TV Cream

Cream over Britain

Advent Calendar: December 4th

1974: The Irish border problem used to mean something entirely different. Nationwide traversed the divide in the company of Bernard Falk, who found the exact divide between Northern Ireland and the Republic in the middle of a town with all the untidy split between religions and businesses, and in one case a single property, that suggests. “There was one pub in Ulster but it fell into the river” – that’s the story that should have been told!

1981: ATV bring a repeat of 1973 Thriller episode File It Under Fear, starring John Le Mesurier about as far from character as possible, to a close before revealing where one can buy a cheap Datsun in Kings Norton. After a rundown of local independent radio the region closes down, as it would permanently at the end of the month.

1992: When Wogan vacated verdant Shepherd’s Bush Green he was given the weekly panacea of Friday Night With Wogan, but it only lasted 20 weeks. It did give Frank Skinner some of his first major TV exposure, and he later mentioned in his autobiography that this chat with Cliff Richard was edited to completely change a line of discussion. George Best and, because it was 1992, Sister Wendy Beckett sit by.

1994: Anything can happen at the British Comedy Awards and usually doesn’t. Except it did this year, Jonathan Ross wisely giving in before finishing the message from Prince Charles to lifetime achievement award winner Spike Milligan We do love how there are two separate reaction shots of Denis Norden straight away. Actually, there were more things that happened last year, as Meatloaf did his Meatloaf thing and even unnerved Michael Barrymore, with a later rejoiner from Chris Morris, who turned up to receive his Best TV Newcomer gong. The show was preceded by Schofield’s Quest, from that short period when Pip started doing prime-time TV and demonstrated his commitment by wearing glasses, and who obligingly walked us through live. “Don’t think there’s a Michael Hurll production coming out of that programme…”

1995: A little bit of Pages From Ceefax never goes amiss, and these are special Pages during a brief BBC overnight flirtation with Level 2 Teletext, offering higher resolution graphics, wide text and more colours. The slower speeds and oncoming digital takeover prevented much more in the way of progress in that direction.

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