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Your Friday Night In...

Your Friday Night In… June 1990

Friday, 1st June 1990


7.05pm THE $64,000 QUESTION, ITV
“64,000 welcomes to you!” – not one of Bob’s stickiest applications of funny putty. Tonight was the night he stepped out onto the glistening studio floor for the very first time, beneath the giant pointable lighting rig,  to tempt players up the multi-part money ladder towards an IBA-okayed  £6,400. For those who reached the upper echelons of potential cash, it was into the Isolator, an over-engineered booth that could have been an escape capsule from the Central TV ident mothership. The show would run for four series, finishing up in 1993 just in time to deliver Bob to his redemptive An Audience With, wherein he would be asking another $64,000 question: “If Barbara Knox, why is Lynda Bellingham?”


It’s the fish-out-of-water detective drama, starring Buki ‘Gerry Peters-Smith in Eldorado’ Armstrong, and we’re at series two, episode four if you want to turn to the relevant page of your episode guides. “What exciting secret is detective Pearl Parker concealing from her partner?” wondered Radio Times. But actually, the bigger deal here was this instalment’s low key representation of a same-sex relationship between two women. It even opens with them kissing. In bed. Written by Barbara Machin, 10 years away from creating Waking The Dead but, get this, pretty much fresh off a writing stint on Tickle On The Tum. [Fumbles around looking for an explanation in song for the eccentric titling of that show]

“Video, video, video, video”… A rerun of the third series starts here, including a quickie that ends with the pay-off, “Where’s the rest of my donor kebab?” Braw laffs, from Queen Margaret Drive – best bit continuing to be Siadwel with his “Hello” catchphrase. But you’ll stay for the back-to-back dialogue-free sketches scored by that “Wha-wa-wa-wa-wow!” music, and Helen in the Wine Bar (“I went in there a young woman, and I came out a Tammy Wynette fan”).

Tips for amateur organic gardeners, helmed by the excellently-named Rebecca Pow, but better known as the bailing out point for most viewers who had stopped by for Cheers at 9pm.



  1. Applemask

    June 2, 2017 at 2:17 pm

    That’s a completely different South of the Border in the A-Z. Although I am intrigued at the concept of a series starring Brian Glover as a black lesbian private eye.

    South of the Border (the 1990 one) is pretty much the archetype of Checkland-era BBC dramas now so thoroughly forgotten that, however good they were, they might as well not have happened (see also The Paradise Club, Pulaski, Rockliffe’s Babies to an extent, Rockliffe’s Folly to a greater one)

    • Glenn A

      June 6, 2017 at 3:09 pm

      A strange era for BBC 1, it had undergone a huge revival under Michael Grade, and post Grade, the station was still making decent popular shows, but none seem to be well remembered now. I’d completely forgotten about South Of The Border, which was quite a good crime drama, and one show that was huge at the time, but hardly anyone remembers now, Making Out, about women in a circuit board factory, featuring a very loud and very amusing Margi Clark.
      Then the Birt era came and BBC drama went down the pan and was genuinely forgotten about( A Year In Provence, Trainer, Strathblair, Rides, even then they were awful).

  2. Richard16378

    June 2, 2017 at 2:32 pm

    The early 1990s had loads of good dramas that are almost forgotten now even when they were big in the day. Moon & Son, Civvies, Rides, Between The Lines….

  3. Andrew Barton

    October 15, 2021 at 9:24 am

    One wonders if Robbie Williams and Ed Sheeran were big fans of the Buki Armstrong drama, given the titles of their songs.

  4. Andrew Barton

    October 15, 2021 at 9:25 am

    Rebecca Pow, who presented that Channel 4 gardening show, I believe is nowadays an MP. (Ditto Rob Butler of Channel 5 News)

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