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Your Friday Night In...

Your Friday Night In… March 1977

Friday, 11th March 1977


11.40pm UFO, ITV
This episode scoops the coveted POTD badge, along with regulated enhanced billing thanks entirely down to its write up in TV Times which reads as follows: “Two members of an intercepter crew go berserk, and try to kill their colleagues, in the belief that they are in fact killing their enemies.” In fact as impossibly exciting as this text reads, the episode is – if anything – even more impossibly exciting, turning UFO. first into a weird spaghetti Western and then into a full blooded analysis of its own fictionality.  Take that Philip Martin!


There’s nothing not to like in this weekend wind down featuring the titular Welsh amusenik, ably supported by the weirdly prolific folk troupe The Spinners.

The thinking channel hit us with the ninth part of their ongoing Sartre adaptation. Originally shown in 1970, the cast list reads like the inside of the gents toilets at Big Finish Towers, complete with Colin Baker at the hand dryer, Christopher Benjamin in trap one and James Bree contemplating a big dump.



  1. David Smith

    March 10, 2017 at 7:44 am

    My mum used to like the Spinners, I remember their yellow sweaters. I also remember a PIF they did for giving blood…

  2. Glenn A

    March 10, 2017 at 7:18 pm

    Distinctly surreal choice of viewing in 1977, even if this was late at night, a Welsh comedian and some Liverpudlians singing comedy folk songs, Sartre and Mexican cowboys in space, only in the seventies, kids. Beats The Nightly Show and yet another bloody Chase repeat( do ITV ever tire of this).

  3. THX 1139

    March 11, 2017 at 5:49 pm

    Were there not any new programmes on that evening? UFO was from 1970 as well…

    Max Boyce, the only man for whom it was acceptable to take a big leek on the stage every night.

  4. Ian Coulson

    March 15, 2017 at 2:25 pm

    Two days after I was born. Thanks Cream.

  5. Glenn Aylett

    July 15, 2021 at 1:46 pm

    Max Boyce, like Stanley Baxter in another post we’re discussing, is another comedian whose career seemed to nosedive and he was rarely heard of again after the eighties. Rather a shame as his observational Welsh comedy( me and Billy Williams) was as good as anything Billy Connolly could do, he could sing a bit and was popular outside of Wales. OTOH his references to the South Waleians big sporting passion meant nothing to non rugby fans when he went on about such and such the scrum half and maybe the BBC thought Boyce’s shelf life was up. Also the notoriously hard to please critic, Keith Dufton of the Sunday Sun( Geordies will remember him), couldn’t stand him, along with about 95{30e2395aaf6397fd02d2c79d91a1fe7cbb73158454674890018aee9c53a0cb96} of what he was supposed to review.

    • Sidney Balmoral James

      July 15, 2021 at 9:57 pm

      God yes, whatever happened to Max Boyce? He was everywhere like shit in a field when I was about five. Is he still an institution in Wales? Or in one? More to the point, why isn’t Richard Digance on the telly anymore, he was very droll. Russ Abbott’s Madhouse did a piss-take of the Spinners as the Spanners and their jumpers but Dustin Gee was blacked-up, so not one to recommend these days.

  6. Glenn Aylett

    July 16, 2021 at 9:48 am

    @ Sidney, he seemed to fall out of fashion and his last major television appearance was at the opening ceremony of the 1999 Rugby Union World Cup in Cardiff( very apt), but this was years after the BBC ditched Max. Don’t worry, he’s still around and does some low key gigs in South Wales to pay for his retirement. My uncle had the legendary Me and Billy Williams LP and the one from the rugby club and used to tape them to play in his car as he found them hilarious( again, something you don’t do these days).

  7. Droogie

    July 17, 2021 at 11:21 am

    These days Max (allegedly) lives with BBC Wales weatherman Derek Brockway.

    • Glenn Aylett

      July 17, 2021 at 1:36 pm

      @ Droogie, never knew that, but Max Boyce is well off the radar now and I doubt the tabloids would care. Also how different BBC 2 was then and certainly lived up to its reputation as a minority channel with challenging programming with a Sartre drama on Friday nights. I do recall on Saturdays they’d stick on three hours of opera for the loyal few who regarded The Generation Game as beneath them, and then follow it up with a black and white horror film. Then in 1982, the highlight of their autumn season on Sunday nights was Wagner’s Ring Cycle, four hours of should we say heavy going music, and introduced by Bernard Levin.

  8. Droogie

    July 17, 2021 at 4:24 pm

    @ Glenn Aylett, I recall BBC2 was the first channel I saw movies screened in widescreen rather than pan and scan. I remember them screening Anthony & Cleopatra with Liz and Richard this way some time in the 80’s, and some twerps writing to Points Of View the next week moaning about the black bars on screen and how they didn’t pay the Tv Licence for a third of a picture etc. They also had a bizarre screening of 2001 when they gave it’s British TV premiere which was half widescreen, half pan & scan. For the shots of space they’d show them in widescreen but with fake stars superimposed on the black bars (!),and then they’d cock up key scenes like the dramatic bit where Hal is watching the 2 astronauts talking about him by panning between the 2 actors as they spoke. Stanley Kubrick apparently wasn’t impressed.

  9. Richardpd

    July 17, 2021 at 10:00 pm

    I remember Channel 4 would often show films in wide screen.

    • Droogie

      July 18, 2021 at 12:42 am

      @Richardpd, I remember the first time I saw classic movies on telly for the first time in widescreen and feeling cheated by pan & scan and how I was barely seeing half the action on screen before!. A good example is the wonderful trash cult classic Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls by Russ Meyer. I had a fuzzy VHS copy of this in 1990 that I watched repeatedly. It wasn’t until Ch4 showed this 7 years later in a new widescreen print that I realised what a beautifully shot movie in 70mm Panavision this was. Seeing other films like Zulu and all the David Lean epics afterwards in the proper original format on a widescreen telly was eye-opening too.

      • Sidney Balmoral James

        July 18, 2021 at 12:28 pm

        Hmmm….the beautifully shot films of Russ Meyer. I think that’s why they were so popular, the superb photography. Although to be fair, his films do have their knockers.

        • THX 1139

          July 18, 2021 at 12:48 pm

          Russ Meyer’s films WERE superbly shot, and brilliantly edited too. That’s why he had a loyal fanbase, they knew he would make his films (and the women in them) look their best. You just have to look at most of his shoddy contemporaries in softcore to see he was miles ahead of them, aside from maybe Radley Metzger. You may scoff, but it does make a difference even in exploitation if the filmmakers care about their output. A lot of them are in it for the money, true, but not all of them.

  10. Droogie

    July 20, 2021 at 2:55 pm

    @ THX 1139. Absolutely. The acting and screenwriting in Meyer movies may be questionable, but the cinematography and editing are always top notch. Meyer had a fascinating background learning his chops serving as a cameraman for an army film unit in WW2.

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