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.)
WEEK TWO – 28th DECEMBER 2002 – 3rd JANUARY 2003
CREAMGUIDE NEW YEAR NOTES
(We really must think of a better name for this next year)
TV – Top Ten Even More Annoying Records (Monday 30th, 22.15, Channel 4) The last time Top Ten presented a compilation of vile vinyl was back in 1999, and it was probably the best one they’ve ever done – we still love to this day the fantastic clip of Tony Blackburn on Top of the Pops inviting us to “all enjoy a drink, with The Wurzels, and half a pint of that lovely scrumpy they call cider!” That’s why this second selection is required viewing, although we’re rather pissed off over their inclusion of Let’s Get Ready To Rhumble, which is a fantastic record, albeit not as good as Our Radio Rocks (‘AM! FM! AM FM PM anytime!’). But look, we’ve got a profile of Tight Fit, which has got to be brilliant, hasn’t it?
Radio – Stuart Maconie’s State Of The Pop Nation Address (New Year’s Eve, 19.00, Radio 2)
A programme title befitting of an extra-shined, nay, double-breasted velvet smoking jacket. This is the sort of thing we’d otherwise be making lame jokes about in the office round about that time in the day (usually 4.35pm) when we realise Countdown isn’t even half way through its transmission. Yet here it is, replete with an unsurprising smorgasbord of anecdotery, and given the fact he can’t blame it on there being a noisy audience in the background like on Naked City, there’s every chance the topical gags will actually have a proper punchline. Hooray!
And the rest…
Saturday 28th December
13.50 Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
“And all… free… today!” Yes, it does go on for far too long. Still, Lionel Jeffries is always great. And Toot Sweets always grates. As a matter of fact, your diligent Filmguide was in attendance at a memorabilia fair earlier in the year where Jeremy and Jemima from this had a stand. Rather pathetically they were selling not only autographs – which was fair enough – but also membership in their own fan club though they weren’t getting much attention as most people were queuing to get a signature from Sid off of Only Fools and Horses. And they made such an impression that we can’t recall their names.
16.10/17.40 The World’s Strongest Man
Two more episodes, flung around Final Score and the news. We’re disappointed that they aren’t showing the first episode as part of Grandstand – look, they’ve got motorsport preceding it, it’d be brilliant.
18.10 James Bond – A Bafta Tribute
‘George Lazenby, get down!’ The second Bafta do in 24 hours on the Beeb, this time paying tribute to a series of films they don’t have the rights to. Moore, Lazenby, Dalton and Brosnan are all present and correct, although Connery only contributes on tape. Probably a wise move, as the rest is just dull chat with Parky.
00.55 Carry On Camping
Windsor ‘Twain’ Davies joins the gang in this rural adventure, all snapping bras and mud. At least it’s not .England.
15.30 Perry Mason
There’s a lot of these on this week, rather craply. Just wait til you see Monday.
18.10 Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em
Jessica’s First Christmas, which we never really liked, thanks to those bedside chats Frank had with Jessica, as Creamup rightly slagged off last week.
20.00 PG Wodehouse – Lost Overseas
If Stephen Fry isn’t interviewd in this we’ll be very surprised. He’ll certainly be there in clip form anyway, as this documentary includes extracts from TV and film productions of his work, and that’ll do us.
21.00 Peter Cook – At A Slight Angle To The Universe
Or, of course, Some Interesting Facts About Peter Cook. Which is what this promises, really, basically loads of clips and interviews with Ian Hislop, John Fortune, Eric Idle and the rest – plus Where Do I Sit? for the first time in many, many years, which we’re certainly interested in seeing. And then…
22.30 Peter Cook – A Posthumorous Tribute
This is a recording of the tribute show fronted by David Frost that was held a few weeks back, with people like Harry Enfield, David Baddiel, Neil Innes and Griff Rhys Jones performing some of work, plus Michael Palin and Terry Jones together on stage too. But alas, Jon Culshaw and Dom Joly are there too.
00.35 I Love 1987
Another fun edition, including The Beastie Boys and Dick Spatsley (‘Have you heard his new single, it’s really good, dead different!’), and if you can’t get a decent feature out of those two, you may as well give up. Plus a bit on Going Live, which we were excited about.
17.45 More Kids From Alright On The Night
The original ‘kids’ episode of this series was repeated several hundred times by ITV, and this is the second outing for the follow-up in three months so expect more or less the same thing. It’s a very similar show, anyway – some fun clips, and a Child’s Play style sequence when primary school pupils discus some of the clips, with ‘hilarious’ consequences.
12.20 The Royal Institution Christmas Lectures
Come on, it’s the school holidays!
21.00 The 100 Greatest Films
The TV Creamguide editor is happy to admit that his all-time favourite film is High Fidelity, and has seen virtually none of the films he’s supposed to have seen because he never has the attention span to sit through anything longer than about half an hour. Therefore, most of the clips in this repeated countdown, first shown last year and continued tomorrow, will be a mystery to him. Probably not to you, though.
’80s update of the old TV series about the blonde-haired Queen of the Jungle, with forgotten late-period Charlie’s Angels stand-in Tanya Roberts and forgotten late-period Pink Panther stand-in Ted ‘Blossom’s dad’ Wass. Fun is, as they used to say, a-comin’.
00.35 Gaiety George
Richard ‘Robin’ Greene stars as the titular real-life Irish music hall impresario, but it’s for early appearances by John ‘dooooomed’ Laurie and Roger Moore that you should be watching.
05.10 Sons and Daughters
Alas, it is shown this Friday.
13.00 The Monkhouse Archive
Walking down the high street going about our lunchhour business the other day, we passed an electrical goods store with a row of giant TV screens in the window, each and every one of which was displaying Bob doing that brilliant introductory routine bit at the start of Wipeout; but no-one else seemed the slightest bit interested. A glimpse of how the world would be if Creamguide were in charge of British television – on both counts.
20.00 How Ireland Went Pop
Aka a protracted tribute to Louis Walsh, which gives us a chance to complain about the breathtaking arrogance displayed by the team behind Popstars The Rivals which assumes that we’d want or care to send either of their bands to the Chrismas number one spot. If you’re reading this actually on Saturday 28th December, then we’ll no doubt be busy swapping our big sandwich for an even bigger humble pie.
10.30 The Singing Ringing Tree
Subject of perennial correspondence sent to TVC Towers, and rivalled only by Worker And Parasite for easy, uncritical nostalgia about the Iron Curtain and the Eastern Bloc. A long overdue tribute, albeit flawed by the fact, well, we won’t be able to see anything.
Sunday 29th December
18.15 Antiques Roadshow – The Next Generation
Co-presented by Liz Barker. And yes, we probably will watch it just for that.
00.00 This is Spinal Tap
Turn your dial up to 11.
01.25 Mutiny on the Buses
After last week’s early appearance of the first On The Buses movie, here’s number two.
12.20 The Laurel and Hardy Murder Case
If there were any Beatles films on this Christmas, then we’d have virtually every festive cliche present and correct this year, would’t we?
12.50 The Pearl of Death
If you’ve got the time (and we’re guessing you probably have right about now), these ageing Holmes adaptations are really quite good fun once you get into them. Rathbone and Bruce, all tweed, pipes and knickerbockers, are on the trail of a stolen museum piece, adapted from The Doyle’s Adventure of the Six Napoleons. “I fear we’ll have a long wait. I don’t think we can even venture to smoke to pass the time.”
15.30 Perry Mason
This is the ‘Watching The Detectives’ strand again, the label BBC2 have made up to excuse sticking on old episodes of Columbo again. And yet still no sign of those missing episodes of Shoestring that the Radio Creamguide Ed wrote to the Radio Times about, in one of our personal greatest moments of the year.
22.30 Never Mind The Buzzcocks
This year’s Christmas special is annoying because Geoffrey Hayes is one of the guests, and we’ve grown to absolutely hate Rainbow due to Entertainment Rights’ cynical, unimaginative, “ironic” revival, leading to the record and the Top of the Pops appearance which was the most depressing thing we’ve seen this year. Also appearing, Coolio and Peter Stringpenis.
23.00 Shooting Stars
This is a bit of a shit slot, BBC2. Of course, on BBC Choice this has been the conclusion of the latest series, while here it heralds the run, so there may well be a load of running jokes that analogue viewers won’t understand. Hugh Laurie and Robin Gibb guest, though, which should be great.
00.10 I Love 1988
This is where they started to go a bit wonky, basically because it’s presented by the Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles (never ‘Ninja’, BBC), which didn’t start in the UK until 3rd January 1990, and that is true. But we do have a great feature on inflatables, including Bob Wilson drowning in them on Grandstand.
15.30 Carry On Up the Jungle
We suppose if you can accept that a set covered in rubber plants is the jungle you can also accept that Terry Scott looks like he’s lived in the jungle all his life.
12.30 The Royal Institution Christmas Lectures
Perfect post-Hollyoaks viewing.
14.25 The Cruel Sea
Nice to see Jack Hawkins in his native environment at Christmas since Zulu is strangely absent from the schedules this year.
20.00 RIP 2002
Now this could be one of the best programmes of the holidays, as it pays tribute to some of the famous people who have sadly passed away over the past twelve months, and we get to see the work of Chuck Jones and Spike Milligan on the same show, which is a great combination.
21.00 The 100 Greatest Films
Second half of the countdown, and we genuinely can’t tell you anything about it. That’s why we don’t do the film reviews.
00.05 Top Ten 1970s Soul
Most memorable thing about the first screening of this episode was that Sam Brady on Teletext asked ‘Where was Marvin Gaye?’ in his review. He was at number two, Sam. Isaac Hayes is in charge, and the clips and songs are all great.
05.50 The Clangers
18.20 Ernest Saves Christmas
“Hoorah, it’s Molly Ringwald! Yay, it’s Michael ‘V’ Ironside! And isn’t that Ernie ‘Ghostbusters’ Hudson? I do believe it is!” With that said, the viewing public then went and watched something else.
23.00 The David Jacobs Collection
Still the only way to round off the weekend as far as Creamguide’s concerned, which made for an interesting experience during the first half of the year when we had to jump straight from yet another extreme plot twist in 24 to Dave waxing wry about the Beverly Sisters.
Monday 30th December
17.25 Fawlty Towers
This is dodgy scheduling, BBC. What if people haven’t seen it before?
18.00 The World’s Strongest Man
Two bursts of seventies nostalgia back to back.
00.40 Holiday on the Buses
.and here’s number three. We don’t really have to go into plot and casting, do we?
11.35 Laurel and Hardy in Come Clean
11.55 Terror by Night
More Rathboney deductions, this time set entirely aboard a train to Edinburgh, where – yet again – a magnificent jewel is being robbed.
Now this is a ‘golden age’ episode, while on Channel Five…
14.55 The Murder At The Vicarage
First of a series of reruns of Joan Hickson at Miss Marple, presumably to point out that ITV have wasted their money in buying up the rights to the novels. Interesting to note that Miss Marple went out on Christmas Day in both 1987 and 1989 – and as Richard Curtis said of the latter, ‘We watched three people die and another forcibly injected with heroin, and by the end we were totally miserable’. And it was opposite Inspector Morse in 1987!
20.30 Mastermind Celebrity Special
‘Oh, you’re such a pedant, Magnus!’ We never really liked this programme, if only because boring old Magnus used to trot out all the same anecdotes on every single programme, and render them incredibly tedious with his dull delivery (‘She had an enormous lump on her forehead’, et al). But it’s back for one week only, and Vic Reeves and Janet Street-Porter are in the chair.
00.10 I Love 1989
Presented by Jason Donovan, and we’re pissed off by the assumption that we all knew at the time that he and Kylie were snogging, they fervently denied it at the time and we believed them. Like finding out Father Christmas doesn’t exist, really. Best bit in this show, of course, is Stuart Maconie, with full Phil Oakey fringe, touring Madchester. And there’s a feature on ‘The Challenge Programme’, too. That’s not it’s bloody name, Anneka!
11.05 The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Movie
Ropey, out-of-character and wholly unfunny late ’70s links with Bugs reminiscing on past glories tie together a rather good batch of Golden Age Warner cartoons, including What’s Opera Doc?, the ace Rabbit Fire (with the duck season/rabbit season routine), Bugs vs. Marvin the Martian and – yay! – Duck Amuck. Oh, and a bit of Roadrunner tacked on clumsily at the end.
13.00 Doctor Dolittle
Always dismissed, the poor old Doc, and we really can’t think why. He’s altogether a marvellous man. And he understands the Irish!
17.00 The John Thaw Story
This was about two hours long last time round, wasn’t it? It’s just sixty minutes here, though. We’re slightly disappointed nobody’s taken the opportunity to repeat Home To Roost, we used to quite like it, and John was really good at comedy.
03.30 True as a Turtle
Gentle yachting comedy with John ‘Genevieve’ Gregson and Keith ‘Six Wives’ Michell, who of course is much better associated at this time of year with those groovily religious festive song and dance shows of the ’60s, leading the Young Generation in a ditty explaining why the Three Wise Men “followed dat star” while making Jarvis-like hand gestures and bouncing up and down in a squatting position. We genuinely are sorry that sort of thing doesn’t go on any more.
06.00 The Magic Roundabout
06.05 The Clangers
07.10 The Three Worlds of Gulliver
Old Brit version of the much-filmed satire, with the usual jerky star turn from Ray Harryhausen, but an unusually threadbare Cream cast of Peter ‘a dooomsday shroooud’ Bull, Martin ‘Vogon Captain’ Benson and, er, Charles ‘Trigger’s dad’ Lloyd Pack.
12.30 The Royal Institution Christmas Lectures
This is the last in the series. Now go and do your homework.
13.25 Forever Ealing
‘Here we are in Ealing, home, funnily enough, of the famous Ealing comedies!’ ‘But comedies are the last thing on our minds today!’ C4 start another season of them, and to kick it all off Daniel Day-Lewis narrates the history of the studios.
14.35 The Ladykillers
There’s all sorts of film school rubbish peddled about the symbolism involved in this, maybe it’s true – can you guess where we stand on that? – but we prefer to take it on it’s own merits, that is that it’s a brilliant watch. Play our fun parlour game and see how many people think that Alistair Sim was in it.
22.15 Top Ten Even More Annoying Records
The Creamguide Choice, so, er, see panel. We’ve always wanted to say that.
15.10 The Return of Frank Cannon
Fat old Billy Conrad’s back on the force! Although thanks to Channel 5, it’s like he’s never really been away.
22.00 Kojak: the Belarus File
Slappy old Telly’s back on the force etc!
16.55 Starsky and Hutch
So this’ll be a theme day, then, and brilliantly the ‘theme’ is what BBC2 are doing at the same time. Channel Five – never knowingly original.
This one comes from 1985, and it’s actually surprising the amount of times Columbo’s been on two channels on the same day – we remember it happening in 1991 when on the newer episode, he claimed he’d never been on a water bed, but the earlier episode on BBC1 contradicted that. Armchair detective work Frank would be proud of, we feel.
23.55 TJ Hooker – the Movie
Adrian Zmed’s back on the… ah, forget it.
22.00 Big Band Special
Pat Kane demonstrates once again he knows Foucault about swing music. But it wouldn’t be Christmas without the erstwhile Hue And Cry boisterer attempting to hoof some post-structuralist posturing in time to the BBC Big Band.
22.45 Book At Bedtime: Casino Royale
TVC Towers is still reeling from the news that the former TV Cream Times sub-editor stormed out of a screening of Die Another Day just 30 minutes in, even claiming his money back. Moreover, he says he doesn’t even want to see the rest of the film given how the opening was so shite. The Creamguide Editors have yet to see the titular effort, but the theme song is bollocks, we’ll give you that.
New Year’s Eve
15.40 Back to the Future
Little known vehicle for James ‘Masters of the Universe’ Tolkan.
17.30 The World’s Strongest Man
Looks like they just schedule this to give Martin Kelner something to write about in his increasingly useless Guardian column on Mondays.
21.15 Party At The Palace
Creamguide knows all too well that on December 31st the broadcasters assume that everyone’s buggered off out and so just schedule any old toss they’ve got on the shelf. Indeed, Creamguide’s parents were so unimpressed with the output one New Year’s Eve, they watched Schindler’s List on video – a really appropriate choice for a night of festivities, we’re sure you’ll agree. Anyway, not surprising to see this getting a repeat, and we think it’s been edited – so let’s hope Elton Ben’s appalling stand-up routine has been excised.
23.30 New Year’s Eve with Jonathan Ross
This is the second time Jonathan’s been in this slot, and last time he achieved the impossible and managed to make a programme even more miserable and lacking in atmosphere than his Friday night show. It basically consisted of a bunch of stand-by guests (Wogan, a pre-tabloid Ulrika) being dully interviewed, and Vinnie Jones promoting his film at *five to midnight*. And it really was the most depressing hour of television Creamguide had ever seen. This time it’s made by the Friday Night production team, so it could well be even worse. Get out!
11.40 Laurel and Hardy in Beau Chumps
Not much of a pun, that, is it?
12.15 The House of Fear
Rathbone gets to the bottom of The Adventure of the Five Orange Pips. “When I have spun the web they may take the flies, but not before.”
14.55 At Bartram’s Hotel
And the Miss Marple on Christmas Day 1989 was A Caribbean Mystery! That’s not right.
20.00 The Entertainers
So what happened? Tom O’Connor appeared in the title sequence, and was billed as appearing in the Radio Times, but just didn’t show up. Some sort of last-minute disagreement over the footage? He’s not in this special Christmas episode, either, but the good news is that Leo Sayer isn’t either. Instead we spend the festive season with Blackburn, Parsons, Carson, Manning and the great Bernie Clifton.
21.00 Fame, Set and Match
Last of what’s been an entertaining if sometimes annoyingly sarcastic series, this week tracing the career of the stars who first came to prominence on talent shows. It’s not a bad selection, either – Freddie Starr and Little and Large, which means some Op Knocks clips, then Gary Barlow which’ll bring us footage from A Song For Christmas, which Creamguide really loved when they were ten. Best of all, we’ve got Sheena Easton, so Dame Esther’ll appear, and there might be some clips from the unintentionally hilarious documentary about her two years ago, supporting her in-no-way-cynically-pitched-at-the-gay-market album, which sold virtually nothing. And she came across as a right moody cow, too.
Obviously, Wright will have recorded his links for this show several months ago. They do this sort of show every year, the loose theme is ‘party’, but that basically means we get any old rubbish from Dexys Midnight Runners to Bill Haley and His Comets. But we’ve also got Bucks Fizz, Wham, The Monkees and those party faves, er, Manhattan Transfer.
10.35 Looney Looney Looney Bugs Bunny Movie
Another dodgy compilation of Warner shorts, this time leaning slightly too heavily on the late-period Yosemite Sam/Rocky/Sylvester cartoons, with the odd classic like Knighty Knight Bugs to offset an increasing desire to see some old, colour-faded, surreal ’30s efforts to balance out the familiar fare.
14.55 West Side Story
“Sharks and the Jets, a pie and a Paris bun.” That was for viewers in Scotland.
Elegant Regency melodrama from the Gainsborough stable, written by – graph paper out, canonists – Jon Pertwee’s dad. With Dennis ‘Coronets’ Price, Robert ‘lollipops’ Helpmann and, oddly, Pete Murray.
15.35 The Titfield Thunderbolt
A late entry into the Ealing canon but not one of our favourites. Not that bothered about trains, y’see.
21.00 The Greatest TV Treats Of 2002
This is probably your best bet for entertainment this evening, although it might be a bit awkward cos you’ll probably get dragged out to sing Auld Lang Syne with your drunk parents towars the end. As the title suggests, it’s a hundred clips from this year’s telly, some of which you’ll have seen several hundred times, some of which you’ll have missed, and last year this was actually pretty good. So it might be worth dipping into between the phone calls.
00.30 Top Ten 80s Soul
‘Body Talk there, and it doesn’t leave much to the imagination!’ Despite the wretched Richard Blackwood presenting, this is actually quite good fun, because you can’t really go wrong with features on Lynx and Shalamar.
00.35 Adventures of a Taxi Driver
What a way to see in the new year! Stanley Long, you may recall, was cinematographer on Michael Reeves’s top remote controlled Ian Ogilvy-fest The Sorcerers as shown a few months back, but he also wrote, produced and directed the Adventures… series of bawdy comedies under his own Salon Productions brand (and we’re waiting for the day C5 unearth his ‘swinging’ nudie musical Bread). They’re also billed as being “from an idea by Stanley Long”, the idea presumably being “those Confessions films seem to do all right – let’s copy them exactly.” Barry ‘Mind Your Language’ Evans plays cockney cabbie Joe North, who lives in a grotty bedsit, with Diana ‘Amorous Milkman’ Dors as a domineering mum. And that’s basically the plot, as Evans leads us, via sub-sub-Alfie monologues to camera, from one ‘bawdy’ set-piece to another, starting off with a dubious pet snake/girlfriend ‘gag’, after a non-hilarious spoof newsreel film about cab drivers narrated by David ‘K9/Words and Pictures’ Brierley. Where the Confessions films were merely slightly grubby, with only the odd tatty prop wardrobe or barren patch of grass to differentiate its environment from a late-period Carry On, the Adventures films are actually quite seedy, with really low-rent-looking (ie. genuinely low-rent) ’70s bedsits, sex shops and nightclubs, and nastier, cruder (but naturally not funnier) gags. Even a ludicrously twee theme song performed by cast member Adrienne ‘Percy’ Posta does nothing to swill out the unpleasant taste. That obligatory jobbing cast list – Judy ‘Doomwatch’ Geeson, Robert ‘Wolfie’ Lindsay, Liz ‘Cabby’ Fraser, Anna ‘Mind Your Language’ Bergman, Stephen ‘Blakey’ Lewis, Ian ‘Dad’s’ Lavender, Henry ‘Benny’ McGee, Brian ‘Barraclough’ Wilde, David ‘Kipper’ Auker, Andrew ‘Chips Comic’ Secombe and Jack ‘LeClerc’ Haig.
19.00 Stuart Maconie’s State Of The Pop Nation Address
As mentioned at the top.
20.30 Not Only Peter Cook, But Also Dudley Moore
Unlike Kenneth Horne and pals, we always thought these two were the biggest chancers going, being wacky and stupid for the sake of it, not caring about having a good time, and really not caring about the audience either – leaving the viewer feeling at the end of the day not a little pissed off. Then there were those interminable jazz “interludes”, and Pete’s boring rhymes. Anyhow there’s some rare clips which another conscientious viewer has kept in their garage since 1966, and hopefully a mention for all those weird side projects including, yes, Where Do I Sit?
New Year’s Day
13.15 Blue Peter Review Of The Year
Ruuuubbish slot, Beeb, and there’s only one show this year when last time they did two. BP has been on absolute top form this year, and this is the evidence. And last year they did it from Matt’s house, which was good because we like to know how he lives his life. Ooh, and it might have (c) MMIII at the end too!
13.55 ET – the Extra Terrestrial
In which our heroes desperately try to find a bit of amiable banter to sling in this billing that doesn’t tread the well-worn BMX/D&D/Star Wars action figures route. And the best they can come up with is Simon Mayo’s “Win win win – an ET video! In in in, the brand new Radio. Er, Times” Radio One ad from 1987. Yup – new year, same old blank looks from everyone.
15.50 It’s The Number One Party
It was the fiftieth anniversary of the pop charts, er, last year now, and to celebrate Dale Winton is joined by people like Madness, Lionel Richie and Nancy Sinatra to sing some of their chart toppers. No Phil Swern this time, though, so Dale’s on his own.
17.50 The World’s Strongest Man – The Final
BBC1 starting 2003 as they mean to go on.
00.55 The Likely Lads
Another of the better sitcom transfers and we have to hand it to the film buyers who have avoided some of the more obvious and rubbishier ones. Anyway, another Clement and La Frenais number making up for the absence of Porridge from the list and giving us the chance to see Bolam and Bewes in action helped along by Bridgit Forsyth and Ronald ‘what shall we talk about? ‘ Lacey.
12.35 Laurel and Hardy
Two episodes, though likely to be dropped if the New Year’s Day concert overruns.
Hopefully they’ll drop this instead.
13.45 Sleeping Murder
A bit complicated for hangover viewing, this.
More festive jestive oolarious doin’s to jolly you all into the party mood. Still, we suppose it probably makes Oliver Stone smile. Maybe not.
00.55 TOTP2 Presents… Dionne Warwick
Dionne came into the Pops studio a few months back to sing some of her hits and talk about her career, and they’re flinging it out dead late on surely the night of the year where most people go to bed early. Hmmm.
13.20 Bond Girls Are Forever
Some bought-in documentary they showed on a Saturday afternoon a few months back. Which is just one big plug for the new one anyway.
14.15 Diamonds Are Forever
Connery’s comeback caper, easily the best ‘non-serious’ Bond of the lot, ie it’s endearingly daft without being offensively stupid (yes, Moonraker, we’re looking at you), goes all over the place without getting tedious, and features the great more-than-just-a-dodgy-stereotype villains Kidd and Wint. OK, so Charles Gray is a disappointingly avuncular Blofeld, and Jill ‘Tiffany Case’ St. John and Lana ‘Plenty O’Toole’ Wood aren’t up to much, and the theme song’s by Shirley bleedin’ Bassey again, but what do you want from a Bond, perfection? David ‘Balham’ de Keyser and Ed ‘UFO’ Bishop feature briefly.
21.30 Des O’Connor at 40
‘We’ve got Barbra Streisand in here tonight!’ Yes, this is what we want, a load of clips of everything Des has done on telly over the past four decades, and we can guarantee it’s going to be fantastic because Des is brilliant. No argument.
Elwood Dowd, Kit Marlowe and Miss Ellie examine tree rings and try out the new camera dolly system Uncle Alfred got them for Christmas. Revolutionary uplift!
02.30 Kings Go Forth
Natalie Wood was black! And Tony Curtis and Frank Sinatra fight over her in this highly dubious wartime romantic filler.
01.45 Beneath the Planet of the Apes
We like the way they’re showing the first three films in what we’re trying to get used to calling ‘the Apes series’ but, due to the (cough) ‘dark’ nature of this instalment, they’re forced to put the first and third on Friday afternoon, out of sequence, and stick this on in the middle of the night – where, of course, it belongs. We were also glad to hear Jonathan Ross championing this one as his favourite, when he was in recent conversation with Shane Richie, who went on about how he’s got the first film on a permanent Super 8 loop in his toilet, in an attempt to prove he’s a big Apes fan (when all it actually proves is that Shane Richie has far too much money). Anyway, this is top drawer weirdness, with James Franciscus sent after old Hesto, and finding instead an underground community of scary telepathic bomb-worshippers. Top flight set design once more (great on-the-cheap scenes of ruined Washington monuments), and a generally less actiony, more spooky atmosphere – lots of creeping round underground chambers to a dissonant electronic score, and *that* off-tune version of All Things Bright and Beautiful never fails to disturb. Plus at the end, he really *does* blow it all up. Not that that stopped the franchise from struggling ever more desperately on.
09.00 Tintin and the Lake of Sharks
If it sounds made-up, that’s because it is – it’s not an adaptation of one of Herge’s books proper, but a slightly inconsequential all-new story by respected (but unheard-of by us) French comic artist ‘Greg’. What we’re not sure about is whether this film was ever diced into tiny portions and bookended by a bloke shouting “Hergeeeee’s Adventuuuuuures of Tinnnnntinnnn!” And quite frankly, we’ll be fast asleep when it’s on, so we’ll never know. Now, if it was Agaton Sax, things’d be different.
13.30 The Sting II
Hopeless sequel with Jackie ‘Smokey is the Bandit’ Gleason, Teri ‘Hmm, no Close Encounters this Christmas? Unusual’ Garr, Ollie ‘And no No Secrets either! Most odd!’ Reed and Karl ‘the new Marianne Stone’ Malden.
15.25 Kramer vs. Kramer
Despite sounding like a hidden option in a PS2 Seinfeld beat-’em-up, this Oscar-guzzling Dustin ‘n’ Meryl divorce was incredibly popular in its day, but not, as you may have guessed by the off-hand tone of this entry, with Creamguide.
04.00 The Boy Who Could Fly
Freds Gwynne and Savage – together at last! In a grossly sentimental tub of nonsense about an autistic boy. Remember, this sort of tuppeny filler still makes up the vast bulk of the schedules for this defiantly unambitious but bizarrely much-praised channel. Channel Five – really *driving* those trucks.
12.00 Not Only Peter Cook, But Also Dudley Moore
Scheduling reminiscent of ITV here, as part two of this tribute is shoved out in an undignified fashion when nobody will be listening. Won’t be any Derek And Clive, that’s for sure.
19.00 Nick Barraclough: Hank Williams Special
Nick might have had the wit to take his own name out of the title – it’s not like he ever met the man. It’s the 50th anniversary of the great one’s death, so here’s an hour’s archive recordings and interviews by way of a tribute.
12.04 Just A Minute’s 35th Birthday Show
Well this looks a bit odd. For a start it’s twice as long as the usual shows, which will mean a hell of a lot of padding and time inevitably beginning to drag about two thirds of the way through. Then there’s supposed to be celebrity “question-setters”, which if taken literally will mean Gyles Brandreth, Pam Ayres (“I’ve had many jobs since I were young/I once was a council gritter…”) and the rest showing up for five seconds to read out the subject on the card and that’s it. Plus there’s too many newer contestants (Graham Norton) when there’s still plenty of other old-timers (Wendy Richards, Stephen Fry) alive. Finally bloody Charles Collingwood is billed, presumably to do the scores in some patented dreadful Telly Addicts-styled tomfoolery. Not the best of birthdays to be sure.
Thursday 2nd January
19.00 This Is Your Life
Dunno if this is a new series, or just a one-off. And we think Mark Radcliffe’s on it soon, but that’s just speculation on our part. Is anyone still reading this?
19.30 EastEnders: Dot’s Story
It’s Civvy Street II! Excitingly the regular episode is replaced by this one-off hour-long special telling the story’s of Dot’s life during the war. Which should be fun.
01.05 Carry On Spying
Kenneth Williams always reckoned this was one of his favourites, but we’re not so sure. Still, it’s always nice to see one of the black and white ones again. And at least it’s not .England.
11.40 Laurel and Hardy
‘Oliver the Eighth’. No, we haven’t seen them, how did you guess?
12.05 Sherlock Holmes in Washington
Well, this certainly isn’t canon! Rathbone chases around the US capital in an all-new non-Doyle adventure. Jason Robards’s dad is about as hot as the Cream cameo listings get on these ancient films.
Creamguide’s back in work at this point, so at least misses this rather mundane scheduling.
19.30 The Good Life
Bloody hell, back to the beginning a-bloody-gain! This really is on a permanent loop, isn’t it, yet they still haven’t got round to showing the full When I’m 65 with The Queen in the audience and commentary from Brian Johnston. Tch.
20.00 The Joy of Home
ie, I Love Homes, again mixing voxpops with classic comedy clips. It says here. What chance Kenny Everett’s Reg Prescott?
00.20 The Pawnbroker
Stark drama with titular concentration camp survivor Rod Steiger mentally commuting between past terrors and the contemporary bleakness of down-at-heel New York life.
13.00 Carry On Henry
This is actually one of our favourites, although we’re always surprised by how few people rate it. Terry Scott, we feel, turns in a classic cinematic tour de force as Cardinal Wolsey and Charles Hawtrey gets one of his best roles out of it. To issue!
07.00 The Thief of Baghdad
We’re a tad too young to appreciate the timeless joy of Michael Powell’s Arabian nights frolic, forever sidetracked as we are trying to spot a young Cleo ‘scoobedoobedoo’ Laine allegedly appearing as an extra.
13.35 Heroes of Comedy
There’s always slightly odd scheduling at this time of year because nobody’s quite sure whether it’s a proper working day or still part of the holidays. And of course in Scotland it’s an official bank holiday, the gits. Anyway, here’s a repeat for the profile of Max Wall.
14.35 Passport to Pimlico
For some reason this is one of the least shown and less well known of the Ealings, but this ration-thwarting jowl-wobbling extravaganza is one of the best. Any excuse for Margaret Rutherford, to be frank.
13.30 Eye on the Sparrow
Keith Carradine and – brat pack alert! – Mare Winningham play a blind couple who adopt an orphan.
00.50 Phantom of the Rue Morgue
’50s version of the slightly silly Poe story with Karl ‘San Fran’ Malden as a loveless doctor who gets a gorilla to knock off his exes. Features a young Merv Griffin, Seinfeld fans!
11.30 With Great Pleasure
Dora “Cannon’s Family Sausages” Bryan gets a half hour’s spotlight to reflect on her life, though it’s through a selection of her favourite writing by other people, rather than her personal anecdotes, which isn’t right.
20.00 The Decade Of Self Doubt
Ian Hargreaves doles out more of that ol’ time austerity.
Friday 3rd January
17.00 Blue Peter
Back in the day this would be the show where they’d announce they’d reached the target of their appeal, but they’d never bother to come in and do a live show at this time anymore. Instead here’s a one-off special where Matt learns to hang-glide.
22.35 Lenny Henry – This Is My Life
Chef!, Lenny Goes To Town, Lenny Henry In Pieces… yes, since Tiswas Len’s career has, basically, been one great big underachievement. But the Beeb are still happy to give him shows, and this might not actually be too bad as he looks back at his childhood and the early stages of his career. Dunno if there’s any clippage, mind.
01.30 Carry On Cabby
At last! The best of the pre-colour ‘Ons, and indeed a strong contender for all-round champine, returns after being absent from our screens for far too long (well, only a couple of years really, but in Carry On terms that counts as extremely rare). Sid James’ down to Earth Speedy Taxis firm is put to the test by wife Hattie Jacques’ saucy, saxophone-backed Glamcabs operation, and bitter rivalry ensues until the climactic cab hijack brings the two sides together to “head ’em off at the pass”. But never mind the hackneyed plot, there’s feisty female cabby Esma ‘Flo’ Cannon, loopy moped-riding trainee Charles ‘Pintpot’ Hawtrey, Cyril Chamberlain as Sarge, Kenneth Connor, Bill Owen, Liz Fraser, Milo O’Shea, Jim Dale, Amanda Barrie and Frank Forsyth. Now’s the time to open that pack of Tudor videocassettes you got for Christmas.
11.40 Laurel and Hardy
‘Scram!’ The sort of title you don’t just get anymore, do you?
12.00 The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
A good one, this. Moriarty’s after the crown jewels (again with the bleeding gems – we suppose a modern-day Holmes adventure would involve a break-in at the QVC studios). Rathbone dons a variety of rubbish disguises. Bruce gets taken in by all of them. “Remember that old lady who bumped into you outside the station, Watson?” “You don’t mean to say..? By Jingo, Holmes!” etc. Wondrously old-hat flummery from all concerned.
14.50 A Pocketful of Rye
19.30 The Good Life
BBC2 – fresh for 2003!
Wow! It’s twenty years (to the day? Maybe) since Matthew Kelly bounded onto a crappy spaceship set and linked the first ever afternoon of Children’s ITV, and we’d sort of assumed that this anniversary would go uncelebrated because ITV are normally incredibly reticent to show anything from more than about six months ago. But in fact they *are* celebrating, with this 80-minute special where the regular lot will be joined by Kelly himself, plus Tommy Boyd, Roland Rat, Grotbags and T-Bag (hopefully not the crap one), and hopefully we’ll get a proper history of all the different incarnations and Gary Terzza’ll show up and everything. Put the tape on just in case.
10.45 The Journey of Natty Gann
Mid-’80s live-action depression-era Disney pot-boiler (or should that be Black Cauldron boiler, dark-days-of-Disney fans?) briefly alleviated by Scatman ‘Yaa! Haa! Hoo! And a rinky-dinky-doo! To you!’ Crothers.
13.00 Carry On Doctor
We have to hand it to the schedulers – in this instance at least – this particular crop of Carry Ons has been amongst their best selection for some time. Sure there’s no .Cowboy or .At Your Convenience but at least there hasn’t been @#�*%&! .England!
14.00 Planet of the Apes
Well, you know what happens here.
16.05 Escape from the Planet of the Apes
Never liked this one, although it does niftily get round budget restrictions by just having the two apes for most of it. And, as we’ll never stop pointing out, it has that “artist painting a picture of the artist…” speech, which we really like, as not only is it daft made-up pseudo-science, which is always good to hear coming out of actor’s mouths, but it has absolutely no relevance to what it’s supposed to be explaining, or indeed to anything at all. Roddy fans will be unsurprised to hear this was his favourite of all “the Apes series”. As, er, it’s the one he’s in the most.
01.55 Top Ten Progressive Rock
ELP, Hawkwind and the rest come up with a selection of great anecdotes, and Bill Bailey and Mark Radcliffe are in charge, so it’s quite good fun.
03.20 Dead of Night
“Oh doctor, why did you have to break your glasses?” The original and best portmanteau horror returns, and if by some bizarre chance you still haven’t seen it, make sure the second half of that Tudor cassette you’ve set to tape Carry On Cabby (which conveniently finishes just before this) is filled with this astonishment forthwith. OK, you’ve got the misplaced HG Wells golfing ghost comedy segment to endure, but from the opening “room for one more inside” morsel, through the spooky mirror tale to the magisterial Michael Redgrave ventriloquist piece, it’s a complete edge-of-seat joy. And the linking narrative actually builds tension and has a point other than to just pad the piece out, leading to an ending that’s just fabulous, and very bizarre for a 1940s Ealing film.
15.15 The Last of Sheila
The late James Coburn invites Dyan Cannon, James Mason, Ian ‘Grace’ McShane and Raquel Welch onto his yacht for a glorified game of truth or dare that, inevitably, turns to… murder!
00.45 Amityville III: the Demon
It bothers us to see the lovely Candy ‘Man Who Fell to Earth’ Clark reduced to this 3D video shop tosh, just as it always bothered us that Lovebug Starski (or at least the bloke he got in to do the impressions) said “Spock, you’ve got to get us out of here,” and then replied doing an impression of Scotty. Such slovenly writing on a novelty record! Compare and contrast with the intricately scripted and impeccably researched John Kettley is a Weatherman. Sorry about that, but it’s been a long mailout.
04.25 The Love Boat
Can we go home now?
19.00 Thanks For The Memory
Hubert Gregg gets the last word. Which is, erm, “thanks”. He’s beaten Brian Hayes to the last line in Creamguide at any rate.
DIGI-CREAMGUIDE PART TWO
* Most of the digital channels just churn out the usual stuff over the festive season, which is no good. Hence this rather perfunctionary run-through of the best of the rest…
* UK Horizons are showing sodding I Love The Seventies again, every night at 21.00 from Monday 23rd to New Year’s Eve, though ‘interestingly’ they’re not showing 1970. You Only Live Once series 1 gets a daily repeat from Boxing Day as well. Meanwhile, Ian Darke ahoy as Sky Sports 3 are repeating The Premiership Years from the summer, and the early shows include clips from The Boot Room and The Footballers’ Football Show.
* Clearly there’s not enough Peter Cook on TV around this Christmas, so to give it its full title The Best Of What’s Left Of Not Only… But Also’s on BBC4 on Saturday 28th along with the straight man documentary, which is set around film of a Cannon and Ball summer season in Blackpool. As if to hammer the point home, Bravo’s showing That Riviera Touch again.
* All New Year week BBC4 are showing a selection of pop movies, from The Last Waltz to In Bed With Madonna. They also begin a repeat run of Private Schulz on Thursday 2nd, while UK Horizons see the New Year in with a Young Guns Go For It marathon.
* Best of all, The Wheeltappers are on G+ on Saturday 21st, then each night from Monday 23rd to Boxing Day, including Christmas Day! Hooray!
Well, for a time back there we thought we’d never make it, but that really is all from the Christmas Double Creamguide. A personal thank you from Creamguide to everyone who contributed to it, and an extra special thanks to everyone who’s still reading up to this point. Actually that’s probably just the contributors, to be honest.
Watch out for the Creamguide Review of the Year appearing in your inbox during the dying days of 2002, then the weekly Creamguide’s back, back, back on January 2nd. There’ll be a few changes, but mostly it’ll be the same mix of slights at people we don’t like and far too anal descriptions of the week’s television. In the meantime the TV Cream Christmas Update is out soon, and TV Cream – and the Ask The Family message board – will be open throughout the festive season, at http://tv.cream.org
And a Merry Christmas to all of you at home!