TV Cream

TV: A is for...

As it Happens

SHOESTRING SPECTACULAR from a time when pointing a camera at anything and allowing people to see it was somehow the most thrilling thing in the world. Utilised by a cash-strapped C4 to clog up some of its daytime schedules when schools programmes weren’t on. Early editions had either MICHAEL GROTH or PADDY HAYCOCKS spending a couple of hours strolling around London Zoo or the West End with camera and microphone in tow, seeing what happened and broadcasting the entire proceedings live, erm, as it happened. Which, at times, was bugger all. Or involved something going wrong. But that was why you watched, frankly, rather than for the pre-arranged interviews with colourful people with stories to tell. Soon mutated into a trans-global epic, spending 90 minutes each Saturday night in a different foreign city. Now PETE MCCARTHY and ANDY KERSHAW alternated as hosts, the former ambling around like an innocent abroad, the latter forever heading down the first dark alley in sight and swearing profusely. Terrible things went wrong, and more than once a C4 continuity announcer back in London had to take over as pictures and sound were lost. Which was, of course, exactly what you wanted. One-offs continued through the 90s, but not in the same spirit or with the same point (Mark Lamarr ushering in the New Year “as it happens” from Jamaica?). Much missed.

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