TV Cream

How We Used To List

How We Used To List: 30th NOVEMBER – 6th DECEMBER, 2002

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.)

30th November – 6th December 2002
Philms (geddit?) – Chris Diamond, Phil Norman

Saturday 30th November


08.00 Looney Tunes
We really should start taping these just in case they show Duck Amuck, which is the best thing ever. ‘A close-up, you jerk, a close-up!’ Ah, we loved it when we were eight.

19.10 Only Fools and Horses
Never let it be said Saturday nights on BBC1 aren’t as good as they used to be.

22.25 Parkinson
Michael Caine’s the only guest in this week’s special – though perhaps Phil Cornwell will show up at some point.

23.25 Dressed to Kill
Did this film inspire the Yorkshire Ripper? Erm, no, not really. Michael Caine’s sex-addict patient (Angie ‘Sgt Suzanne ‘Pepper’ Anderson’ Dickinson) gets slashed by a mysterious sex-change killer with Caine’s own razor, providing Brian de Palma with a starting point for acres of swooping camerawork, Hitchcock references and the inevitable lashings of split screen. Well worth the candle.


14.50 Ironside
Meanwhile, The Goal Rush on ITV1 doesn’t start until 16.35, because the other ninety minutes are needed for… a repeat of last week’s Dr Zhivago! Oh yeah, they’re totally committed to football, aren’t they?

15.40 Guys and Dolls
Worth watching for Stubby ‘Marvin ACME’ Kaye’s turn belting out ‘Sit Down Your Rocking The Boat’. Oh, and we suppose Frank Sinatra and Marlon Brando too.

21.05 Fame, Set and Match
There’s still a couple of episodes to go in this series, although the subjects have been so broad we wonder if anyone’s actually watched every one of them. The subject tonight is ‘child stars’, and Patsy Kensit’s featured, so expect clips of Luna and that ‘I shall call you Jan!’ drama, whatever that was. Unfortunately the rest are American – Jack Wild, Corey Feldman, Drew Barrymore and Jodie Foster – and so won’t spawn many funny Creamy clips, alas.

22.35 The Entertainers
Ooh, hasn’t Bobby Davro got a big house? Last omnibus of the series.

23.35 The King of Comedy
We suspect Jerry Lewis agreed to appear in this just so he could associate himself with the title in at least some aspect, cos outside France everyone just thinks he’s a pain in the arse who used to get carried by Dean Martin. Or is that just us? Worringly though, in this particular feature it’s Lewis who’s the star acting Robert De Niro off the screen for great stretches. When did he learn to act, then? Between takes in ‘The Caddie’?

01.20 Cape Fear
Difficult to watch this now, as it seems empty without Sideshow Bob performing HMS Pinafore on the poop deck.


02.00 Forever
Nice scheduling by ITV, with a show devoted to boy bands the day after Mark Owen wins Celebrity Big Brother, we presume (expect him to have been voted out by the time you read this, then). Don’t expect Menergy, alas.


22.05 Top Ten Camp Pop
The telly episodes weren’t that great, but the now occasional music instalments can normally be relied upon to entertain. This one looks a bit unfocused, though, because we’ve got Steps, Divine and Take That, which is fair enough, but then we’ve also got people like Elton John, and we can sort of understand why he’s in there, but you don’t see people dancing to his stuff at G-A-Y every week, do you?


01.35 Little Mo
TV biopic of tennis ace Maureen Connolly, with Michael ‘Waltons’ Learned as her coach, and Leslie Nielsen as, well, Leslie Nielsen.

05.10 Sons and Daughters
Seemingly bolted to this slot on Saturdays and Fridays forever.

Sunday 1st December
(Ooh, hasn’t the year flown?)


16.30 Points of View
Best bit on last week’s show was, of course, Armando Iannucci’s amusingly pissed-off statement about the audience laughter on Alan Partridge, a subject which he’s so bored with he couldn’t even be bothered to read it out himself. Interesting how everyone who moans about it always says ‘I don’t need to be told when to laugh’, so presumably if they ever go to see live comedy, they constantly shush everyone else in the audience.

21.00 Jeffrey Archer – The Truth
Clunky, heavy-handed ‘satire’ written by Guy Jenkin, whose stuff we really dislike, and the best review of his work we ever read was in Private Eye when Mr White Goes To Westminster was screened. That, rather obviously, was his clunky, heavy-handed ‘satire’ on Martin Bell, and was transmitted at the same time that Jack Straw’s son got arrested for possession of cannabis, and the Eye said that ‘Britain’s TV executives should brace themselves for a Jenkin script landing on their desks about an MP called William Grass’. Which sums his clunky, heavy-handed ‘satire’ up perfectly, really.

23.30 White Mischief
This Kenyan wartime posho decadence Greta Scacchi-fest is far too pleased with itself, in that annoying, aloof, post-Chariots British film industry way, to be enjoyable, despite Sarah Miles, Joss Ackland, John Hurt, Charles Dance, Murray ‘Bangkok’ Head, Trevor ‘Rawlinson’ Howard and Nigel ‘Honey for Tea’ Le Vaillant among the cast. Oh, and – ensuring every Blake’s Seven fan owns a copy of this on video, with a little ridge in the tape about a third of the way through – Jacqueline ‘Servalan’ Pearce.


17.10 Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em
After the Sunday Grandstand curling special that’ll get the hopeless Martin Kelner in The Guardian frothing at the mouth on Monday, such as the other week when he claimed that Grandstand were showing darts from Bridlington as ‘the BBC are no longer allowed into places like Twickenham’. Despite the fact the next week they were showing rugby from Twickenham.


12.00 That’s Esther
Is this still on? Today Matthew Kelly discusses his career, mind, so watch out for those Madabout clips.

03.00 Life in Danger
With Derren ‘Special Branch’ Nesbitt starring, and Malcolm ‘Silurians’ Hulke on scripting duties, how could this Butcher’s thriller be anything less than an hour of solid tedium?


14.10 The Odessa File
Jon Voigt gets involved with this week’s contingent of naughty Nazis as he tracks the secret ex-SS organisation headed by Maximillian ‘Black Hole’ Schell and dealing with Derek ‘Mr Pye’ Jacobi and Peter ‘Cut Off In My Prime’ Jeffrey along the way. Handy information on the relative values of various Iron Crosses contained herein, and just in time for your Christmas shopping, too.

22.00 Fifty Greatest Magic Tricks
First shown in the spring, and good fun it is too, despite the fact there are rather more clips of Derren Brown and Paul Zenon than you might expect (and there may have been less from their Objective-produced shows if this show had not been made by Objective Productions), and more David Blaine than we really need. But there’s some great, genuinely amazing clips in here, and it’s perhaps the first nostalgia show ever to mention Paul Daniels without just calling him a twat, which is some feat.


14.55 The Secret Invasion
“The Daring Plan! The Staggering Odds!” runs the irresistable tagline to this wartime Corman-fest and what’s more staggering is how he talked Stewart Granger and Mickey ‘Let’s Put On A Show’ Rooney into appearing in it. They won’t have regretted it though, as this is surprisingly good fare from our Roger, all about a group of soldiers cobbled together and sent to rescue an Italian general from those goose-stepping charlies. Rooney doesn’t sing and Granger remains dignified throughout, so all-in-all not bad at all.

Monday 2nd December


17.00 Blue Peter
So the new appeal, then, and it’s another worthy cause as usual, to provide water for villages in Uganda and Tanzania. However we’re disappointed that they’re making money by holding bring and buy sales again, because they did that last year. We wanted to collect something in TVC Towers, nicking the Creamup Ed’s cans of Quattro or tearing the stamps off our letters from the Credit Suisse Group. Still, great to see that when they told us how to apply for a bring and buy sale pack, the signature from ‘a responsible adult’ on the postcard was by one Nigel Pickard. One for the fans, that. Oh, and today it’s the in-studio bring and buy, which is always ace, but we want Huw Edwards to run the book stall and Gary Lineker to run the sports stall for proper in-house BBC fun.


13.10 Taxi
For a regular weekly slot, this is useless.

13.35 Summer Stock
Archetypal Garland-Kelly “let’s do the show right here” musical, with songs of the calibre of Get Happy (and, conversely, Dig, Dig, Dig for your Dinner), and Phil Silvers, to boot.

22.00 I’m Alan Partridge
‘Dan! Dan! Dan! Dan! Dan! Dan!’ We won’t even moan that last week’s show seemed to be a rewrite of the Bizarro Jerry episode of Seinfeld, either.


10.10 The Ambushers
Another silly, lairy Matt Helm spy spoof, with Dean Martin rescuing a US flying saucer from an evil Latin mastermind. Kurt ‘Land of the Giants’ Kasznar also features.

13.35 Hell Below Zero
Kicking off this week’s minor whaling theme, little Alan Ladd stars with Stanley Baker and Basil ‘Went The Day Well’ Sydney as he starts work on a whaler then ends up in the Arctic. We suspect this plot device had much the same motive as Cosgrove Hall’s use of the Frozen North for Dangermouse – i.e. it was dead cheap.

21.00 The Real Princess Anne
Obviously, we’re looking forward to clips of A Question of Sport and the Blue Peter Royal Safari. Of course, Anne also launched a Blue Peter appeal, the Clothes Horse Race in the 1970s that led to the purchase of Rags, the riding-for-the-disabled pony. According to legend, Anne was dead pissed off during the filming of the item, but cheered up when Biddy Baxter fell on her arse into a horse trough.


11.00 Magnum PI
*How* many episodes of this are there? Still every bloody day at this time.

15.40 The Jazz Singer
Not the historic original or the notorious Neil Diamond abomination, but a ’50s version we know absolutely nothing about, unfortunately. Oh, except that Peggy Lee’s in it, which, all other things being equal, bodes rather well.

21.00 Hudson Hawk
All we can do here is quote last week’s Creamguide – “…we were sorry to hear of the demise of the biggest teeth in Hollywood [ie. the late James Coburn] and hope that – since The President’s Analyst was just on a few weeks ago – they’ll dust off In Like Flint… we suppose The Magnificent Seven will do just as well, but please, not Hudson Hawk. Show some respect.” Never mind curbing the BBC’s alleged eerie powers, where’s the government mandate to stop this wretched little channel taking the piss?

Last week’s Creamguide Doctor WHO celebrations meant that we didn’t have the space to mention the best thing that happened on telly recently – that being, of course, the problems at Channel Four last Monday caused by the evacuation of 124 Horseferry Road thanks to a gas leak in an adjacent building. Of course, your average viewer wouldn’t have noticed any great difference – but Creamguide isn’t your average viewer, and was getting dead excited when the continuity kept on going out in the wrong format, with the wrong typeface, and old break bumpers. Best of all, us plebs in the provinces got to see London adverts, including Bob Mills explaining the congestion charge. We love this sort of thing – and hence this week’s ill-conceived, hastily-written Creamguide Top Ten is dedicated to the times when normal programmes couldn’t go out for ‘unusual’ reasons. Fire, flood, hurricanes – they’re all here in our Blitz-spirited romp through the archives.


10) TOP OF THE POPS (1987/88)
Obviously, Creamguide can’t do any sort of list or chart without shoehorning in a few references to Top of The Pops. The first example comes from Election Day 1987 when, seemingly, all the cameras, studios and other equipment were needed for rolling Dimbleby, so Pops consisted of Simon Bates and Peter Powell simply standing in front of some black drapes, linking videos and old performances for half an hour. A year later, asbestos was found in TV Centre and, while it was removed, most of the studios were out of commission, leading to Peter Powell presenting that week’s Pops from the gallery, again linking videos and old performances. An inconvenience, yes, but on the plus side, it meant that That’s Life couldn’t be on that week. Hooray!

9) WOW! (1996)
One of the umpteen Saturday morning shows screened when ITV were desperately trying to find something to beat Live and Kicking, Wow! lasted just thirteen weeks and seems only to be remembered by Whovians because Sophie Aldred was one of the presenters. It deserves a fate better than that, though, as it was actually a cut above the normal ITV fare at this time – thanks to the innuendo-obsessed double act of Peter Cocks and Woody Taylor, crap puppet Syd the Spider, voiced by Phil Cornwell, presenter Simeon Courtie who we always thought was going to be a big star (and is now on British Forces TV, alas) and the regular sideswipes at the BBC. However the best moment of all came on the second show when the Maidstone Studios were hit by a power cut and the show had to presented from a couple of benches in the car park. Obviously this meant the whole running order went out of the window and everything had to be improvised, which was great, despite the same Peter Andre video between shown at least twice in an hour. If it wasn’t handicapped by being followed by The Noise with Andi Peters, Wow! could have been a huge hit., and we’d have never have got SMTV. Blimey.

There were times in the BB’s history when the technical faults were often the best bits, because it meant a break from the usual fare of poorly thought-out items and guests having a miserable time. This is a good example – it happened in July 1995 when a power failure knocked out Lock Keepers’ Cottages for about fifty minutes. The power cut began during the 7am news, so after Peter Smith handed back over to the house, he sat there gormlessly for a moment before Gaby Roslin could clearly be heard bellowing through his earpiece telling him to fill. The next hour consisted of apologetic announcements, Evans-era clips, episodes of The Clangers and extended news bulletins with Pete cueing up reports nicked off News at Ten. Unfortunately, the power was restored before 8am and the rest of the programme proceeded as normal, worse luck.

7) WOGAN (1989?)
Our memory of this is a bit hazy, alas, so bear with us. At some point during the mid-80s, the old BBC Television Theatre suffered a flood one night and Wogan couldn’t be broadcast from there. Hunting around for a studio, Tel and his guests eventually pitched up in the tiny room Children’s BBC used to use to show birthday cards before Playbus. Given that the studio was only ever intended to seat one person, it must have been a tight squeeze – we assume Harry Stoneham and the band were given the night off, and clearly there was no audience. Unfortunately we’ve never seen this particular episode, nor do we know of anyone who has, but we do remember watching the birthdays the following morning and seeing Simon Parkin ceremonially removing Tel’s vase of flowers from the table. The fact we were able to see the birthdays leads us to assume it happened during a half-term holiday, but that’s about all we know. Does anyone else remember this?

6) GRANDSTAND (1997)
Gary Lineker’s been dining out on this story ever since. It’s 5th April 1997 and it’s the day the Grand National had to be cancelled due to a bomb threat at Aintree, and everyone had to get out, including Des Lynam. As Gary says, the editor walked into the Match of the Day office, where they were all sitting around watching the football in preparation for that night’s show, and said ‘We need someone to fill in on Grandstand… Gary!’. So Gary borrowed a tie and sat behind the desk looking glum, linking into 100 Great Sporting Moments and Natural Born Footballers, tackling the teleprinter, and interviewing Des down the phone. And then a few years later got the piss taken out of him on the BBC’s Tribute to Television Centre, for saying ‘It’s very sad’ over and over again. Actually Gary wasn’t that bad in an awkward situation, but over five years later he’s not presented another episode, while the useless Roger Black has done dozens. For shame. Oh, and The Sun’s report on the Grand National brilliantly exclaimed that ‘Peter O’Sullevan’s final Grand National commentary will now be in Children’s Hour!’

Creamguide remembers vividly what they were doing when this happened one Friday in October 1986 – the hairdresser had come round to cut our family’s hair, fact fans. As we were sweeping the carpet, we flicked on the telly to find an apology caption explaining that the Six O’Clock News had had to go off the air thanks to a fire in the studio. After a lengthy pause, the programme resumed and BBC1 ran late for a while before Wogan came on at around 7.20, with a truncated show basically devoted to interviewing Nicholas Witchell and Philip Hayton about what had happened (and if we remember correctly, promoting the One O’Clock News, which was starting the following Monday, with several boasts at how the studio was all sophisticated and so it couldn’t go on fire, somehow). Other great telly fires include the one at Hawley Crescent that knocked MTV off the air for a while in 1999, and the blaze that gutted the studios of the Ideal World shopping channel in 2000 and meant the channel couldn’t broadcast for about six months.

Funny how everyone remembers this one. Basically, a bomb warning was telephoned to TV Centre about half an hour before the House Party was to go on air, meaning they had to evacuate the building. An episode of Noel’s Christmas Presents was hastily bunged on instead, overlaid with captions apologising for the non-appearance of the show but expressing the hope that they may yet be able to do it. However, after the repeat had finished, we cut to Noel in the Broom Cupboard – brilliantly, wearing a tuxedo, so he looked even more out of place – who said that they’d had to cancel the whole thing and instead, here’s Tom and Jerry. Tell kids today that some of us were actually a bit disappointed about the show not being on, and they’d laugh. Speaking of the Broom Cupboard…

Creamguide’s banged on about this hundreds of times, but here we go again. It’s the day after the great hurricane (which, as we lived in the North, Creamguide was completely oblivious to) and TV Centre is completely without power. Worse still, all of the newsreaders and presenters are stuck at home as all the roads are blocked. Fortunately, though, the Broom Cupboard has its own power supply and costs virtually nothing to run, and Nicholas Witchell lives around the corner. So just before 7am, some BBC executives raced into the Broom Cupboard, pulled down some of the kids’ drawings from the wall, sat Witchell in there and told him to get on with it. Reports of this ‘programme’ vary, but it basically consisted of Nick reading out phoned-in reports, in his own words ‘telling people to make a cup of tea and not to leave the house’ and sticking up a static caption when he wanted to go for a piss. Creamguide really does want to see this ‘show’ in action, as at the time we were unaware it was going on – there’s a clip on of Donald Heighway filling in on BBC South West that morning, apologising for the problems (‘it all depends when they get the valves back’), but alas it cuts out just as he hands over to Witchell. If anyone has any more memories of that morning, or indeed has any footage of it on tape (we assume the Beeb never bothered recording it), then we’d be forever grateful.

Creamguide got to see all of this happening live, after being alerted to it by our mother who was watching the film on BBC1 on Saturday 30th June 2001 when it cut out at around 9.25pm. What had happened was that TV Centre had suffered a huge power cut and so everything coming from there disappeared. For fifteen minutes the Beeb just broadcast static before apology captions showed up accompanied by harrassed announcers and music. After ten minutes of music, all the programmes were rewound to the point they’d stopped at and carried on. And as Creamguide was recording I Love 1975 at the time, we’ve got the whole power failure on tape, and if you ever come round, we’ll show you it. Of course, the first night of BBC2 in 1964 was blacked out by a huge power cut; there BBC1 was kept on air thanks to the news studios at Alexandra Palace, who threw on an old western they’d stored there just in case.

Great though the above cock-up was, it wasn’t as great as the problems almost exactly one year previously – Tuesday 20th June 2000. The cause was a huge power failure in the whole of Shepherd’s Bush at around five o’clock. Emergency generators meant that, at the time, programmes continued more or less as planned. However just after six o’clock, and just after Huw Edwards had apologised for the gloomy lighting on the news, the generators either, depending on who you believe, a) keeled over, or b) exploded. In most areas, the regional news programmes began a bit early, but in the South East a standby programme was hastily bunged on instead. Transmission then switched to Pebble Mill, who had been in training for this sort of thing for years, and so an old episode of Dad’s Army, which we’ve never seen before or since, suddenly appeared on the screen. BBC2 also inelegantly switched from Due South to an old documentary with Michael Palin. When the regional news programmes ended, most simply switched back to Dad’s Army, apart from BBC South who thoughtfully showed the same two trailers over and over again for five minutes. Just before seven o’clock, transmission switched to Belgium, and England vs Romania in Euro 2000 was able to go out as planned.

Meanwhile, News 24 was all over the place, and after twenty minutes or so of nothing at all, the test card appeared, overlaid with some crappy computer-generated text informing us ‘we are temporarily unable to provide this service’. Later, various recorded bulletins from BBC World were transmitted, with captions shuttling all over the screen. Eventually, at nine o’clock, Gavin Esler was able to present a live bulletin on News 24 and BBC World from a temporary studio in Westminster which basically looked like a glass lift. At ten o’clock, Michael Buerk presented the news on BBC1, News 24 and World in the same studio, but, bizarrely, Newsnight came from the main news studio, with a few black binbags draped around the desks to make it look a bit more Newsnight-y (inevitably, these fell off halfway through). This demented programme reached its peak when Chris Waddle could be seen in the Newcastle studio, but not heard, and so he had to speak down a telephone. Meanwhile News 24 and BBC World stayed at Westminster through the night – BBC2 joining in at midnight as they couldn’t show Despatch Box – and it took until 9am before both services could actually get back to normal. Without a doubt the most fantastic twelve hours of telly to come out of TV Centre, it’s just a shame telly isn’t as mental as this all the time. And we really mean that. It’s what made Britain great!

For more on this story –

Tuesday 3rd December


22.35 Jasper Carrott: Back To The Front
Do they still show the one where he ponders what the Millennium Bug might be like?

01.05 Fame, Set and Match
The 1982 World Cup squad again, this time with signing. Alas, they don’t play the Beeb’s theme tune for that year’s tournament, which we really love because it’s dead frantic and frenetic, exactly what football theme tunes should sound like. There’s also the story of Kenny Sansom, who drank a bit and then played non-league football, much like several hundred other footballers. Hardly makes his Oliver Reed, does it? Still, look at that 1996 Sky Sports 3 DOG! It’s massive!


13.15 Step Lively
Tell your mum.

18.20 TOTP2
Ozzy Osbourne and The Hollies are billed, but so, alas, is the new Vinnie Jones pop record. Can somebody tell him to stop doing this sort of thing, for God’s sake? Hopefully the album will perform as well as Let’s Have A Party by Gazza, which reached the dizzy heights of number 157 in the charts, perhaps because it featured guest vocals by Danny Baker. He’s also doing a twenty-part docusoap as well!

19.30 The Good Life
Presumably this now the official BBC2 standby programme, just like the Official Radio 1 Emergency Song For Times Of National Crisis used to be Songbird by Kenny G, which Simon Mayo had to play the day John Smith died.


22.55 Smash!
This is the Culture Club episode, then, just four months after the series which featured the band prominently in its opening titles has ended. An hour long, so it may not rush through their entire career as briefly as possible, as is normally the case on this show. ‘Now, our second Brian Clough lookalike of the evening…’


10.30 Earth vs the Flying Saucers
Also-also-ran ’50s sci-fi which has attained a kind of kitsch immortality due to a) having an amusingly meat-and-potatoes title, and b) Ray Harryhausen’s terrific sequences of the titular uber-hub caps trashing various world monuments. Tape and fast-forward through the stilted dialogue.

13.15 Robin and Marian
This is more like it. Sean ‘Seen Canary’ Connery and Audrey Hepburn are the eponymous couple getting to grips with middle age as much as anything else. Think of this as a sort of mediaeval-Hollywood-One-Foot-In-The-Grave precursor. Robin comes back from the Crusades all pecht oot only to find things in a right old state but not being quite as fleet of foot as he once was it’s a bit of a trial doing anything about it. And they’re all in it, too: Richard ‘Camelot’ Harris, Ian Holm, Robert ‘electric toothbrushes’ Shaw, Nicol Williamson, Denholm ‘Scumbag!’ Elliot and even yer actual Ronnie Barker as Frair Tuck. It’s the film of the week, we’re saying on this side of the Filmguide fireplace.

Wednesday 4th December


17.00 Blue Peter
Oh, and of course the highlight of last week’s shows was Matt winning the award for Best Presenter at the Children’s BAFTAs, where we got to see his speech and everything. Richly deserved, of course, and you may be interested to know that he beat Konnie in doing so. He’s still not got the profile Konnie’s got, though, has he, and probably won’t until he starts getting his kit off in magazines.

20.30 Fawlty Towers
Back after a three-week break. Come on, we want to know what happens next!


18.20 TOTP2
Donny Osmond appeared on virtually every programme on television last week, so forgive us if we don’t feel very enthusiastic about seeing him tonight. Donovan is a bit more exciting, although it probably won’t be Jennifer Juniper with The Singing Corner.

21.00 Habitat… and Me
Last in what’s been an interesting series, as you’d expect from Robert Thirkell’s business department – and who’d have thought we’d have said that a few years back?


23.55 The Birds
Wheeled out occasionally as a public service to prove that Jessica Tandy was in more than two films. Horror, though? We ask you…


13.20 Hell and High Water
A welcome return for Richard Widmark to our happy little screens as he captains a submarine desperately trying to shoot down a rogue bomber before it nukes Korea.

Thursday 5th December


16.30 Call The Shots
We’re not sure what’s going on here, as for the past two weeks this programme hasn’t appeared in this slot, with the Friday morning repeat being the first showing, and an unscheduled screening on Sunday mornings too. We’d sort of assumed that it happened first time round because it wasn’t ready or something, but two weeks running? Are CBBC getting more ruthless with underperforming programmes? In any case, whenever this goes out, it’ll look behind the scenes at the BBC Visual Effects Department.

21.00 Life On Air
As seen on BBC4 last week – ooh, that Freeview box was worth it, wasn’t it? In it, Michael Palin will be looking back at the life of David Attenborough, and apparently we’ll get stuff about his executive days – running BBC2, being Director of Programmes – as well as his more familiar jobs in front of the camera.


13.10 Higher and Higher
Skint big shot Cyrus Drake owes his staff a fortune when his valet decides to pretend that the maid is his daughter and tries to get her married off to a rich big shot in this rarely seen but none-too-bad little number which is most notable for its eclectic casting which includes Frank Sinatra as himself, Mel Torme, Dooley ‘Play it Again’ Wilson and – best of all – the tremendous Victor Borge.

21.50 Look Around You
‘…and modern pop groups such as The Bensons and The Ombudsmen.’ And of course The Bensons had previously appeared on the pencil case in show one, continuity fans. Sadly, this is the last of what’s been a great series, and while a second series is probably out of the question, let’s hope we get something equally good from Serafinowicz and Popper soon. Wow, sincerity in Creamguide, whatever next?


22.30 Harry Hill’s TV Burp
‘The kids are in the car?!’

23.30 Rock Legends (Central only)
Wherein Noddy Holder fronts a series of repeated half-hour documentaries, each about a Midlands band – this week it’s Dexys Midnight Runners, which includes never before seen videos from their 1985 last album and finishes with Kevin Rowland’s dress-wearing/low-selling solo album stage. And probably covers Because Of You as well.


10.35 The Beast of Hollow Mountain
Stop motion legend Willis ‘King Kong’ O’Brien writes a pleasantly nutty film treatment about a Tyrannosaurus eating sheep in modern day Mexico. Yay! Treatment is filmed by noted stop motion innovator Ed Nassour. Yay again! Nassour fails to hire O’Brien to do the stop motion. Boo! Nassour does, however, hire effects duo Jack Rabin and Louis DeWitt, who worked on the impeccable Night of the Hunter. Yay! However, said effects duo also worked on infamously risible gorilla-in-diving-helmet schlockeroo Robot Monster. Boo! Tyrannosaurus effect inevitably resembles latter more closely in quality terms. Everyone goes home unsatisfied.


15.40 The Crooked Road
Intrepid reporter Robert ‘Captain Nemo’ Ryan takes on corrupt Balkan dictator Stewart ‘Captain Boycott’ Grainger in this much-filmed political thriller.

Friday 6th December


17.00 Blue Peter
Including a look at the nominations for Young Sports Personality of the Year, which include nine kids not many people have heard of, and Wayne Rooney. Hmm, who’s going to pick up that one?

01.20 Horror Express
We’re feeling a bit let down by telly of late. The much-vaunted big costume drama battle floated past us like a piece of cardboard, that Great Britons debate was the most embarrassing piece of television we’ve seen in ages (and not in an amusing way), Celebrity Big Brother and I’m Alan Partridge have started wavering after promising starts, and even the sainted Look Around You has come a cropper with the creators seemingly trying to launch a British version of unfunny pretend prog act Tenacious D. Thank God, then, that someone at the Beeb is keeping this excellent horror film strand going throughout these troubled times, pulling gem after gem out of the bag. In this elegantly deranged effort, turn-of-century palaeontologists Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing take a fossilised apeman via train from Peking to Russia, with terrifying, and immensely bloody, consequences when it comes alive and picks off the passengers one by one, gaining intelligence with every kill. All this and Telly Savalas too! Magnificent. Plus we’ve finally solved our “what was the other sub-Hammer ’70s Brit horror production company, after Amicus, Tigon and Tyburn?” conundrum, as this piece of madness comes courtesy of Benmar Productions, who were also responsible for ace zombie motorbike gang and Beryl Reid-fest Psychomania, which we’d love to see in this slot.


22.00 Porridge
They really never have shown the Dad’s Army episode from Power Cut Day again, and it was an odd one with Fulton Mackay in it, being Fulton Mackay. You’d think they’d at least tell us what happened at the end.


10.20 Captain Boycott
None-too-historically accurate but highly entertaining Irish rebel derring do from Stewart Granger again. Cecil Parker is Boycott himself and Alastair Sim is the parish priest and Robert Donat even pops up as Charles Parnell, would you believe. We don’t get enough of this sort of thing, you know.

13.10 Moby Dick
It’s a good book, is Moby Dick. Underneath all the allegorical grandstanding and portentous biblical references, in between the – admittedly fascinating – digressions into the cultural symbolism of whales, and the intricate descriptions of how to hoist a mainsail and fillet and drain a whale corpse, is a damn good adventure story to make the likes of Andy McNabb shrivel up like a blob of ambergris, and John Huston and Ray Bradbury’s adaptation get that bit of the novel pretty much spot on, making this one of the best adaptations of an “unfilmable” book we’ve seen. Gregory Peck straps his leg back as the increasingly demented Ahab, Richard ‘Voyage’ Basehart does all right as the narrator Ishmael, and Orson Welles gets the perfect pre-castoff scene to steal. James Robertson ‘bleeding time’ Justice is also in there, as, we’re told, is Arthur Mullard, somewhere. The editing is fantastic, Oswald ‘The Wiz’ Morris does some amazing oil painting mimickry with the photography, and if Charles ‘Star Wars’ Parker and August ‘Barbarella’ Lohman’s ‘troubled’ model whale suffers from Jaws syndrome, it still adds to the unreal, mythical atmosphere. Almost as dark and disturbing as Dicky Moe, the nasty, depressing Tom and Jerry cartoon directed by Gene ‘Popeye’ Deitch, the even-worse-than-Chuck-Jones Hanna-Barbera replacement, full of unpalatable, angular violence and harsh electronic sound effects. Now, *that* should have been consigned to the depths.


14.30 Open House with Gloria Hunniford
A pantomime special, with Danny La Rue and Christopher Biggins. What a way to end the listings, eh?


* Chris Diamond reports…
“Brief news on the Wheeltappers front. Remember members (you’re all members now) it’s Miss TV Times of Granadaland at the Wheeltappers this week and this has never been broadcast beyond Granada and even our extensive historical research hasn’t been able to turn up who the judges were and that’s what we’re watching for – honest. We’re betting on Bernard as compere – natch – that mayor bloke who appeared a couple of weeks ago, if we’re lucky it might be Johnnie Hamp himself and hopefully Stuart Hall or we’ll settle for David ‘Diddy’ Hamilton. Place your bets.” (Saturday, 22.30, Granada Plus)

* Also on Granada Plus, after our moans last week about the weak line-up they’ve got at the moment, they’ve redeemed themselves somewhat by screening The Comedians (Sunday, 22.30). The billing refers to Stan Boardman, Roy Walker and Mick Miller, so we think it might be the first revival in 1979 that we’re getting. Let’s hope we never get the 1992 revival, with Johnnie Casson et al, if only because Creamguide remembers watching it while sewing for their textiles homework, along with Noel’s Addicts, and they’re now indelibly linked in our minds with hours and hours of bloody cross-stitch.

* It’s a ‘Straight Man’ Special on BBC4 on Saturday with three back-to-back documentaries. The first, at 19.00, is The Rise And Fall Of The Comedy Straight Man and appears to be brand new. At 19.40 is the 1993 Forty Minutes, The Importance Of Being Ernie, which was trailed at the time with Ern singing Bring Me Sunshine on his own, with the dance and everything. Then at 20.20 it’s a repeat of the Funny Business documentary on double-acts first shown almost exactly ten years ago this week. The whole lot are repeated on Wednesday night from 22.50.

* Sky One’s Football Years on 1983/84 (Monday, 22.00) is apparently great fun, with the highlight being Charlie Nicholas on Crackerjack. A Whole New Ball Game on Wednesday (22.00), as the last in the series looks at 1992/93, the first season of the Premier League, of course. Expect lots of Richard Keys shouting in a blazer and the Sky Strikers. ‘It was never like this at Halifax Town, was it, Richard?’ Oh, and Paramount have The New Statesman (Monday-Thursday, 23.00).

As we said in that far-too-lengthy bit of text above, get in touch with us if you have anything to add about The Great Wogan Flood and Breakfast in the Broom Cupboard, as we’re far too interested in that sort of thing. If you hit that reply button, though, don’t forget to delete the original Creamguide first. Ask The Family, the TV Cream message board, is also open for your questions and comments – go to and follow the link.
Down the phone – Chris Hughes, Ian Jones, Simon Tyers

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Sidney Balmoral James

    December 6, 2022 at 9:34 am

    TV Cream missed out on noting a BBC1 double of Greta Scacchi nudity: Jeffrey Archer: the Truth, followed by White Mischief.The Jeffrey Archer thing was indeed awful (hard to remember a time with Jeffrey Archer was regarded as the nadir of political mendacity). It included a scene of him having sex with Mrs. Thatcher (played by Greta), bizarrely shot like some sort of explicit Hollywood sex scene. Punchline was that as she turned around so he could – ahem – go behind, she announced ecstatically ‘The Lady is for turning.’ I remember thinking at the time, why do do they bother with sex scenes, they must be so embarrassing to film (and we know actors feel pressurised into them), they’re excruciating to watch, and are really quite odd, because the one thing we don’t know about people in everyday life (or indeed famous people), is what their sex lives are like. And I’m not sure it would be very illuminating if we did know.

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