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Advent Calendar: December 2nd

1981: Southern was on the way out at the end of the year which would inevitably mean an end to Houseparty, the eavesdropping half-hour that had been running since 1969 in which four housewifery representatives were both joined in medias res and fell off the air in situ having an open-ended chat in a studio lounge kitchen about anything homely that occurred to them. Today they’re looking at some pottery and wondering if they could install their own kiln at home, cooking souffles, operating a basic sewing machine, and then a part where they compare notes about their spoiled kids which is surely as close as they’d ever come to Loose Women-isms.

1982: A Touch Of Glass, the final episode of the second series of Only Fools And Horses, and one of the most famous moments of the whole series. Filmed in Clayesmore School, Dorset and inspired by John Sullivan’s father having done much the same in his youth while fitting a new heating system in a stately home, the fake chandelier still cost about £6,000 and director Ray Butt threatened to have both Jason and Lyndhurst sacked if they corpsed as the scene could only be shot once. Actually they were being filmed with multiple cameras so it could have been edited around, but Butt liked to stoke the tension.

1982: Channel 4 had by now been active for a calendar month and was still trying to work through the quirks that would differentiate it from the other three. Hence, you’d imagine, David Stranks’ dismissiveness towards The Cars That Ate Paris, a horror comedy whose director Peter Weir went on to oversee The Truman Show, Master And Commander, Dead Poets Society and Witness. That led into a very casual rundown of the following night’s musical entertainment in vision, which isn’t something that lasted long on the channel. Keep watching after the closedown graphic, though, for an unexpected extra as it seems the engineers have some teething problems with the new studio’s sound feed.

1989: 36 minutes of prime Going Live! Steve Wright, Anne Charleston and Nathan from Brother Beyond are the guests – at least the properly introduced ones, as you’ll see at the end of the Video Vote before some needless upstaging – plus Phillip Hodson, a third world poster competition and an unexplained character piece from Peter Dickson. All the while the new video by the act Pip keeps calling “the Jive Bunnies” is “being whisked down the motorway”.

1990: Galaxy was BSB’s general entertainment and children’s programming channel, home of sci-fi soap Jupiter Moon (Anna Chancellor’s first TV role and an early one for Lucy Benjamin), Jools Holland’s The Happening, satire Up Yer News – now more famous for featuring chrysalis versions of Morris, Iannucci, Coogan, Lee, Herring, Front, Marber, all of the Mary Whitehouse Experience, Mackichan, Schneider, Al Murray, Jo Brand, John Thomson and Alistair McGowan – and lots of Who repeats. When Sky took over BSB a month before this they gave the transponder to Sky One, so Galaxy closed for good after a glorious eight and a half month run.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. THX 1139

    December 2, 2018 at 12:29 pm

    Loved the C4 clip! I think that would have freaked me out had I seen it live, especially after watching The Cars That Ate Paris (clips of the spiky VW Beetle were all over the original C4 trailers). “Have you ever seen a bloke with a foot up his nose?!”

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