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Your Friday Night In...

Your Friday Night In… April 1992


Friday, 10th April 1992

PICK OF THE DAY

8.00pm BRUCE’S GUEST NIGHT, BBC1
Drown your sorrows the day after the election with Brucie and, it says here, “the series I’ve been waiting 20 years to do”, not that anyone remembers it now. RUBBISH name, and it helped if you really, really liked Brucie, as the great man was joined by a host of guests for chat, song and his trademark bits of business. On this opening episode Cliff and Howard Keel were the big hitters, but Lisa Stansfield helped bring the average age of the participants down by about 40 years, and there was space for some gags with Pat Cash. Brucie said, “I want the viewers to ask, ‘I wonder what he’s going to do with them this week?’”, but to be honest this was the kind of series he’d have been better off doing 20 years earlier when it might have been a bit more exciting. Sadly this was the beginning of the end for Brucie on the Beeb as they ummed and erred for ages over a second run, and when they finally commissioned one they chopped it down to half-an-hour and flung it out in the summer, much to his disgust… and a major factor when ITV came calling. Don’t worry, he won’t be gone long.

ALSO SHOWING:

9.00pm Heartbeat, ITV
A pretty low-key start for this new series, as Yorkshire TV weren’t especially sure about it and suggested it was scheduled in a quiet slot. Of course, it immediately took off and within about 18 months was the biggest show on TV. Post-watershed Fridays seems the most bizarre slot for this series imaginable, though they do have to edit it when they repeat it on ITV3 because it’s actually got swearing in it. We know it was the ultimate bit of boring Sunday night telly in the end, but the first few series were amiable enough, and Heartbeat also deserves kudos for the most comforting sponsorship stings ever, where Yorkshire Tea was advertised by a friendly bobby having a nice cup of tea and a sit down. Ahhh.

7.15pm 100%, BBC2
The ghost of Nozin’ Aroun’ always haunts the Beeb’s attempts to create shows aimed at teenagers though this effort, intended as a halfway house between CBBC and DEF II, was a little more credible than most. Much of this was thanks to the presence of Trevor and Simon, during their year off from Going Live, who contributed sketches throughout and were even permitted to do some mild swearing, while John Hegley offered up his poems. TVC watched it every week, though we can’t remember much else apart from an interview with Reeves and Mortimer filmed on a pig farm and, one week, a Mary Whitehouse Experience-styled comedy slot with teenage stand-ups including one Vicky Coren. It would have come back the next year, but was cancelled due to a BBC economy drive, so this was the last we saw of it.

10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. David Smith

    April 14, 2017 at 12:26 pm

    Not quite the beginning of the end for Brucie on the Beeb as they still gave him two more years on the Gen Game 😉

    I still think Creamguide should do a Bit In The Middle on “Unrelated Shows with the Same Title” – there’s one for ya in 100%. (And you could even cheat, with Heartbeat…)

  2. Richard16378

    April 14, 2017 at 12:47 pm

    I coudn’t remember Bruce’s Guest Night or 100%, though I liked his revival of the Generation Game & was the right demographic for 100%.

    IIRC Heartbeat was also on Wednesday nights for a bit before being promoted to the Sunday night slot to replace the other “Mum’s Favourite” The Darling Buds of May.

    I liked Heartbeat up to the time Greengrass went out of it, though lingered in a zombie like afterlife like a 1990s BBC sitcom recommissioned too many times.

  3. Glenn A

    April 14, 2017 at 12:53 pm

    Heartbeat could be quite tough in its early years as one episode had a brawl between mods and rockers, another had someone dealing LSD from a boat and some kid jumping off a church tower when he was tripping, and another had an American draft dodger on the run. Then sadly, it went schmaltzy and started appealing mostly to pensioners. In one of the later episodes, the only exciting thing was a Morris Minor police car pulling up quickly to question Greengrass.

  4. THX 1139

    April 14, 2017 at 4:33 pm

    I would watch Mrs Coren doing teenage standup, but then again I don’t want to cringe so much that my head collapses in on itself like Tom off Tom and Jerry when Jerry gives him alum.

  5. Glenn A

    April 14, 2017 at 5:50 pm

    Brucie is an interesting one. ITV gave him his big break in 1956 when he replaced Tommy Trinder on Palladium, then obviously a second, equally successful career hosting The Generation Game, before 25 years of flitting between BBC 1 and ITV with varying degrees of success before his last very successful gig.

  6. Barbersmith

    April 14, 2017 at 7:58 pm

    My God, and I thought Coren was annoying these days. Did Daddy have anything to do with her getting on the telly I wonder?

  7. Glenn A

    April 16, 2017 at 11:23 am

    1992 was when television started to go bad. Thames would be replaced by the vastly inferior Carlton by the end of the year and the Birt revolution was starting at the BBC. While things might not be brilliant now, BBC One started to show some utter dross from 1992 until 2000 when Bad King John finally went. Caught In the Act, a blatant You’ve Been Framed rip off, and the infamous Eldorado were supposed to be major highlights on BBC One that year, while ITV would never be the same after Thames.

  8. Richard16378

    April 16, 2017 at 7:50 pm

    I admit BBC1 had a rough patch in the early mid 1990s, but by 1995-6 things had much improved.

    Castles was another flop from this period that seemed to be commissioned without being subjected to the usual quality checks.

  9. Glenn A

    April 17, 2017 at 11:01 am

    @ Richard 16378, BBC1 went into a ratings slump from 1992 to 1994 when as well as Eldorado and Caught in The Act, their dramas and LE went really bad. Care to remember Strathblair, Trainer, Danny Baker’s Bygones, Tales of Para Handy, Pets Win Prizes and Going For Gold? Things did pick up a bit in the mid nineties, but then BBC1 had the disastrous idea of reviving seventies sitcoms in a modern setting. I’d probably rate The Liver Birds revival among the worst sitcoms ever and an insult to the excellent original.

  10. Richard16378

    April 17, 2017 at 8:35 pm

    Danny Baker’s Bygones was on BBC2 (& quite good) and Going For Gold was on at lunchtimes & good in it’s day but maybe past it’s prime by the mid 1990s.

    I agree there were some failed revivals, The Reggie Perrin one was very bad.

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