What we were watching this week 20 years ago, as recorded in the back-issues of TV Cream’s weekly ‘e-mag’, Creamguide…
(We still send out Creamguides every week via email. If you’d like to receive it – it’s free, there are no ads, we don’t sell on your address, you can unsubscribe whenever; we’re basically soppy like that – then fill in your details below.)
TV CREAM TIMES
23rd – 29th November 2002
Other bits – Chris Diamond, Phil Norman,
Graham ‘For one week only’ Kibble-White
Saturday 23rd November
08.05 Looney Tunes
So we kick off this week with another apology, this time over the reference to Claude Cat being ‘rubbishy’ in this spot in the last Creamguide. Turns out we were confusing the secondary, but still amusing, fifties Warner Brothers character with the crappy sixties Warner Brothers character Cool Cat. Who *is* rubbishy.
Except for Scotland who for some reason get Dr Quinn: Medicine Woman. In other news this week, you note that the cover of Radio Times is devoted to a programme that now isn’t going out, Fergie’s appearance on Parky. We reckon that’s the first time since 1982, when the cover plugged a race between Seb Coe and Steve Ovett, but in between the cover and the rest of the magazine being printed, Ovett got injured and pulled out, hence a four-page feature on ‘a race that must now take place another time’.
15.00 The Fall of the Roman Empire
Epic chronicling of the last days of Marcus A (and not, y’know, *really* the fall of the Roman Empire at all), in the old school manner. Sophia Loren and Stephen ‘Fantastic Voyage’ Boyd are fairly rubbish, but behind them you’ve got Alec Guinness, James Mason, Christopher Plummer, Anthony Quayle, Omar Sharif and Andrew ‘Quatermass and the Pit’ Keir, so a decent Saturday afternoon’s wallow is assured.
20.55 Fame, Set and Match
Seemingly based on our moans here, there are just four people in the spotlight this week, and it seems rather more cerebral than usual – Beyond The Fringe, including Pete ‘n’ Dud, Alan Bennett and Jonathan Miller. All together now… ‘The trouble is, neither have you’.
22.25 The Entertainers
Omnibus of last week’s two episodes, neither of which we’ve seen at the time of going to press. Not for deadline reasons, just that we taped them and haven’t got round to watching them, which is perhaps not the best preparation for writing a TV guide.
23.25 The McKenzie Break
Big Brian Keith is the Irish soldier brought in to keep a watchful eye on naughty Nazi Helmut Griem in this PoW drama. But what’s this? It’s the Germans who are the prisoners and the camp is oop North! Fiendisly clever plot device, that. It’s near the end of the war and the authorities are worried that the Gerries might try to break out and cause all sorts of mischief in Durham or Doncaster or wherever it is that they are near. So they bring in Keith to try and contain the problem. Much philosophising and conversational goings on and Michael ‘You boy!’ Sheard thrown in for luck alongside Ian Hendry. Makes a change, we suppose…
01.10 The Conversation
Thrills, spills, action and adventure in this rollercoaster of a movie… only joking! I’m being facetious of course as we believe they show the first half of this film in sleep research centres for the control group. But seriously, it’s one to make you think as Gene Hackman slithers about recording the conversations of a couple he realises (eventually!) are to be murdered. It gets going further in and becomes really quite good, but if you’re up around this time then save on hot milk and heating and watch this instead.
21.20 An Audience With Donny Osmond
Any sort of nostalgia for this man has been rather blunted by the fact he’s appeared on television non-stop for the last decade. And Westlife are singing Crazy Horses, which sounds appalling. But we do have an Osmond reunion.
These themes are getting looser by the week, this time round the subject being ‘songwriters’. Which could apply to every record ever made, but they seem to be concentrating on Kate Bush and McCartney/Lennon.
05.10 Sons and Daughters
And on Friday too. But you knew that.
Sunday 24th November
16.20 Points of View
Five minutes long! A la the classic Anne Robinson years, sort of, only this time not followed by a Party Political Broadcast. And no bloody good, of course.
22.50 The South Bank Show
‘Can we talk about Homer Simpson? Ag! Ag! Ag!’ For some reason, this profile of Joan Rivers is billed as a ‘special’, even though it appears to be no different from a normal edition. We don’t really get to see much of Rivers doing stand-up thanks to her being saddled by a succession of crap formats, but in this show we get to see her in action in London and New York.
Mind you, we’ve never liked Joan Rivers since she appeared on the Big Breakfast, at one of its all-time low points, on the day of one of their endless live weddings, and egged on by Vanessa, she opened all the presents and slagged them off, which was just nasty.
16.40 The Smash Hits Poll Winners’ Party
There was a time when this was essential viewing – a ridiculous theme, Pip on the mike, spiders winning Most Very Horrible Thing, and a cracking write-up in the magazine the following fortnight. Now the mag’s crap, it’s on the wrong channel, the presenters are useless, all the wrong people win awards, and, oh, it’s just boring. And since when did ‘pop’ refer to a very specific genre of music anyway? Still, S Club are good, aren’t they?
21.00 Celebrity Big Brother
Goldie and Anne Diamond – together at last!
14.20 Submarine X-1
It may sound like a Gerry Anderson cast-off but it’s nowhere near that good. Having lost his proper sized submarine James ‘shoulders’ Caan gets put in charge of lots of little ones. Hey-ho.
21.00 Diana’s Top Ten
Peter York revelas what Diana’s record collectiuon says about her, including music from Abba, Elton John and George Michael. Ah, Channel Five.
Monday 25th November
And from tomorrow until the rest of the week it’s on at 14.05 because Doctors finishes today (on a Monday?) and As Time Goes By is on at 14.55 every day. Why they couldn’t just put it in the same slot as Doctors, we just don’t know.
17.00 Blue Peter
This is one of the shows you *have* to watch because they’re unveiling this year’s appeal, and if our BP knowledge is correct we’re pretty sure it’ll be for a good cause abroad. We were slightly disappointed with last year’s appeal (if you can be disappointed with an appeal) because bring and buy sales seemed a bit unoriginal, and adults can’t really take part either. So hopefully this year’s will be a bit more exciting, if you see what we mean. Oh, ignore us.
Just the one episode, alas.
13.40 Hannibal Brooks
Odd WWII comedy from the pens of Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais, by way of early (ie any good) Michael Winner, with Ollie Reed as a bolshy zookeeping PoW who takes an elephant off to Innsbruck when the zoo is bombed. Slightly jarring mix of Clement-La Frenais down-to-Earth banter and bombs-landscapes-elephant spectacle, plus John Alderton.
15.30 Living Famously
This is a new series which is said to be daytime’s most expensive factual programme ever, consisting of 25 hour-long profiles of stars of the stage and screen – all linked in with the afternoon film that’s on before it. Ollie Reed kicks it off, although we’re unsure how much of his stuff you can actually show at half past three.
22.00 I’m Alan Partridge
‘Oooooh, it’s a very good paper!’ We’re still unsure about this series, in that it’s full of great moments (the bit with the table, and, of course, A-ha-lan’s Fu-hu-nny Stories, which was the best thing ever) but there seems to be huge chunks missing from the script – the bit with the table would have been even better had it actually been set up properly and appeared to be there for a reason. And also we thought the bit with the foot was rather more horrible than funny. But there are at least half a dozen moments in each episode which make you laugh out loud, and that’s about half a dozen more than most sitcoms these days.
01.30 Off With The Mask – TV In The Sixties
In actual fact, the bit with the foot reminded us of Reg Prescott off Kenny Everett, and when we were young we refused to watch Cuddly Ken because the DIY sketches were so revolting and scared us shitless. And even a few years back, watching a repeat, we were still clenching our buttocks throughout. Er, not sure why we’ve started telling this story, actually. This Open University documentary scoots through the usual clips of TW3 and Til Death.
More war bobbins as the Japanese are attcked in i-tuddly-um-ti-do. Never seen it, to be honest but this does give us the opportunity to tip our collective hat to the late James Coburn who popped his mighty clogs this last week. Never being big on obituaries we did have the idea of taking the full page article that appeared in the Daily Mail the other day, changing Lindsay de Paul to Linda Lusardi and then claiming that we didn’t know that copyright exisited in newspapers; but that might have seemed rather pathetic so we didn’t. Instead we’ll just say that we were sorry to hear of the demise of the biggest teeth in Hollywood and hope that – since The President’s Analyst was just on a few weeks ago – they’ll dust off In Like Flint… we suppose The Magnificent Seven will do just as well, but please, not Hudson Hawk. Show some respect.
00.15 The Devils
Mark Kermode’s got his sticky paws all over this screening like a Comsat Angels-loving rash, and there’s some overblown hoo-hah about the restoration of the Christ statue-fondling scene (hence the preceding hour-long documentary), but never mind all that, as this mucky pantomime take on Aldous Huxley is as entertaining as Ken Russell ever got. Oliver “don’t look at me!” Reed does his career best turn as the head of a middle ages French religious community, persecuted by the Spanish Inquisition, with a freakish Vanessa Redgrave in tow. Brilliant Derek Jarman prod. design, the usual Russell excesses not outstatying their welcome for once, and it’s always great to see Dudley Sutton and, of course, Brian ‘George’ Murphy.
11.00 Magnum PI
Still every day at this time. Can you not move it around a bit to make it slightly more interesting?
15.35 The Sellout
Problem with this film is that it depends on the newspaper editor character played by Walter ‘Morbeus’ Pidgeon being intimidated by the small town sheriff he was campaigning against. Said problem is that we really can’t imagine our Walter being intimidated by anyone. Neffer mind, though, ‘cos help is at hand from the DA and Karl ‘Streets’ Malden. Run him in, boys!
Tuesday 26th November
22.35 Jasper Carrott: Back To The Front
The umpteenth repeat for the umpteenth repeat of Jasp’s 1975 material.
01.05 Fame, Set and Match
Here’s the Saturday morning episode again, this time with signing. It’s worth a look if you haven’t seen it, if only for the welcome appearance of Edward ‘Cravat’ Barnes, and Cheggers Plays Pop executive producer Peter Ridsdale-Scott. “I was telephoned by the head of children’s programmes who said ‘well, thank you for that series, Peter, but I must say it is the most vulgar programme I have seen in my life – I’m recommissioning it!'”
15.30 Living Famously
Humphrey Bogart’s the subject today, tying in with Murder Inc, which is on at 13.15. Unfortunately there’s Westminster in between the two.
Since we got the same clip of Robert Palmer from 1980 last week we’d previously seen about three months ago, we feel well within our rights to repeat our observation that Robert looked less like a popstar and more like an actor portraying a journalist in an episode of Shoestring, given his straggly beard, leather coat and shirt and tie. Sir Billiam Idol and the Fun Boy Three tonight.
22.00 The Entertainers
We rather thought Leo Sayer had stopped appearing in this series, which we’d welcomed cos he was getting right on our tits. Alas, he’s back tonight, but so are Tom O’Connor and Christopher Biggins.
21.50 The Frank Skinner Show
We’d rather assumed this had finished as well, because Elton John seemed an obvious series-closing sort of guest. But seemingly it’s now a regular schedule staple. At least we got Frank dancing in his pants again last time.
06.00 The Magic Roundabout
Wednesday 27th November
17.00 Blue Peter
Last Wednesday’s Bond Special was a real treat, with faux-Bond girl titles starring Konnie and Liz vamping it up, followed by the gang getting their ‘missions’ from Huw Edwards. That’s exactly the sort of thing we want. Today, Konnie and Liz go lawnmower racing, and we’re hoping for a mention of that Spectrum classic, Advanced Lawnmower Simulator.
16.00 Yes Minister
We don’t get Living Famously on Wednesdays because of PMQs, which last week were the half-time entertainment during Five Live’s coverage of Azerbaijan vs Wales. At least they’ve got their priorities in the right order.
You’d think there might be a ‘heavy’ special today as Focus and Deep Purple, but we’ve also got Elton John and Joan ‘clip-on nose ring’ Osbourne.
21.00 EMI… and Me
Apparently every band that signs to EMI gets their photo taken on the stairs, y’know. And, of course, ‘That other rocker, Eammon, and I’m saying nothing about him will be here tomorrow, I’ll be seeing you soon, I hope I won’t be seeing you…’
23.55 Classic Albums
ITV are totally committed to the arts, honest, despite the fact this series now seems to turn up at midnight every six weeks or so. It’s a Deep Purple album this time, but, you’ll be pleased to hear, not Concerto For Group And Orchestra – Machine Head instead.
13.20 The Wicked Lady
Margaret Lockwood gallivants around the muddy lanes of Old England as the dandy highwaywoman in this top hole Blackadder the Third-inspiring Gainsborough Pictures period adventure with James Mason. One of the very best to come from that venerable stable during the 30s and 40s, which, considering it’s got company of the calibre of – to pluck a title at random – Alf’s Button Afloat, is no mean feat.
00.25 Pioneers: Wigan Casino
Of course, last week’s Motorhead episode was replaced by the televised autopsy, although given the state of Lemmy these days, you may not have been able to tell the difference. We could instead get it this week, but if not, it’ll be Spider on Talc duty and Little Ol’ Dave keeping the faith.
14.30 Open House with Gloria Hunniford
What did we tell you? Special guest is one D Osmond.
Thursday 28th November
13.15 High Noon
As far as we can recall this was last shown on Christmas Day last year on the same channel but it’s much better suited to this time of the year (midweek in the no-man’s-land of November) since it’s the kind of film our Dad always insists we watch as an education. It’s a great film, but not yer festival carnival. Anyway, we digress. Fully deserving of its reputation it’s one to watch and never mind your 24, this was filmed to run in real time also. Do not forsake me oh my darling; oh no.
15.30 Living Dangerously
Obviously, Grace Kelly. Dunno what they’re going to do when the film’s replaced by bowls, unless they have a Dougie Donnelly profile lined up.
21.50 Look Around You
‘Ulphur… sulphur!’ Now, there’s a chance this could be dropped this week because Vitesse Arnhem vs Liverpool is going to be on, but we dunno when that kicks off. And Scotland appear to have dropped last week’s episode too. It would never have happened to, to take an example out of thin air, The Office, would it?
22.00 The Entertainers
This could be dropped as well, and it’s the last in the series too.
22.30 Harry Hill’s TV Burp
‘Careful Penny, I think you might have started a little bit low!’ This was fantastic last week, as we expected, and is the funniest programme on ITV since, ooh, God knows when. ‘Loose petrol?!’
13.25 San Demetrio London
Yet another WWII propaganda flick (there’s a film studies student out there somewhere who can’t believe their luck, and good on them for choosing a thesis subject that isn’t Tarantino or Buffy), this time from Ealing (of recently screened Overlanders fame). A merchant navy crew (featuring Gordon ‘Professionals’ Jackson and Barry ‘Planet of the Spiders’ Letts) navigate their stricken tanker through U-boat territory and cash in in the heartwarming final courtroom scene.
14.30 Open House with Gloria Hunniford
Sheridan Morley guests. Oh, and Night and Day update – it’s now on at 1am. They can’t still be making it, can they?
15.40 something big (billed in stupid lower case under protest)
Dean Martin mows down Mexican peasants with a gatling gun in this odd would-be black comedy western with Carol ‘Cathy Come Home’ White, Honor ‘The Upper Hand’ Blackman and Denver ‘Uncle Jessie’ Pyle as one ‘Junior Frisbee’.
Friday 29th November
17.00 Blue Peter
Ignore what we said about The Quest last week, because it came up trumps straight after with Derek Griffiths and Matt Baker working together for the first time! Fantastic! Mark Curry’s the ex-presenter involved this week.
01.00 Matthew Hopkins: Witchfinder General
The less trumpeted of this week’s two historical religious persecution melodramas, but definitely the best. Brooding charlatan Vincent Price, together with nasty sidekick Robert ‘Cygnus Alpha’ Russell, make their way through Civil War-era Essex, burning and deflowering gullible townsfolk as they go, until roundhead Ian ‘Saint’ Ogilvy catches up with him. Watch out for Nicky ‘Happy Apple’ Henson and Wilfrid Brambell. It’s brilliantly crafted stuff throughout. This slot is probably the one saving grace in the current film schedules – after the recent The Sorcerors, we only need Revenge of the Blood Beast to complete the Michael Reeves trilogy.
13.05 Mutiny on the Bounty
The Laughton/Gable one, not the Howard/Brando effort. Which is all very well, but we’re afraid our nearest points of reference for this are that Bugs Bunny parody with Yosemite Sam running after a lit match, Glyn Christian tracing his genealogy on Breakfast Time, and the Two Ronnies’ “Mutiny on the Crunchie” sketch. And we have a go at Jonathan Ross!
15.30 Living Dangerously
Clark Gable, and than that’s it until January. Presumably because for the next four weeks the afternoon schedules will be entirely devoted to Norman Wisdom films, given BBC2’s predeliction for them in recent years.
It’s ‘A Night In’ – thirty minutes of genius.
01.15 The Day the Earth Caught Fire
Not the cheeriest of sci-fi films this, which is probably the way it should be. However, it does feature Leo McKern and Bernard Braden involving themselves in much Hold-The-Back-Page-style newspaper witticisms. And the bloke who played who plays the editor had actually been the editor of the Daily Express, fact fans. Much tumbling around sweatily in amongst the mists in London by Edward Judd and Janet Munro as the Earth is knocked off kilter by ill-advised nuclear tests. It’s a great film but don’t watch it whilst pondering any important decisions as it is likely to radically alter your sense of perspective.
02.10 For Pete’s Sake
Another hard-to-like ’70s Streisand screwball comedy, with Our Babs – actually, let’s face it, Their Babs – as a wacky, motorbike-riding wife who supplements her hubby’s meagre cab driver’s wage with a bit of daytime prostitution. Belle de Jour, as Barry Norman would say at this point, this ain’t, but, as with the similar Up The Sandbox, also recently on in this slot, there’s curiosity value to be had in seeing would-be satirical slapstick fall completely flat on its baby booming arse.
* Chris Diamond: “It’s time for our dander around the garden of joy that remains The Wheeltappers. Last week we had the unique sight of Stephan Grapelli juddering his jowels, his fingers a blur while he fiddled away on the same bill as Lonnie ‘Lennie Goonegan’ Donnegan his energy supplemented by his frilly red shirt. That’s variety, folks! Terri Rogers’ ventriloquist act was surprisingly good and strong man Tony Brutus performed great feats by lifting our Bernard and the Mayor of Casterbridge – or wherever – whilst stretching a giant comedy chest expander. Class! On the down side our extensive research has shown that Little and Large should have made an appearance on the show but must have been cut by Granada Plus as a part of their ongoing management policy of not having the faintest idea of what they are doing. They’re also showing them out of synch an’ all as last week’s was episode three, not two. Will there ever be a rainbow?
‘Now it seems that they’re also making a hash of the showing times as well. Now it’s to be Friday nights at 22.30, instead of Saturday, starting from November 22nd when they will show episode four starring Buddy Greco and Jimmy Jewel (and then seemingly show it again on December 6th. Blimey!). It seems number two, with The Krankies, Bill Haley and Ronnie Hilton has gone for a Burton. On the plus side, the episode on November 30th – which is a Saturday, just to keep up the continuity – is Miss TV Times at the Wheeltappers.’ (Friday, 22.30, Granada Plus – a channel which now appears to be showing Columbo and Bewitched most nights, which is just not on)
* Everything else is pretty much as you were – Valerie Singleton join Mr and Mrs N Cook on Shooting Stars (Sunday, 22.00, Monday, 22.30), The New Statesman continues on Paramount (Monday-Thursday, 23.00) – with Yorkshire ident intact at the start, excitingly – and Bravo, for some reason, screen That Riveria Touch (Saturday, 21.00, 00.55).
* And it’s a repeat of 1998/99 on Football Years on Monday (22.00, Sky One), before it moves to 1983/84 on Wednesday (22.00). What chance the moment where Jim Rosenthal appeared live via satellite on Surprise Surprise to plug the coverage of Brazil vs England that was following the programme? Virtually none, we presume.
PANTS ON FIRE
Right, this time we really do mean it when we say the new TV Cream Update is about to be published – it’s almost completely written and everything. You’ve still got a chance to get hold of it by subscribing via the little box on the front page of http://tv.cream.org. That’s also where you can access Ask The Family, the TV Cream message board. With your nostalgia questions answered in record time, guaranteed!
Guess who’s got a book out – Chris Hughes, Ian Jones, Simon Tyers