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Your Wednesday Night In...

Your Wednesday Night In… December 1982


Wednesday, 15th December 1982

PICK OF THE DAY

7.00pm TOP SECRET, BBC1
Our enduring affection for this teatime parlour show lies – yes – with the casting (which was stellar – we give you: Barry Took, Jan Leeming, Chris Kelly, Dora Bryan and Bernard Cribbins, plus special guests Paul Shane and Ruth Madoc), but mainly with the winning top line aesthetic, which hinted at the world of espionage and spying.  The fact that the format was actually more akin to domestic panel shows of yore, such as What’s My Line, didn’t get in the way of what felt like an exciting teatime watch, especially thanks to the unfeathered Cribbins assuming the role of a slightly subversive panellist.

ALSO SHOWING:

6.00pm THE CUT PRICE COMEDY SHOW, Channel 4
We’re in the early days of the life of the channel here, in which the commissioners are still trying to get their heads round what – and who – C4 is for.  But this series – the channel’s very first sketch show – at least sensibly sets viewer expectation at a low peep with its title. And good thing they did, because its ribald jokes and consciously off-the-pace-with-the-alternative-comedy-scene stylings didn’t cut it.  Not even a Roger Ruskin Spear could save this.


9.00pm/10.00pm PARTY POLITICAL BROADCAST – LIBERAL PARTY, BBC2/ITV

And we’re also at the early stage of the Liberal Party shacking up with Roy Jenkins and his pals in the SDP, to try and offer up a “common sense” alternative to what, David Steel describes in this PPB as the “wasting of Britain”. A tangible lack of references to “prices” disappoints, but this is stalwart PPB-ing with objective voice-over man, bar charts and the aforementioned Steel speaking to us from his TV study, complete with a seven-minute slow zoom in on his very serious face.

5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. THX 1139

    December 12, 2018 at 10:36 am

    That new Cribbins autobiography has to be a great read, hasn’t it?

  2. Glenn Aylett

    December 15, 2018 at 2:45 pm

    The early days of Channel 4, when tabloids were regularly criticising it for going over people’s heads, and struggling to get 5 per cent of the audience. The Cut Price Comedy Show, Chips Comic and the infamous Minipops were typical of the channel’s early LE. However, from acorns grew oaks, and viewers wanting an alternative to the three established channels soon found Channel 4 had plenty to offer and audiences steadily grew.

  3. richardpd

    December 15, 2018 at 8:34 pm

    In the 1980s Channel 4 seemed to take over from individual ITV regions as being the usual buyers of American programming, especially the sort of shows the BBC wouldn’t bother with until they expanded their daytime TV & needed to fill the extra hours.

    I can’t remember that many current American shows on BBC2 in the 1980s in prime time, they seemed to show the proven ones like Star Trek, MASH, Mission: Impossible etc.

    • THX 1139

      December 16, 2018 at 12:28 am

      Quantum Leap? It’s Garry Shandling’s Show? The Famous Teddy Z?

      • richardpd

        December 16, 2018 at 11:26 am

        Yes towards the end of the decade there seemed to be more newer American shows.

        I’ll have to see if there are some old listings online.

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