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That’s Life!

The appeal for people to send in photos of street signs that look like they say the word FUCK is another bumper success Esther meets her people while the nanny holds The Baby; Desmond not pictured "Yes, we do employ black nancies too"

AS NOT THE NINE O’CLOCK NEWS had it: “Bleeding bloody ESTHER bleeding bloody effing bloody RANTZEN bloody woman.” Disambiguously deranged consumer show which lined up cot deaths next to deformed parsnips and DOC COX. Brass band theme. Going out on the street to get OAPs to eat snails/hedgehog crisps etc, and getting arrested in the process. OAPs and assorted freaks playing their false teeth, the top of their heads, the spoons, a garden hose whirled around the head, a garden hose with a kitchen sink attatched to it, etc. The “who can play the Sailor’s hornpipe on a trumpet in the shortest time?” non-contest. Dogs saying “sausages”, “I love you”, “Raymond”, and other words suspiciously similar to a dog’s growl with a little external manipulation of the jaw added. The Red Barrows (ha ha ha). The Get Britain Singing Campaign. German Shepherds drinking from a soda siphon in that pub. Dogs pissing on the rubber plant in the studio. Talented Pets in general (cue endless non-speaking cockatoos, showjumping rabbits, etc.) Hilarious, innuendo-laden shop names. Hilarious, innuendo-laden number plates. Hilarious, innuendo-laden vegetables. Hilarious confusingly-worded foreign pamphlets which were more often than not set to music to make them EVEN FUNNIER. Tedious clip always dragged out of ADRIAN MILLS being crap at a Spanish accent. Doc “out and about” singing George Formby songs on the street about planning restrictions on double-glazing and women being unable to whistle. The line about CYRIL FLETCHER being “The Odd Ode-r in the corner”. The Jobsworth golden peaked cap, and its polar opposite, the Good Neighbour award. Everything-that-happened in-the-show felt-tip-cartoons closing titles. By Rod Jordan. Then on the ‘serious’ Watchdoggy side you had badly-removed tattoos, bad homes for OAPs, bad patio builders, bad holidays, and of course the heart-op tragedy kid and that awful MARTI WEBB Michael Jackson cover version. The second most powerful woman in Britain at the time was backed up, over the years, by GLYN WORSNIP, KIERAN PRENDIVILLE, CYRIL FLETCHER, ADRIAN MILLS, BILL BUCKLEY, GAVIN CAMPBELL, DOC COX, VICTORIA WOOD, JOANNA MUNRO, HOWARD LEADER and GRANT BAYNHAM (that glasses and bow-tie bloke. Looked like Robin Day meets Michael Wood). Early 90s death throes saw MOLLIE SUGDEN perched on a chaise longue reading out misprints and bon mots alongside hated Brighton comedian SIMON “Stripey blazer, funny face, big glasses – oh dear, not a single laugh” FANSHAWE. Best remembered in small doses. And small dozes.

"Now I wonder...how many of you...recognise...ONE OF THESE!" "A woman in Crawley encountered a most perspicacious shop front imploring her to COCK HER WAY TO A MAN'S HEART" Not a practicing GP
13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. diz

    August 20, 2009 at 6:15 pm

    Carbon Monoxide and Cut & Shuts a seemingly recurring feature at the arse-end of the Cream era. In between the genitalia-lookalike veg and adverts with words that look/sound a bit like “fuck”, of course

  2. Dave Nightingale

    August 20, 2009 at 9:37 pm

    “We rang the electricity board,and they said…..I’m sorry,it really has nothing to do with us…”

    Ah…I remember it well.Carrots that looked liked Knobs,Gavin Campbell trying to be funny,and a little bit of seriousness from Esther…Sunday Night essential viewing :-)…..

  3. Arthur Nibble

    August 20, 2009 at 10:04 pm

    Ah….Doc Cox, otherwise known as Ivor Biggun, who had a top 30 hit with “The Winker’s Song (Misprint)”.

  4. David Pascoe

    August 21, 2009 at 7:48 am

    Its greatest achievements were Childline and forcing every playground in the country to replace concrete with woodchippings/felt mats for kids to fall on if they came off slides or swings too quickly.

  5. Mags

    August 21, 2009 at 9:51 am

    Every playground? It never reached our local park/playground where I fell off a slide and broke my arm. 15 years and at least two more children with broken arms, it still has concrete underneath it. They got rid of the roundabout though, apparently that was a greater risk to teens drinking in the park. And the trees with the low branches, mean buggers.

  6. Paul Gatenby

    August 21, 2009 at 12:21 pm

    They used to hammer on about a subject for weeks – there was the song about Guar gum in slimming products to the tune of ‘Not Fade Away’ that was repeated ad nauseum. And Wet Wet Wet at the end playing ‘With a Little Help From My Friends’.

  7. Glenn Aylett

    August 21, 2009 at 6:48 pm

    Does anyone know any official or authority that received a golden Jobsworth hat and kept it? I would love to know what the winners did with this present from Esther Rantzen.

  8. goodpudding

    August 21, 2009 at 9:30 pm

    I’ve got a good idea when they got it through the post….

    “Return to Sender….”

    Its little wonder that no-one didn’t report ‘Sausages’ owner to the RSPCA! Clearly was seen pulling the fur on its lower lip to make his mouth move…

    Now, if he had said all the items in an Full English, then I would have been impressed!

  9. David Smith

    June 19, 2010 at 7:30 pm

    Had a great blast from the past this afternoon at the Hanwell Carnival in west London – a live appearance by The Red Barrows!

  10. Richard16378

    August 6, 2011 at 9:11 am

    I used to like the funny product names spotted on holiday, “Sodd” tinned veg & “Atum Bom” sardines come to mind.

    The end titles were a political style cartoon of things mentioned in the show, drawn by Rod Jordan.

    The Order Of The Boot was another award for badly implemented rules.

    The Red Barrows have turned up a Marple Carnival a few times.

  11. FoyRob

    April 30, 2013 at 2:05 am

    ‘We asked Clive Tench of Which? magazine…’

  12. Zardoz

    June 13, 2015 at 6:24 am

    ‘Heap of the Week’ in the early series. Esther – ‘I demand you find me someone even less funny than Cyril Fletcher’. Enter Simon Fanshawe, The Man Who Died Every Week. Painful to behold.

  13. Zardoz

    June 13, 2015 at 6:24 am

    ‘Heap of the Week’ in the early series. Esther – ‘I demand you find me someone even less funny than Cyril Fletcher’. Enter Simon Fanshawe, The Man Who Died Every Week. Painful to behold.

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