Technical skill and imagination help to offset a low budget
We’re back with the second half of your Christmas viewing, though it’ll be well into January by the time we take our leave. Do let us know what you get up to over Christmas via firstname.lastname@example.org, as the next issue won’t write itself, but for now, onwards…
SATURDAY 30th DECEMBER
12.20 Fiddler On The Roof
POKE 56876,4 time as Topol sort of hops on one leg through We Must Perform A Qurkafleeg and launches approximately fifty four thousand punningly titled episodes of Only Fools And Horses from when they kept bringing it back without anyone really noticing, with one Paul Michael Glaser further down the cast list, albeit sadly without Hutch’s Snake in tow. Actually, come of think of it, Roger Lloyd Pack’s in there somewhere too, as is perennial early seventies television ‘bad guy’ Vernon Dobtcheff and even Ruth Madoc, which does make you wonder whether Norman Jewison actually somehow wandered into Teddington Lock rather than Pinewood. Singalong culture clash musical comedy fun for all the family for which BBC1 used to run trailers for about three weeks before it was actually on. You’ll never guess what clip they used.
19.00 Lives Well Lived
20.00 Burt Bacharach at the BBC
21.00 Parkinson at 50
22.00 Tina Live!
Tom Baker famously once said that we were in the curious position where the living was mostly entertained by the dead, and that’s certainly the case on this channel tonight with a host of tributes to some of the most significant individuals who died this year. That begins with what might potentially be the start of an annual series where Kirsty Wark looks back over the year’s passings, including Betty Boothroyd, Bobby Charlton and Glenda Jackson, with appreciations from those who knew them best, which should make for engaging and poignant viewing. Then three of the biggest losses of the year are expanded on via a triple bill of repeats.
Karen Gillan-deficient origin of the game-straddling franchise species as Robin Williams takes the lead for a Gremlins meets Wonders In Letterland tale of a board game that plunges its players into proto-CGI pith helmet-friendly sub-Pitfall! action-adventure escapades in one of many entries on a massive list of movies that were purportedly ‘set’ to ‘dominate’ the ‘box offices’ at Christmas in 1995 which nonetheless conspicuously omitted to include The Indian In The Cupboard, Four Rooms and Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls. One to watch when you’re glugging down Memphis Mist between plays of the CD single of Wonderwall by The Mike Flowers Pops.
19.40 Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom
Perhaps not surprisingly given that the entire world appears to have forgotten about the concept of something being ‘quite good’, Indiana Jones And The Dial Of Destiny seems to have met with something of a ‘mixed’ reception to say the least, partly on account of a lot of disgruntled viewers who were left aghast at the wild fantasy overtones of the storyline -presumably they are just grumpy on account of the fact that you can’t move for melting Nazis round by theirs these days -and partly due to the surprisingly considerable volume of potential patrons who very loudly and persistently stated a refusal to go and see it full stop as they cannot stand that Phoebe Waller-Bridge and did not want to run the risk of discovering that she had somehow in direct contravention to the rest of her comedy made it ‘woke’ or worse still might spend the entirety of the running time winking at it. Come on, lads, no-one likes a samephrase. They should be placated, in that case, by this timely reshowing for Indiana Jo’s second outing, complete with infamous plot-avoidant gross-out banquet sequence, lurid playground legends of what Mola Ram did in the version that you got in America, and those runaway mining cart chases that caused all manner of speculative juvenile confusion when ITV started showing ‘Indy Car Racing’ at ten billion o’clock in the morning not long afterwards.
22.00 Four Weddings And A Funeral
Peter Baynham and Chris Morris wedge their fingers in their ears at Emma Freud’s guitar playing and nobody laughs at that joke in The Vicar Of Dibley that wasn’t actually a joke as Hugh Grant babbles something about when they brought that Ricky kid who sang What Kind Of Noise Do You Make? into the later seasons of The Partridge Family and Rowan Atkinson astounds everyone in the known universe by -in a complete departure from form -playing a sort of inept comedy clergyman who says the wrong thing. That all said, and as much as it may have ultimately been responsible for Love Actually, Notting Hill, that one about going back in time and not writing for Whizzalongawavelength or something and The Boat That Bastarding Bastarding Bastard Bastarding Bastard Rocked, this is in fairness a well above average comedy movie -especially for a British comedy movie -and it must have been doing something right. It made a star out of Elizabeth Hurley and she’s not even in it!
10.25 The Money Pit
“As you can see, the old place is falling apart”. Tom Hanks and Shelley Long take the quirkily romantically mismatched lead in the Shakin’ Stevens-reversing tale of doing up a dilapidated property while one of those financially and romantically scheming not-quite Russians that they had all the time in the eighties lurks lawsuitingly in the background, which you always seem to remember as ending in exactly the same way as The People Under The Stairs although apparently it actually doesn’t. Seen here kicking off Channel 5’s now-traditional one-day Tom Hanks mini-season, as it’s followed by 1998’s top date movie with a side order of explaining how Freeserve works You’ve Got M@il at 12.10 and pretzel-scoffing departure lounge farce The Terminal at 14.35. Blants.
20.25 Bradley Walsh: My Comedy Heroes
We’re sorry to keep coming back to Pasquale and Walsh, though that’s the nearest Brad has ever come to a double act, and we always enjoyed the story of Lord Bob telling him “my greatest wish is that you and Pasquale get the success that you deserve!”. That was more a case of two stand-ups shoved together in a package deal, mind, and it’s rather more conventional double acts here, some of which you’ll have seen a lot of over the last week or so, though we also get the likes of Reeves and Mortimer and Fry and Laurie.
BBC Radio 2
13.00 Pick of the Pops
This’ll presumably be the final outing for most of the Christmas records this year, and it’s a famous festive top two first up with 1987, possibly in the week the number two finally gets to number one, as well as two versions of the same record in the top ten. We could have had that in the second hour too, but sadly in 1996 Mike Flowers’ version of Don’t Cry For Me Argentina only got to number thirty, worse luck.
BBC Radio 4
15.00 Never Mind The Bollocks
Well, if anything illustrates how liberal this era is in terms of profanity, it’s the fact that title can happily be mentioned in mid-afternoon on the Home Service, when back in 1977 a record shop owner was arrested for even displaying the LP in the window. And that’s the subject of this drama, a storm-in-a-teacup incident that was blown up into something much larger when Malcolm McLaren and Richard Branson felt there was a bit of publicity to be had.
Vivienne Westwood just missed appearing in all the reviews of last year as she died on 29th December, and one year on here’s a tribute to someone who made a huge impact on music and fashion, and indeed was one of the first people to make a real connection between the two. We’ll hear from various Pistols and associates during this programme, along with many more famous names that she inspired.
NEW YEAR’S EVE
20.25 Marry Me
We’re not just about the golden oldies around here, and we are most certainly not about The Golden Oldie Picture Show to any degree whatsoever, so here’s the network premiere -yes, they still do them -for a likeable effort we quite enjoyed recently starring Jennifer Lopez as a veteran pop star who finds out her moderately less veteran pop star boyfriend has been doing a spot of DM sliding, and if you catch our meaning not in search of ‘DVD of Chock-A-Block’ as all of TVC’s unsolicited private messages seem to be about, and throws the entire celebrity industry into chaos when she proposes to Some Bloke live from the stage in a fit of disgruntled fury. Not exactly Dark Star but we’re giving it a leg up to underline the fact that there is still some halfway decent stuff out there if you just fancy a random night out at the cinema and you don’t honestly have to shout at people for not going to see subtitled Venezuelan dramas about a boy divorcing his parents with a soundtrack by some bloke hitting a detuned guitar and going ‘Hoik!’. Look, just be thankful we haven’t got an excuse to start going on about Morbius, alright?
23.30 Rick Astley Rocks New Year’s Eve
What better way to see in 2024 than with a rousing chorus of Ruddy Big Pig? As a bit of a treat for the pensioners it’s that nice Dick Spatsley who gets the honour of singing us into the new year, which would have sounded bizarre a few years ago but now he’s one of the biggest pop stars in Britain again. It’s not dripping with irony either, because he’s clearly a bloody good singer and a lovely bloke, and his Smiths shows have received huge critical acclaim as he clearly genuinely loves the music and is totally sincere about the whole thing. Maybe he’ll drop a couple of those in the set list -thought Girlfriend in a Coma might not be the ideal choice for midnight -but we’re guaranteed big hits, singalongs and droll wit throughout.
00.55 Airplane II: The Sequel
This seems to have somehow steadily slid down the league table of juvenile mid-table racy comedies to become a resolutely one-star recipient of writeups denouncing it as entirely without merit, and while it was never exactly even as good as the original parade of Dick Spanner-adjacent puns to begin with, this does still feel a little off to anyone who remembers how it would never fail to become the talk of the playground the day after you’ve been allowed to stay up to watch ‘the first ten minutes’ and then promptly been sent to bed the moment the first close-up of an entirely covered-up set of comically big knockers put in an appearance, with only second hand legends to fall back on of how the continuity announcer had to talk really really fast to avoid trampling over the actually quite good gag at the end of the credits. Anyway it’s in space so expect loads of Close Encounters gags made by people who haven’t actually seen it.
11.55 Seven Brides For Seven Brothers
“Lord Hill’s at the foot of this!”. Eminently cancellable abducto-marriage hoedown with Howard Keel, Julie Newmar, Marc ‘Not That One’ Platt and Julie Newmar leading the scramble to the window on discovering that the room is entirely surrounded by film and which possibly later inspired Paul Simon to write that song where he went ‘just hop on a goose, Bruce’ though nobody’s quite sure, presented here very much in its traditional somehow managing to take up entire afternoons on BBC2 despite only lasting for marginally longer than Venom: Let There Be Carnage timeslot. Colour Separation, you cotton-head!
Contemporary-sort-of-ish retelling of JM Barrie’s celebrated tale of The Boy Who Never Grew Up, with Julia Roberts doing the Tinkerbelling honours and prompting a million aspirant teenage sweethearts to tug on their suddenly extremely self-conscious intended paramour’s sleeve on exiting their local Cannon cinema suggesting ‘I can be the Julia Roberts?’ while the sixth former in a commissionaire’s uniform mumbled something about plasma rifles while pretending to do important things with that sort of red velvet rope thing and it was out onto the street, past Seattle Coffee Company and home to find out just how bad that Further Up Pompeii! they did on ITV really was. None of which happens in the movie, obviously, but then again not very much actually does as it is.
19.10 Larry Grayson’s Generation Game
Woah! With Bruce and Ronnie and now this, BBC4 are absolutely flinging out the hits over Christmas, and how fantastic is it to open the Radio Times and see this in it. Much like Mike Yarwood outrated Morecambe and Wise at Christmas 1977, so it’s well-documented that Larry actually pulled in higher ratings than Brucie on the Gen Game, though some of that was inflated by the ITV strike. Regardless he was an inspired choice of replacement and you’d have to go some to find a more successful revamp of a popular show. They showed quite a few of these on Challenge a decade or so ago, and it illustrated that Lal really was as useless at the mechanics of the game as legend has it, but also that it didn’t matter one bit because there’s so much good humour and affection on display from all concerned. We join them on New Year’s Eve 1979 which actually isn’t a regular episode but a compilation of the year’s highlights, but that’s all good, though despite what Lal suggests Murder on the Orient Express doesn’t follow.
21.30 Scotch and Wry
And here’s another fascinating repeat, and indeed for Scottish readers it’s probably the most welcome of the lot. It only appeared once on the network, but for over a decade in Scotland this was the equivalent of Morecambe and Wise, The Two Ronnies and Only Fools and Horses put together, Rikki Fulton’s annual appearance on Hogmanay being the most eagerly anticipated show of the year. What made it extra special was that it was a show actually about Scotland, stuffed with jokes completely impenetrable south of the border, which made it feel like both the biggest show in the country and its best-kept secret, while it memorably and mercilessly spoofed the rest of BBC Scotland’s output, including famously the Hogmanay show that followed it. Now here’s finally everyone else’s chance to experience it as we see how Supercop, IM Jolly and the rest saw out 1986. Maybe we’ll get The Untied Shoelaces Show next year.
NEW YEAR’S DAY
It’s the all-female one from 2016, which we quite liked but which also apparently ruined cinema forever for a bunch of exceptionally disgruntled men who had to tear up their back issues of Blimey! It’s Slimer! in protest irrespective of the fact that Ghostbusters: Afterlife had the flimsier plot and the ‘woke’-er politics and the more ridiculous reboot slash reset conceit and the lack of much in the way of decent action setpieces and anyway when we went to see it there was a couple sat behind us who let their child watch an entirely different film on an iPad with the volume turned right up and refused to turn it off even though it was one of those expensive cinemas where they serve you honey glaze pistachios at your seat via an ‘app’ and everyone says ‘Aaaaaaaaah! Do you not see!’ about a documentary about Johnny Hates Jazz or something. Be careful what you wish for, we guess. Unless you’re wishing for honey glaze pistachios being delivered to your seat.
12.45 Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid
“The Sun Sets On The Sundance Kid -Will Robert Redford Ever Act Again?” queried the proto-clickbait cover of TV Times ahead of his South Bank Show in 1981, which was inspired by the fact that -shock horror -he had recently directed a movie, and was at that point already in negotiations to star in The Natural and would indeed continue acting right up until his retirement in 2018 just after trying to nab Loki’s sceptre from Tony Stark. Leaning at a weird sideways angle as Harry Alonzo Longabaugh, however, remains his most ionic role for many, not least those who developed an irrational hatred of The Guy Whose Feet Are Too Big For His Bed on the Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head-toting Fisher Price Pocket Radio. In case you were wondering, it did not deliver a canonical plot summary. Then there’s more epic Western action straight afterwards with The Magnificent Seven at 2.30, though there’s sadly no room for 1971’s tale of Brucie traversing the sewers for an errant fifty pence piece The Magnificent Seven Deadly Sins. They could have capitalised on Bruce And Ronnie for crying out loud!
After a brief-as-is-politely possible break for Christmas, this channel wastes no time in getting right back to business with all the regular Monday quizzes resuming their tournaments and getting your brain back in gear after the celebrations of the night before. It feels like this might be a slightly gentler set of specialist subjects than you might get here, though, with rounds on The Big Band Theory and Orson Welles.
22.00 Bonnie And Clyde
Pour la police, it’s Áa ne fait pas d’myst’re as Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway recreate the Great Depression-era stickup trail of Deidre and Fred beginnin’ their evil-doin’ one lazy afternoon down Savannah way, all leading up to the much copied and never bettered slow-motion shootout which initially saw the movie released as Bonnie And ClydeÖ Were Killers! for about three minutes until Warner Bros realised that they might stand to win some awards and more importantly might actually want some people to go and see it. An absolute belter on every single level and while we’re not really quite sure how Creamguide (Films) Film Of The Week works now, basically it’s this. Then stick around for more mid-sixties crime’n’social unrest commentary with Sidney Poitier uncovering a suspicious six hundred and thirty two dollar payment to a background of racial tension in In The Heat Of The Night at 11.50, which is essentially runner-up. And not In The Still Of The Night as we originally typed there, which is the Whitesnake hit nobody remembers.
Here’s the umpteenth attempt to make a hit of America’s biggest quiz hit a success in Britain. They’ve had a few goes before, with it briefly alternating with Countdown on Channel Four in the eighties, a couple of series in ITV’s much-missed 9.25 slot in the nineties and a version on Sky One nobody watched because it was on Sky One. Thing is, what makes it an institution in the US is mostly that the questions are quite difficult, but we have lots of shows like that here, and we’re not sure its here’s-the-answer-what’s-the-question gimmick is enough to make it stand out, given it’s basically a whole show of the “What am I?” questions from Going for Gold. But ITV do seem to be emphasising that it’s a suitably tough challenge and have hired Stephen Fry as host to bring an avuncular and intellectual touch to the whole thing. So, fourth time lucky, perhaps?
09.10 An American In Paris
Based on the original George Gershwin theme for Saint And Greavsie Investigate, it’s Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron in a striped jerseys and strings of onion-ahoy tale of artists about town failing to cross paths with Tony Hancock to the tune of Nice Work If You Can Get It, high-kicking off an afternoon of musicals on Five taking in Singin’ In the Rain at 2.10, My Fair Lady at 4.15 and -oh do we have to -The Wizard Of Oz again at 12. We don’t know, go and show your uncle how Big Loader works while that one’s on. Yes we know a lot of you like it and we always get complaints, but we always preferred The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn if you catch our drift. Anyway, three out of four ain’t bad, and if Rich and Cat from Don’t You Want Me? don’t spend the afternoon live-streaming their synchronised tap dancing on InstagramÖ well, there’s not much we can do about it really. There is a TV Cream podcast but we can’t really live-stream watching 4 What It’s Worth or something, can we?
23.10 Darcey Bussell on The Magic of Dance
23.20 The Magic of Dance with Margot Fonteyn
BBC4 kicked off 2023 with a repeat of Come Dancing and it’s kicking off 2024 with more music and movement, albeit of a slightly more sophisticated kind. Back in 1979 Margot Fonteyn introduced a series examining the previous century or so of dance, examining its development and illustrating the points with demonstrations both by herself and many other famous dancers. Among those watching was a ten year old Darcey Bussell who found it a huge inspiration, and she’ll start this repeat run by explaining why it’s still among the greatest examples of dance on TV.
BBC Radio 2
14.00 Your Ultimate Madonna Song
Nice to see Radio 2 continuing the grand New Year’s Day tradition of a big long countdown to keep you occupied and entertained on the journey back from last night’s reveries. It’s forty years to the month that Madge first made it into the UK top ten and appeared on Pops for the first time, and to celebrate here are the nation’s forty favourite songs, crossing enough genres and eras to make for a hugely entertaining listen, unless Vogue’s not number one in which case it’s a sham.
BBC Radio Scotland
18.00 Tartan Top of the Pops
It’s the sixtieth anniversary of Top of the Pops today, although what with the issues surrounding showing pretty much everything from the sixties and the fact we look back on its history every week of the year these days, there’s not much special to celebrate that. BBC4 has a bit of a go on Friday, albeit all via repeats, though for the only new programme to mark the occasion we have to visit a very surprising station indeed. Should be good fun, though, as Grant “Fully Booked” Stott will reflect on the numerous Scottish acts that have appeared on the show over the years, and among those sharing their memories is a wonderfully eclectic line-up, rather illustrating what made it so special, including Midge Ure, Fay Fife and, yikes, BA Robertson, as well as members of H20, Strawberry Switchblade and The Soup Dragons. No Nicky Campbell, seemingly, but Edinburgh-raised Goodiebags joins in the fun as well.
TUESDAY 2nd JANUARY
22.40 Rain Man
Delving back into the TV Cream ArkHive archives, something that we used to receive a lot of correspondence about -second only to Interceptor, Roy Jay and ‘the programme about the alien girl where it was called Would You Like To Swinging On A Star’ -was Chico The Rainmaker, a Children’s Film Foundation serial about an Amazonian artefact discovered in a junk shop by a brother and sister and sought by its original owner in something of a proto-Gremlins gambit albeit with distinct ‘probably best not revisited’ vibes to proceedings. Nonetheless, for all the equally if not even more potentially dubious comedy references to Dustin Hoffman’s card counting, it’s funny what actually lodges itself in the collective memory as opposed to what we’re told does. So anyway, about Roy Castle Beats TimeÖ
“I am now about to hand the Tarranium Core to Mavic Chen!”. It’s astonishing just how quick the terrestrial channels are to discard any pretence of a feast of festive films once they don’t have to these days, and whereas in years gone by you might still have got, say, eco-tearjerker The Christmas Tree or that explicability-averting Biggles reboot lingering on in big prominent slots on the day before about half of the viewing audience have to go back to work, now they just don’t bother at all and so here comin’ at ya is Elizabeth Taylor’s raiding of her mum’s makeup kit with a soundtrack that wouldn’t exactly have been expanding the repertoire of Shaheed The Snake Charmer from Playboard. Oh to have had a lost scene where Hedge And Mo very slowly edged towards Antirhodos, occasioning Sosigenes to label it “a squash and a squeeze”.
20.00 Penelope Keith Remembers… To The Manor Born
20.15 To The Manor Born
20.40 Yes Prime Minister
To The Manor Born remains one of the most-watched sitcoms, and indeed most-watched programmes of any kind, in telly history, as with Larry’s Gen Game assisted somewhat by the ITV strike in its early days but still a smash hit for the entirety of the run. Quite some going, especially as Audrey is really awful in it. Another repeat run kicks off with Penny “Penny Keith Don’t Need Me At The Manor” Keith sharing her memories, before the Hacker chronicles move on to the Downing Street years.
WEDNESDAY 3rd JANUARY
13.00 The Big Country
Demon rhymes like a script from Fright Night! Saul Bass-tyopgraphed frontier days action with Gregory Peck, Charlton Heston and Jean Simmons, as originally released in ‘Technirama’ which was sort of a primitive precursor of that thing they have in Cineworld Screen 12 where a sort of existentially unravelling Jason Statham stretches along the walls and is now almost impossible to reconstruct without incorporating a great big line akin to when you’d get two Keith Harrises with a bickering Orville and Cuddles, and home to Buckarootastic merchandising sensation that wasn’t ‘Old Thunder’, essentially Champion The Wonder Horse for bastards.
22.45 The Silence Of The Lambs
“He’ll eat your uncle and auntie/washed down with a fine chianti!”. Anthony Hopkins essays his Last Prize-winning Brucie impression and escapes past Chris Isaak and his two watches by doing that fake face trick much beloved by The Master off Doctor Who only using a real face in a Beavis’ Magic Show And Like Uh A Bunch Of Other Dumb Stuff Suckers Fall For twist on the formula as warring factions of cineastes try to out-ahhhhh each other as they spill out of the simultaneous showings of this and Henry: Portrait Of A Serial Killer and rumours abounded about people having to be escorted from the cinema in abject terror although if they did then frankly they probably shouldn’t have been allowed anywhere near a freezer full of King Cone in the first place. Out of all of the cinematic renditions of Perrier The Terrier, this is certainly the second least like Give My Regards To Broad Street.
22.00 Andrew Davies Remembers… Pride and Prejudice
22.15 Pride and Prejudice
Easy to suggest now that period drama is at the absolute heartland of the Beeb but there was a time when they didn’t seem to do all that much of it, towards the late eighties many of the established classics going out in the Sunday teatime slot while there were the self-consciously serious likes of Rhodes and Nostromo which were neither critical or popular successes. But in 1994 there was Middlemarch and Martin Chuzzlewit, both oddly from a modern perspective on BBC2, and then the following year this on primetime BBC1, which was a huge hit and revitalised period drama forever. Actually earlier this year there was much grumbling that we had a new adaptation of Great Expectations not long after the last one, but this only followed a decade after the last version of Pride and Prejudice. But that one didn’t have Colin Firth with his shirt off, so everyone had forgotten about it. Andrew Davies pops up before it to suggest a few other reasons why it took off, though.
THURSDAY 4th JANUARY
12.45 The Lady Vanishes
It’s the Margaret Lockwood and Michael Redgrave iteration of Ethel Lina White’s classic literary tale of a train-bound game of Hunt The Old Woman, not to be confused with that 1979 remake with Elliot Gould and Cybill Sheppard where Pob wrote the vanishing lady’s name in ‘flob’ on a window or something, padded out to movie length with the addition of later BBC Radio-hogging cricket-fixated inexplicabilities Charters And Calidcott and a cameo from Alfred Hitchcock as a British Rail sandwich except he never actually makes the cameo because they never had any in stock because they were did not never have them ha and that’s the end of Next Week’s News. There’s more from The Master Of Suspense fresh from burning every print of The Mountain Eagle on a special bonfire at 2.20 with The 39 Steps, a 1939 thriller starring Robert Donat as literary fiction’s top worker-out that they are the sort of gloves that you wear on your hands Richard Hannay, later remade in colour with Kenneth More in 1959 and again with additional Harold Lloyd slash Bowie slash Mr. Platt off Trumpton clock-hanging antics with Robert Powell in 1978, which in turn a whole decade later spun off into a series of televised further adventures in Hannay, an early example of one of those sort of one hour drama shows that seemed to be permanently on ITV at 9pm and which everyone bar you seemed to profess to ‘like’ despite showing any evident genuine enthusiasm for it and which in retrospect were a sure sign that the original Cream Era was rapidly giving way to the age of Big Lad Productions and people writing in to Points Of View to complain that Bangkok Hilton was in too high definition. We didn’t know how good we had it with Strike It Rich!.
21.00 The Graduate
G! He needs a helping hand! R! You know he’llÖ no, that’s not going to work. Simon And Garfunkel soundtracked cause of Kevin Arnold rumination and George Michael radio volume-admonishment as Dustin Hoffman tries to resist Anne Bancroft’s one-woman Ann Summers Party en route to a wedding-crashing climax as pastiched and parodied by everyone from The Simpsons to early nineties session musicians playing at being a dissolute indie band The Lemon Trees. A must-watch for fans of The Sound Of Grandpa, Captain Snort Is A Solider Man and The Great Green Arkelseizure albeit with no sign of Red Rubber Ball by The Cyrkle or that one where Paul Simon declares that there were times he took some comfort with the horse on Seventh Avenue.
22.40 Talking Pictures: Dustin Hoffman
There was an interview with Kylie a while back where she said these compilations of interviews were her favourite TV show, and we’re still getting the occasional new episode. This one’s the meat in a Dustin double and should be a suitably swift run-through his glittering career.
FRIDAY 5th JANUARY
19.30 Celebrity Mastermind
Christmas and New Year at the start of the week does have the unfortunate side-effect of the festive Creamguide dragging on through some hugely unfestive days, though here’s a bit of additional Christmas cheer and there are still seven episodes left to sneak out through the early months of 2024. Andy Zaltzman has managed to combine his two great loves of comedy and cricket but he’s talking about neither here, instead being quizzed on Rodin while there’s another little tribute to the much-missed Matthew Perry as John Whaite picks Chandler from Friends.
13.00 The Band Wagon
Not a tell-all biopic about The Arthur Askey and ‘Stinker’ Murdoch pretending to live in a skip next to that Cowboy Hank thing or whatever it was, but Fred Astaire and Cyd Charrise in an ‘are they playing Bridge, by any chance’-style pairing as a brace of Broadway stars trying to revive their wildly divergent careers but finding a good deal of hoofed-up middle ground thanks to showstopping renditions of That’s Entertainment!, Dancing In The Dark and I Guess I’ll Have To Change My Plan, which does leave you wondering why, say, ‘Belouis’ ‘Some’ or someone never did an entirely different song with the same title as the latter for a full-on triumvirate of eighties adolescent-perplexment. “Menswe@ar of course will mistake it for a bandwagon and attempt to jump on it”.
20.30 Top of the Pops
Not back to 1995 just yet, as instead we seemingly celebrate the sixtieth anniversary of Pops with a whole evening devoted the oldest stuff it’s now possible to screen. It kicks off with the Big Hits 64-75 compilation that started the whole repeat run off in 2011 which includes pretty much all that’s left of the first decade, much of it very familiar of course but nice to have it all in one place. Then, skipping past all the Yewtree-affected business we alight on the earliest complete episode that’s broadcastable in its original form, the second half of Christmas 71. Actually it’s in a half hour version made for a repeat a few years back, so we can’t remember what makes the edit, but we think it includes the disappearing Tam.
21.00 Top of the Pops
And then it’s off to 1973 and the last episode presented by Cuddly Kenny Everett before he defected to the newly-launched Capital. For a while the original version of this episode had long been wiped and it only existed in unedited form, but a decade ago they stuck it back together, wisely leaving child star Michael Ward on the cutting room floor. Ken’s in fine form and it’s probably one of the better episodes of the year from a modern perspective, bar an Engelbert Humperdinck song that goes on for about a fortnight. After that it’s the Big Hits of 77, 78 and 79, followed by The Story of 76, 77, 78 and 79 until half past three. You might be able to work out what we’re getting next week.
And that’s that!
Went on a bit at the end, that, but we finally made it. Thanks to the Filmguide attendants for joining us, and thanks to everyone who’s read and contributed to Creamguide in 2023. And a merry Christmas to all of you at home!
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