TV Cream

Cream over Britain

Advent Calendar: December 6th

1973: Everyone was into oil fields in the mid-70s, and a discovery near the Shetlands led John Craven’s Newsround. Craven himself had been out and about interviewing the mother of one of two plane spotters sentenced to prison for spying in Yugoslavia – they were released eleven months later. John later turns consumer champion with a selection of dangerous toys, because apparently having kids play with lead colouring is a bad thing, but the real highlight is the report on plastic wrapping, or at least the end of it and Craven’s immediate, tellingly silent response.

1977: Star Wars would be released on 27th December in the UK so the promotional work had to be scheduled early to get out of the way of Christmas duties. Not that those doing the interview quite knew what to make of it, as a still only 21 years old Carrie Fisher on Nationwide demonstrates as John Stapleton tries to understand the concept of working with special effects.

1985: Terry Wogan invents Riverdance! Well, kind of. After at least two jokes that are presumably of their day and time, “the BBC have bought another puppet series” gets a round of applause for some reason. The Muppet Show didn’t begin on BBC1 until the following February but Jim Henson was over anyway, followed by a songless-due-to-copyright Joni Mitchell and a typical Michael Barrymore.

1986: In retrospect, and certainly not for the first or last time in the history of moving from one big channel to another, Roland Rat was past his imperial phase by the time Roland Rat: The Series completed its first run. The 14-week prime-time slot didn’t help, of course, but it feels quite lightweight and unsure where the gag is going, and with the chart hits long past it was all Roland’s Rat Race to come after this. After Patrick Moore has done his impression at the end of the last in the series, freedom at last with the introduction of the fourteenth and last part of Trial Of A Time Lord.

1987: In a show where the subject seems to be ‘hands’, Paul Daniels on Windmill. It turns out what Chris Serle is doing at the start leads into his appearance, somehow.

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