TV Cream

TV: G is for...

Golden Oldie Picture Show, The

AN OFFICE, somewhere in Television Centre in the early 1980s. “We need something cheap to fill that pesky half hour slot between SIXTY MINUTES and TERRY AND JUNE,” moans one executive. “How about showing pop videos?” suggests another. “But not any ordinary pop videos. How about getting someone to make new pop videos for old songs?” “What, like those by The Beatles?” “That’s right, and The Rolling Stones, and all those other obscure 60s acts who would really benefit from some contemporary exposure on the BBC.” “Sounds interesting.” “Yes, and to introduce them, we can get a really big name from the world of music who’s got their finger on the pulse of popular culture.” “What, like DAVE LEE TRAVIS?” “Perfect!” “And we need a really glittering, eye-catching set, something that sums up the whole old-meets-new theme of the programme.” “What, like a fireplace?” “Spot on!” Gggnnn.



  1. Frank Jackdaw

    February 14, 2010 at 3:52 pm

    Strawberry Fields Forever: The haunting, evocative sight of… some kids in a pick-your-own strawberry plot stuffing their faces. Great.

  2. Lee James Turnock

    May 1, 2010 at 11:30 am

    I seem to remember a video clip for Sweet’s ‘Little Willy’ consisting of a flasher indecently exposing himself to passers-by. The punchline was that he had something silly under his flasher mac like a ‘BOO!’ sign or something. Yeah, it really was that crap.

  3. Chris Diamond

    May 31, 2010 at 9:25 am

    One of the very few I enjoyed was a high speed journey along the Thames which was chosen to illustrate, unaccountably, Hit or Miss. I say it was one of the few I enjoyed, obviously I watched every programme.

  4. Chris Jones

    May 31, 2010 at 11:21 am

    There was the terrifying one that accompanied ‘I can see for miles’ by ‘The Who’. And the cheapo cartoon effort for ‘Rubberball’.

  5. Glenn A

    May 31, 2010 at 2:19 pm

    It was shown against Coronation St, which meant hardly anyone north of Crewe would be watching.

  6. Rob Free

    May 31, 2010 at 4:39 pm

    I remember the video for ‘Ha-Ha said the Clown’ by Manfred Mann showed a picture of a clown laughing everytime the chorous came in. Imaginative.

  7. Paul Gatenby

    June 2, 2010 at 4:17 pm

    Stranger on the Shore, accompanied by a man leaving his dog on the beach and then driving away, and Fire by the Crazy World of Arthur Brown with a businessman terrified by someone starting a fire in a cornfield. Pretty literal but oddly involving and unsettling when you’re seven.

  8. Russ C

    June 2, 2010 at 9:35 pm

    Did they do one using a stop motion animation technique but with real people? Kind of like the video to Sledgehammer by Peter Gabriel but more simple?

  9. Dan Pearce

    June 2, 2010 at 9:58 pm

    “Did they do one using a stop motion animation technique but with real people? Kind of like the video to Sledgehammer by Peter Gabriel but more simple?”
    Wasn’t that Jackie Wilson’s Reet Petite? I’ve always sworn that’s where it came from, much to my annoyance as it knocked The Housemartins off the number one ‘spot’.

  10. Dan Pearce

    June 2, 2010 at 9:59 pm

    Sorry, just re-read your post and you say ‘with real people’. It’s late.

  11. Michael S

    August 21, 2011 at 8:44 pm

    Although I watched this at the time, it wasn’t until I read this article that I realised how bizarre the whole concept was, ten times moreso because it went out on BBC1 at primetime.

    I think one of the later series went out on a Sunday afternoon, or that might have been a repeat, I don’t know.

  12. Richard16378

    August 21, 2011 at 10:22 pm

    I really liked this, especially as it often featured music that wasn’t even in my Dad’s record collection.

    I certainly remember it beign shown until 1988, though probably repeats.

  13. Andy1979

    July 23, 2013 at 4:22 pm

    I used to love this show (even though I was only about 6 when it started). The video for fire used to scare the hell out of me cos of the God of hell fire chasing the bloke. Seasons in the sun was a brilliant video but always made my sisters cry although the actual song played a part in that due to it being sad. The sign in the little Willy video was something to do with the BBC but can’t remember exactly what it was. I agree some of the videos weren’t the best but they did have some very good ones

  14. Droogie

    September 18, 2016 at 1:29 pm

    I vividly remember their video for The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore by the Walker Brothers. A ragged group of post-nuclear war survivors are are all huddled shivering together in what looks like a derelict theatre. One of them finds an old basket of costumes and they all dress up and improvise a play on stage and briefly remember to laugh again. Some of the videos on this show were bloody awful in their obviousness, but this one was genuinely affecting – especially as all out nuclear war seemed a strong possibility at the time.

  15. Tom Ronson

    March 28, 2022 at 12:41 am

    The Golden Oldie Picture Show was bloody odd for several reasons.

    Firstly, let me dispel a popular myth of the time. Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody was not, in fact, the first pop video. Promotional clips had been around since the 1940s at the earliest, and most of the big sixties groups made promo films for their singles – The Kinks did one for Dead End Street where they’re Dickensian undertakers, The Who did one for Happy Jack where they’re robbing an office (which may or may not have been Robert Stigwood’s actual office), The Beatles did that one for Paperback Writer where they’re standing in an ornamental garden… and so on.

    Secondly, coming at a time when record companies were investing heavily in increasingly elaborate, high-concept and big-budget pop videos, the low-budget ugliness of the efforts on The Golden Oldie Picture Show stood out a mile. From what I can gather, the ones that weren’t outsourced to independent companies or animation studios (there was an awful one for T-Rex’s Get It On with a Captain Caveman-type character) were training exercises for new BBC employees, featuring actors bussed in from local theatre companies.

    Thirdly, the promo they made for The Move’s Flowers in the Rain was set in a mental hospital. At the time of its broadcast, The Move’s former bassist Ace Kefford was institutionalized, and happened to be watching Dave Lee Travis’s nostalgia-fest on a communal television with several other patients. Not unreasonably, he perceived the clip as a direct insult to his reduced circumstances, soundtracked by a single he’d played on in happier times…

  16. P

    September 1, 2022 at 10:46 pm

    Possibly not what they intended, but as someone who really gets off on forced feminization, their treatment of The Who’s “I’m a boy” really hit the spot. Such a shame I was watching it with my mum and dad.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

To Top