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Your Friday Night In...

Your Friday Night In… November 1993

Friday, 19th November 1993


Hyped up as the next big hit comedy drama that wasn’t – and there were millions of them around that time, and none of them were either – and starring Griff Rhys Jones and Martin Clunes as two ex-forces types in the 1940s with a dream of becoming a top radio comedy double-act. Amanda Redman and Samantha Janus did the eye-candy-with-a-mean-left-hook honours, while Les Dawson appeared in one of his last screen roles as, you guessed it, a world-weary club comic. Almost entirely forgotten now, but for the fact that there is one copy of the tie-in novel, with a faded back cover, in every single charity shop in the land.


BBC Scotland’s premier sketch show where you couldn’t work out whether you liked it, or not nor indeed which of those three bits of music was the actual theme tune, went on for terrifyingly longer than anyone remembers – and even then they kept trying to revive it in new guises. Here’s one of the 10 billion Best Of compilations that they flung out during that time. Doubtless featured Rab, Siadwell, Lizzie, The Baldy Man, Thingy in the wine bar, the Outer Hebrides Broadcasting Corporation, and loads of other unfunny ones about being a delivery driver and falling in a sewage trough or something.

Another that went on for far longer than you’d imagine, with Paul Daniels overly verbosely dispensing a series of shockingly easy questions while contestants with fixed grins stood there saying absolutely nothing and a none-more-1980s bleeping timer bleeped merrily away. From the early computer generated opening titles nicked off Sixty Minutes and the ludicrously over-arranged blaring brass theme music to the eye-hurting neon-and-pastel set nicked off the TWO ident’s nightmares, this was everything that’s gone missing from early evening TV since then. And Paul was absolutely brilliant at hosting it. Yes, a lot.



  1. Applemask

    November 17, 2017 at 1:06 pm

    According to Wikipedia, Every Second Counts ended a month earlier. But this is is from the Genome, I presume, so Wikipedia can eat a bag of hell.

  2. Richard16378

    November 17, 2017 at 2:14 pm

    I remember my parents watching Demob, the period detail was good, with a pre-fab estate used as a location. There were a lot of short run comedy dramas around this time (often historically set), most of which are forgotten about apart from a DVD release if you are lucky.

    I only started watching Naked Video after seeing Rab C. Nesbit so it was a little odd to see him in bite sized chucks. Pulp Video was a late rebranding IIRC, unless that was an unrelated show, the BBC seemed to make a lot of “show once & forget” sketch shows around this time.

    By 1993 the very mid 1980s styling of Every Second Counts seemed out of place, though watching the rerun of early Supermarket Sweep on Challenge some people seemed to be wearing clothes at least 5 years old stylistically.

    • Applemask

      November 17, 2017 at 2:44 pm

      Pulp Video was meant to be like the Next Generation of Naked Video. It was technically a new show and had an all-new cast, but much of the production and writing team was the same, like Ron Bain. Unfortunately, despite having the likes of Greg Kemphill, Ford Keirnan, Fred MacAuley, Mitch Benn and (inexplicably) Mark and Lard on said team, it wasn’t funny.

      • Richardpd

        March 25, 2023 at 2:26 pm

        While Pulp Video didn’t click with 1990s audiences, the follow up Chewin’ The Fat did better, even if I didn’t get round to watching it, not helped by BBC2 being swamped with sketch shows at the time!

        Chewin’ The Fat managed to spin off Still Game, which seemed to take the best bits of Rab C. Nesbit & Last Of The Summer Wine and blend them into a winning formula. Again a show I’ve not watched as much as should.

  3. Glenn A

    November 19, 2017 at 5:03 pm

    Demob was probably an attempt by ITV to revive the huge success they had ten years earlier with another post war drama, Shine On Harvey Moon. Shame Demob didn’t work as it had an excellent cast and was well produced.

    • Matthew Harris

      April 30, 2018 at 9:36 pm

      They tried it more literally the following year. It worked marginally better.

  4. Glenn Aylett

    November 12, 2021 at 7:57 pm

    Naked Video meant one thing, the bedsit loser from Wales called Siadwell and his never seen pet wasp and Llanelli terrier. He always reminded me of the sort of person you occasionally encounter in pubs who looks stoney broke, has few friends and makes a pint last over an hour, and should you encounter a Siadwell, the conversation is likely not to involve the match on Sky or the attractive young barmaid. Actually there was a man I knew who was like the Whitehaven Siadwell who used to come out with such conversation killers as playing football on Skylab or wanting to start a revolutionary political party.

  5. Richardpd

    November 12, 2021 at 10:45 pm

    Demob probably suffered from being made a few years too late, after that nostalgia for mid 20th century (c.1935-1955) had peaked & people weren’t that interested in shows set in the era of valve radios & young men in tank tops with patterns that wouldn’t look out of place on a novelty Christmas jumper.

    Even Dennis Potter embraced Rock & Roll around this time with Lipstick On Your Collar, swapping the 78s for 45s.

    I think I’ve met at least one Siadwell in my time.

    • Glenn Aylett

      March 25, 2023 at 2:35 pm

      Demob came a decade after ITV had a massive demob era hit, Shine On Harvey Moon, and they were hoping Demob would do the same. Except as Richardpd points out, 1940s nostalgia was petering out and the audience who remembered ration books, demob suits and valve radios was dying out as well. ( Three of my grandparents died out in the early/ mid nineties). Also the big nostalgia thing, helped by the rise of Britpop, in the mid nineties was the seventies.

      • Richardpd

        March 25, 2023 at 10:19 pm

        I can remember the 1990s nostalgia for the 1970s, only a few years after having sideburns & wearing flares would have got you laughed at!

        Britpop also caused a brief interest in 1960s music, helped at the time by The Beatles Anthology TV series and the CD rarities compilations.

        • Glenn Aylett

          March 26, 2023 at 11:49 am

          I can remember The Grimleys, a half decent comedy drama set in 1974/75, with plenty of pop culture references and featuring a cameo by the actor who played Bullet Baxter in Grange Hill.
          Britpop did at least get people interested in guitar bands again and sixties and seventies nostalgia. It was sort of refreshing after morbid grunge and faceless rave music.

          • Richardpd

            March 26, 2023 at 12:36 pm

            The early episodes of The Grimleys worked quite well, often at times actually feeling like a show from the time, but later on things got camped up to make it feel like a send up of the late 1970s.

            I’m currently enjoying the 1994 Top Of The Pops repeats which are showing Britpop’s climb into the mainstream. This came like a breath of fresh air after the end of the Madchester, along with the collapse of Factory records & New Order going into abeyance with Barney & Hooky being unable to work with each other.

      • Richardpd

        March 28, 2023 at 10:11 pm

        The Life & Times Of Henry Pratt was another late entry by ITV.

        Written by David Nobbs, this covered Henry’s life from the 1930s to the 1960s, using 4 actors to play the lead role.

        Quite good in places, but almost forgotten these days, without even a Wikipedia entry. Originally I thought it was by Alan Bennett.

        • Glenn Aylett

          March 29, 2023 at 7:33 pm

          @ Richardpd, there seemed to be loads of dramas in the first half of the nineties that seemed to come and go with almost no comment. I vaguely remember Henry Pratt, but it was probably like Demob part of a nostalgia wave that people no longer wanted in the same way the 1930s based BBC comedy drama Tales Of Para Handy didn’t rate well, even with Gregor Fisher in the lead role. ( There was one quite funny episode involving a Highland bull).

          • Richardpd

            March 29, 2023 at 10:15 pm

            Tales Of Para Handy was usually just right for a Sunday Evening light drama.

            Around the same time ITV had commissioned a new adaptation Dr Finley, so the BBC probably wanted something similar.

  6. THX 1139

    November 13, 2021 at 10:18 am

    I was pleased to see Jonathan Watson off of Naked Video was the Sontaran leader on Doctor Who last week.

  7. Glenn Aylett

    November 13, 2021 at 1:38 pm

    The local Siadwell did live in a row of bedsits, now demolished, near me. He was never out of a grubby cagoul and jeans, wasn’t the most fragrant of people, should we say, and was given a wide berth in every pub he appeared in, or was chased out by the landlord.

    • Richardpd

      April 3, 2023 at 10:44 pm

      One real life Siadwell I sort of knew was a heavy smoker & used to claim any anti-smoking rules as being discrimination against him!

      In spite of going to university he hardly worked as almost all workplaces had banned smoking by this time. He had a few crackpot ideas about other things too!

      After the pub ban on smoking I lost touch as he refused to use pubs, but a mutual friend occasionally let me know of his antics!

      • Glenn Aylett

        April 4, 2023 at 8:25 pm

        The real life Siadwell is still around, and for all he attended a grammar school and was considered quite intelligent, he managed to lose every job he held and once for quite an amusing reason: he worked at Center Parcs and decided to unleash a couple of red squirrels in a chalet as he thought the holidaymakers would appreciate his attempts at conserving the species. Unfortunately said squirrels made a mess of the chalet, the furious holidaymakers went to the manager and Whitehaven Siadwell was sacked. Not that he was bothered as he blamed the anti conservationist people who ran Center Parcs and he had to make a stand.

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