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Clive James on Television/Saturday Night Clive

FROM BEHIND an oil tanker-sized desk, from within a imperially-dark blue set, in front of a textbook braying studio audience, backed by a bank of shimmering small screens, the erstwhile Vivian James, sometime of Kogarah, Australia, smartened his synonyms and annotated his anotyms over clips of Japanese game show contestants killing each other. From there it was but one squint of a tiny eyeball to what followed. The Channel 4 chat show with bumptious guestage the like of Alan Coren, AJP Taylor and, naturally, Germaine Greer. Commentating on Formula One for a laugh. Going swimming with some Playmates at Hugh Hefner’s Playboy mansion. Talking by satellite to Vitali Vitaliev. Inventing YouTube. Talking by satellite to Mel Brooks. Stormin’ Norman Norman Stormin’ Norman Schwartzkopf. Talking by satellite to Billy Connolly. Playing role of guest judge on the GENERATION GAME. Talking by satellite to TV evangelists/cross-dressers/cross-dressing TV evangelists. Riding the Slippery Dips in Sydney. Getting fitted with a hairpiece in LA. “I’d received word that an extremely eminent and attractive female foreign dignitary was in town and desperate to meet me.” Getting to ‘Finally Meet’ Frank Sinatra. “And the winner of this year’s Teatowel Wearer Of The Year award is…Yasmin Arafat!” Jerry Hall, Jane Fonda, Elle MacPherson, Louise Lombard, Caroline Langrishe and a million other glamorous guest starlets for those end of year specials. And, sadly: “Now, to sing us out, in her inimitable style, and you should try imitating it…” “…Allo Clive! Eeez it me yurrrr looookin furrrrr?” Ill-advised defection back to ITV in the mid-90s made him look tired, shabby and shameless. But then who wouldn’t, faced with the task of interviewing Geri Halliwell?



  1. Joanne Gray

    November 18, 2017 at 8:23 pm

    Margarita Prakatan should represent us in the next Eurovision

  2. THX 1139

    April 6, 2022 at 10:03 am

    I remember seeing Clive James on Television and there was a clip of a Japanese comedy show where someone had put a spike on a chair. A man sat on it and injured himself, and there was a closeup of the spike with blood on it. The audience thought it was hilarious, but I found it really disturbing, and avoided watching the programme again.

    I did watch Saturday Night Clive, though, and that was a lot more palatable.

  3. Richardpd

    April 6, 2022 at 10:14 pm

    I remember featuring quite a few home video howlers & outtakes when they were still a novelty to see on TV.

    He often featured clips from Japanese TV, one being a Game For A Laugh style wind up show where a man went into what he thought was a hot spring only to find it was on the back of a lorry, which was then driven over a very bumpy road!

    Japanese news footage was also often featured, especially of things happening over hear.

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