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
6th – 12th April 2002
Crazy with a K – Phil Norman
His annual outing – Graham Kibble-White
For obvious reasons, expect a lot of these programmes not to go out, or get shifted about, especially on Tuesday, and replaced by Peter Sissons in a pink tie. And jeans.
Saturday 6th April
10.00 Saturday Kitchen
Not quite sure what’s going on with BBC2 of a Saturday morning, as the OU programmes have disappeared for some reason, See Hear’s on at 08.15 and Breakfast’s at 9am, which is a bit inaccurate. And obviously now it all clashes with SMTV, we’ve no chance of seeing Graham Kerr’s show on this.
12.20 Star Trek
On all regions, for a change. Incidentally, the original schedules for today included Stingray being shown between the two live Six Nations matches this afternoon, but that’s now not the case – and that’s a shame, because we wanted Steve Rider to wryly introduce it.
19.10 Reading The Decades
Oh, hang on, there is one OU programme on today, but it’s in peak time! In fact this new series should be a bit of fun, as Stephen Fry takes a look at four post-war decades based on what the best-selling books of the time were. It’s the fifties this week, but all the books had films based on them – The Cuel Sea, Doctor Zhivago, Bond – so we should get some fun clippage.
21.00 A History Of Alternative Comedy
This is a bit interesting – the six-part series from 1999 shown again in a ninety-minute re-edit. It should work better in this sort of format, actually, because it’s more or less I Love Alternative Comedy, and there’s a lot of cracking research and interesting clips in here too, including clips from Boom Boom Out Go The Lights, which prior to this we’d never seen before. Oh, and fact fans, show five wasn’t allowed to be repeated in its original form at 9pm again because of excessive swearing.
22.30 Class of 1986
So this series has been a bit of a flop, then? Which a shame, because it’s been amiable entertainment, and every week has come up with a cracking clip or two. 1979 is billed here, but that went out last week, so it’ll have to be the only instalment left – obviously now shorn of the Queen Mum joke.
22.00 After They Were Famous
Presumably this’ll be the episode that didn’t go out last week, with Sally James and Barry Sheene, though it could also be another one with Lennie Bennett promised. And we know which one we’re hoping for.
David Lynch’s infamous piece of ‘career insurance’ – whatever he does in the future, it’s always going to look good in comparison to this po-faced chuntering marathon. Still, that tank-bound ‘navigator’, the blocky duelling force fields and Kenneth McMillan bursting are all nifty enough bits of prod-design.
17.00 The Strongest Man In The World
A teenage Kurt Russell drinks potion, “gets strong”, and generally provides the groundwork for Sammy’s Super T-Shirt. And presumably fails to collect the British Meat trophy (“a very lovely salver”) in the process. Cesar Romero and Phil Silvers are the post-prime cameos to watch for.
Tony Curtis goes gangster – rather well, we’re told. Look out for the late Milton Berle along the way.
04.20 Sons and Daughters
Well done to Media Guardian for keeping a straight face the other day while referring to Channel Five’s “news special” last Saturday – which ran from 5.55pm to, er, 6pm.
Sunday 7th April
18.05 Bursting Bloomers
Of course last week this included an unscheduled set of cock-ups from Peter Sissons, though this one should run all the way to the end.
15.30 Lover Come Back
Doris Day, kissed by Rock Hudson, is thrilled. Can you tell we’re not that excited by this week’s films? We’re pretty sure this has been dropped in any case. Fortunately, following last week’s request, and as part of TV Cream’s ongoing campaign to get Alf’s Button Afloat shown on the telly again (print out our bumper sticker – http://tv.cream.org/images/alfcamp.png), we’ve got plenty of Crazy Gang material to share. Which is fortunate, as there’s precious little about them on the ‘Net – you’d think it’d have brought forth a Jimmy Gold tribute page at least, by now. All we can find is a series of local rep notices for productions of that Underneath the Arches revivalist play, and that picture we’ve used on the sticker above. Oh, and that “Nervo and Knox” is rhyming slang for “the pox”. Come on, the internet! Anyway, this makes finding out about the non-Flanagan/Allen gang members that bit trickier. Thank God for Ask the Family, then, and in particular ‘Monsewer’ Chris Diamond of that ilk, who’s a staunch Charlie Naughton fan, as it turns out – “(he was) a genial sort with a bluff portly way about him. Funnier than Bud Flanagan, who I often thought was a bit of a smart arse.” More from him – and them – later!
17.15 Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em
Of course the postponement we were most disappointed about last weekend was that of That Was Life, which we were looking forward to, but you don’t get the Daily Mail moaning about that, do you? More’s the pity.
14.25 Journey to the Centre of the Earth
After billing Gorgo last week as a “stop-motion monster crock”, when in fact it was a “man-in-suit monster crock”, we’re treading very carefully with this one. So, it’s not the Cushing/McClure Edgar Rice Burroughs adaptation At The Earth’s Core (the one with those pterodactyl things that made a backwards noise when they blinked), nor is it the Italian version with Kenneth More, whatever the hell that one was like. And it’s clearly not Rick Wakeman’s Journey to the Centre of the Earth on Ice. An altogether better proposition, this is the original ’50s version with James Mason and, er, Pat Boone, with impressive Technicolor stalactite caves, and less impressive iguanas with stuck-on rubber fins.
00.00 24 Hour Party People: The Factory Records Story
Viewers in Granadaland had that Anthony H Wilson doco on Friday night, and now it’s the chance for the whole country to see him in action, though this show concentrates on the music rather than the regional television, so it won’t be as good. And that’s official.
17.15 Teen Wolf
Michael J in full hormonal flow. Now, we swear we recall seeing the Hanna-Barbera Teen Wolf cartoon back in the ’80s, but as far as we can tell it was never shown in this country. Can anyone shed any light here? And no, we’re not getting it mixed up with Fangface.
Monday 8th April
17.00 Blue Peter
BP should be at its most stoic and professional today, as we’re getting the results of the Golden Jubilee competition, where you had to draw a picture of the Queen. Which is what we want from a BP competition.
11.15 Asterix the Gaul
Hooray! It’s ahead in the Ask the Family polls, so what could be better than a week of Asterix films? Quite a lot, as it turns out, because, as we’ve said before, these films miss the crucial element that made the (English) books so great – translators Anthea Bell and Derek Hockridge’s extra-curricular Brits-only gags. Anyway, this is the first of the films, not bad, not great, but fun in a serialised-over-summer-holiday-mornings-in-1979 way.
13.45 That Touch of Mink
More Doris, here shacking up with millionaire Cary Grant while Dick ‘Darrin Mk II’ Sargeant looks on. Now, where were we? “Although not technically one of the Crazy Gang’s “core” members,” writes Creamguide’s Crazy Correspondent Chris Diamond, “‘Monsewer’ Eddie Gray is the one most fondly remembered by those in the know about comedy, it seems, with many writers and performers doffing their cap to him. One of his routines was filmed and shown as part of Dennis Norden’s Laughter of a Lifetime show and was a great clip. It had Eddie dressed as a lion tamer complete with stick on moustache and with a performing dog who spent all its time just sitting down or looking into the wings. Eddie exhorted it to jump through a tiny hoop held right up which it blithely ignored. He then told the audience that the reason it was sitting down was because it saw them sitting down and could they do him a favour by standing up. They all did and he the told them that they worked better than the dog. It was great stuff and extremely big in its day and, as I say, heavily influential.”
A change of day because there’s a US Masters preview on Wednesday and they can’t drop The Good Life, can they? Anyway, we thoroughly enjoyed the Top Twenty Top Of The Pops Performances chart, if only because it was nothing of the sort and was in fact the Top Twenty Most Dedicated Fanbases, seeing as we got New Model Army, the Manics doing Faster, The Cure and the Backstreet Boys (do they still have fans?). And best of all, a post-Fish Marillion. But of course it also meant Wright got to say Duran Duran in that really wanky way of his (“Durran Durran!”) Back to the gtind tonight, though, with the Special AKA and Soft Cell – proving that Marc Almond is a hundred times scarier than Marilyn Manson.
21.00 Shooting Stars
We’ve noticed that Lisa “Lisa!” Rogers has some sort of jinx on her as virtually every show she’s appeared on has ended fairly soon after – after fronting the final, truly awful Big Breakfast last week, this week’s she’s probably presenting her last show on ITV Sport. Then there’s Under The Moon, Baddiel’s Syndrome, Football Fever, Lock Stock… but hopefully not this, where she guests with Chris Greener.
22.00 Room 101
This series continues its dreary progression, though with the likeable Jessica Stevenson tonight it may not be a complete write-off.
00.00 The Phil Silvers Show
14.10 Our Vera
ITV are repeating virtually every hour-long factual show they’ve ever made in this slot at the moment – expect John Pilger here in a few weeks, then. We’re on the Corrie spin-offs at the moment, starting off with this profile of Liz Dawn.
13.20 Little House On The Prairie
Not on Saturday at all this week.
06.30 Dappledown Farm
Brian kills time between his umpteen This Is Your Life appearances.
11.00 TJ Hooker
Might be worth dropping this as a mark of respect. For the viewers.
15.35 Sergeant Rutledge
Not, alas, a Private Benjamin remake with the star of Victoria Wood’s Kitty monologues, but an oddly courtroom-bound western only included here as Jeffrey ‘original Star Trek captain’ Hunter’s in it.
COMING UP: TV CREAM HEROES WEEKLY
#11 Fern Britton, as seen on THIS MORNING, weekdays 10.30, ITV
Anyone who’s hosted regional news programmes is a shoo-in for entrance into TVCHW’s portakabin of pride. That’s a given. This week’s TV Cream Hero Weekly, however, can cap even that – and when we reveal that she’s not only hosted a regional news programme but done so on a now defunct ITV network, sat on the Breakfast Time couch, married a TV chef and inspired headlines such as “Fern meets Wycombe’s most bonny baby”, well, then Richard Stilgoe is going to have to accept there’s a new sheriff in town, and ship out with his Roland VK-7 Combo Organ pretty damn quick.
Yes, we’re terribly excited about welcoming Fern Britton this week to our suite of the TV’s elite, mainly because she has that pleasing mumsy persona which patently rankles with mums everywhere (Creamguide’s mum calls her “Fat Fern” which we think isn’t really very nice). She’s such a hit here in TVC Towers that she prompted the Creamguide Ed (“Am I in it again this week? Shurely shome mishtake?” – Ed) to start watching Ready Steady Cook wherein he noticed that the programme features the curiosity of two opening themes – the forgettable fare that accompanies the computerised peppers etc, and then a “race against the clock” tune that kicks in when Fern walks on stage. That’s pure class, that is.
We’re confident, then, that if we make Fern Head Girl in the TVCHW ladies dorm there’ll be little complaint from anyone, even if her dad is Tony Britton. But what would Kenneth Williams have to say about that if he were here, Radio Cream Times Ed?
POOR QUALITY COLOURED-PENCIL DRAWING OF FERN HERE:
FERN DIDN’T FOLLOW FRED TO MERIDIAN:
Tuesday 9th April
Nothing’ll be on. But just in case…
Teatime Collins (ideal name for the female interest in the new Bond film, we reckon) deals with this one in this week’s Radio Times “Reel Story Behind”, which is fortunate as we can’t be bothered to write anything about it. So – “Of course, the membership of the Crazy Gang was pretty fluid (I saw one ancient poster where George Robey, who by that time must have been ancient an’ all, was billed as part of the ‘Gang’) and none appeared as only a part of the Gang but came together for specific shows as part of a sort of comedy repertory company. The core was, of course, Nervo and Knox, Flanagan and Allen and Naughton and Gold. By the time of their best remembered telly performaces – as part of a couple of Royal Variety Shows in the ’50s – Chesney Allen had retired, Eddie Gray and Jimmy Gold were dead. That was the great shame about The Crazy Gang; film never really captured their essence and they were too late for telly.” – Chris Diamond, ATF, April 2002.
11.20 Asterix and Cleopatra
The second Gaulish flick, which we’ve never seen, but the book was a pretty good one, satirising the architectural profession. Can’t see the gags about the Egyptians talking in heiroglyphs making it to the screen, though.
It’s just a shame John Otway’s huge and vocal fanbase didn’t get their arses in gear and vote, because then they could have shown Really Free again which is our favourite ever Top Of The Pops performance, to be honest. Nor did we get Legal Man by Belle and Sebastian. We could have done it, too, after managing to orchestrate the Favourite Newsround Theme Tune vote and everything. Still, tonight we’ve got Herbie Hancock, so we’re happy enough.
We reckon this’ll definitely be on.
14.10 Jack And Bill
Well, this almost certainly won’t be on. Which is a shame, because we’ve always liked Bill Tarmey – just for the singing career, of course.
We don’t much care for this either.
13.45 Dr Who and the Daleks
“Another soft centre!” Four are always showing this Roy Castle-starring one. We want to see Cribbins: Invasion Earth 2150AD! Come on, etc!
06.30 Dappledown Farm
It’s this or ‘The People Gather’.
11.00 TJ Hooker
We probably won’t get this either. Nor Gloria, and Denis Quilley’s a guest as well.
Wednesday 10th April
17.00 Blue Peter
Good news, red-blooded males! Liz takes part in a watery rescue, it says here.
20.30 This Is Your Life
Henry Sandon last week, boringly enough, and indeed there hasn’t been a decent one of these for ages, not since the Fern Britton one, actually. Pull your finger out, Asp!
22.35 When Hippies Ruled The World
Well done to Teletext’s George Wood for having the nerve to run his review of “…Muscles” again, this time to coincide with the actual screening of it. Oh, and well done to Caroline Jack for her TOTP2 review, referring to the “wry” captions, which didn’t actually appear in the episode under review. Anyway, John Peel’s in this, discussing Dandelion Records, and no further promotion is neccessary.
23.30 Top Secret!
Another chance to witness Zucker/Abrahams/Zucker’s finest non-Airplane! film, Val Kilmer being watchable, and Peter Cushing’s lazy advertising executive-“inspiring” backwards bookshop routine. “Czechoslovakian yeast!”
11.20 Asterix in Britain
Now we’re into the ’80s with this version of the adventure where they visit Albion. This translation sorely misses those Bell and Hockridge in-jokes, however. If they were up for doing an obscure book, why not The Mansions of the Gods or Obelix and Co? They were dead classy.
20.00 The Good Life
BBC2 Wales are showing this on Saturday at 2am. A rare moment of good sense down at Llandaff, then.
Not long before this turns up in that slot.
14.10 Deirdre And Me
Incidentally, now Night And Day has buggered off into obscurity, ITV are trying their hardest to keep hold of that young adult audience with – of course! – repeats of You’ve Been Framed. In that slot in a few weeks is a nostalgia quiz with Matthew Kelly – that’ll get the ABC1s in, guys – though we’d quite like a nostalgia quiz about Matthew Kelly. “Next up it’s the Holding The Fort round!”
13.20 Summer Holiday
Cliff, Hayes, Stubbs and co. nail everything down and hold very tight please once more. We’re sure Channel Four still hold the rights to Take Me High though, which we’d much rather see. David Kossoff, Ron ‘Rothgo’ Moody and Jeremy ‘Fett’ Bulloch take part.
06.30 Dappledown Farm
11.00 TJ Hooker
14.20 Open House with Gloria Hunniford
Richard Briers and June Whitfield are, as is their wont, appearing in a farce. And they’re telling Glo all about it! Hooray!
15.40 The Return of Ironside
He’s back! And so are these pointless ’90s TV movie revivals of old shows! If you haven’t already, here’s where to gently suggest a few better films Five could be showing –
Thursday 11th April
23.35 A Game for Vultures
Cobbled-together Rhodesian actioner with the two Richards, Harris and Roundtree, Joan Collins, Ray ‘Lisbon’ Milland, Denholm ‘Peter Niss’ Elliott and Tony ‘MacLaren’ Osoba.
11.15 Asterix v Caesar
Which we think is probably a film of Asterix and Caesar’s Gift, the one where Orthropaedix contests the cheiftainship of the village, resulting in much election satire. Anyway, Terry Jones handles translation duties on this one, so it may be a cut above. Tomorrow it’s a ’90s version of Asterix and the Great Crossing, which was largely poor in book form apart from a Danish explorer called Haraldwilssen, which probably won’t make it into the film.
14.10 Ken and Me
They’re also showing all of these in the wrong order, as this was the first of the following-them-about-on-film documentaries, and seemingly the best.
22.30 Baddiel and Skinner Unplanned
Interesting last week to hear Frank and Dave have a big discussion on whether showing clips is ‘unplanned’, when they’d idly shown one in the first episode.
03.15 ITV Sport Classics
Perhaps when ITV Sport goes, we can have a whole channel of this instead.
06.30 Dappledown Farm
11.00 TJ Hooker
15.35 Bonanza – The Return
We don’t get Lorne Greene or Hoss, but we do get Michael Landon, Richard Roundtree, Dean Stockwell and Linda Gray. Oh, and Hoss’ son. Other than that, your guess is as good as ours. Probably better, actually, as we personally couldn’t stand those long mid ’80s Sunday afternoons with this, The High Chapparal and Highway to sit through before the solitary post-homework respite of Ever Decreasing Circles or Open All Hours. But it wasn’t all doom and gloom and Threads! Here’s our favourite joke from those misunderstood times – “What’s Mari Wilson’s favourite tube station?” “High Barnet!” That was the spirit in them days. We all pulled together.
Friday 12th April
21.00 One Foot In The Grave
Oh, it counts these days, especially as this is the 1992 series with the You’ve Been Framed parody in the first show. Note that Father Ted’s on opposite it on Channel Four, thus making a double header of the best – though, sadly, most overexposed – sitcoms of the last decade.
21.30 Blackadder II
There’s no Jonathan Ross this week, but you may like to know that it won’t be appearing in TV Cream Times again in any case. We gave it a chance – too much of a chance, to be honest – but it’s become apparent that it’s never going to get any better, despite what an increasingly desperate Heat are saying. In fact in the last few weeks it’s got substantially worse, reaching an all-time low with last week’s nasty Elvis Costello interview, when Jonathan interrupted a nice anecdote about Eric Sykes having a picture of Nicole Kidman on his mantelpiece to ask the ludicrously crass and unfunny question ‘Who would you shag – Nicole Kidman or Hattie Jaques?’ The whole show’s just ridiculously depressing and unfunny, and thus Jonathan, Andy, the shitty pointless house band (how come the audience are *still* laughing at their bloody name! It’s been twenty shows!) and the rest are not welcome in this section of the Creamguide Office again. And that’s final.
Good looking continental crime thriller by and starring Ray ‘Slavers’ Milland. All of the Crazy Gang, apart from Jimmy Nervo, were inveterate gamblers, often nicking off to Northolt Park for a quick flutter of an afternoon. Knox, Flanagan and Allen, in particular, owned racehorses, and Ches bought several winners, while the hapless Bud’s ponies were rarely placed. Perhaps that explains his verse in the Gang’s Ascot Song from a 1954 Royal Variety Performance – “A chap I know at Tattersall’s/Talks an awful lot… and calls/Those gentlemen who make the odds/A sanguinelly bunch of… snobs” And there’s another thing we miss with the IainLeeification of television – the not-quite-saying-a-rude-word song. Pam Ayres wholeheartedly agrees with us on this.
06.10 The Magic Roundabout
And you can piss off, Zebedee!
13.25 Blue Murder at St Trinian’s
The second one, back when they were still any good, with Terry-Thomas, George Cole, Joyce Grenfell, Alastair Sim, Lionel Jeffries, Terry Scott, Kenneth Griffith, Richard Wattis, Peter Jones, Charles Lloyd Pack and Eric Barker.
02.00 Dance With a Stranger
The great Miranda Richardson plays last hangee Ruth Ellis. Also up – Ian Holm, Stratford Johns, Joanne ‘Detective’ Whalley and Tracy-Louise ‘CATS Eyes’ Ward.
06.30 Dappledown Farm
11.00 TJ Hooker
00.55 Auntie Mame
High-camp ’50s child fostering comedy in which the ever-fabulous Rosalind Russell makes with the waspish one-liners.
04.00 Sons and Daughters
In next week’s Creamguide, we go ever further off-topic with a foray into the world of pre-Cleese music hall silly walks and ask who was best – Max Wall’s strutting Professor or Richard Hearne’s pirouetting Mr. Pastry? And how come, like Flanagan and Allen, they both managed to live on into the 70s via Royal Variety ‘tributes’ from Mick Miller and Billy Dainty respectively? Plus! We painfully keep Creamguide’s oldest and weakest running joke going by getting Graham Kerr in to cook, live during the mailout’s compilation, that classic Geordie potato dish, the Pan Haggerty. Or, alternatively, we may actually do some proper film billings for once. Join us next week and find out!
None of which is as good as TV Jobshop’s still caption on Saturday night. It’s what she would have wanted!
Tuesday, 20.30, 00.00, Thursday, 22.35
The Falklands Play – At last something interesting on BBC4, then, as The Falklands Play was commissioned, and filmed, in 1987, and then never screened as it was ‘too politically sensitive’. There’s a documentary about this at 20.30 and 00.00, which should hopefully include lots of interviews with BBC mandarins, and then the play itself’s on at 21.00 and on Thursday at 22.35. Although it’s thunder seems to have been stolen as they seem to be playing it on the radio on Saturday.
Friday, 22.00, 01.30
Top Ten Progressive Rock – This was on about three weeks ago! And we couldn’t think of much to say about it then, either.
Bullseye – Yes! We admit, it’s not a great slot, but as long as it’s on telly somewhere the world seems a little bit brighter, doesn’t it?
The Comedians – We were sitting in front of a telly with Sky Digital on it last Saturday night at about half past seven, but we carelessly neglected to confirm exactly what Kenny Everett programme G+ were showing. Well, we get confused enough with five channels, and it’s not on this week, so it doesn’t really matter, does it? Leave us alone. For all we know they could have gone off the air and stuck a caption up.
A Bit Of Fry And Laurie – Hooray! Albeit once a week. “I suppose I’ve always seen my penis as a sort of car substitute!”
Top Ten Hoaxes – This should have really been on last week, shouldn’t it? Not that we know anything about this, but then you knew that. Or do we?
All times correct at time of writing and refer to England except where stated. And basically, expect everything to be cancelled and then, if anything does go out, well, that’s a bonus.
THE PEOPLE VERSUS
Ask The Family, the TV Cream Message Board, is at your disposal for questions, comments and libellous claims about former children’s entertainers (er, maybe not) and you can get to it by going to http://tv.cream.org and clicking on Long Shots. It’s also the first port of call for Creamguide stuff, because we’re sick of posting under made-up names to make our section look busy. In other news, The TV Cream Update will be mentioned here every week until you all subscribe. Which you can do from the TV Cream front page.
The Krazees – Chris Diamond, Chris Hughes, Ian Jones, Jack Kibble-White, Simon Tyers, Glyn Wigley