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
2nd – 8th November 2002
All their own work – Phil Norman, Chris Diamond
Saturday 2nd November
08.05 Looney Tunes
Frauds! On Tuesday they showed a Merrie Melodie! Even though they’re exactly the same, of course. Also on Sunday morning on BBC2 and various spare moments during the week.
18.10 Only Fools and Horses
Hopefully, given John Sullivan’s had more than five seconds to write the next episodes, they might actually be half-decent.
14.35 El Cid
17.30 Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em
The same could also be said of this, obviously.
21.05 Fame, Set and Match
We’re hoping for heavy Nationwide and TVam content in this week’s show, as it’s devoted to people who have married into the royal family – the usual suspects, of course. Alas, this replaces the promised Saturday morning TV episode which was originally announced as being on this week. Though it’ll just be Cheggers’ penis, won’t it?
22.35 The Wild Bunch
It’s all go this week with another classic taken off the shelf and dusted down. William Holden’s our favourite in this bloody Western and his next film was L’Arbre de Noel… but he still wasn’t as versatile as Bernard Bresslaw.
00.55 The List of Adrian Messenger
Extremely odd late-period John Houston mystery, with MI5 operative George C Scott investigating the titular list of recently-assasinated individuals with the help of Kirk Douglas, some intrusive vocal dubbing by Rich ‘Pink Panther’ Little, and some rather slack technical photography. Not great or bad, but the only thing this film is remembered for is its zany disguise gimmick, whereby Kirk (playing a Master of Disguise) physically stops the end credits (something we always like to see) before revealing several famous ‘cameos’ that appeared in the course of the film (we won’t spoil them for you, but legend has it the stars in question weren’t actually present for the film proper at all) and various extra-curricular roles Douglas himself took on (watch for a ‘Mr. Pythian’) – all revealed in time-honoured Kenny Everett tradition by ripping off latex noses and chins and delivering a cheeky “it was me all the time!” wink to the camera. Not exactly The Dead, then.
Wasn’t ‘Girls’ the subject the other week? Well, here it is again anyway, although there aren’t any featured artists billed. You can probably guess them, mind.
21.00 Force 10 from Navarone
In this sequel to yer actual Guns of Navarone the plot revolves around the two leading characters from that film – Mallory and Miller – being the only blokes who will be able to identify a man who was with them first time but who turned out to be a naughty Nazi spy. A fiendishly concieved plan as Mallory and Miller themselves used to look like Gregory Peck and David Niven but now look uncannily like Robert Shaw and Edward Fox, so although they can recognise him he won’t be able to recognise them. Cunning as a horse.
05.10 Sons and Daughters
Shame on C4 for not doing anything to mark their 20th anniversary. S4C are pulling out all the stops, though, so if you’re in the principality (and there’ll probably be English subtitles on 888), then this Friday (1st November, which is their actual birthday) at 21.15 you may want to check out Dyma S4C, a massive two-hour special. Then on Wednesday at 18.30 and Thursday at 20.30, Dewis y Gwylwyr presents the all-time most popular S4C shows, as voted for by viewers. Will ‘Pobol y Pyjamas’ feature? Oh, and this is on Friday too.
Sunday 3rd November
13.00 ‘Allo ‘Allo!
Preceded by On The Record, which now ends each week with the caption ‘On The Record – The Final Series, rather portentuously. They should have made it all about the crocodile!
16.30 Points of View
Tel’s back, but at least they’ve corrected the address – ‘BBC Birmingham, Birmingham’ seems fairly pointless, cos it’s not going to be BBC Bristol, is it?
17.15 Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em
Again! Postponed from 20th October, too, though we dunno why.
00.45 Clash by Night
Undistinguished melodrama from Montgomery Tully, usually more at home directing comedy spinoffs like I Only Arsked! and She Knows, You Know, although we’d really like BBC2 to re-screen his Who-esque foray into sci-fi, The Terrornauts, starring Charles Hawtrey.
You’d hardly think this would have been the centrepiece of C4’s big birthday weekend, would you?
22.00 Hang ‘Em High
Well, if you’ve got to have a Western it might as well be a good one… Clint ‘Crint’ Eastwood is the avenging Marshall Cooper out to pay back the men who left him for dead. Not as violent as the usual Eastwood frontier-fare and none the worse for it. Will there never be a week without a western? Will there never be a time without a war film? Will there ever be a rainbow?
14.30 McMillan and Wife
Followed by Inside Bjork, which is perhaps the oddest juxtaposition of all time.
23.30 Vicious Circle
All we know is that this is a ‘panel-based game show’ and it’s presented by Victor Lewis-Smith, in a rare in-vision appearance. It could be sort of interesting – VLS was, of course, the man who brought us the Harlech logo (well, after Lord Harlech, I suppose) – but we don’t much care for him, to be honest.
Monday 4th November
Every day at this time, much to the disgust of the person who wrote to the Chatterbox section on Ceefax to complain that they yanked Murder She Wrote off two episodes before the edition they’ve been waiting fifteen years to see. Not sure what’s happened in the interim years which meant they couldn’t.
17.00 Blue Peter
Good to see the Femail section in the Daily Mail refer to Liz as ‘a vision of shy loveliness’ this week, even though we didn’t know the Femail section’s target audience was pathetic twentysomething men who have a bit of a crush on her. The writing quality in that paper really has shot up, hasn’t it?
22.35 Phil Collins – A LIfe Less Ordinary
‘I went to see Genesis, and after about two minutes I thought oh, I wish this would stop!’ Still, here’s a profile of the man in question, and we’ll use this opportunity to say that when we first read the lyrics to In The Air Tonight in Smash Hits, we’d only previously heard You Can’t Hurry Love of his singles, and presumed it was in a similar style, with finger clicks and everything. Imagine our disappointment when it turned out to be a dull ballad. We’ve not liked him much ever since.
08.30 Round The Twist
It’s back every day at this time, but we’re onto the much weaker second series, so the birdshit episode seems to have gone out of the window. But at least the Blue Peter repeats are back at 8am, so we don’t care.
13.15 All in a Night’s Work
This slight story of uneasy love triangle between junior publishing tycoon Dean Martin and kooky, accident-prone researcher Shirley MacLaine and mild-mannered vet Cliff Robertson comes wrapped in murder mystery and industrial espionage trappings, but a tad wearying if you’re not a fan of MacLaine in ‘dippy’ mode, or in a towel.
14.45 Yes Minister
Good to see the BBC consistently innovating in daytime.
21.00 Never Mind The Buzzcocks
Wow! Neil Innes is on the panel tonight, which is excellent news. Unfortunately, so is the dreadful Emma B.
23.20 Understanding John Birt
This is the programme that was on BBC4 last week, which we of course didn’t see. Perhaps interesting in any case to see the Beeb show a programme that makes great play of the fact that a former D-G was ‘controversial’ and unliked by many, which you wouldn’t have seen in, well, Birt’s days.
06.00 The Magic Roundabout
13.25 The History of Mr Polly
John Mills takes the role of HG Wells’s incompetent, ennui-laden, Fishbourne-dwelling Edwardian shopkeeper, with support from a fine selection of post-war favourites including Finlay Currie, Dandy Nichols, Moore Marriott, Irene Handl and Miles Malleson.
22.30 Rita, Sue and Bob, Too
Tremendous kitchen sink drama especially worthy cos their kitchen sinks were probably manky. Michelle ‘Jodie from Coronation Street’ Holmes and Siobhan ‘Tina from Coronation Street’ Finneran are Rita and Sue who are, let’s face it, common as muck, and George ‘So Haunt Me’ Costigan is the dreadful Bob up to all sorts of bawdy mischief in and around Bradford. All this and Willie Ross as Sue’s father – still doing the best drunk in the business – and Black Lace, by Jove! Fancy a jump?
11.00 Magnum PI
There were never this many bloody episodes when it was on ITV, surely? Still on every day at this time.
(An orchestra tootles away performing a dreary tune which somewhere along the line turns into The Pink Panther. A grey-haired gentleman enters, stage left, and turns to camera with a soppy grin.)
The wonderful sounds there of the Bournemouth Symphonietta, wishing you a very warm welcome to this one-off transmission from Southern Television. I’m Christopher Robbie, one of Southern’s most popular station announcers, and over the next few paragraphs, I’ll be your guide through this brief package of reminiscence for a fine company, a very fine company. The TV Creamguide Ed has invited us along after receiving at least one letter complaining that Southern Television was missed out from last week’s complete guide to the ITV regions – just like it was viciously shafted by the bastards at the Independent Broadcasting Authority in 1981. I must say that, as one of our major shareholders was Associated Newspapers, a lot of TV Cream seems quite familiar to us.
Our chairman Charles Wilson, or David Wilson, or whatever his name is, was understandably upset that Creamguide, much like those IBA bastards, did not pay any attention to our productions over 23 years of hugely successful and extremely popular broadcasting. Of course, as we stated in our farewell programme on New Years Eve 1981, we spent many, many hours broadcasting opera from Glyndebourne, period drama and performances of classical music, and that is what we are remembered for. Those who only think of Southern as the producers of Runaround, How and Worzel Gummidge are quite, quite wrong. This was merely a small part of the huge range of programming from Southern, albeit the only stuff that anyone actually watched.
For many years, Southern Television broadcast an epilogue each evening from our studios in Dover. We’ve re-opened them for this special occasion, and they’re occupied by a gentleman called Jon Peake. He’s here to pay tribute to another of our great friends and former colleagues in the independent television network – albeit one that’s still broadcasting, while we’re not, the gits. It’s that fine broadcaster from Jersey, Channel Television. Mr Peake, if you will?
“I’ve just read your marvellous look at the soon to disappear regional TV companies in the TV Cream Times and pitying you for never having seen any Channel Islands TV. So let me give you a brief taster. As you say, Meridian provide most of the feeds, however BBC is served by BBC South West, or whatever it is that comes out of Plymouth. Of course, it never carries any CI news, so we (well, at least, my in-laws) have to rely on the local CTV bulletin. But with there being not much news – even a car window being smashed in St Helier High Street makes the front page of the Jersey Evening Post – there’s a lot of community do-gooding, news on the yearly Battle of Flowers, etc. It’s all terribly upbeat.
“Poor Puffin is moments from death, but amazingly popular. They have people phoning in now.
“The adverts are great – very local, very cheap, for furniture shops in Guernsey, etc. So you sit watching ads for stores on other islands. It’s a strange feeling. But when the CTV logo evolves from all six Channel Islands (IIRC) you know you’re in a unique community. Not at all like watching Border TV on the Isle of Man.”
Thank you for that, Jon. Of course Southern Television was immensely proud of it’s role in the community in the wonderful South of England, and we feel utterly cheated to have been deprived of the chance to continue this service past 1981. Well, our time back on air is very nearly up, and our successors in this mail-out – ie, the Tuesday billings – are about to take over. But we ‘re not ready to take our leave just at this moment. As a light-hearted tribute to Creamguide, we’ve invited that marvellous musical wit, Richard Stilgoe, to pen a wryly humorous ditty. Richard?
“Southern’s time back in the spotlight is over
We’ll soon be returning to Creamguide
The mailout devoted to cataloguing appearances
From stars of the screen you thought had already died.”
Ha ha ha. Thank you, Richard, and thank you to all our loyal viewers for sticking with us over the previous nine paragraphs. I’ve now been joined by two of Southern’s most famous faces, Fred Dinenage and Gary Russell, who will accompany me downing this magnum of champagne. So if you have a glass in front of you, please raise it, in honour of Southern Television – a fine company, a very fine company. And a very special thank you to all of our very good friends at Associated Newspapers!
Tuesday 5th November
Best line-up we’ve had for a long time, here – Sparks, Herbie Hancock, BA Robertson and Smokie. Not even Wright can cock this one up, can he?
22.00 The Entertainers
Louis Theroux moves behind the camera for this series, which follows about the stars after they were famous – not like After They Were Famous, because it’s shot on film for a start. The idea seems to be to feature a few each show going about their business, and the first three are Tony Blackburn, who to be honest we’ve seen enough of recently, Leo Sayer and Bernard Manning. And there’s more on Thursday.
19.30 After They Were Famous
Speaking of which, this was a ten-part series which only managed to get about three parts out on Saturdays earlier this year. Back to filler status, we’ve got Peter Wyngarde, Emlyn Hughes, Peter Sarstedt and, best of all, Toni Arthur.
20.00 Return of the Jedi
If this nine-part space opera sprang fully-formed from Lucas’s creative loins, how come he made part six a limp re-hash of the previous two? It’s almost as if they’re just making up sequels as they go along, like every other blockbuster franchise ever! Anyway, time to remember when this was the best film ever – ie Christmas 1982, when all there was of it were a couple of effects books, the not-in-the-shops Admiral Ackbar figure (and the “delightfully non-PC” chinese pig thing that followed), and Claire Davenport boasting of her involvement on the festive 3-2-1 (her role, “fat dancer”, lasted all of five seconds in the final cut).
22.50 The Frank Skinner Show
Hopefully the clip from Packing Them In is now a regular weekly feature.
13.45 Bad Day at Black Rock
It’s a funny thing but we don’t get to see much of Spencer Tracey these days on telly. Are his films dead expensive now, or something? Anyway, make up for that by watching this – another great film this week with Tracey as Macreedy, the mysterious one-handed man who comes to Black Rock to hand over a medal to a Japanese chap whose son died during the war. Powerful stuff. And speaking of powerful, we were chatting to Roy Walker the other day *clang* and he was telling us of his forthcoming big screen debut in a little film where he plays a monsignor who listens to the confession of a boy at the school where he’s headmaster. We didn’t know what to say about this move into thespianism but Ken Goodwin *CLANG* just giggled and said “Did you tell him to say what you see, Roy? Ha!” We’d give it a plug but he couldn’t remember what it was called but we’ll find out and let you know (and you wouldn’t get all *that* in the Radio Times film pages).
22.00 Fame and Fortune: Ozzy Osbourne Special
Never ones to escape an opportunity to cash in, Five dig out this documentary first shown, and endlessly repeated, in 1997. “I left a glass of Tizer here earlier, have any of you lot seen it?”
Wednesday 6th November
17.00 Blue Peter
At least they got the bit about Matt’s Blondie appearance in.
20.30 Fawlty Towers
“I know there were going to be six, but there was a strike and that wasn’t
my fault, was it?”
00.05 The President’s Analyst
There’s a battle on tonight between this and Juggernaut for film of the week (honestly, you wait ages for a decent film…) but this must be the one to tape if you’ve never had the pleasure before. James ‘Flint’ Coburn is the titular White House shrink in this dayglo swinging conspiracy comedy from Theodore J ‘Man from UNCLE’ Flicker, summoned to relieve his boss of the trauma of office (and a few state secrets besides) via an omnipresent flashing red alarm. Soon both American (Godfrey ‘Cotton Comes to Harlem’ Cambridge) and Russian (Severn ‘Werewolves on Wheels’ Darden) agents are after him, and many violent counterculture related incidents lead Coburn to the real enemy – the all-powerful phone company, headed by the Mandelsonian Pat ‘voice of The Inspector’ Harrington Jr, who imprison him in a phone box and screen their world domination plans in the form of quaint UPA-style cartoons, before a violently festive ‘happy’ ending that predates Brazil by nearly twenty years. What with the obligatory censorship controversies (the names ‘CIA’ and ‘FBI’ altered with bad dubbing, apparently at the authorities’ behest), a murderous William ‘KITT’ Daniels, inevitable psychedelic nightmare/trip scenes, excellent Casino Royale/Anderson Tapes-type sets and a whole Lalo Schifrin goin’ on scorewise, what’s not to like?
Presumably yesterday’s episode softened us up for today’s, as it features Dolly Parton, Garth Brooks, Leann Rimes and Faith Hill, therefore presumably being a Country Music Award special. Booooring.
21.00 The Sun… and Me
“It’s Ooooh! Laa Laa week in your super soaraway Sun!” Looking forward to this one, which should include some fantastic archive footage, and if you can, try and get hold of a copy of Stick It Up Your Punter by Peter Chippendale and Chris Horrie, which is a great history of the paper, and mentions that when they moved to Wapping, the hacks were appalled to discover that they’d been allocated a “shit-brown” colour scheme.
It’s the film of the week! (Battle my giddy aunt!) Pity it took Richard Harris dropping off his perch to get this terrific blackmail and terrorist thriller back on, though at least it means that we can begin to remember him again as characters like Fallon the maverick bomb-disposal expert and not Albus bloody Dumbledore. Harris is great as the man dropped in to a cruise liner with his team – including doomed sidekick Charlie, played by David Hemmings – to defuse the giant bombs left by nasty extortionist Juggernaut. Omar Sharif is the captain, Ian Holm does much pacing up and down as the shipping line man, Freddie Jones and Michael Hordern are possible suspects chased by Kenneth Colley, Cyril Cusack is rather chilling as an unco-operative IRA bomber but the star of the show – and by a long chalk – is Roy Kinnear as the Entertainments Officer; his turn singing Roll Out The Barrel being one of *the* cinematic masterpieces. And directed by Richard ‘Running, Jumping and Standing Still’ Lester, too. It doesn’t get any better, folks.
13.25 Sea of Sand
It’s another of those films Richard Attenborough has probably forgotten he was in, but he shouldn’t since this isn’t half bad. Dickie has to blow up a German petrol store in the desert and is ably helped by Barry ‘Enderby’ Foster and even the great Ray ‘our friend’s Dad’ McAnally is in there, too.
Thursday 7th November
23.35 The Human Factor
One of those actors we love even though we’re never sure whether they’re actually being any good or not, Nicol ‘Seven Percent’ Williamson, stars as a straightlaced minor British spy (married to Iman, no less) keeping an eye on his lefty colleague Derek Jacobi and an unpleasant South African diplomat in this Graham Greene adaptation with one of those casts we haven’t had for a while – Richard Attenborough, John Gielgud, Robert ‘bricks’ Morley, Richard ‘Slarti’ Vernon, Martin ‘Vogon captain’ Benson, Tony ‘Kinvig’ Haygarth, Ken ‘Ives’ Jones, Frank ‘your reverence’ Williams, Adrienne ‘Leisure Hive’ Corri, Tom ‘Rod Hull and Emu Sing a Christmas Song’ Chatto and – it’s good to be back – Marianne Stone.
14.50 Yes Minister
So how come there’s no Westminster today? Did they arrange to be off so they didn’t clash with the Indoor Bowls?
21.50 Look Around You
“Get well soon, professor.” This is still the funniest thing on telly.
22.00 The Entertainers
Nicholas Parsons joins the gang tonight, with The Krankies promised for later in the run. So don’t say we didn’t warn you.
19.30 The Tube – Twenty Years On (Tyne Tees only)
“All I remember was hours and hours of Phil Collins!” Malcolm Gerrie seems to have spent his entire life pointing out to everyone that he invented The Tube, whether they want to know or not, and there seems to be rather more of a legend around it than it deserves but if you live in the North East then this should be worth checking out. Not sure how many of the memorable bits you can show at half past seven, mind. Of course, three years ago we had Apocalypse Tube, the one-off revival on Sky One and C4 with the dream team of Chris Moyles and Donna Air presenting, which was just like every other music show ever made, but did get a behind-the-scenes documentary on Tyne Tees and Granada, just after it went out. So that’s an ITV programme made with the express purpose of plugging a C4 programme. Oh, and there’s a CD out at the moment too – which includes Big Area by Then Jericho, which was released in 1989, so that can’t be right.
Friday 8th November
17.00 Blue Peter
So, The Quest II, then. This time round it’s Matt, Simon and Konnie as a bunch of hapless detectives – Matt’s character was raised by Wolves, and we’ll be looking out for the “…the football team!” gag soon enough – while Liz is the baddie. Peter Duncan’s also in the cast list, too, so maybe we’ll get another outing for our favourite bit from the first one, and there’s Gerald Harper too! Yes, a proper actor!
01.05 The Ghoul
Ah, Tyburn Productions, runt of the Brit-horror litter. We had Legend of the Werewolf in this slot three weeks ago, now this rather nicely done “something in the attic” chestnut with Peter Cushing, Alexandra ‘Champions’ Bastedo and John Hurt (as last seen 18 months ago). Hopefully soon we’ll get daft Ralph Bates/Lana Turner cat-drowning curio Terror of Sheba, which appears to be pretty much all Tyburn ever managed to produce, if you don’t count the Channel Four Holmes adaptation Masks of Death and the anomalous ’82 World Cup documentary G’ole! Which we don’t, for the record.
Last of the lot – until they start repeating them again in two weeks, of course.
23.35 These Things Take Time (Granada, Tyne Tees, Border)
Who said regionalism was dead on ITV? Actually why this is a regional programme, Christ knows, as Vic Reeves narrates a history of The Smiths, including previously unseen and rare footage.
13.10 The Silent Enemy
More war bobbins but this time underwater. Still, at least there’s Sid ‘Citizen’ James and David ‘Career?’ Lodge to maintain a bit of interest.
14.30 Open House with Gloria Hunniford
Richard and Judy on daytime Channel Five shock! They’re guesting to plug their autobiography, but surely that was out a few months back and it can’t be in paperback already, surely? Don’t be surprised if they ask Glo what the pay’s like.
15.40 Deadly Encounter
Larry ‘La la la la, and I forgot that particular lyric’ Hagman tries to beat the mafia to hidden valuables in this TV movie which, coming hot on the heels of SOB and Swedish comedy Jag Rodnar (I Blush), pretty much helped seal his fate as Mr Used-to-be-in-Dallas-and-wasn’t-there-something-else-you-know-that-thing-wit h-the-witch-no-it’s-gone. Which is a crying shame all round.
* “Ah, Death Wish 1-6, on long play!” Peter Kay Live At The Top Of The Tower is on Paramount again on Sunday at 22.40, and it’s still fantastic. We’re still on a moratorium of jokes from Peter’s latest stand-up routine, as seen in a theatre near you, until other workers at TVC Towers have been to see it – but we’re not holding on til the tour finishes in April, you hear? You should have booked earlier.
* Football Years on Sky One, after Monday’s repeat of 1997/98 (22.00), alights on 1981/82 on Wednesday at 22.00. Not got a clue what we’re going to get from this programme, it’s not even a particularly memorable season, but let’s all hope they play the theme tune to World Cup Grandstand 1982, because it’s brilliant.
* Meanwhile Granada Plus appears to have turned into UK Gold (Wycliffe!?), and they’ve now started showing Bewitched every day, like we haven’t already seen enough of that. It’s only decent show remains The Kenny Everett Video Show – and that’s on Saturday at 04.30! It’s all gone wrong at G+.
FOR QUEEN AND COMMONWEALTH
What’s TV Cream? Why, it’s at http://tv.cream.org and it’s there you can subscribe to The TV Cream Update, our monthly (sort of) review of all things Creamy (so not even any need to look at the site, Mail reporters). It’s also the home of Ask The Family, our family of forums, for all your ‘What was the name of the programme with Would You Like To Swing On A Star as the theme tune?’ needs.
Written in a bit of a rush – Chris Hughes, Ian Jones, Graham Kibble-White, Jon Peake, Simon Tyers