TV Cream

Cream over Britain

Advent Calendar: December 8th

1979: The first Star Trek film was released the previous day in the US and on the 15th here. The BBC children’s budget extended to sending Maggie Philbin to the set on behalf of Swap Shop to meet the cast, including Shatner and Nimoy.

1983: “This week’s number one is on the back of my jacket!” No, not the melting snowmen Flying Pickets Pops performance but the one in which they look comfortably the most disreputable, especially the one on the right who fancies himself as a salt of the earth Quentin Crisp variant.

1986: Madness have split! Well, we already knew that, it had been announced in September, final single (Waiting For The) Ghost Train had already been and gone from the charts and Utter Madness was released a couple of weeks earlier. Even so it was still deemed worth Breakfast Time sending Steve Blacknell at this late stage to ask why, after they’ve got over asking about the videos once more, and besides which Suggs casually mentions that some of them are staying together which they briefly did as The Madness.

1988: Cliff Richard goes almost straight to number one and so gets on Top Of The Pops to bid us “have a great Christmas everybody!” before the climactic key change. A bit early, surely, but one woman does make sure to shout “thank you!” in response.

1989: “Gavin – is it Gavin or not?” “It’s Tom!” Even though the “shock jock” thing never really took off in the UK outside the first month of Talk Radio, the James Whale Radio Show and its host’s reputation for “straight talking” almost seems quaint these days. We join Whale about a year into the late night TV simulcast from Radio Aire. “It’s a little confusing tonight” he starts, which hardly helps but does sum up his attitude to the night’s topic of ‘role reversal’, which here means a transgender woman, house husbandry, a same sex marriage blessing and male strippers, the latter of which features the pre-Partridge traditional gay panic ending but is in fairness a role reversal itself from Peter Baynham’s description of the show, “a lady comes on in just her bra and James Whale smiles”. And if you have any idea what Gavin Tom is actually there for, let us know.



  1. Glenn Aylett

    December 8, 2018 at 2:54 pm

    I actually quite like the less popular, more melancholic later Madness songs. It showed that they were prepared to move on from the 2 Tone era and do something different. However, the fickle record buying public considered Madness to be old hat by the mid eighties and the band decided to quit.

  2. richardpd

    December 8, 2018 at 5:28 pm

    Yes some of the slower Madness songs can be good, even from their Nutty boys period.

    As TV Cream have been commenting on the TOTP 1986 repeats, a lot of big names from the early 1980s seemed to run out of steam by 1986, & Waiting For The Ghost Train is due to be featured.

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