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
26th January – 1st February 2002
Still known as – Phil Norman
Saturday 26th January
Highlights this week are Sigue Sigue Sputnik doing 21st Century Boy (don’t worry if you prefer Love Missile F1-11, it’s exactly the same) and King, which we like as each member of the band has a different type of mullet – Paul’s got a natural mullet, the bassist has a curly mullet, the guitarist has a spiky mullet, the keyboard player has a pony-tailed mullet and the drummer has a bald mullet. Plus there’s The Regents, The Mobiles, Tiffany and R&J Stone. But there’s also Neil Diamond doing Morning Has Broken in 1982, and if anyone wants to know what Top of the Pops’ lowest point was, show ’em that.
17.15 Walk On By: The Story Of Popular Song
This is last year’s eight-hour series tracing the complete and utter history of everything, now bizarrely truncated into ninety minutes. How rushed is this going to be?
21.35 The Frank Skinner Show Britney Special
Of course when Tony Blair appeared on this programme Frank did the anecdote about him and his brothers sharing a bedroom with a bucket in the corner for them all to piss in during the night, and that’s the sort of thing we want him to mention in the presence of La Spears.
22.10 TV’s Naughtiest Blunders 3
OK, this show’s presented by Steve Penk, but it is actually dead good fun because it just does what it says and shows loads of unbleeped out-takes. Better still, they come from all sorts of odd sources as well, so here we’ve got stuff like Anne Diamond saying ‘fuck’ on TVam, and past shows (ie, it might be this one, but we can’t remember) have included clips from Bullseye and Hardwicke House as well. You’ll laugh out loud, honest.
20.00 The 100 Greatest Kids TV Shows
Yeah, you probably saw this first time round, and had all the watercooler conversations, but C4, with no respect for inter-office harmony, are screening it again. There’s some rotten stuff in here, that’s for sure, but we do have a great Screen Test retrospective, Iain Lee being genuinely enthusiastic about Knightmare, and a Tiswas clip we’ve never seen before in our lives. Enough good stuff here to make it worth your while, but the first “on acid” arrives at number 97, alas.
17.05 Ernest Goes to Camp
First – a-ha-hand best! – of Jim Varney’s slapstick simpleton cycle. Creamguide has noticed there’s likely to be a film review job going at the Guardian Guide soon, so we’re polishing up on our broadsheet film criticism. Rule one – prove you’re a cut above the Total Film plebs, and that you read a copy of Cahiers du Cinema once when you were at university, by applying the auteur theory to every film you appraise, even the most bog-standard production line comedy. So – director John Cherry, while firmly in the tradition of American slapstick from Mack Sennett via Keaton to early Woody Allen (rule two – always mention Woody Allen if at all possible), somehow fails to impose a coherent comedic vision, resulting in a drab escapade more tatty than Tati (rule three – no pun is too weak, especially if it looks like Barry Norman might be retiring anytime soon).
Tom Hanks and Sally Field are stand-up lovers in this slight romantic comedy-drama, reminiscent in places of Scorsese’s King of Comedy (rule four – always mention Scorsese if at all possible).
03.35 Elton John: Behind The Music
C5 are showing all sorts of crap overnight, but it’s all better than what ITV are doing at this time.
04.15 Sons and Daughters
Still, at least ITV At The Festivals has moved on to 2001. Might have been a better idea not to have made it date-specific, perhaps?
Sunday 27th January
00.25 Kids in the Hall: Brain Candy
Cinema outing for rather good Canadian comedy “troupe”, though we always preferred The Frantics’ Four on the Floor ourselves (“I’m Mike Duncan in Ottawaaa!”) Superior sketch comedy (rule five – make it clear you can enjoy a bit of lighthearted fluff with the best of them, provided it’s “superior”).
14.15/14.30 That’s Esther
This is still going, then, despite now seemingly buried in the ‘regions vary’ slot in mid-afternoon. Anyone remember the two episodes they did at 8pm on Monday night in 2000? Anyway, it’s here as Larry Hagman’s on, much as he is on every show at the moment.
06.10 The Trap Door
14.30 Carry On Regardless
An entirely coincidental tribute to Stanley Unwin, who plays a landlord in this odd, bitty ‘On. A repeat of The Secret Service would be better. Interesting how, in that show, Gerry Anderson reversed his usual trick of puppets for long shots and real hands for close-ups, by having Unwin filmed in live action doing all that difficult standing up, walking etc., then cutting to his puppet for close shots. Then again, it was a weird show all round. Ideally suited to a Channel Four slot, really. Ahem. Where were we? Also present – Bill ‘Nurse’ Owen, Liz ‘Double Bunk’ Fraser, Esma ‘Flo’ Cannon, Fenella ‘Screaming’ Fielding, Joan ‘Marple’ Hickson, Betty ‘Camping’ Marsden, Terence ‘Bergerac’ Alexander, Molly ‘MacWitch’ Weir, Norman ‘Simon Simon’ Rossington, Nicholas “would you like a mink coat, Elizabeth?” Parsons and Patrick ‘Wives’ Cargill. ‘Cabby’ update – despite them swapping Teacher and Constable around, they seem to be showing them in more or less chronological order, so expect Cruising next week and Cabby the week after. That is, if they are sticking to the order, or even bothering showing any more.
19.30 Andy Warhol: The Complete Picture
Three-part documentary included here purely so we can make a joke about Curiosity Killed The Cat, and that won’t be until the last episode anyway. So we’d better give it a proper billing, which is that it uses hundreds of interviews and rare footage to piece together an in-depth profile of his life, and Peter Blake and Debbie Harry are amongst the interviewees. But also Jeffrey Archer.
03.10 Big Wednesday
Jan-Michael ‘Stringfellow’ Vincent, Charlene ‘Lucy’ Tilton and Robert ‘Freddy’ Englund star in this surfing ‘n’ slacking spectacle. Time for a masterclass from some guest critics – “Not bad as far as these things go, which admittedly isn’t very far, but not a patch on Tubular Swells. I was local bodyboarding champion, you know, until these show-offs started doing it standing up and stealing the sheilas. Bastards!” – Clive James. “Not exactly my cup of tea, but then again neither is coffee, and far be it from me to cast aspersions on that estimable South American bean. In summary then, you pays your money and you takes your choice.” – Barry Norman. “I wuvved it!” – Jonathan Ross.
05.50 The Trap Door
Now there’s two of them!
06.35 Dappledown Farm
I wonder if we’ll ever get It’s Stardust repeats here?
Monday 28th January
14.10 Diagnosis Murder
You bastards! In no way have the Beeb run out of episodes of Shoestring, but it’s been dropped for yet another rerun of this. Don’t feel you have to listen to the contributors to Ceefax’s Chatterbox feature, Beeb.
17.00 Blue Peter
Bringing down our Blue Peter Books from the attic was the best idea we’ve had all year. One of the other things we like about the books is the chance to see what the totalisers for the appeals looked like, which were always great, starting off with book three where the totaliser for their Tractor For Africa appeal seemed to be modelled on a fairground Test Your Strength machine, with an arrow pointing to the figure and a reference in the text to “ringing the bell” to reach the target. We like the idea of Christopher Trace weilding a mallet to find out what the total was each show – Val wouldn’t have done it, obviously. Oh, and they reached the target on Boxing Day, which surely wasn’t a BP day? And there were only two presenters then too.
18.30 Your Dreams Come True!
Viewers with Sky Digital have a treat in store for them tonight, as technology has expanded to such an extent that you now get to choose what regional news programme you watch! The five “most popular” are your options, with the other regions promised soon, so you could choose LDN (it’s rubbish), South Today (with Roger Finn!), Midlands Today (with Nick Owen!), or Look North (with Harry Gration!), but you should choose North West Tonight, cos Gordon Burns is brilliant, and whenever Mark and Lard have a guest on their show, they’re always on this too, so the other week Gordon introduced an item on Starsailor. Of course all the ITV regions are also available on Sky Digital, and if that was an option when we were twelve we’d never have left the house. The only reason we went on holiday was to see TSW!
23.05 Johnny Vaughan Tonight
We’re quite enjoying this series, though we put the accent on the “quite”. The best moment so far has been Rob Brydon doing anecdotes about when he used to do voice-overs for BBC Wales, including a discussion about the correct way to read out a menu. And he interrupted an interview with a bloke from the RMT by making an ‘important point’ – “I get the train from Richmond to London a lot, and one day I saw Sir Tom Courtenay on it, and we had a lovely chat”.
21.00 Never Mind The Buzzcocks
We really enjoyed last week’s episode, as it included five minutes worth of improvisation with a top hat, Claudia Winkleman impersonating a horse in lieu of providing the correct answer to a question, and a member of Mai Tai in the identity parade. Leeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee John and, bizarrely, Lesley Garrett guest tonight.
03.25 The Entertainers
Never mind the Jubilee, Victor Spinetti’s seventy this year, and that’s more worthy of street parties. Here he is in this odd series which has presumably been on the shelf since he was sixty.
13.10 The Big Sleep
After Michael Winner’s dappy remake a few months back, here’s the Bogart-Bacall classic (rule six – The Big Sleep is a Classic. Any whingeing along the lines of “Oh, I dunno what the bloody ‘ell’s goin’ on ‘ere!” will only lose you marks).
06.30 Dappledown Farm
Actually we’re reminded here of when Ally Ross’s old UK Confidential column in the Sun used to have ‘As read by Victor Spinetti’ in the masthead, something that Bizarre probably wouldn’t do. That was in the days when Ross used to go under the name of ‘Shaft’, and it was supposed to be a secret who he was, despite the fact he wrote loads of other stuff for the paper with exactly the same writing style under his real name. Still, at least he never filled his column up with chain e-mails he’d been sent.
15.40 Hart To Hart 8: Harts In High Season
And where’s 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 got to, then?
But now – who’s that familar figure ambling into the office?
“Anyone can write a listings guide” someone* once said. Well, that’s true, but we hope that if you visited TVC Towers, and asked Max the lift computer to take you up to floor 17, you’d be struck by the amount of dedication and hard work that’s put into bringing you your weekly on-the-toilet read. Behind the Creamguide Editor’s desk is a sign with just two words on it: “Inside TV”. And that has remained our guiding principal ever since Creamguide first started that one or two years ago. We want to take you Inside TV. Therefore, in an effort to do just that, and secure some permanent desk-space again in the office we’re launching a new micro-feature. We like to call it:
TV CREAM HEROES WEEKLY
Your guide to TV Cream heroes on the TV this week.
#1 Violet Berlin, as seen in JOYPAD, Monday-Friday at 6pm, Bravo
Violet Berlin secured her status as TV Cream Hero by fronting CITV’s BAD INFLUENCE! from 1992 until she was gradually phased out to become the programme’s countryside correspondent (or something) before it finished up in 1996. Variously described as a “cyber babe” (chiefly because she was a lady on a computer games programme cf. that woman in VIDEO AND CHIPS), “fresh faced, spiky-haired” and “long-time friend” of Gareth “Gaz Top” Jones, Violet actually looked more like the kid in school who – more often than not – had dry snot on their cheeks (maybe that just resonates with us, though). Leading the “girl” reviewers on BAD INFLUENCE! (“well, the girls enjoyed it too, but couldn’t see the point in all the fighting”) Violet actually appeared in a couple of games herself – Micro Machines ’96 being the only one we can be bothered mentioning here. Better than that, she once described our (and Iain Lee’s) favourite Knightmare (“welcome, stranger”) as “the best gaming show ever”. Now that’s just common sense. Despite having a debilitating speech impediment, she continues to opine about games in the frankly cheapo JOYPAD on Bravo. For more reading on Violet Berlin we suggest the great Bad Influence! website at: http://www.badinfluence.fsnet.co.uk/ and the wonderfully named “Some Girls You May Like” site (which is wrong for so many reasons) at: http://dspace.dial.pipex.com/town/plaza/hq07/pictures.htm
*From the same source: “Hey fools, if you don’t start posting then I’m gonna come ’round and break your heads!”
Tuesday 29th January
17.00 Grange Hill
A new series! And still that same rotten theme tune, no doubt. The series kicks off what that old standby, the school election, which leads us to presume that they started writing the storylines for this back last June. Sara “Glam Metal Detectives” Stockbridge appears to have joined the cast, and all the kids are rubbish and not ugly enough now, but Miss Carver’s still in it and we always quite liked her. Sorry, Creamguide’s getting quite laddish at the moment, isn’t it?
Why not show this on Wednesday instead of Dad’s Army moving days again? And still no room for Attachments, you note.
03.05 ITV Sport Classics
ITV like to pretend their coverage of football has always been Des, Terry and Ally, which is why this is only allowed out in the small hours.
06.30 Dappledown Farm
Wednesday 30th January
17.00 Blue Peter
In book five there’s a great totaliser for the Blue Peter House, because it’s actually shaped like a house, with the numbers on the windows. The target was to collect 120 million stamps to create, yes, the Blue Peter House, which was a house turned into two flats for homeless families. There’s a great bit in the text where it says, in that classic BP Book style, “At six minutes to five on December 28th, a message was flashed from the control room to the Blue Peter studio; ‘light up the chimney on the Blue Peter house. The Blue Peter viewers have done it again’.” Oh, and they’re riding the 532 Blue Peter today.
A cracker of a line-up this week, it seems, with Darts, The Pasadenas, OMD, Soho (of “I stopped loving you since the miners’ stike” fame) and Creamguide’s fave, It Bites doing Calling All The Heroes, which we seem to remember Mike Smith playing every five minutes on Radio 1 in 1986. That and his “theme tune” Get Outta Your Lazy Bed by Matt Bianco, which probably won’t get an airing anywhere at all ever again.
19.30 Yes Minister
Which last week brought us the interesting revelation that Jim Hacker supports Aston Villa! For some reason.
22.00 Dad’s Army
Jane Root’s really moving BBC2 forward, isn’t she?
03.55 ITV Sport Classics
Of course, Des Lynam left the BBC because a) they didn’t have enough live football, and b) Match Of The Day was on too late. Now he’s on ITV where a) he hasn’t presented their last two live matches, and b) tonight’s edition of The Premiership, covering a full programme of matches, is on at 11.30pm. Well done, Des.
06.00 The Trap Door
02.10 The Real Lena Zavaroni
We feel really bad about putting this in because there might be some prime New Faces clips, as opposed to because it’s an engrossing study of eating disorders. Sorry.
06.30 Dappledown Farm
Thursday 31st January
20.30 This Is Your Life
So we’ve been waiting for this Bill Oddie one to come up, and we turn on each week with the tape ready to go, only to be confronted by Jonah Lomu and Rosemary Conley. Note also they’ve started telling us what’s coming up on the programme, which in Jonah’s case was ‘Jonah’s parents leave New Zealand for the first time’, which seems to rather spoil all the surprises.
13.10 SOS Pacific
Richard Attenborough and Jean ‘The Brothers’ Anderson find themselves threatened with a nuclear explosion in this disaster thriller, coincidentally released the same year as Resnais’ more thoughtful nuclear meditation Hiroshima mon Amour (rule seven – mention a European auteur if at all possible, even if you have to clumsily crowbar the reference in).
06.00 The Trap Door
Now instead of Bewitched there’s Meego, whatever the hell that is. Meanwhile about three series of Futurama are gathering dust on a shelf in Horseferry Road.
06.30 Dappledown Farm
Friday 1st February
17.00 Blue Peter
Our all-time favourite Blue Peter appeal totaliser though was that which accompanied their Starehe SOS appeal in 1971, where they collected old wool and cotton to build dormitories for destitute boys in Nairobi. The totaliser, brilliantly, was a giant sock, which was in fact a big net which they stuffed parcels into, so when they’d recieved a quarter of a million parcels they stuck a few at the bottom of the sock to represent them, but when they reached the three million target, there were loads of parcels there, all stuffed in, and spilling out all over the place so it looked nothing like a sock at all. Honestly, you should see it. Also, they asked for each parcel to contain just one pair of socks and one cotton pillowcase, as that way it would cost just two and a half new pence to send. Oh, and today is “non-uniform” day on BP, whatever that may entail.
23.35 Bill McLaren: Flower Of Scotland
Hmm, they schedule this documentary about The Voice Of Rugby, and then immediately after, he announces that he’s retiring. How convenient. We sincerely hope that there’ll be some prime Bough-era Grandstand here. Now how about a Best Of Barry Davies, Beeb?
08.15 Bill and Ben
And at 13.00, yes.
06.30 Dappledown Farm
14.20 Open House with Gloria Hunniford
Even if Bill Oddie’s TIYL hasn’t been on, he’ll still be rubbing his hands all over Glo’s body this afternoon.
15.30 The Outsider
Feature-length pilot which gave rise to an obscure and short-lived US mystery series of the same name, in much the same way as, say, Don’t Eat The Snow in Hawaii paved the way for Magnum, or Prescription Murder spawned Columbo (rule eight – never let on that you know absolutely nothing about a film, just waffle).
01.00 The Illustrated Man
Claire Bloom tattoos Rod Steiger, providing a convenient if shaky framework for a fantasy portmanteau film based on a Ray Bradbury story with an ‘enigmatic’ ending typical of late ’60s Hollywood self-indulgence (rule nine – all films are “typical” of the period in which they were made, unless they obviously weren’t, in which case they were “a breath of fresh air”). Right, that’s us done, we’ve got an interview at Farringdon Road to get to. If next week’s Guardian Guide is full of references to Marianne Stone and Simon Simon, we’ll have pulled it off. If film reviews appear in next week’s Creamguide, you’ll know we’ve muffed it.
04.00 Sons and Daughters
We have lots of insults about Jo Whiley as well.
It’s not all Friendzandeeearr, y’know.
Sunday, 21.00, 23.45, Tuesday, 22.30, Wednesday, 21.30
Shooting Stars – You know BBC Choice hasn’t arrived in the Creamguide Office yet – we’re still using a Pye television my dad bought in 1977 which still has a cracking picture, thank you very much – so we haven’t seen any of this. Paul Daniels guests, unsurprisingly.
Boy George: Gimme A Freak – He’s already been on every TV show in Britain over the past few weeks, and now this documentary about his life will be on a hundred times too. But hopefully it’ll include that clip from when he judged a Noel Edmonds Lookalike Competition on The Late Late Breakfast Show, where one of the contestants leapt forwards clutching his arse when George walked past him and everyone laughed.
Friday, 22.00, 01.30
Top Ten Holiday Hits – Mediocre edition which is completely spoilt by the ridiculous appearance of In The Summertime at number one, which is not a “holiday hit” and if it is they may as well have included, er, Cruel Summer or something, if you see what I mean. And there’s “funny” Eurotrash-style overdubbing as well, plus the extremely depressing sight of Colin Gibb still flogging the “We’re Black Lace, and we’re crap, us” shtick, which is a bad attitude because nobody should deliberately set out to make bad records, never mind live off them for two decades. The wanker. Apart from that, it’s alright.
Saturday, 23.00, Friday, 22.30, 01.30
The Wheeltappers’ And Shunters’ Social Club – Thanks to Creamguide Correspondent Chris Diamond for keeping us filled in with this show. Though we’re billing both editions as the same thing, Saturday’s is of course the follow-up series At The Wheeltappers, where the most popular guests from the previous series (The Dubliners this week) come back and do full sets. Meanwhile Friday’s show has recently seen a debut appearance from Cannon and Ball, who were awful apart from Tommy’s gold platform boots, and the extraordinary Lorne Leslie. Now how about screening Miss TV Times At The Wheeltappers, G+?
Thursday, 22.30, 01.30
Bullseye – “What a night you’ve had!”
Saturday, 20.30, Wednesday, 22.30
The World Cup Years – Repeat of 1970 on Saturday, which actually includes Roger “Wowee!” Malone in vision, which is worth the subscription fee alone. Dunno what it is on Wednesday.
The Frank Skinner Show – Series three again, with Creamguide’s fave Fiona Allen on Monday and Michael Aspel on Thursday, but best of all on Tuesday it’s Alan Hansen with Ribena-based hilarity, which is the best interview ever. Let’s hope the Britney one’s like that.
Saturday, 21.00, 02.45
Porridge – Can’t be bothered to figure out BBC2’s odd scheduling? Here’s the complete first series in one go, then the first three again for some reason.
You Only live Once – Nick Hancock’s aimless chat show isn’t that great, but here it replaces Clarkson so obviously it’s now brilliant. Boy George on Wednesday – with that Noel Edmonds clip mentioned above, Ozzy Osbourne on Friday.
All times correct at time of writing and refer to England except where stated. All programmes subject to cancellation, shifting, editing, and general fannying about.
The question everyone’s asking this week is: Where the hell has Popbitch gone? It’s not sent out anything since well before Christmas, and considering it’s all over the papers and its readers write most of it, that’s not really good enough, is it? That certainly can’t be said for the TV Cream Update, which busts a gut to publish a fantastic frenzy of Cream-related fun every other week, and never asks for any of your money. Ho ho. Subscribe at http://tv.cream.org
They Should Have Known Better – Chris Diamond, Chris Hughes, Ian Jones, Graham Kibble-White, Simon Tyers