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TV: A is for...

A-Team, The

A REDUNDANT entry, really. What’s to say? Wanted for a crime they didn’t commit, maximum security stockade, if you can find them, etc. etc. Developed the cartoony stock plot to great levels of standardisation – some nasty pseudo-communist/mafia gang would beat up locals, the ‘Team would arrive and see them off “for now”, then the ever-feckless Amy would be captured, they’d try to rescue her (usually Face – DIRK BENEDICT – with a “clever disguise” i.e. a stick-on ‘tache) then the final showdown, with modified attack vehicle driven by BA (MR T) and made by comedy mentally-handicapped person Murdoch (DWIGHT SCHULTZ). Then GEORGE PEPPARD would go “I love it when a plan comes together,” while smoking a cigar and wearing a crocodile outfit. But then, you already knew that. Other well-worn gimmicks included “hilarious” rivalry ‘twixt “Howlin’ Mad” and BA, and Baracus’s tiresome “I ain’t goin’ on no plane”/”Here, drink this milk”/”Zzzzzzz” routine.

Anyway, never mind the bloody programme, it’s the ephemera we’re interested in. MIKE POST-penned the theme tune, which was of the highest order, especially when performed by the band of the Coldstream guards marching up and down on the concourse outside the BBC’s Pebble Mill studios. After an ignominious final season which, amongst other sacrileges, introduced us to BA’s mum, the show lived on, for a bit, in a thousand playground recreations (“You can be The Face because you’re gay!”) and some cheapo plastic action figures, the ads for which, along side those fast-talking bloke-with-tache Micro Machines spots, single-handedly kept TV-am afloat for about eight months. “The A-Team!/They’re soldiers of fortune/The A-Team!/Helping people in need/You can pretend that you’re Hannibal, Murdoch or Face/Or maybe BA Baracus, you know each one is an ace!/Each is sold separately, with rifle and gear/When there’s trouble to face, you know the A-Team’s here!” After disbanding, Peppard and Benedict settled into cameoing semi-retirement, Schultz went for a steady career of voice-over work, and La T became America’s Big Daddy, surrounding himself with children in the nicest possible way, and appearing in bizarro spin-off shows like the Mr T cartoon (from the barrel-scraping “you though Ruby-Spears churned out a crock of shit? Have a gander at our back catalogue” Sunbow Productions) and the has-to-be-seen-to-be-believed schmaltzfest Mr T’s Christmas Dream. And for the record, we’ve met Justin Lee Collins, and he’s one of the nicest people in showbusiness. There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio…

9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. Cindylover1969

    June 9, 2010 at 3:26 pm

    And, of course, the fact that it took the Man from U.N.C.L.E. to catch them.

  2. I Pity The Fool

    June 9, 2010 at 5:25 pm

    The best thing they EVER did on this show, apart from bringing the great Mr. T to the world’s televisions, was when Murdoch got hold of a teddy bear and announced the “Bogie the Bear Show” which he improvised a theme song for: “I’m Bogie the Bear and I’m covered with hair!”, all while using said soft toy as a puppet.

    That was the best bit. Once you noticed it had the same plot every week and nobody died anyway, the novelty wore off after one season.

  3. Cindylover1969

    June 10, 2010 at 2:14 pm

    The biggest misconception in television history (other than the one about Jennifer Saunders being funny) is that nobody died on “The A-Team.” You did get the occasional death, especially in later seasons. You want American action shows with no dead bodies, tune in to “The Dukes of Hazzard” or “CHiPs” (where the cop heroes, like Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry, never shot anyone).

  4. I Pity The Fool

    June 10, 2010 at 3:57 pm

    One of those who doesn’t think anyone died in the original A-Team is Mr. T, who has been complaining about the violence in the new film by saying that nobody got hurt in his version. Must be his age.

    A lot of cars died in CHiPs, though. American cars always explode. It’s a wonder they’re deemed roadworthy – so much for Ralph Nader.

  5. gman

    June 17, 2010 at 7:58 pm

    Just for the pedantic record, it’s MURDOCK, not MURDOCH. Sorry, but the mis-spelling of his name gets right on my chuds

  6. Cindylover1969

    July 14, 2011 at 5:24 am

    “the Mr T cartoon (from the barrel-scraping “you though Ruby-Spears churned out a crock of shit? Have a gander at our back catalogue” Sunbow Productions)”

    Actually, the “Mr. T.” cartoon WAS from Ruby-Spears. And anyway, it started during the run of “The A-Team.” (Also, for sheer tonnage of crap neither R-S nor Sunbow can compare to DIC.)

  7. Richard16378

    July 14, 2011 at 1:17 pm

    Here’s some amusing animated Mr.T reviews.

    http://www.agonybooth.com/recaps/Mister_T/

  8. Scott McPhee

    January 26, 2015 at 12:24 am

    I can’t say that I was a big fan of The A-Team. I grew bored of it very quickly. Then, in primary school, my class spent a term doing media studies. Our teacher, wishing to impress upon us the differences between pretend violence, and violence in the real world, used The A-Team as an example.

  9. Terry

    March 28, 2015 at 9:40 am

    I seem to recall getting those cheapo action figures in party bags given out with Wimpy meals. They were crap. I did have a large “Face” figure which inexplicably had one blue painted shoe and squishy rubber face though.

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