machines and a “shake shack” in the video for You’re The One That I Want.
ONE FOR THE GRANS: Pastie-and-peas troubadours BRIAN AND MICHAEL’s uplifting tale of LS Lowry and “sparking clogs” would have provided the perfect musical accompaniment to the Gaviscon.
* Kate Bush

1979: “Boogie with a suitcase”

What you might call a "Powell-wow"The Beeb had something for everyone in their pop bran tub this Christmas, enthusiastically delivered by Radio One’s fresh-faced philanthropists KID JENSEN and PETER POWELL. ELVIS COSTELLO, IAN DURY and SQUEEZE provided a bit of new wave lip for your big brother, there was ace Look-In pop from BUGGLES, M and, yes, SIR CLIFFORD with We Don’t Talk Any More, and ROXY MUSIC contributed a dash of Mateus Rose sophistication with Dance Away.

LEGS AND CO tested Flick Colby’s choreography skills to the limit with a routine to ANITA WARD’s “bwooo! bwooo!” disco shakedown Ring My Bell, and DR HOOK added some Radio 2-friendly balladry with When You’re In Love With A Beautiful Woman (“you watch your friends!”). And all that relentless hanging around Swap Shop finally paid off for BA ROBERTSON as he got to serenade the millions about “Lord Nel and Lady Hamilton” with Bang Bang, as GARY NUMAN did his best to scare your auntie in a futuristic double-bill of Liberator-chic pop, comprising Cars and Are Friends Electric.

ONE FOR THE DADS: Debbie Harry’s lipgloss got a double outing in BLONDIE’s videos for Sunday Girl and Dreaming, causing dads everywhere to get a little hot under their new Burlington shirt collar.
ONE FOR THE GRANS: One Day At A Time by LENA MARTELL added a seasonal touch of Stars On Sunday spirituality to proceedings and a welcome respite from “all that bump bump bump” for the senior citizens.

1980: “It’s coming up like a flower”

"Now then, this turkey wot we have got 'ere, and these very fine Christmas crackers, mean me and me old mucker Peter are all set to celebrate Christmas in some style. Lovely! But, you see, last year, the Duchess forgot to switch off the oven, so we had cinders for Christmas, and it wasn't a ball - let me tell you! Urrgh! Urrgh! Talking about cinders, here's a very talented young man by the name of David Bowie and his track is called 'Ashes to Ashes'. How's about that then?"Into a new decade, and TOTP’s Christmas show for 1980 resembled nothing less than a Bacchanalian feast, or at least, SIR JIM’LL and PETER POWELL sitting behind a table with a BBC canteen-issue turkey and a bowl of tangerines on it. The big hitters included THE POLICE foreshadowing Clare Scott’s infatuation with “Hoppy” Hopwood in Don’t Stand So Close To Me, DAVID BOWIE putting all those mime workshops to good use in the promo for Ashes To Ashes, and the nightmare-inducing animation that backed PINK FLOYD’s Another Brick In The Wall.

LEGS AND CO performed their final Christmas shimmy, to BABS STREISAND’s epic soft focus ballad Woman In Love, MARTI WEBB had the mum ticket sewn up with Lloyd-Webber imbroglio Take That Look Off Your Face, and SHEENA EASTON shrugged off the handicap of that Rantzen endorsement to warble Nine To Five, a song we cannot hear without picturing Kramer off of Seinfeld eating crackers out of a briefcase. The enthusiastically permed LEO SAYER pitched up to warble “Wo-ho-wo-ho-wo-ho-way/I love you more than words can say,” and SIR MACCA got to raise a festive wacky thumbs aloft to the falsetto cod-reggae of Coming Up, as Pete ravenously tucked into a BBC drumstick.

ONE FOR THE DADS: For some reason, mention of THE NOLAN SISTERS induced a lusty snigger amongst men of a certain age, so the arrival of Bernie and co in their jumpsuits “in the mood for dancing” might have had dads dreaming of a little “romancing”.
ONE FOR THE GRANS: There’s No One Quite Like Grandma by ST WINIFRED’S SCHOOL CHOIR, of course, although this is obviously blatant cheating.

1981: “Down below the cars in the city go rushing by”

"Now then, this colourful tracksuit wot I am wearing, isn't quite as colourful as the next talented young lady I'm about to introduce. Urrgh! Urrgh! It's Toyah!"In a bid to call a ceasefire to the squabbling at Egton House over which Radio One “jocks” got to compere the festive shindig, this year’s Christmas Pops was hosted by practically all of them, a cast of thousands comprising ANDY PEEBLES, PAUL BURNETT, PAUL GAMBACCINI, DAVE LEE TRAVIS, ADRIAN JUSTE, SIMON BATES, DAVID JENSEN, TONY BLACKBURN, JOHN PEEL, STEVE WRIGHT, PETER POWELL, RICHARD SKINNER, MIKE READ and SIR JIM’LL in a test card jumper conducting his troops in a bizarre arms-linked 275 & 285 rendition of All You Need Is Love (“From all the guys and gals, all the best, the merriest of all, yeah!”).

But the entertainment was undeniable, as THE HUMAN LEAGUE, KIRSTY McCOLL, THE BEAT, KIM WILDE and THE TEARDROP EXPLODES managed to satisfy both the Flexipop crowd and the NME mob. TOTP’s new dance troupe ZOO drew the short straw, mind, when they had to “interpret” LAURIE ANDERSON’s art-pop installation O Superman. But there were hits to spare in 1981, with DEPECHE MODE, TOYAH, SPANDAU BALLET and ULTRAVOX all present and correct.

ONE FOR THE DADS: The Pops went all out for the kids in 1981, so Clare Grogan off of ALTERED IMAGES bouncing around in a flouncy frock was the best your dad was going to get. And who’s going to argue with that?
ONE FOR THE GRANS: And they’d have to hang on until New Year’s Eve to see JULIO IGLESIAS oil his way through Begin The Beguine, so SHAKY pondering that lime portcullis was all the Steradent pack could look forward to.

1982: “Give me music make me jump and prance”

Beard scienceEveryone knows pop attained perfection in 1982, it’s a scientific fact! And to prove it, here come JOHN PEEL (“We are your vibrant Radio One personalities”), DLT and another overmanned roster of DJs to introduce HAIRCUT 100, DEXY’S MIDNIGHT RUNNERS and DURAN DURAN. The ubiquitous CAPTAIN SENSIBLE, joined by that flapping mechanical seagull, pitched up to reprise Happy Talk and refuel those “golly baby he’s a lucky what?” playground rumours, while CLIFF RICHARD tackled the ‘singing the words of one song to the tune of another’ round on the ace Little Town.

MUSICAL YOUTH took time off from polishing the Blue Peter Award For Outstanding Endeavour as Peelie (in ‘Sheena Barmy Army’ jumper) expressed his delight at Pass The Dutchie reaching number one, and Radio One new boy MIKE SMITH skilfully promoted the station’s new open-all-hours policy (“From December, we went 18 hours a day! That’s the hard sell… now here’s the SOFT CELL!”). ZOO put in overtime in 1982, moving like Harlow in Monte Carlo to CHARLENE’s mini-series-in-song I’ve Never Been To Me, performing a magic show with illusionist SIMON DRAKE to THE STEVE MILLER BAND’s Abracadabra and, best of all, doing the Adam Ant arms-aloft strut to the Pops theme itself, Yellow Pearl.

Even Teutonic techno titans KRAFTWERK put in an appearance, albeit on tape only, thus denying the nation a chance to see Florian Schneider lobbing balloons at the audience and attacking Ralf Hutter with a can of silly string.

ONE FOR THE DADS: The 66.6% of TIGHT FIT that cavorted in leopardskin leotards to The Lion Sleeps Tonight provided the festive crumpet in 1982.
ONE FOR THE GRANS: Eurovision peace envoy NICOLE strumming through school assembly opus A Little Peace doubtless had the Dr Scholl slippers tapping in time over the mixed nuts.

1983: “She’s been living in her white bread world”

Ding Dong Merrily - it's Si!The reckless overstaffing of recent years came to an end in 1983, as SIMON BATES, ANDY PEEBLES, JANICE LONG and MIKE SMITH leant on the Pops scaffolding to introduce a relentless fusillade of glossy ’80s pop action, headed by THE EURYTHMICS, HEAVEN 17 and DAVID BOWIE under the moonlight, the serious moonlight, although this Christmas it seemed like the big stars only appeared on video. Like BILLY JOEL and his troupe of formation mechanics hassling Christie Brinkley, and IRENE CARA, doubtless prompting your sister to do her routine in front of the Trinitron during Flashdance (What A Feeling).

The BBC special effects department had no doubt requisitioned lorryloads of fake snow (cue Mat Irvine on Saturday Superstore: “It’s actually a leading brand of soap detergent!”) to mount a wintry tableau for THE FLYING PICKETS to unleash their patented formula of Labour club acapella mayhem on the nation’s ears. That dumper-bound dandy highwayman ADAM ANT turned up to romp through demented panto caper Puss’N’Boots (“Pussycat’s going to London, looking for love and for fame!”) and BUCKS FIZZ meandered down memory lane with When We Were Young.

ONE FOR THE DADS: BONNIE TYLER and her Strepsils-defying rasp belting through Total Eclipse Of The Heart in a billowing nightie.
ONE FOR THE GRANS: It’s SHAKY again (“Latest statistics show 90% of all British women like Shakin’ Stevens. On the other hand, 90% of all British men think he’s old enough to shake himself!”) crooning Cry Just A Little Bit.

1984: “But shoot it in the right direction”

Paul Young, letting in light and banishing shade, thereIf there was a Christmas Pops that had every teenager lingering for “just another five minutes” in the living room as the family assembled round the table, this was it. Practically every member of the Smash Hits synod was here, including PAUL YOUNG, CULTURE CLUB, HOWARD JONES and DURAN DURAN. Even better, the feuding denizens of W1A 4WW had been temporarily dismissed at the behest of producer Michael Hurll, to be replaced by the bands themselves looking uncertainly into camera and hesitantly delivering the links (“I’m sorry WHAM! can’t be with us tonight, George and Andrew have been delayed somewhere, I think he’s sick, but he’s OK, so this is, er, on video, Wake Me Up Before You Go Go! Over there!”).

THE THOMPSON TWINS indulged in some tinsel-adorned xylophone bashing on You Take Me Up, before the stunning moment when Joe Leeway (“Enjoy your Christmas dinner, go for it in ’85!”) introduced FRANKIE GOES TO HOLLYWOOD performing Relax, newly liberated from the BBC banned file. Of course, this was the year of BAND AID, and the Pops mounted an impressive reprise of Bob and Midge’s Z-Cars whipround for the finale, although Paul Weller had to sheepishly mime Bono’s bit and BLACK LACE shamelessly sneaked onto the end of the chorus line.

Three days later, the Pops served up second Christmas helpings, with guest host LENNY HENRY showcasing his roster of kid-friendly comedy characters (Delbert Wilkins, PC Ganga, Trevor McDoughnut) to introduce the likes of NEIL (“My white bicycle… oh sorry, what, the other one?”), BANANARAMA and BRONSKI BEAT, and essaying the most dubious STEVIE WONDER gag in history (“I just called to say I love you… what? Wrong number?”).

ONE FOR THE DADS: PEPSI AND SHIRLIE in white Top Shop skirts and clicking their luminous-gloved fingers in the video for Wake Me Up Before You Go Go.
ONE FOR THE GRANS: JIM DIAMOND in a red jacket with nasty rolled-up sleeves doing I Should Have Known Better represented the sole concession to anyone over the age of about 15.

1985: “Monkey business on a sunny afternoon”

Dreaming of a Wright ChristmasNormal service was resumed in 1985 as the call went out to STEVE WRIGHT, GARY DAVIES, JOHN PEEL, DIXIE PEACH and JANICE LONG to compere the Christmas proceedings, alongside JONATHAN KING in a baseball cap gurning about all the records he’d personally made a hit in America that year. Legitimate highlights were few and far between, beyond Tarzan Boy, that impenetrable homage to the “jungle life” by BALTIMORA, magisterial eye patch disco from DEAD OR ALIVE in the shape of You Spin Me Round and FEARGAL SHARKEY trembling through A Good Heart in a bootlace tie.

Instead, adhering to the useless Pops format of the day, the show largely comprised a thousand clips of videos, hence further exposure for MIDGE URE “carrying the weight of popular demand” in that Innovations catalogue-inspiring sequence for If I Was, PAUL HARDCASTLE reading bits out of the Orbis ‘Eyewitness Nam’ collection on 19, and THE CROWD, the least glamorous charity record of all time, featuring The Barron Knights, Ed Stewart and Motorhead swaying along to You’ll Never Walk Alone in response to the Bradford City fire. It could have been worse, mind, as ITV countered with Top Pop Videos Of ’85, presented by JIM DAVIDSON.

ONE FOR THE DADS: MADONNA in full-on Desperately Seeking Susan lacy gloves mode for Into The Groove and Crazy For You might have delayed dad’s appointment with the Moulinex electric carver.
ONE FOR THE GRANS: It must be ELAINE PAIGE AND BARBARA DICKSON striding unnecessarily slowly in opposite directions on a chessboard set in the video for I Know Him So Well.

1986: “From Lake Geneva to the Finland Station”

Logo not over-fussy in the slightestInto the Paul Hardcastle era of spinning cassettes and exploding saxophones, with SIMON BATES, JANICE LONG, GARY DAVIES and PETER POWELL in a horrible blue tracksuit. BILLY OCEAN opened the show with the “go and get stuffed” hilarity of When The Going Gets Tough, although the BBC’s budget didn’t stretch to jetting in messrs Douglas, Turner and De Vito to provide backing vocals. DOCTOR AND THE MEDICS set themselves up for a lifetime of ironic fresher’s ball performances of Spirit In The Sky and, best of all, the PET SHOP BOYS got to brood through West End Girls, with Neil in flying jacket and aviator shades and Chris in a bowler hat.

Mr Bit In The Middle got suitably enthusiastic over “the first hit for yonks for DIANA ROSS” and that mental exploding studio gallery video for Chain Reaction, and Janice acclaimed “a really lovely bloke” in the miniaturised form of CHRIS DE BURGH, dedicating his dinner-dance shuffler The Lady In Red to “his two-and-a-half-year-old daughter Rosanna”. Before Her Maj settled behind her writing bureau for her annual 3pm appointment with the nation, there was just time for “Simes” to confirm that THE HOUSEMARTINS and their sports casual canticle Caravan Of Love had been beaten to the festive top spot by JACKIE WILSON, thanks in no part to perhaps the least impressive three minutes in claymation history.

ONE FOR THE DADS: “The material girl herself” in an ‘Italians Do It Better’ T-shirt for Papa Don’t Preach.
ONE FOR THE GRANS: NICK BERRY warmed up for the key role of tinkling the ivories as Angie storms out of the Vic, by chugging down a canal to the strains of E20 power ballad Every Loser Wins.

1987: “It was a theme she had on a scheme he had”

DJs in DJs! What fun!Decked in tuxedos, their bowties crucially loosened to give the appearance that they’d just popped in on the journey home from a far more exciting soiree, MIKE SMITH and GARY DAVIES helmed the 1987 knees-up. In spite of their gladrags, it proved one of the least impressive Christmas Pops to date, a brace of number ones from TENNANT and LOWE (with Fairlight excitingly displaying ‘PET SHOP BOYS’ in glowing green text) and DICK SPATSLEY shuffling through Never Gonna Give You Up notwithstanding.

For the first time TV Cream could remember, they counted down that week’s chart during the Christmas Pops (“Stand by your turkeys, here comes the Christmas top ten!”), and rolled out Next Directory balladeers JOHNNY HATES JAZZ to perform their forgettable tearjerker Turn Back The Clock. T’PAU’s crockery-shattering drivetime histrionics (“a smasheroonie number one,” according to “Smitty”) completed the studio roster, the rest of the programme featuring the likes of S/A/W’s Zeebrugge fundraiser FERRY AID, Newsround-baiting godfather of house STEVE ‘SILK’ HURLEY and STARSHIP’s majestic Mannequin anthem Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now (“Let ‘em see we’re cray-zeh!”).

The finale featured SPAGNA, resplendent in frightwig, leggings and military tunic, fighting off a barrage of balloons to a chorus of ‘Euro Number One’ Call Me. Don’t worry, Indiana Jones is on in a bit.

ONE FOR THE DADS: MADONNA completes the hat-trick, albeit practically by default, thanks to the videos for La Isla Bonita and Who’s The Girl.
ONE FOR THE GRANS: The timeless harmonies of those BEE GEES on the ace You Win Again is just about all the Stannah contingent got this Christmas.

1988: “If we should be evicted from our homes”

DJs in... oh, Anthea's not a DJ, is she? Or in a DJThe fearsome menage-a-trois that is BRUNO BROOKES, ANTHEA TURNER and GARY DAVIES were your ringmasters for the 1988 festivities, but as a textbook omnibus of the year’s hits there was little to complain about, with performances from the PET SHOP BOYS, THE TIMELORDS and S’EXPRESS amid the streamers and balloons, augmented by mac-and-big-specs refrectory strumming from FAIRGROUND ATTRACTION, leggings-and-boots peroxide pop from YAZZ AND THE PLASTIC POPULATION, and ENYA at a big piano covered in flowers.

Meanwhile, the video playlist included Nathan off of BROTHER BEYOND running around after a convertible in ace S/A/W Motown pastiche The Harder I Try and TIFFANY in a big jumper harassing shoppers with her unfathomable hand signals. And although Sir Cliff might have annexed the Christmas top spot, it was BROS who got to bring down the curtain with their sanctified rendition of Silent Night. Not a dry eye in the house, and definitely nobody watching The Great British Pop Machine with French and Saunders on ITV.

ONE FOR THE DADS: KYLIE MINOGUE filing her nails and going mental with the Radox in the video for I Should Be So Lucky.
ONE FOR THE GRANS: The Right Reverend CLIFF RICHARD imploring the “hating and fighting to cease” in a red leather jacket for Mistletoe and Wine, memorably bidding “have a great Christmas everybody!” in the middle eight.

1989: “Come on everybody! C-C-Come on everybody!”

Imagine, Bruno, "Jake" and Gary in the same room, all at one time. We won't see those days againThe final Christmas Pops of the ’80s boasted the presentational trinity of BRUNO BROOKES, GARY DAVIES and JAKKI BRAMBLES, by now transmitted in stereo “simulcast” with those “one million watts of music power” on 97-99 FM, enabling your dad to spend a good half hour rearranging the furniture and swearing in order to get the Midi system speakers in the right position either side of the telly. Might not have been worth it, given a show colonised by the big-eared cut-and-paste antics of JIVE BUNNY AND THE MASTERMIXERS, freshly oiled Eurodisco tumblers THE LONDON BOYS (“Hello Piccadilly!”) and the pan-generational supper club summit that was MARC ALMOND AND GENE PITNEY.

But there was always ERASURE, THE BEAUTIFUL SOUTH and JASON DONOVAN still playing that guitar on that cliff top, and of course the Hit Factory passed round the collection plate for BAND AID II. If all that wasn’t enough entertainment, Bruno, Gaz and “Jake” rounded off the hour by donning panto costumes – la Brambles as Cinderella, of course, and appropriately enough, the boys as the Ugly Sisters.

ONE FOR THE DADS: If he’d got any energy left after humping those speakers around, he could have settled down to take his pick from those delectable BANGLES.
ONE FOR THE GRANS: Permed balladeer MICHAEL BALL gladdened the hearts of pensioners by belting out Lloyd-Webber show tune Love Changes Everything (“hands and faces, earth and sky!”).

1990: “Funny how quick the milk turns sour”

"Merry Christmas, everybody!"Evidently the producers felt the Christmas Pops had been lacking a little stardust in recent years, hence the decision to enliven proceedings by inviting DIANE-LOUISE JORDAN and BERNARD DAVEY (“ten out of ten for the weather in 1990!”) to stand around and chat to ANTHEA TURNER between the songs, and getting MARK GOODIER in a red bowtie to ask “Ric from CANDY FLIP” pressing questions like “have you had your Christmas dinner yet?” (“No I haven’t Mark, I’m getting very hungry though”).

Not that the musical guest list proved much more appealing, featuring the likes of LONDONBEAT (“Sh-pow-pow!”) and BOMBALURINA doing Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini for the billionth time. Even ADAMSKI managed to mess things up by attempting to do Killer live, and the kitchen sink crosstalk of THE BEAUTIFUL SOUTH’s A Little Time hardly embodied the festive spirit.

KIM APPLEBY and a couple of clips of NEW ORDER and the B52s briefly made things watchable, but when your Christmas afternoon entertainment consists of ANDI PETERS in a red blazer expressing his enthusiasm for BEATS INTERNATIONAL, ancient footage of THE STEVE MILLER BAND, and STATUS QUO wheezing through The Anniversary Waltz (Part One), then all hope is lost. Er, anyone got Tony Dortie’s phone number?

ONE FOR THE DADS: KYLIE MINOGUE performing Better The Devil You Know in a ’60s PVC tunic and leggings ensemble.
ONE FOR THE GRANS: His Holiness CLIFF RICHARD “joining the old and” – hey! – “the young ones” for his last ever Christmas number one (no comments on the email, please, Cliff fans), Saviour’s Day.

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Big Noely is Watching You

Posted in Cream over Britain by TV Cream | No Comments »

Let's go... on the box!

VETERAN ENTERTAINER AND BUSINESS TYCOON Noel Edmonds, 63, popped up on YouTube the other week to deliver an unexpectedly tart state-of-the-nation address.

Taped in what appeared to be a long cupboard, or possibly one corner of a parish rectory, Noel explained his recent behaviour in first tracking down and then giving a stern talking to the person behind a recent “Kill Noel Edmonds” campaign on Facebook.

It was vintage Edmonds: embracing something in order to decry it; framing his actions as a consequence of being “involved in TV and radio for over 40 years”, and likening himself to a United Nations weapons inspector.

But perhaps the most intriguing thing to emerge from the two-and-a-half minute oration was the news that Noel employs a company to patrol the internet hunting down anything and anyone that is talking about him.

The first thing to say to that is: hello! Thanks for looking in!

We hope that, whoever and whatever you are, you believe like us that Telly Addicts was great up to the last series, and that the bit in Noel’s House Party when Jon Pertwee showed up and said “I heard he was thick – I thought they were talking about his waist!” is the best non-canonical Dr Who episode ever.

Cosmic ordering not picturedBut the next thing to say to that is: hang on. The idea of, in Noel’s words, using a company to “monitor the internet and social networking” sounds, how shall we say it, a bit… Orwellian.

Sure, Noel doesn’t “engage in social media” – presumably the same way he doesn’t “engage” in public transport or licence fee-paying.

But isn’t there some Pilate-esque hand-washing going on here?

Now, we’re the last once-popular nostalgia-obsessed sporadically-updated website who wants some sort of Noel Edmonds imposter riding around the country in unofficially-branded helicopters and winnebagos promoting cosmic ordering.

Yet is this really the best use of the time of the company in question, which exists, as far as we can tell, principally to tackle the cyber bullying of people who don’t own £1.7 million Grade II-listed manor houses in Devon?

Forgive us sounding confrontational, oh spies of Noel, but words can be weapons. Oh yes. And to paraphrase the man himself, like all weapons they can be used for bad as well as good.

Actually Noel, if you could offer us an example of a “good” weapon, we’d most be most grateful – especially as you are a man who says they “don’t like confrontation” and who believes “in conciliation and mediation.”

Anyway, thank heavens something like YouTube exists so that someone like Noel doesn’t have to worry about having 40 years’ radio and television experience and can, like any of us, post up a video of themselves talking in front of someone’s sideboard.

Don’t worry, officers of the Noel police, we’re don’t want our hero dead! We just don’t want stars like him thinking they know all about social media just because they’ve read a dossier about it, or met a person who has been on the internet. Because those stars might then want to try and control it, in the way in which they control so many things. And that really would be an absolute disaster for society!

Remember: responsible use of Noel Edmonds is absolutely vital for life in Britain.

See one, feel one, touch one...

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An audio salute to the Radio 1 Roadshow

Posted in Cream over Britain by TV Cream | 1 Comment »

Apple pie bed not picturedIf there’s one thing that could be guaranteed to soothe the nation this summer and provide aural balm in these austere times, it’s the sight and sound of a man in a satin bomber jacket and shorts leading a call-and-response routine with a crowd of 30,000 pink-faced holidaymakers.

Sadly Smiley Miley’s truck is currently residing in a giant hangar being sprayed with the same stuff that gets hosed on to the Mary Rose to stop it rotting completely.

In its place, however, we proudly present TV Cream’s tribute to that trans-coastal titan of the sunshine season, the Radio 1 Roadshow.

You can listen to it in two ways:

Either download the mini-podcast for yourself…

…or listen to it here on the site right now:

 

Around the coast, we are the most

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Listen With Mother

Posted in The Programmes by TV Cream | 2 Comments »

And they wonder why Punk happened.FINAL resting place of the one-time broadcasting institution, by then very much on its last legs thanks to the machinations of Derek Griffiths and Barnaby. Glory days of youngsters giving a flying fuck about the exploits of My Naughty Little Sister and The Yompity Yo were long gone, and later years saw attempts to update wildly anachronistic approach by bringing in folk-rockers like Nola York and finally desperately involving Noel Edmonds in some capactity, but to no avail. Cancelled in 1982, to much still-enduring wailing and gnashing of teeth.

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EDMONDS, Noel

Posted in The Jocks by TV Cream | 4 Comments »

Dingling Dells not picturedSATURDAY-NIGHT-JAPESMITHERY-in-waiting with bearded bouffanted melange of zany stunts, madcap jokes and Funny Phone Calls™ (“Hello, your library book is twenty seven years overdue!”), firstly essayed on little-remembered tryout ‘character’ slot, then hasty propulsion Weekend Breakfast-wards to replace an inevitably booted Kenny Everett, then the main Breakfast gig (lots of pretending to spill coffee over Tony Blackburn), then most infamously Sunday mornings, where he pretended to present the show from – ahem – a country house with a funny name. ‘Dingley Dell’ played host to sonorous R4 bloke Brian Perkins reading the news, John Gielgud reading The Railway Children, ‘Desmond The Duck’, the inexplicable doling out of ‘Welly Boot Stickers’ as prizes, and Captain Beaky And His Band every bloody week. All tied in neatly with his Swap Shop duties, but once there were bigger televisual fish to fry, Radio 1 had to get the old heave-ho.

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Juke Box Jury

Posted in J is for... by TV Cream | No Comments »

“HELLO THERE” quoth LORD DAVID JACOBS from behind a giant fuck-off desk, bedecked with a comedy-sized bell (to denote a “hit”) and comedy-sized klaxon (a “miss”) depending on collective opinions of gathered panel comprising – by law – two “experts” and two “celebrities”. In the 60s this meant the likes of ROY ORBISON rubbing shades with THORA HIRD, CHARLIE DRAKE nestling up to DUSTY SPRINGFIELD, HERMIONE GINGOLD perched next to DIONNE WARWICK, KATIE BOYLE shifting uneasily next to JOHN PEEL, and SCOTT WALKER scaring the EARL OF ARRAN. Legendary post-GRANDSRAND fixture for ages, part of supposedly Best Ever Saturday Line-Up (until the next one) of JBJ/DR WHO/DIXON OF DOCK GREEN/MATCH OF THE DAY. FLUFF declared that ‘Living Doll’ “wouldn’t sell a copy”. DAVID McCALLUM said of Pinky and Perky had “a certain charm that pigs don’t usually have”. Died when rock gained upper hand over pop, only returning when situation was reversed in the late 70s, wherein NOEL EDMONDS manned the desk trying to keep JOHN LYDON and FLUFF (again) from having a fight. Died again, showing up for a third time because Janet Street-Porter “thought it was good idea”, with JOOLS HOLLAND presenting from inside his “house”. Mystery guest element gave rise to memorable incident involving GLENN MEDEIROS being roundly trashed before having to come on and fail to take it like a man. Should be due for fourth revival round about…

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“This is another first for British television”

Posted in Cream over Britain by TV Cream | 7 Comments »

Santa Claus, in real sense of the wordIt’s December 1984 and, in the pages of Radio Times, Noel Edmonds is depicted standing before one of London’s most familiar landmarks, grinning into a breezeblock-proportioned mobile phone.

The reason? Nothing less than “one of the greatest communications projects ever put forward,” as Noel modestly described proceedings on the big day itself.

This was the first ever edition of THE LIVE LIVE CHRISTMAS BREAKFAST SHOW, or, as everybody else called it, Noel Up The Post Office Tower On Christmas Morning.

For a glorious period during the 1980s, Noel held Yuletide dominion across the kingdom from atop his celestial citadel in the clouds. This is the story of those good, great times.

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Noel was no stranger to the marathon talk-in, of course, having spent six years in the cockpit of the MULTI-COLOURED SWAP SHOP. But instead of chatting on a trimphone with some kid in Kettering about Captain Beaky, or riffing with Cheggers as he bartered Stop Boris on a damp rugby field in Swansea, now he had the entire planet at his fingertips.

Fleets of BBC outside broadcast trucks, miles and miles of fibre-optic links and a multitude of state-of-the-art satellites were deployed, all in the name of bringing us live footage of RULA LENSKA and DENNIS WATERMAN drinking a can of lager in Australia. Leslie Crowther in a paper hat hanging around a hospital ward no longer quite cut it.

For a nation of kids, Noel Up The Tower satisfyingly bridged that barren Christmas morning wasteland between opening all your presents and TOP OF THE POPS, which invariably had been filled previously by some rubbish black-and-white film or – shudder – a circus. Mum could take a break from the Buxted and Bisto to pop in and watch for 10 minutes, while dad could use it to test out that gleaming new Matsui video recorder.

That first extravaganza in 1984 lasted a mere 90 minutes, and reunited Noel with his LATE LATE sparring partner MIKE SMITH, freed from his normal Saturday night duties of standing in the cold outside the National Motorcycle Museum at Beaulieu while some bloke attempted to pilot a Honda Melody through a burning hula-hoop. Now, Smitty got to soar high above the capital in “the BBC-TV hollycopter”, threatening to “drop in on viewers’ homes and celebrations,” but none of this deterred 11 million people from tuning in.

Further attractions including KIM WILDE and HOWARD JONES hassling the patients at Charing Cross Hospital with Like To Get To Know You Well, dedications from Our Boys in the Falklands, and “pictures from Australia, Russia and Italy to see how they celebrate Christmas”, which sounds like the sort of thing Richard Dimbleby might have done in 1956.

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In 1985, the broadcast was extended to two hours, and nudged a little later in the schedule (to accommodate ROLAND RAT’S YULETIDE BINGE, fact fans). “Noel will be up at six to travel to London,” revealed a breathless Radio Times. “I’m really looking forward to it,” vouchsafed Edmonds. “If it’s anything like last year, there’ll be a great atmosphere at the top of the tower.”

The pressure was on to top the inaugural festivities, but fortunately Noel had enlisted the formidable combination of GARY DAVIES and THE KRANKIES to mount a live jamboree for children aboard a Virgin Airways jet circling over Gatwick. “For the first time ever,” declared Noel, “we are going to be bringing you live pictures from a commercial airliner, it’s never been done before.” This, of course, being the occasion when FEARGAL SHARKEY made an arse of himself by neglecting to mime along to ‘You Little Thief’.

The programme also featured a live report from a refugee camp in Sudan in order to launch COMIC RELIEF, some blokes cleaning the windows of the Post Office Tower, and manifold Television Firsts for Noel to boast about (“And now an absolute first from the show that loves to bring you firsts”, “We’ll be doing the first ever computer draw”, “We have another first for BBC Television on this special day”).

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By 1986, the shebang had been retitled CHRISTMAS MORNING WITH NOEL, for obvious reasons, and Smitty had been relegated to a few filmed inserts “searching for Santa in Lapland”. Even MARGARET THATCHER insisted on gate-crashing the celebrations, contributing a regal Christmas address to a doubtless grateful nation: “We’re very happy to take part in The Noel Edmonds Show.” That’s not its name!

For the first time, the programme was produced in association with Network Ten down under, Another Television First for Noel (“This programme is now being seen simultaneously not just in the United Kingdom but also in Australia, it’s the first time family entertainment has been seen in this way”) enabling him to reunite families and deliver Two-Way Family Favourites greetings around the stratosphere.

Noel also recruited a regional “team of BBC buffoons” across the land, including CLIFF WHITE in Bristol and ANDY SNELGROVE on top of a deserted multi-storey car park in Newcastle, imploring viewers to “come down and join in the fun” from underneath their BBC umbrellas. And, impressively, CLIFF RICHARD in London and ELTON JOHN in Australia – is it just us, or did Reg spend the entire 1980s down under? – performed a live duet. And they said it couldn’t be done on Live Aid!

But the bit from 1986 that everyone remembers was the live charity running race up the Post Office Tower steps, resulting in one MARK KLENATHOUS (“He’s on for £1,500 from Ski yoghurt”) collapsing and needing oxygen at the climax of his attempt.

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No doubt Noel had to get up even earlier in 1987, as that year’s broadcast began at nine o’clock, so it could be simulcast in prime time in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and, er, Gibraltar. Indeed, the programme had to be split into two parts, a bit like when SWAP SHOP had to accommodate THE POPE’S VISIT TO IRELAND, so BBC1 could bugger off at 10.30 for CHRISTMAS READINGS (essentially a posh FIVE TO ELEVEN with Laurence Olivier) and the morning service, before returning to the Post Office Tower for part two at 11.45.

This time round, the regional cast of thousands included JOHN LESLIE in Glasgow and the great HARRY GRATION in Leeds, who should be on telly on Christmas Day every year. There were more fireside epistles from the great and good, including ELTON JOHN, DANNY LA RUE and the leader of the Liberal Party (“Mum, DAVID STEEL’s just wished us all a happy and healthy 1988!”) and the Spot It You’ve Got It Quiz, but nobody at TV Cream really remembers that, because we were playing OutRun on our Spectrum or something.

GORDEN KAYE and JOHN INMAN acted as ringmasters at a Christmas circus in Battersea, but the 1987 edition shall forever be remembered for our first sighting of that bizarre (but Chris Lowe-endorsed) BBC video for ‘I Should Be So Lucky’, with KYLIE MINOGUE looking out of the roof of a car being driven around Melbourne.

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The 1988 edition lasted a mere 65 minutes, presumably to enable Noel to race back for lunch in Devon in his customised Winnebago as fast as possible, and frankly it was thin gruel all round, with SHANE RICHIE and SOPHIE ALDRED as the team captains on some quiz, VINCE HILL with some carol singers at 11 Downing Street, and out-takes from Last Of The Summer Wine, presumably of the bathtub on wheels going over a cliff or something.

Mind you, at least we got Noel “swapping” his jumper in the grand Multi-Coloured tradition, a link with the Russian space station, and Christmas messages from RONALD REAGAN and PADDY ASHDOWN.

So, the golden age of Noel Up The Post Office Tower On Christmas Morning had reached its end. For the next 10 years or so, the great man’s Yuletide contribution would consist of NOEL’S CHRISTMAS PRESENTS, an hour of celebrity tin-rattling and tear-filled reunions. But it could never quite replace Noel in a jumper, 625 feet above London, tittering amid the tinsel as a satellite link failed, handing to WAYNE BODKIN in Plymouth, and announcing Another Television First.

Like the man said, “I hope you have an immaculate Christmas Day!”

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DOWNLOAD FESTIVE TV CREAM NOEL EDMONDS TELECOM TOWER WALLPAPER!

Yes, in a TV Cream first, we’ve prepared two customised seasonal wallpapers for you to download and save to your computer. Both feature the spirit of 1980s Christmas, Noel Edmonds, in the control room at the top of the Telecom Tower, pointing, gurning and grinning. What better visual representation of Christmas past?

Simply pick the one that matches your computer screen resolution, right-click and download!

Wallpaper 1:
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Widescreen

Wallpaper 2:
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TV Cream’s Advent Calendar Door 17: Now, Which One Is The Dancing Queen?

Posted in YouTube by TV Cream | No Comments »

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQJ4gvWZNgw

MAKING HIS second appearance in TV Cream’s festive almanac, here’s MIKE YARWOOD greeting imperial phase ABBA for a Generation Game sketch from his 1978 Christmas show.

Of course, it would have been loads better if it had been the real LARRY GRAYSON doing the business with Agnetha and the rest, but despite Mike’s rather hopeless approximation of Lal (and that pointless re-recording of the ‘here to play!’ theme), it’s still brilliant fun.

In fact, it was an ABBA Christmas on the BBC that year, as they also pitched up to grant a festive Fix-It for SIR JIM’LL and even found time to record a seasonal greeting for NOEL.

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Late Late Breakfast Show, The

Posted in L is for... by TV Cream | 12 Comments »

A television first - not. They did neon logos on Sorry.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”.

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TV Cream’s Advent Calendar Door 4: Noel’s Christmas Presents

Posted in YouTube by TV Cream | 1 Comment »

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cDc5G8g0-L4

PRESENTING a double bill of BBC Christmas promos from 1984, the first featuring a much-loved bearded benefactor (NOEL EDMONDS, obviously) delivering a sleighful of festive greetings from the likes of TERRY WOGAN, BOB MONKHOUSE, SIR JIM’LL, RUSSELL HARTY and the YELLOWCOATS (not together, alas), all thanks to the magic of CSO. And look at that textbook Blank line-up: RUTH MADOC (“Look, Fiddler On The Ruth!”), LORRAINE CHASE and that man Harty again.

The second features the Christmas Day premiere of Mary Poppins, alongside clips from the Beeb’s other seasonal highlights (Kramer vs Kramer! Escape To Victory! The Galactic Garden! Noel prancing about in a jumper!), all slapped over the Doctor Who titles.

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BELL, Madeleine

Posted in The Jocks by TV Cream | 3 Comments »

Ring my...FORMER BLUE MINK VOCALIST brought in to do holiday cover for Noel Edmonds, suspicious ‘post-prominence’ status suggesting she was brought in probably mainly on the basis that she could have a jingle with her name sung to the tune of Anita Ward’s Ring My Bell.

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Z Shed

Posted in Z is for... by TV Cream | No Comments »

Noel grabs three seconds for a smile before embarking on another helicopter-powered po-faced finger-pointing anti-government dementahonThe genesis of SWAP SHOP, according to Noel, in the shape of a weekly half-hour live phone-in discussion for kids every Wednesday throughout June and July of 1975, concentrating on a different topic each week. They were: Appearance, Friends, Parents, Pocket Money, School, Fears, Fashions, Brothers & Sisters, Pets, and, er, Friends again. Already with an eye for a recyclable format, the man Edmonds was soon fashioning the chattiness and discussion elements into a “What’s your question for Toyah?” and “What have you got to swap?” agenda. Cheers Noel!

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SMITH, Mike

Posted in The Jocks by TV Cream | 1 Comment »

mikesmithFOR a good while ‘Smiffy’ was pretty much Mr BBC – The Late Late Breakfast Show, The Montreux Rock Festival, Live Aid, erm, Friday People – and he also managed to find time to become perhaps Radio 1’s least memorable Breakfast Show presenter between 1986 and 1988. Noel-affiliation doubtless assisted in his getting of the gig, and indeed several familiar Edmonds tropes, including those all-important ‘Funny Phone Calls’, recieved a second outing here. Got a bit lost in the face of S’Express and M/A/R/R/S and headed back TV-wards, presenting about eight million series of That’s Entertainment! before revisiting former telephonic interests for a very successful career away from the screen.

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Multi-Coloured Swap Shop, The

Posted in M is for... by TV Cream | 1 Comment »
That number again... Hello, hello, hello, hello...

SUBLIME HERALD of the weekend, forever jostling with TISWAS for Saturday morning supremacy, and the best thing EDMONDS has ever done. Everyone knows what this was all about, but the real stroke of genius was giving kids the chance to phone up and talk to the stars. Seems obvious, yet it was fantastic, and for some reason nobody does it anymore. Noel’s comrades were, of course, KEITH CHEGWIN (“He’s packed his bags and gone off with a knowing look – could he be near your place today?!”), MAGGIE PHILBIN and JOHN CRAVEN, along with Posh Paws (Stilgoe-esque anagram of Swap Shop) a purple felt dinosaur with poorly-articulated jaw that did a feeble “roar” whenever some sappy viewer sent him in a homemade waistcoat, and a stuffed toy sheep moved up and down by a crouching Craven. Plus ERIC who operated the TOTP-themed plastic sphere-on-a-string with the competition answers (and got own feeble awards named after him). Edmonds was in full bloom here: shouting, fooling around, obsessing over gadgety stuff, putting callers at ease, chatting amiably with a thousand guests, joking with the crew, and generally making the show a great place to hang out of a morning. Everyone involved seemed to have a great time, and hence you felt the same. Two theme tunes: the first went “SWAP SHOP! Daa-da-da, da-da-da-da, daa-da-dadadadadadadadada-daaaa!” over a squiggly “morphing” animation of the logo; the second, by BA “Kaftan” Robertson, had a sort of steel bandish effect and went “Hello, hello, hello, hello, hellooooo!” a la Smells LIke Teen Spirit. “Offers: Scalectrix (note spelling) 200 track and cars. Wants: Anything to do with Hazel O’Connor.”

You might also want to see... Z Shed, Saturday Mornings.

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Time of Your Life, The

Posted in T is for... by TV Cream | No Comments »

ONE OF the many “side projects” essayed by NOEL EDMONDS during his 1980s besweatered behelicopted heyday. Basically a sit-and-talk affair wherein Noelly took a back to the year which housed their greatest achievement (subtext: you washed-up old sod) and talked about what else was going on at the time. STEVE DAVIS was one of the guests. Bet that really stretched the memory.

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Telly Addicts

Posted in T is for... by TV Cream | 1 Comment »

AH, MONDAY NIGHTS IN THE ’80S, and NOEL EDMONDS bringing us the very definition of redoubtable family fare with his relaxed and beige TV-related quiz. Nothing less than a low-powered glory, you don’t need us to sketch in the format, do you? Two families battle it out over thirty minutes to prove they know most about TV. Now cue the clips. But, really, it’s all in the details with this show: the air raid siren; the “hoofer-doofer”; Noel throwing a question to the studio audience with a cry of “telly addicts?”; blanked out Radio Times billings; Sing the Sig; the USS Enterprise zapping the TARDIS in the titles (and prompting an angry letter to Dreamwatch Bulletin); “The NME – is that still going?”; stars setting questions in pre-recorded cutaways piped in to appear live (“I’m very well Noel, now, team…”); the Aches vs the Pains; “Let’s go… on the box!”; “This has never happened before in the modern history of Telly Addicts!” and so on. Total teatime viewing until a minor revamp in 1994, which saw the addition of novelty scorer Charles, and the families axed to make way for darts teams and book groups with names like ‘Swords and Daggers’ and, of course, ‘Warrior’s Gate’. Come 1998, though, and things got catastrophic: out went the sofas to make way for wine bar stools, pointless running about…and shrieking. Spawned a couple of board games (one of which included the question “Which series does Sheena McDonald present?” – but no answer) and, more recently, a nifty play-at-home DVD. PLEASE keep it moving through the Spotlight round.

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Montreux Rock Festival, The

Posted in M is for... by TV Cream | No Comments »

IF WOODSTOCK was a defining moment of the 60s, Montreux had a similar impact on the 80s, but for entirely different reasons. Every April, NOEL EDMONDS, MIKE SMITH, GARY DAVIES et al would ship out to Switzerland to report and present on this pan-continental synthfest from the town that frequently awarded “Best Programme Ever” awards to the Hale and Pace Christmas Special, backed by BBC and its European counterparts, who all got a namecheck, Jeux Sans Frontiere-style, in zooming-over the sea towards Switzerland titles. Chart-throbbing line-up featured usual suspects: DURAN DURAN, CULTURE CLUB, SPANDAU BALLET, A-HA, GO WEST, even one-hit HOLLYWOOD BEYOND got a look in, as did some hapless German freakshow – usually OPUS “Live Is Life, Na-na-na-na-na” or THE ART COMPANY “Susanna” – because they had to. Following roll call of items appeared in seemingly reckless abundance: Roland keyboards, those hexagonal syn-drum things (see ROCK SCHOOL), those over-the-shoulder guitar-keyboard things, rolled-up jacket sleeves, three female backing singers (black one in the middle) and PETER POWELL interviewing ANDREW RIDGELEY by the harbour. And just when you’d managed to forget the horror, they’d repeat it all at Christmas.

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Lucky Numbers

Posted in L is for... by TV Cream | No Comments »

OUR FIRST glimpse of “Noely” in primetime, courtesy of bog standard phone-in quizzing with prizes beyond avarice itself, i.e. Lucky Numbers bricks or a year’s supply of bubble bath. Show was always shamelessly plugged several hours earlier on SWAP SHOP.

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New Faces

Posted in N is for... by TV Cream | 10 Comments »

SHODDINESS INCARNATE made bearable by the gantry of gripe that was the “celebrity panel”, dispatching pith and petulance in short order courtesy from the likes of TONY HATCH, TED RAY, ED STEWART, MICKIE MOST and NOEL EDMONDS. Winners who managed to notch up those all important Presentation, Content and Star Quality points included VICTORIA WOOD, LENNY HENRY, GARY WILMOT and… others. DEREK “THAT’S MY DOG” HOBSON shovelled the fledglings off for the adverts. Revived in mid-80s with MARTI CAINE as ringmistress and NINA MYSKOW barking from the gallery.

Here’s a selection of those wonderful act names:

Fair Cop, a Peterlee folk group

Bollards, a Bristol comedy trio

Monopoly, a five-piece group from North London.

Hooker, a four-piece group from Birmingham

Shaneda, a four piece group from Bodmin

Harmony and Slyde, a vocal/instrumental duo from Exeter

Curley, a sIx-piece group from Markfield, Leicester

Piggleswick, a four-piece group from Oxon

Brother Kip, a seven-piece soul group from Letchworth, Herts

Distinction, four girl singers from Merseyside

Mardi-Gras, a five-piece group from Hessle, near Hull

Why Not, four-piece group from Stoke-on-Trent

Teapot Brown, a five-piece group from London

Soul Direction, a five-piece group from Birmingham

Railout, a six-piece group from Dudley, West Midlands

Peter Collins and Style, a four-piece group from Norwich

Heritage, a five-piece group from Grays, Essex

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