TV Cream

Cream over Britain

You say it’s your birthday?

One thing above all else can be guaranteed to unfold in 2007: a bumper load of anniversaries.

For starters it’s 25 years since Channel 4 began, and by way of celebrations the station can hardly do worse than on its 20th birthday five years ago, when it did fuck all. It’s also 10 years since Channel Five began, which was originally going to have been commemorated by another relaunch of Family Affairs involving the entire community moving to an unnamed northern provincial town to work in a covered market run by Cathy McGowan and Simon Dee. Instead there’ll probably just be a Home And Away pantomime and an episode of Trisha co-hosted by Su Pollard. It surely wouldn’t take that much effort to stage an anniversary reunion of Five’s Company?

Elsewhere Scottish Television will be 50 years old, it’ll be 40 years since colour TV started in Britain, CBBC, CBeebies and BBC4 will all be 5, and in August the entire nation will bow its head and stand precisely where it’s told while a flustered booming female voice will announce the fact it’s exactly ten years since Kate Thornton invented ‘Candle In The Wind 97’.

One anniversary has already passed: the 25th birthday of Central Television, which fell on 1st January and was marked in a manner reflective of the extent to which the company retains a presence in the consciousness of its many millions of viewers, i.e. less than zero.

It’s the small matter of Big National Events, however, which is likely to inspire the most number of tie-in programmes and anniversary specials, and for that it’s a fair bet most archive clippage requests will be filed for 20 years ago: 1987, the year of the National Disaster. The hurricane, the stock market crash, Hungerford, Zeebrugge, Enniskillen, the King’s Cross fire, that bloke landing a private aircraft in Red Square…was there nothing about which Tel could essay a few funnies in the first few minutes of another night’s Wogan?

Of course there was! Lester Piggott’s tax shenanigans! “Apparently old Lester used to put a dab of perfume on his tax returns. ‘Considering what they’re doing to me’, he told the court, ‘I might as well get them in the mood.'”

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