LIKE CAIN AND ABLE, Aaron Spelling and Glen Larson engaged in a battle royal throughout the 80s as to who could rustle up the biggest slabs of preposterous prime time palaver. Here’s Aaron fighting back after a nearby alphabetical resurgence from Glen (see MANIMAL and MASQUERADE), courtesy of the poor man’s TOM SELLECK, LEE HORSLEY, a wealthy idler who rounds up criminals in his spare time, aided if not abetted by PAMELA “PRINCESS ARDALA” HENSLEY, a smart computer called Baby, requisite Italian American loudmouth Vince Novelli (JOHN APREA) and his uncle Roy. Having his own helicopter inevitably meant one-in-the-eye for dopey old footsolidering felons, every bloody week.Read More
Posts Tagged With 'Plans that come together'
“THE SHIRTS to watch,” boasted the endless ITV trailers. Larcernous Larsonery with sleazy wretch Thomas Sullivan Magnum (TOM SELLECK) mooching around hundreds of Hawaii islands which all looked the same in order to protect the estate of writer Robin Masters, aka The Voice Of ORSON WELLES. Hi-hi-hilarity ensues when Masters employes a stuck-up English manservant, Higgins (JOHN HILLERMAN), with whom Magnum ha-ha-has nothing in common. Numerous nubile assistants showed up along the way, and the whole thing ended with Selleck being killed and sent to heaven. But then it got recommissioned and Tom’s death became “a dream”, before second finale found Tom back in the navy and Higgins apparently the real Robin Masters. Utter preposterousness.
You might also want to see... Murder, She Wrote.
“I LIKE IT!” The playground talking point of the year, one of the most preposterous things ever bundled out in the name of “action adventure” television, and absolutely fucking ace.
In full: ANNABEL CROFT introduces two joe ordinaries dressed in romper suits with strange backpacks, one of which contains prizes beyond avarice, but both of which can be locked for good with one zap from the titular blackguard, aka SEAN O’KANE: a leather-clad ‘copter criminal with a penchant for making bird noises, somersaulting over farmyard gates and gurning. Contestants get split up then have to find their way back to each other using “natural landmarks” which then helps Annabel locate them on her map from within her “base in the beautiful county town of Ludlow!”, from where she then navigates them towards rendezvous. All the while the Interceptor hovers above chasing the goons hither and thither, joshing with pilot “Mikey”, before jumping out and donning a disguise to lure them towards his giant hoofer doofer of doom.
The dementedness was summed up by the chicanery that was played out between Annabel and the players at the start of each episode, and which lasted at least a dozen minutes. First came the business of getting the programme title wrong (“Welcome to another edition of Interceptor”), or drastically underselling the whole endeavour (“Welcome to what we HOPE will be another exciting edition of Interceptor!”) followed by a 12-second history lesson (“I’m here in the grounds of the gorgeous Woburn Abbey, with occasional examples of beautiful masonry dating back to the mid-15th century!”), then a painfully convoluted explanation of what the game involved.
Highlight of this section was where Annabel purported to “mix up” the two packs the contestants carried on their backs, ostensibly so they didn’t know which contained money and which was empty, but which always followed the same pattern ending in a pointless bit where she simply stood the packs on the ground and turned them back to front then back again, like that made a crucial difference. Not forgetting the bit where the team were supposed to ask, in a state of dumb wonderment, why they had to always keep their backs to the Interceptor, to which Annabel muttered something about him being able to lock their cases, which triggered the contestants’ response “And why does he do that?” word for word every bloody week. The whole palaver was then topped off by Annabel making great play of waving the contestants off in their helicopter when they were already blindfolded and couldn’t see a fucking thing.
Contestants themselves were always a) posh b) stupid and c) prone to infantile levels of hysteria at the merest whim. One pair almost blew it completely after one of them promised to meet the other “at the bridge” but neglected to say he’d actually be waiting under it. Then there was the hopeless naive toff (“There’s a lovely pheasant – shame I haven’t got time to pluck it”) who forgot how to climb a ladder. Best of all, one decided to talk back to the Interceptor, to wit: “Come on then! Come on then!” Suffice to say the entire series was an absolute embarrassment of riches – and tanked big time, never to return.
You might also want to see... Chained.
SWAGGERING BRINY proto-soap unpicking the ruthless ructions and steamy schemings that went on behind that seedy world of slimy shagging and shopping, the boatbuilding fraternity of the River Hamble. Step forward eponymous hero and “best boat designer on planet” Tom Howard (MAURICE COLBOURNE), who stages Telford’s Change style stunt, defies odds, logic, etc. and leaves comfortable, well-paid employee status to set-up in partnership with maverick regular at “The Jolly Sailor” Jack Rolfe (GLYNN OWEN). Cast of thousands then sail in to provide intricate plot interweaving: Ken Masters (STEPHEN “XYY” YARDLEY), rival boatbuilding bastard with inability to retain genitalia in pants whose dirty deeds are eclipsed only by cross-eyed moneyman Edward Frere (NIGEL DAVENPORT) and his piece-of-shit son Charles (TONY “PROTECTORS” ANHOLT). Light relief in the form of Tom’s wife Jan (JAN HARVEY) who runs a clothes emporium (badly) and her wooden mother (DULCIE GRAY) whose purpose is unclear. There’s more. Appalling, buck-toothed Howard son (Leo) and daughter (Lyn) ensure continual parental angst due to exam failure, career indecision, unwise choice of foreigner as partner, etc, etc. Untimely demise of Colbourne brings whole edifice crashing to ground but not before hastily rewritten final series is plucked from the jaws of oblivion thanks to arrival, over the horizon, of KATE O’MARA and PAUL JERRICHO. Toe-tapping ‘Always There’ Simon May theme tune was, well, always there, ditto grizzled men wearing V-necked blazers over bare chests sporting Ford Knox-quantities of jewellery and clinking tumblers full of ice cubes and “the sauce”.Read More
TEA-AND-SLIPPERS SLEUTHERY, best taken over doilies and Darjeeling, if not Lucozade and egg soldiers. Casting aside her leatherbound library of crime, Jessica Beatrice Fletcher would sally forth unto this week’s house warming party/family reunion/community tea dance only to discover a horrible killing, a clueless local police force and a dozen bystanders urging her to apply her literary skills to this real life tragedy. Having taken up mystery writing once widowed and found fame across the States for her seemingly endless stream of treacherous novellas, Jessica also had cause to travel around the country on promotional junkets which coincidentally – and fortuitously for the viewer – also delivered her unto the scenes of yet more dastardly crimes. ANGELA LANSBURY got stolen from over here and made a star over there, turning Murder, She Wrote (that comma was all-important) into a veritable pension plan. The opening titles set the tone majestically: Jessica in a montage of scenes from her escapades, set to the sound of a cheerily tinkling piano and oom-pah orchestra. Approximately 325,671,290 guest stars appeared, including the great TOM BOSLEY in the semi-regular role of Sheriff Amos Tupper and the two-part special when Jessica went to Hawaii and pooled resources with MAGNUM. Later episodes saw our heroine taking it easy, “appearing” at the beginning of each episode to introduce that week’s “guest sleuth” then pissing off back to her writing desk. Well, she was almost 90.Read More
“A GOLDEN EAGLE Production for London Weekend Television” Ah dear. That ace theme couldn’t paper over the flakiness of this one-eye-on-flogging-it-to-the-Yanks effort, wherein New York cop MICHAEL BRANDON teams up with landed gentry LADY GLYNIS BARBER to fight crime on the bonechilling streets of Bloomsbury. Scouse boss Gordon Spikings (RAY SMITH) always acted like he didn’t give a shit.Read More
DITZY WOMAN names detective agency after a bloke that doesn’t exist then find she needs to put a face to the name, so she opts for – obviously – con-man PIERCE “TOO BUSY TO DO BOND AT THE MOMENT” BROSNAN. Episodes boasted titles of such staggering inventiveness as ‘Steele Crazy After All These Years’ and ‘Thou Shalt Not Steele’.Read More
BLOODY SLOW geezerama with MICHAEL “DAPHNE!” ELPHICK as Ken Boon, first a fireman, then a private dick, then a motor-courier (“hello – Texas Rangers?”) with western fetish, then security boss, all alongside DAVID “IRONGRON” DAKER who was his firemate and then ran a shit hotel. Or something. Demented plots enabled whichever separate businesses the two were running to interlink, which was handy to say the least. Made Elphick a star, though, and ditto young, Ozzy-haired NEIL “CAN WE FIX IT?” MORRISSEY as dim biker Rocky.Read More
“ONCE UPON a time, there were three beautiful girls who went to the Police Academy, and they were each assigned very hazardous duties. But I took them away from all that and now they work for me. My name is Charlie…” And a right jammy bastard he was too. Concubines comprised, at first, KATE JACKSON (Sabrina), FARRAH FAWCETT-MAJORS (Jill) and JACLYN SMITH (Kelly), before Farrah quit to be replaced by CHERYL LADD (Kris). Same plot every week, which is what we all wanted: Angels assigned to glamorous location – a Swiss mountain resort, say, where they suddenly all acquired the ability to ice skate, or a tropical beach, where they suddenly all acquired the ability to surf. Someone would go undercover, impersonating a) a nuclear technician b) a test pilot or c) a sword swallower. Dopey guards outwitted. Dopey plotters unmasked. “Oh Charlie!”Read More
GEORGE “HANNIBAL” PEPPARD strolls around Boston collecting rewards from insurance companies. On a 10% cut, so bigger the loot, greater his take-home pay. A Mystery Movie strand, but not as popular as the ones that involved actual murders. There’s a lesson there.Read More
SEMINAL KIDS pursuit caper from pen of N.J. “DIXON” CRISP and starring ubiquitous SIMON “IT’S GREEN CROSS CODE MAN!” TURNER and JAN “JUST GOOD” FRANCIS endlessly on the run from a motorbike straddling DUDLEY SUTTON. Eponymous “chase” was a very long one, seemingly stretching across the country and over 13 episodes. Kicked off when Simes (John) got wise to his dad working for Shadowy Organisation. GLYN HOUSTON provided little help as Friendly Bobby On The Beat; BOB PECK piled on the menace. Memorable incidents included: Austin Maxi driving over the side of a cliff in slow motion; black-gloved professional shooting VIP at Edinburgh Castle, only for fake ambulance to whisk stiff away; kids nearly drowning while canoe sank in Lake District; terrifying scramble across Dartmoor pursued by rabies-infested mongrel; and boat chase denouement in North East fishing village of Hopeman.Read More
UNHINGED OZ half-hourathon boasting your usual chisel-featured bloke and shapely woman assistant in fitted leather suit. Worked for secret organisation called ‘Delta’ (but not so secret the firm’s van didn’t have a huge logo on it).Read More
MEAN-STREETS SAAAAHF LANDAN PI Mr James Hazell (NICHOLAS “THE HOUSE THAT BLED TO DEATH” BALL) was the creation of one P. B. Yuill, penman of a number of crimaramas, but who in turn was none other than a collaboration between Scots writer GORDON “STRAW DOGS” WILLIAMS and Professional Cockernee TERRY “CRYSTAL PALACE” VENABLES. Not entirely tongue outside of cheek capers always involved bristling bust-ups between maverick wideboy Hazell and former CID boss, grumpy Jock “Choc” Minty (RODDY MCMILLAN), who was always trying to get mi-laddo’s licence yanked. DESMOND MCNAMARA played cousin Tel, and former Stone The Crows songstress, MAGGIE BELL, crooned the melancholy theme.Read More
FORTIES CRIME capers, kind of spun off from the The Sting, with Harold Gould (white-haired chap from the film) as a reformed conman and his daughter STEFANIE “HART TO HART” POWERS as some kind of lawyer. Somehow every week, Gould would have to come out of retirement and con somebody to see that justice was served.Read More
ONCE MORE unto the Grade. Another of those made-for-America-but-with-a-few-Brit-parts-to-help-boost-the-pound efforts. BETTE DAVIS and ROBERT WAGNER mingled with the likes of DUDLEY SUTTON in a ropey yarn about rayguns and Scottish glens.Read More
FRIDAY EVENING serial soaper set in the high-ranking executive world – a sort of BROTHERS shifted up half a class. Heads of eponymous cartel were LYSETTE ANTHONY as Davinia Prince, and her down-to-earth sister, teacher Katherine. Romantic intrigues, determined dialogue and bared lower teeth a speciality.Read More
WELCOME TO the Florida swamps where ambitious politician Fielding Carlyle (MARK HARMON) jousts with his scheming political wife Constance (MORGAN FAIRCHILD in eye-shadow overload) and his real true love, singer Lane Ballou. Dropping by are wealthy paper mill owner Claude Weldon, his wife Eudora and son Skipper; construction magnate Sam Curtis; newspaper publisher Elmo Tyson and the shady saloon-keeper Lute-Mae Sanders. Michael Tyronne sought revenge against the bleeding lot for past crimes committed against his father, while corrupt and powerful sheriff Titus Semple made it his point to know everyone’s business.Read More
FLIMSY FAMOUS FIVERY on a London bus in a none-too-secret “hideout”. Meet the gang: “Scooper” (PETER “DOMINICK HIDE” FIRTH) – leader; “Sticks” (BRUCE CLARK) – obligatory Yank drummer; Spring, played by ASWAD’s BRINSLEY FORDE; Doughnut (fat one, natch) played by DOUGLAS SIMMONDS; Tiger (DEBBIE RUSS), the girl with the toy tiger; Billie (GILLIAN BAILEY) the ponytailed one, and, yes, a speccy kid called Brains (MICHAEL AUDRESON) who cooked up the clever inventions and noxious chemicals. One and only grown up friend was, eek, MELVYN HAYES.Read More
NOTHING LIKE the above by dint of boasting a) far more money and b) far less bafflement. Yes, it’s the bog standard (the operative word there being “yes”) Tough Dirty Harry Cop Partners Female Cop routine. Cue Rick Hunter and ex-Vice Entrapment officer Dee Dee McCall: a warm hand on her entrance, please! . Every week the crime would be solved by running around shooting a large automatic pistol. FRED DRYER was ver Hunter (ex-US Football player), STEFANIE KRAMER the equally badly spelt Dee Dee McCall. “Works for me” was the catchphrase.Read More