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Christmas Creamguide 2017: Week Two


Hullo again!

And we’re back with the second half of your Christmas Creamguide. Actually, such is the way the dates fall this Christmas, we’ve got most of the first week of January here when you’re probably long back in work, but we’ll cling onto the holidays like grim death.

SATURDAY, 30th DECEMBER

BBC1

17.50 Celebrity Mastermind
Let’s hope Richard McCourt was safely out of the studio when they recorded this one, as Dick and Dom’s sworn enemy Rachel Stevens in on this one, which allows to reminisce about the time a decade or so ago when they tried to launch her as a pop star for adults with a LP full of Bowie samples and clever songwriting, to huge acclaim in the broadsheets but disappointing sales, so they hurriedly re-released it with a load of disco covers instead. Still, it was fun while it lasted.

BBC2

17.35 Talking Pictures
Seemingly uniquely for this series it’s the interviewer rather than the interviewee who’s of interest in this episode, because it’s the Beeb’s tribute to Barry Norman. For so many years he was the face of film on TV and so enjoyed virtually total domination of the cinemas and a negative review from him could sink a film single-handedly. Happily he was always constructive in his views, and highly respectful but incisive as an interviewer as well, as we’ll see here.

20.00 Dad’s Army
What with Christmas Night With The Stars the other day we’ve had we think every single Christmas-related visit to Walmington-on-Sea this fortnight, which means that this is actually just a normal bog-standard non-festive episode. Not that it makes it a waste of time, mind, especially if you’re usually busy on a Saturday.

CHANNEL 4

20.00 The Price Is Right
Though we don’t rush to watch him, we like Alan Carr and we think it’s a bit of a shame that at the moment his career seems to be stagnating a bit, with Chatty Man seemingly being “rested” as a regular series – though there’s a Christmas one this week – and instead he’s being tried out in numerous different formats in the hope that one sticks, in a way that reminds us of Jack Dee a decade or so ago, and we wonder if he’d be better off leaving Channel Four and trying something totally new. This would seem to illustrate that, as with no better ideas this hoary old format has been dusted off, initially as a Christmas one-off but presumably with one eye on a potential long-runner. You would hope that, with Carr in charge and it being on Channel Four, it’s going to be substantially different to previous incarnations with much more in the way of wit and subversion. But, er, let’s see.

CHANNEL 5

12.55 Greystoke
Christophe Lambert and John Wells! Together at last! Funny how what was such a lavish, even notorious, film – both famous and INfamous! – can be so easily forgotten. But what exactly was the problem that kept audiences away back in the heady days of 1984? Nothing that we can appreciate, since it’s always been the sort of thing we enjoy. What other sort of film can throw together such disparate players as Sir Rich Ralphardson and Paul ‘Kit Curran’s Rancot Keeper’ Brooke? Perhaps when we consider the Big Films of 1984 it might give a clue? The top five blockbusters in descending order were as follows: Beverley Hills Cop, Ghostbusters, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Gremlins and The Karate Kid. Greystoke came in at No.15. But at $45m gross it was below even The Natural, which took fewer dollars than it inspired jokes in The Simpsons. We imagine a certain amount of disappointment that much of what goeson happens on National Trust property and not amongst the jungly tendrils but who can say? People are dicks, after all. Dune made more than The Last Starfighter! Eh?

5 Star

21.00 Carrie
Sissy Spacek doles out precisely what her classmates deserve in school incident significantly less stabby than takes place in any modern comp [SATIRE].

BBC Radio 2

13.00 Pick of the Pops
Had BBC4 been proceeding at the pace it did for the first few years, Pops would only be coming to the end of 1982 now, but we’ve enjoyed getting as much of the imperial phase as we can as quickly as possible. Had things taken a different turn we’d presumably also have seen the American charts on the show every few weeks, but we’re not massively broken-hearted that didn’t happen. If you’re at all curious as to what it might have been like, though, here’s Gambo to oblige with this week in 1982 in, yes, both Britain and America.

BBC Radio 2

20.00 UK Confidential
Always great fun, this is the traditional programme that takes a look at the latest government documents that have just been released, which always makes for entertaining listening, even though we’re now in the period which seems worryingly recent. Specifically it’s 1992, which should give us another perspective on the election and whether we really would have been aaaaalll riiiight.

NEW YEAR’S EVE

BBC1

18.30 Celebrity Mastermind
Saturday Mash-Up seemed to be a pretty successful attempt at reviving the Saturday morning tradition this year, as the kids themselves seemed quite enthusiastic about it even if, as suspected, most adults didn’t have a clue it was even happening. Still, well done to the entire team, and so we’ll be cheering on host Yasmin Evans tonight, alongside Faisal Islam and it’s always great to see serious journalists in a light entertainment context.

20.00 Antiques Roadshow
It’s been over a decade now since the 20th Century Roadshow applied this show’s format to pop culture, which somehow failed to do the business, although somewhat inevitably its parent series has taken on something of the mantle in recent years as post-war stuff gets more and more collectable. And sometimes we do get shows of nothing but, like this one devoted to showbiz, held at Elstree and with treasures including Doctor Who scripts and Big Daddy nick-nacks.

23.20 Nile Rodgers and Chic – Good Times
In the seventies and early eighties, Christmas Eve used to be the traditional slot for live music on the Beeb with artists like Queen putting on hugely memorable shows – indeed, it’s on BBC4 again tomorrow – but nowadays New Year’s Eve has become rock o’clock, and it certainly manages to attract some big names. Unsurprising when it gets one of the biggest telly audiences of the year, whatever year it is. And it’s a cracking choice this year as the Nicest Man In Rock sees in 2018 with some of the most famous songs ever written, loved by generations. And even if for some reason you don’t like them, try and stay up for the first MMXVIII copyright date.

CHANNEL 4

05.45 The Four Musketeers
‘Uneven adventure’ says the Sunday Times Culture section. ‘Wrong’ says Creamguide (Films). With Day Funaway as the Milady in what is subtitled Milady’s Revenge this is the second in that sequence forever knows as The Films That Killed Roy Kinnear but which are superb Lesterian fun in any case and quite astonishing to look at. But while we’re on the subject (sort of) was the Milady in the Muskehounds a cat? Cos she bore a striking resemblance to Glenda the Guinea Pig.

NEW YEAR’S DAY

CHANNEL 4

06.15 Flash Gordon
What better way to kick 2018 off than with this those-blokes-with-projectors-who-used-to-hire-themselves-out-for-children’s-parties staple high camp comic strip adaptation with the memorable addition of ‘Hot Hail’ and Peter Duncan being ‘got’ by Squidgy Bog off of Wizbit. No sign of Jane And The Lost City, mind.

CHANNEL 5

09.25 On The Town
What’s it like, Bart? Bart? Bart? Sinatra, Kelly and Minshun go crazy Broadway-style with a whole day of New York shore leave in which to cram wine, women, singing and dancing and The Museum Of Anthropological History, while carefully overdubbing the word ‘helluva’ with ‘wonderful’ so nobody would ever suspect a thing. It’s also a fascinating pre-Highline-and-John-Lennon-memorial snapshot of the city that never sleeps. All the Free Goo is sold by chains now, you know.

11.25 Oliver!
Hot Sausage And Mustard-scoffage ahoy as Mark Lester, Jack Wild and Ron Moody pick a pocket or two while waiting to call Bill Grundy a ‘barstard’. Famed for its entire score of show-stoppers – Where Is Love?, Food Glorious Food, I’d Do Anything, EMI (Unlimited Edition) etc – penned by Lionel Bart, who wrote tons of other exclamation-marked over-the-top stage musicals that never quite seemed to make the jump to the big screen, but was forever being wheeled out on ITV talk shows in the eighties whilst announcing his latest ‘comeback’. Incidentally, Creamguide (Films) recently saw a programme from the original 1960 West End production of Oliver!, bearing a cover illustration from an artist who had apparently been watching The Boy From Space instead.

20.00 The Two Ronnies In Their Own Words
In a World Cup year we’ll doubtless be reminiscing about alternative schedules we have loved, and surely the highlight of them all came in Euro 2000 when Schedule B offered up A Tribute To The Two Ronnies, about four different clip shows mashed together into one epic three hour show. Sadly it never got on, but Channel 5 are trying their best to recreate it as this show lasts two and a half hours! Obviously they did so much stuff together there’ll be plenty to go at, so this is highly recommended if after last night you don’t even want to think about moving.

BBC Radio 4

18.15 50 Years of Just a Minute – Nicholas Parsons In Conversation With Paul Merton
It’s only really Nick who can get away with referring to Paul, as he does, as a new comedian given Paul’s television career now spans over thirty years, but there’s no doubt that Nick’s admiration for the man and the work he’s done to ensure Just a Minute remains popular and relevant is totally genuine. And as we hope 2018 is a bit better than previous years, what better way to start than hearing two people be really pleasant to each other.

BBC Radio Solent

18.00 The Brittas Empire Rebuilt
Well, here’s a station we don’t normally see in Creamguide! But it’s thanks to producer Richard Latto who has drawn our attention to this show, which sounds like it’s going to be great fun, with Chris Barrie and all the cast being reunited – as Richard recorded here – to tell the story of a series that was hugely successful in its day – and did so while featuring some highly outrageous pieces of comedy that were quite unlike anything else in primetime – but now seems to have fallen out of the collective memory. Among the tantalising behind the scenes secrets Richard promises are the revelation that Gordon was originally going to be a vicar. And don’t forget, it’s on iPlayer so you don’t need to go to Hampshire.

TUESDAY, 2nd JANUARY

BBC2

12.05 The Wooden Horse
“[SPEECH HERE TO COVER THE DEATH OF THE GIRL]”. We’re starting to run out of Cream-worthy films a bit now, but here’s a welcome chance to see Leo Genn and David Tomlinson shouting “It’s film again – what’s going on?” as they attempt to escape Stalag Luft III in the sort of triumphant wartime drama that Michael Gove is always weeping that ‘they’ won’t let ‘you’ make any more. Maybe it’s time we dug out straight-to-video 1994 family comedy A Feast At Midnight. And set fire to it in front of his crying face.

ITV

20.00 The Greatest TV Moments of All Time
Well, the holidays may be officially over, but here’s the light channel with a suitably grandiose gesture to keep the festivities going for another few hours. Actually it’s only two hours, and add that to the fact it’s on primetime ITV and presented by Paddy McGuinness, and you can probably work out that it doesn’t really have any intention to be definitive or important, and is just a bit of idle fun to amuse the ITV audience, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Often these charts tend to be stuffed full of news events that would have happened regardless of whether cameras were there or not, and dominated by established classics from the sixties and seventies, but at least this show attempts to vary it a bit by choosing particular moments from various genres and eras. And if you don’t like the winner, it doesn’t matter.

23.10 Clueless
Not exactly what you would call a traditional favourite around these parts, but we really are running short on films worth listing now, and you could do a lot worse than this lightweight but fun effort relocating Jane Austen to The Mall. Released at the height of me-too post-Tarantino gritty-postmodernism mania and suffered from a lack of ‘cool’ points as a consequence, but we’re willing to bet that it’s aged a little better than Killing Zoe or Threesome.

CHANNEL 4

22.00 Prince – Last Year of a Legend
Hard to imagine now how 2018 could bring any more shocking celebrity deaths, but we don’t doubt this year will fling plenty of shit at us until we’re all gibbering wrecks. Here’s one of the most devastating from recent years, although we’re sad to report that this programme is apparently a bit of a grubby affair which gets a bit too excited about wondering what might have caused his death, which to be honest we don’t really need to know. But here it is anyway.

WEDNESDAY, 3rd JANUARY

BBC1

19.00 Celebrity Mastermind
Look, it’s still Christmas! Actually it’s a great period for quizzes at the moment as Pointless is back new from Tuesday and ITV are launching a new primetime quiz next week which is intriguingly in a half hour slot like they used to be. And we love the quizzes so we’re happy. Had things gone differently in 2017, Tim Farron might have been a bit too busy for this kind of thing, but here we are.

22.45 Pretty Woman
Again, not something we would bill if they were showing Schulmadchen Report Teil 13 or Crawlspace on Channel 4 at 11am, but in the absence of that we may as well give the cautious thumbs-up to the Gere’n’Roberts tale of putting wigs on top of other wigs or something. Not least as it inspired a short-lived frenzy of distasteful ‘The Real Life Pretty Woman!’ tabloid sensations that ranked with ‘Are You ‘Avin An Arfur Fowler?’ for sheer unpleasantness. And that absolutely fucking dreadful remix of Fame by David Bowie. If that ends up on his forthcoming ‘wilderness years’ box set and Tin Machine *don’t*, there WILL be consequences.

BBC2

12.10 School For Scoundrels
Guess who’s enrolled! Dirty rotten Ian Carmichael and Terry-Thomas are given tutelage in cadship by Alistair Sim complete with fourth-wall-breaking bunch-of-stuff-that-happened don’t-try-this-at-home direct-to-camera moral at the end. Ignoring the genuine con-trick remake with Billy Bob Thornton and John Heder, we’d quite like to see the 1976 Bollywood remake Chhoti So Baat, which apparently won the ‘FilmFair Award’ for Best Screenplay. We hope the winner was announced by Moschops.

BBC4

21.00 Made In Dagenham
Splendid Sandie Shaw-driven period piece telling the real life Society For Cutting Up Men (But Politely) tale of a bunch of sewing machinists who went on strike to demand equal pay, despite the bosses insisting that women couldn’t be paid as much as men because reasons. One of those overlooked but entertainingly spot-on modern history efforts that sneak out when nobody’s really looking, but you’ll love this and we have no hesitation in nominating it Creamguide (Films) Film Of The Week. Bet they get Polly’s jumper wrong though!!!4

BBC Radio 2

23.00 Jimmy Osmond on Branson, Missouri
It’s been a very Osmond Christmas, what with Donny’s thing on Channel 5 and Jimmy on Pointless the other day, and now here’s Jimmy again homing in on a town he knows very well, as it’s the live music capital of America. OK, so it’s not Vegas or anything, but there are fifty theatres in it, one of which Jimmy took over from Andy Williams, and it’s where Middle America comes to let its hair down.

BBC Radio Wales

18.30 Peter Baynham: Wales’ Funniest Writer
Wow! It’s quite surprising for those of us who remember his contributions to Fist of Fun as Balham’s Twiglet Masterchef to see Peter being feted by Hollywood royalty and swanning around LA with a suntan and flowing locks, but we’re so thrilled Peter is now a hugely successful writer, having contributed to some of the most successful British films of the century. Here’s his home station reporting on the local boy done good, with Steve Coogan among those taking part.

THURSDAY, 4th JANUARY

BBC1

19.00 Celebrity Mastermind
Probably most of us will long be back in work by now, but Matt and Alex are having a few more days off so we can pretend it’s still the festive season while this is around. More fun tonight as John Pienaar, usually more used to being interrogated by John Humphrys twelve hours earlier on slightly different things, is in the chair, as is Springwatch’s Martin Hughes-Games.

BBC2

12.10 Lucky Jim
Big screen version of the comic novel that launched a thousand ‘heated debates’ in English Lit seminars, with the haven’t-we-seen-you-already-this-week pairing of Ian Carmichael and Terry-Thomas making with the humorous academic mishaps involving black eyes and clapped-out old cars. There was also a television spin-off, The Further Adventures Of Lucky Jim, in 1967, which we’ve never seen but we’re hoping is every bit as good as the sitcom version of Billy Liar.

CBBC

17.30 Blue Peter
One great bit of telly recently we’re not sure we even mentioned here was when Radzi appeared on the Breakfast sofa to talk about his parachute jump alongside Janet Ellis, and Janet got a bit of a surprise when Radzi presented her with a gold badge. Indeed Radzi’s jump was sold as part of this show’s sixtieth anniversary celebrations which we’re promised will be carrying on all year, as he joins the long line of presenters to have done it. And here’s the whole thing in one show.

FRIDAY, 5th JANUARY

BBC1

19.00 Celebrity Mastermind
And as ever there are a couple of leftover episodes of this series which will be shoved out in any available slot over the next week or two, which is all to the good. In the meantime you can celebrate getting through those awful few days of the year with this, where Martin Bell is among those being grilled.

BBC2

12.10 Triple Cross
Well we did warn you there’d be naff all in the way of interesting films on this week. So here’s a laugh-averse Second World War drama about a double agent who sends false crackly wireless messages about finding some fish and chips and gets his leg over with Romy Schneider in the name of counter-espionage. What we wouldn’t give for one of the Not Now! films right about now. Don’t go away, though, as it looks like we’re going out on a high…

20.00 Mastermind
According to the regional variations, BBC Wales are showing this at the same time as Celebrity Mastermind, and if that happens that’s a wonderfully stupid bit of scheduling. That said, even when they’re an hour apart it’s surely asking for trouble when it’s clearer how much harder the questions are on this one, but they’re for different audiences. And this seems a particularly populist edition anyway with The Beach Boys, The Royle Family and general elections.

CHANNEL 4

21.00 Eight Days A Week
Ron Howard’s one hundred percent gear chronicle of John, ‘Dinners’, George and Ringo’s days on the road, crammed with rare archive footage (including some apparently taken from tenth-generation VHS) and interviews with people who were actually there for once. Look past the much-derided Sunday Night At The London Palladium-sidestepping ‘they had to come to America to become The Beatles’ slant to the narrative – this is a great documentary that shines a light on their earlier Fabness while everyone else is busy going on about a pointless new mix of Sergeant Pepper. Where’s the Dave Clark 5 documentary, eh? No, don’t tell us. We don’t care.

BBC4

21.00 Top of the Pops: The Story of 1985
22.00 Top of the Pops: Big Hits 1985
It’s still fantastic how these shows have now become a real tradition on the first Friday of the year, and we think the documentaries have become increasingly interesting and entertaining, and the compilations are always well-chosen. However, it’s with a heavy heart that we suggest this is the first year we’re looking forward to a bit less than the previous one because 1985 is a pretty dull year for pop, with all the glamorous synthpop stars from recent years swapping their keyboards for guitars and growing their hair long, as well as an exceptional amount of plodding dadrock and one hit wonders. And sadly Pops itself suffers, the recent rearrangement of Yellow Pearl and nasty new font prefacing the show becoming increasingly ugly, while the arrival of the Top 40 Breakers alongside the unwelcome return of the Top Ten Videos on a regular basis means we lose studio performances in favour of endless clips of videos. But that’s not to say it won’t still be the most entertaining thing on telly most weeks and we’re still absolutely thrilled it’s continuing.

And a happy new Creamguide!

That’s it from us for now and it’s a special thanks to everyone who’s contributed to and read Creamguide during 2017, as we couldn’t have done it without you. And, of course, a Merry Christmas to all of you at home!

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