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
27th July – 2nd August 2002
Norman-Diamond & Co. –
Phil Norman, Chris Diamond
Saturday 27th July
18.35 Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em
Well, it’s a thin old week telly-wise, with rolling squash and lawn bowls taking most of Creamguide’s regulars off the air. But obviously there’s always the opportunity to fling on BBC2’s favourite waste of time.
00.10 Love at First Bite
Dracula spoof with George Hamilton as the caped nibbler relocated to ’70s New York, chasing after Susan ‘Kate and Allie’ Saint James and chased after by Dick ‘LSD’ Shawn. Now, one of the reasons we like this so much is that when we first had a video recorder (a boody great Ferguson number, top loading – natch – and with a counter on the front that flipped round and round like the scores on Give Us A Clue) we used to go to a video shop that was miles from our house because it was almost the only one there was. One wall was VHS, one was Beta and a carousel in the middle had those Video 2000 things. Anyway, you couldn’t really get new films and, apart from The Smurfs and the Magic Flute and a bizarre Manga effort called Spaceship Yamato, this is the only film we ever remember getting from there.
01.45 The Leopard Man
We absent-mindedly forgot to bill this vintage Lewton/Tourneur chiller when it was scheduled a few weeks back, so BBC2 have considerately postponed it until tonight, when we have.
18.10 Family Fortunes
When Les’ last show turns up, which, given ITV’s scheduling of these sorts of things, will be in about two years time, we sincerely hope we have a Best Of Les compilation. Including, of course, his first series in 1987 with a colour Mr Babbage and high hair – and a logo that looked like F]�I#Y F@%^~>=$, sort of.
20.10 Return of the Magnificent Seven
Second time round for Brynner, Oates, Fuller, Akins, Mateos, Christopher and Teixeira. What? No, don’t worry, no-one’ll notice…
18.20 Short Circuit 2
As before, but now he’s called ‘Johnny’.
01.10 Neil Simon’s The Sunshine Boys
“EN-TEEER!” Hang on a minute! Peter Falk and Woody Allen? No, no, no! Forget this rent-paying remake, wait for the original Burns/Matthau film. It’ll be on again in a couple of months, no doubt.
02.45 Stop the World, I Want to Get Off
Bizarre adaptation of Anthony Newley’s self-indulgent musical, taking the term ‘filmed stage play’ quite literally, with no Newley, but Millicent Martin in the multinational female sidekick role(s).
05.10 Sons and Daughters
If this is the standard of the rest of this week’s programming, we’d better bill it on Friday at 05.10 again.
Sunday 28th July
13.05 Summer Magic
Saccharine Hayley Mills vehicle, with no opportunistic ‘rave’ remix of the Magic Roundabout theme in sight, worse luck.
18.50 Steptoe and Son
Knew it wouldn’t be long before this turned up as well, with a black and white episode from 1964 with June Whitfield in it.
21.00 Cue The Queen
Now this could be good. It’s a documentary looking at how the royal family have been portrayed on screen over the last sixty years, although apparently they’re not allowed to show The Grand Knockout Tournament – dunno who said that, it seems to be a regular on most other clip shows these days. It’s also got another chance to see Peter Sissons screwing it up on March 30th, source for hundreds of irritating letters in the Guardian and the Radio Times moaning about it disrupting Saturday night, despite the fact the only programmes that were dropped were Blind Date and the Lottery. And if that’s the case, we’d like that to happen every Saturday.
23.30 The Osterman Weekend
We love ’70s cold war/paranoia films, but ’80s ones we’re more ambivalent about. This tale of Rutger ‘dolphins’ Hauer inviting various suspicious parties to his country house is a prime example of how far one of our favourite sub-genres had fallen by 1983. Peckinpah directs, John Hurt, Dennis Hopper and Burt ‘It was a rather tenuous reference to a late ’80s lager commercial, actually – we apologise for any confusion and/or disappointment’ Lancaster star, but it’s not up to much.
19.30 The Coronation Street Wedding Album
In no way are ITV hyping up their last few successful properties, but before tonight’s hour-long instalment, here’s a clip show looking at some nuptials from the past. Incidentally, interesting to see on Denise Lewis’s Commonwealth Countdown (did you know Oasis come from Manchester?) that Bruce Jones and Sally Lindsay were interviewed, but billed only as ‘cast member’, lest it be considered advertising.
This is more like it, profiles of bands we actually want to see. Up tonight it’s Bananarama, who always were brilliant, and their Greatest Hits Collection has backed many lengthy car journies that Creamguide has taken. And of course they all lived together in a council flat, and we’re sure there’s a sitcom in that.
00.50 The Dance Years
Mildly Alarming Dave Pearce with great, great tunes from 1991.
06.30 Dappledown Farm
At least Brian won’t let us down!
14.30 Mary, Mary
Avoid being rounded up into a field and bombed by wide-shouldered American generals by clocking this Debbie Reynolds divorcecom.
17.15 The New Swiss Family Robinson
Unsolicited children’s remake of the week – this time with Jane Seymour and David Carradine.
Monday 29th July
09.00 The Scooby Doo Show
And never let it be said that Creamguide skimps on research, as we were struck down with a particularly nasty bout of illness this morning giving us the ideal opportunity to find out what this actually is. Turns out it’s the series with the “When Scooby Doo is running from a spooky ghost/Shaggy is a-doing what he does the most” theme tune, and that badly drawn ‘country cousin’ Yabba Doo (nice cross-promotion, Hanna-Barbera!). But it’s not billed as a repeat cos it’s not been on the BBC before. Why they bought it, God only knows. Every day at this time.
12.15 Love Boat – The Next Wave
The Beeb have got hundreds of episodes of this rotten 90s revival that, on original screening, managed to make Diagnosis Murder look good. The fact it’s on every day at this time is what’s helping us recover and get back to work pretty damn quick.
13.55 The Court-Martial of Billy Mitchell
Gary Cooper’s blameless WWI air force general gets the “Anything goes in, anything goes out” treatment in this true story of military miscarriage, with Rod Steiger, Elizabeth ‘Bewitched’ Montgomery, Jack ‘5-0’ Lord, Peter ‘Airplane!’ Graves and Darren ‘Kolchak’ McGavin.
17.00 Blue Peter On The Road
Yes! It’s the triumphant return of the BP Roadshows, which last year were truly brilliant, if only for Matt’s rap about Rhyl and shameless riffing of Trigger Happy TV. The tour this year is twice as long as before, stopping at eight venues, kicking off in Skegness. And if you see Matt and Liz making V-signs in the back window of the bus, don’t forget to wave, will you?
18.45 Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons
For some reason we keep forgetting to bill this, but given it’s virtually the only thing that’s survived non-stop Garth Crooks, it’s got to go in this week.
13.30 Lost In Yonkers
This undistinguished Richard Dreyfuss picture is included here because it’s last screening was as ITV’s alternative to the Solar Eclipse in 1999, and the BBC managed to beat it by about 100:1. What chance that happening again, eh?
06.00 Ivor The Engine
Rise reached a new low this morning when a band performed live in the studio at the end of the show, and Durden-Smith and the gang could be seen dancing to it in the background. That’s what brought that illness on, y’know.
11.25 Football Stories
If the cricket’s already over, or it’s pissing it down, there’s every chance C4 will screen again this documentary about Kevin Keegan. Let’s hope they include Bill Shankly’s advice to the young Mighty Mouse on his first day at Liverpool – cos of building work at Anfield, Shanks’ office was in a portacabin and Keggy was waiting outside for him and was sitting on a bin. Those legendary first words – “You’ll get your pants all dirty sitting on that bin. Don’t sit on dirty bins.” Also serving as a cricket substitute is…
13.45 Lady Godiva Rides Again
Unremarkable but star-studded Festival of Britain beauty contest comedy with Dora Bryan, George Cole, Joan Collins, Diana Dors, Anne Heywood, Stanley Holloway, Renee Houston, Trevor Howard, Sid James, Kay Kendall, Dennis Price, Michael Ripper, Alastair Sim, Richard Wattis, Googie Withers and Jimmy Young. Jimmy Young??
Helping to fill that post-Big Brother lull.
06.30 Dappledown Farm
Every day at this time – er, as you know.
15.35 Inside Daisy Clover
Odd ’30s period musical with Natalie Wood as a doomed Garlandesque child star under the thumb of studio honchos Christopher Plummer and Roddy MacDowell, and falling for secretly gay actor Robert Redford. Andrew Preview provides the songs.
Jodie Foster cries the day the circus comes to town in this obscure early effort.
And now, back by popular demand…
TV CREAM HEROES WEEKLY – SUMMER SPECIAL
TONY GUBBA, as heard on COMMONWEALTH GAMES GRANDSTAND, all week, BBC1 and BBC2
Welcome to this one-off special edition of TV Cream Heroes Weekly (The Original And Best) (TM). Now these days, virtually every commentator on telly has to have a gimmick – you’ve got Motty’s stats, Barry Davies’ Renaissance Man, Jonathan Pearce’s shouting and Peter Drury’s complete uselessness. That’s except for one, who’s been commentating on the Beeb for thirty years now, and is yet to say anything in the slightest bit memorable. However, he does have a very amusing name. Hence, the reliable, never-complaining Gubba’s your man for those dreary mid-table matches that tend to make up 75% of the Premiership. That’s why TVCHW (TOAB) (TM) is paying tribute to the man who’s adequately described some of those not-quite-legendary moments of football.
Tone, as Ray Wilkins called him during his first, and for a time only, live match ever, in the 1990 World Cup, joined the Beeb in 1970, and is still there to this day. If he ever retires, which seems unlikely, his compilation on Football Focus will include him a) inspiring a Half Man Half Biscuit song, b) intending to do a match report on Grandstand only to be in the toilet when they cut to him, and c) reporting on Harlow Town in the 1980 FA Cup on a dry ski slope. But it’s not been all football for Gubba – he’s also commentated on ice skating, speedway, table tennis (“remarkable scenes here at the table tennis!”), bobsleigh, ski-jumping, cross-country skiing, cycling, speed skating, and at this week’s Commonwealth Games, squash. Uniquely, it’s probably the only one of those sports he’s actually played.
But Tone hasn’t just been heard behind the mike. For a while he was a regular stand-in on Grandstand, and even helped front some of the Beeb’s 1976 Olympics coverage – mostly covering the sports in that list up there. Indeed, he also appeared on Nationwide that year to launch a competition to decide on the theme tune for those games. He also regularly presented darts coverage, working under a producer called Ron Gubba – presumably a relative, as we can’t believe two people with that surname would end up working at the same company. Such over-exposure was this, he was stuck in the gantry for the next twenty years or so, but then made a remarkable comeback as Des’ understudy on MOTD for a few weeks in 1995. Looking truly awkward behind the desk, he even got to fill in for an ill Lynam on the draw for the Third Round of the FA Cup on peak-time BBC1, where the nation gathered around their TV sets in anticipation of finding out exactly what he looks like.
Since then he’s weathered the loss of Premiership rights – which we were sure would see him outside TV Centre with a sign saying “Will commentate for food” – by spending half the year reporting down the phone on Grandstand and the other half commentating on everything nobody else wants to do. And this summer saw him make a welcome return to live football, doing the World Cup matches nobody else wanted to do. Brilliantly, his first, Germany vs Saudi Arabia, ended 8-0. He’s in the TVCHW (TOAB) (TM) Hall Of Fame partly because he still seems surprised every time a goal is scored, and partly because if you put his name through a search engine you get lots of American reviews of International Superstar Soccer, which he provides the voice for, referring to him as “English sportscaster Tony Gubba”.
Football commentator “enjoys watching football” shock – http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport3/worldcup2002/hi/tv_radio_coverage/newsid_2004000/2004683.stm
Tuesday 30th July
23.00 In the Heat of the Night
Sidney “They call me MISTER” Poitier squares up to Rod “Whom?” Steiger in the classic Southern cracker expose, last shown on BBC2 on March 17th this year. Now come on ITV, those are Channel Five film scheduling tactics! It’s all very well going on about the BBC’s money-stuffed public behemoth, but perhaps they wouldn’t be quite so successful if you yourselves hadn’t gone almost completely to shite in the last few years?
22.35 The Real Gary Glitter
We’re always slightly uncomfortable about putting stuff like this in Creamguide, but this looks set to be grisly but fascinating viewing.
05.55 The Clangers
Wednesday 31st July
17.00 Blue Peter On The Road
The trucks touches down in Manchester. Incidentally, Konnie was on Andrew Collins’ programme on 6 Music this week, and while no more TVC references were forthcoming in the discussion we did learn that she worked at Q as editorial assistant under Andrew while also doing Milkshake, could have been an engineer, fears getting urinated on by one of the cats, gets passionate about the need for ‘infotainment’ – which she actually called it – for children, liked Jamie And The Magic Torch and CBTV and best of all, before BP, piloted a potential ITV rival fronted by Janice Long which was produced by Mick Robertson. Andrew hadn’t heard of the other presenters, so she revealed that Simon wants to go into presenting sport and Matt is “such an all-rounder” and, er, went to stage school. Her music choices were the Avalanches and Idlewild (off the new album, too). This’ll get us rushing out to buy DAB radios, you mark my words!
When it comes to nominating ‘the Bond film everyone forgets’, everyone forgets to mention this one, although it’s now fixed in our minds as the Big Film ITV decided to wheel out on Christmas afternoon – in 2000! A returning Maud Adams, and – God! – Steven Berkoff do the villainry, but watch for Vijay Amritraj (in hilarious tennis-based cameo), Cherry Gillespie, Jeremy ‘Fett’ Bulloch, our very own Susanne Dando and is that really a *real* sheep’s eye that Louis Jourdan eats? It fairly looks it. Eeeeech! Cultural highlight at time of release – the tie-in Weetabix action transfers, of course
23.30 The Blues Brothers
Another outing for the overrated SNL spinoff. Poodleman was robbed. Origin of all those beauty parlours with keraaaazy! names, stemming from Carrie Fisher’s shop in this: Curl Up And Dye.
The Radio Times refers to this as “a year when women topped the charts”, as if that was a unique occurance. It’s 1986, and we’d like to recall again the period in that summer when the Broom Cupboard was moved to the mornings, and in the afternoon the announcer just linked The Roman Holidays, Heidi and Fame every day for six weeks. They never did that again, and with good reason.
15.35 Once You Kiss a Stranger
Very possibly the best late ’60s LA golfing murder romance reimagining of Strangers on a Train there is.
22.00 Rambo: First Blood, Part II
Last week we wondered aloud about the current whereabouts of ‘golden age’ Neighbours actors, and Ask the Family, bless ’em, came to our rescue. It seems the success of some of our favourite cast members has been varied, to say the least, but a few have managed to keep themselves busy, notably Peter ‘Shane’ O’Brien – Queer as Folk, Scott ‘Brad’ Michaelson – Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Alan ‘Jim’ Dale – The X-Files and ER, Linda ‘Kerry’ Hartley – best-forgotten CBBC show Wysiwyg, Stefan Dennis – Sky One’s Dream Team. Of those that didn’t sustain an acting career, Paul ‘Des’ Keane worked on building sites, Dan ‘Rick Alessi’ Falzon was last seen working as a tour guide at Ayers Rock, and the Alessi Twins appeared in a Pop Will Eat Itself video. Oh, and Mr Udigawa went on to star in top Aussie comedy short The Huntsman. If you know of any more (and the APB’s still out on Kylie Flinker and Vivean ‘Nell Mangel’ Gray) do let us know.
Thursday 1st August
23.20 The Dave Gorman Collection
You may recall that this final episode of this series on its original screening was moved from its regular Sunday spot to a Saturday, and then delayed by fifteen minutes by overrunning golf, and everyone missed it. And we’re not sure whether that won’t be the case this time round, as BBC North West have dropped the penultimate edition for a regional opt-out, as have Wales, yet there seems to be no rescheduling planned. They’re not just missing it out, are they?
13.30 Slam Dunk Ernest
03.05 The Black Rider
Daft old Brit thriller about an illegal nuclear arsenal in an abandoned castle defended by a fake motorcycling ghost. Lionel Jeffries and a CGI Kenneth Connor prepare some towering sandwiches in the back of their camper van.
23.40 Peter Kay’s Phoenix Nights
The last two episodes back-to-back in time for the new series which is supposed to kick off next week, and will be brilliant. Watching the episode recently where Brian fakes a heart attack to avoid getting stopped for speeding reminds us that after its original screening, Peter went on Mark and Lard and got someone ringing in from Bolton pointing out that the police escort was going the wrong way to the hospital. Then after Scrawn wanted less chat about Bolton because nobody would understand it, they played Wheel Of Misfortune – with contestants from Oldham and Rochdale!
05.55 The Clangers
Oh, and Mark and Lard also presented the Grand Baton-Putting-Downering Ceremony on Manchester on Wednesday night, screened live on North West Tonight, and they were great – partly because no other mikes were working, including the one miking up the audience, so it sounded like they were just dying on their arse. But then, if you’ve got to introduce a speech by Charles Allen…
15.40 Tom Brown’s Schooldays
Future Who/Python/Goodies/Fawlty/Executive Stress director John Howard Davies stars as the titular schoolboy. Robert ‘Treasure’ Newton, James ‘MT,YK,TSL,TMGROOAYBS?’ Hayter, Michael ‘dry bath’ Hordern and Max Bygraves support. Max Bygraves??
Friday 2nd August
01.30 Invasion of the Body Snatchers
It’s the original ’50s version, to boot.
Replacing the horrendous Dare To Believe in most regions is this ill-advised American remake of Fawlty Towers. No need to tell you whether it’s any good, then.
15.35 The Man Without a Country
“Basingstoke Westphalia, sir!” More court-martial action, this time it’s Cliff Robertson in the dock as a naval officer sentenced to a life offshore.
Congratulations for the worst scheduling in the history of television! This is the replacement for The Pepsi Chart, which is supposed to be attitudinal and exciting, and it’s presented by the fantastic Lauren Laverne. Yet C5 have stuck it on, er, weekday afternoons. Eh?
Once again we renege on our remit to provide original, stimulating film previews (if it’s possible to renege on something you’ve never even done in the first place) with another round of Creamguide Billings Revisited. This week, May 25th, 2001 – “Channel 5’s commitment to its core audience of gay male professional insomniacs continues to pay dividends in the crap-unearthing stakes with this musical mid-’70s career nadir for non-singer Lucille Ball. Even the Cream cameo list is the motleyest yet – Bea ‘Oh, Rose!’ Arthur, Barbara ‘Frank Furillo’s wife off Hill Street Blues’ Bosson, Patrick ‘Brother of Matthew, you know, that kid off the Red Hand Gang’ Laborteaux and, er, Bruce ‘Harry and the Hendersons’ Davison. God, they’d better put on something decent like The Bed-Sitting Room next week.” Update – we’re still waiting.
Monday-Friday, 20.00, 00.30
One Hit Wonderland – A warm welcome to a new channel in this bit of Creamguide. Now Tony Hawks has spent the last ten years being vaugely witty on various comedy panel games, but before that he was also the main man behind Morris Minor and the Majors, of Stutter Rap and Saturday teatime sitcom that was hilarious if you were eight “fame”. Now he’s been challenged by Simon Cowell to have another hit somewhere in Europe, and this series follows him trying. Our advice – re-release the fantastic follow up, This Is The Chorus.
Pop Years – At last we come to the end of the series with a repeat of 1988, chiefly notable for the script’s claim that Joe Le Taxi influenced Britney Spears. Overall, it’s been a series marred by the over-reliance on talking heads, musical and otherwise, being shown even if their comments were of less relevance than the average Jamie Theakston I Love The 80s contribution, which was often. Special mention here for Narinder Kaur, who seemingly likes every act that has ever charted, a trait to add to those about going on all the time about being a Geordie despite living not far from one of the Creamguide team in Leicestershire, and how her now defunct website (“Narinder be at the Mobo awards”) eventually had to have a caveat on the front page that it was no longer an official site. However, while looking for said site, we came across this from 1999 – http://film.guardian.co.uk/bollywood/story/0,11871,683355,00.html (last two paragraphs). Endemol didn’t mention that when trailing how ten unknowns would be sharing the house, did they?
Granada Plus got censured by the ITC this week for showing a Kenny Everett Video Show which contained “flashing images”, although why that wasn’t noted twenty years ago is another question. Watch him if you dare on Sunday at 22.30, preceded by The Les Dawson Show at 22.00, and earlier in the day, Spitting Image Extra at 12.45 and 18.45 – basically a re-edit filling the gap caused by Jack Of Diamonds being an awkward length. Paramount stop showing the Python repeats (Monday-Wednesday, 23.30) so it must be time for Frank Skinner from the start again (Thursday, 23.00) – and Fry and Laurie are still there (Sunday, 00.40, Friday, 00.20). Relive Newsround’s campaign to find Steve “Silk” Hurley so he could be on Top of the Pops on Pump Up The Volume (Friday, 23.05. 02.15, E4); I Love The Seventies starts another bloody rerun on UK Horizons (Friday, 21.00); and the only drama that lent its name to a fun-packed theme park, Flambards, is on Sunday at 21.00 on UK Drama. And good news for Mark Knopfler – all week MTV celebrate the fifteenth anniversary of its European branch.
All programmes refer to England and are liable to overrun for more remarkable scenes at the table tennis.
CREAMGUIDE BE AT ASK THE FAMILY
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Fighting fit – Chris Hughes, Ian Jones, Graham Kibble-White, Simon Tyers