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Your Friday Night In...

Your Friday Night In… February 1987

Friday, 27th February 1987


The centrepiece of this week’s momentous all-channel crusade to prevent the nation from dying of ignorance (it was so important, it even got an ‘ITV Presents’ caption), this star-studded revue laid out the facts about AIDS, prompting varying levels of awkwardness in living rooms across the land (“Warning: the next programme is intended mainly for young people but it is not suitable for children.”). Mike Smith introduced sketches from Rik Mayall, Fry and Laurie and Spitting Image, comment from Mary The Punk from EastEnders and Corinne Drewery off of Swing Out Sister, and the bit that everyone remembers, a discussion about condoms with Jonathan Ross (“look at this packet I’ve got here – Tutti Fruttis!”) and how to put them on.



“Rockliffe is surprised to learn that some members of the squad find him unapproachable,” explained Radio Times as it banged the drum for BBC1’s new police drama, starring Ian Hogg as Det Sgt Alan Rockliffe, in charge of a team of hot-headed raw recruits tackling crime on the streets of west London. The playground chantalong theme tune (“Rock-a-bye baby in the tower block/Your mum’s on the social, your dad’s in the dock!”) remains the most enduring thing about the show (although, for Doctor Who fans, it’s the first five minutes of spin-off Rockliffe’s Folly turning up after their VHS recordings of Season 25). “Doesn’t he always come to their aid when they need him? And that’s just what he has to do when Adams decides to go out on a limb.”

Possibly the most watching-BBC2-at-nine-o’clock-upstairs-on-the-portable comedy package of the 1980s, Now – Something Else (and what a terrible title that is) showcased the many voices (and prop spectacles) of a fresh-faced Rory Bremner, backed by a supporting cast of Steve Steen and Jim Sweeney (although we’ll always think of them as the blokes sneaking into the boiler room at the start of CBTV), Ann Bryson and Sara Crowe (soon to be eternally pigeonholed as “those women off the Philadelphia advert”) and Jeremy Hardy. Note that ‘Again’ in the title, not so subtly highlighting the fact that this was actually a repeat.

The meteoric rise of the man we’ll never call ‘Wossy’ ensured his magnificently ramshackle chat show and “happening” had been swiftly promoted from the deepest recesses of Channel 4’s late-night schedule (the first edition actually went out at 12.30am) to the 10pm slot, a move that helpfully coincided with his appearance on ITV earlier in the evening. A suitably eclectic guest list included Boy George, Cynthia Payne, Timothy Spall and, “by popular demand”, the return of student union ball staple Stevie Starr, aka The Regurgitator.



  1. David Smith

    February 24, 2017 at 7:47 am

    Stevie Starr who also played our freshers’ week at uni in ’87, and then turned up some 23 years later as a “newcomer” on Britain’s Got Talent… 😊

  2. Richard16378

    February 24, 2017 at 2:33 pm

    One thing recorded by anyone who left their video running while taping season 25 of Doctor Who was a newsflash for the Lockerbie bombing, shown after part 2 of The Greatest Show In The Galaxy.

    I remember this was the first time I heard any news about it.

    • David Smith

      February 24, 2017 at 5:32 pm

      I remember a Lockerbie newsflash coming straight after Harry (not H) Corbett’s This Is Your Life, on STV at any rate who were probably among the first to get the news. Funny what you remember, but I’d driven past Lockerbie only a few days earlier en route to my parents’ house for Christmas.

  3. Palitoy

    February 24, 2017 at 6:06 pm

    IIsaw that Timothy Spall Jonathan Ross – he was promoting the film ‘Dream Demon’. Also, the ‘First AIDS’ set was the same as Anne Diamond’s ‘The Birthday Show’.

  4. Applemask

    February 24, 2017 at 9:07 pm

    That still technically counts as calling him “Wossy”

  5. Glenn A

    February 25, 2017 at 2:14 pm

    I can remember that AIDS special and some Gripper Stebson lookalike saying it didn’t bother him and he’d sleep with as many girls as he wanted. Cue outrage from audience and a lecture from Mike Smith and a doctor about the dangers of unprotected sex. Also the AIDS panic in the winter of 1986-87 and constant leafletting from the student union meant we were far more cautious and many students kept with their partners at home to be safe.

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