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Your Wednesday Night In...

Your Wednesday Night In… October 1986

Wednesday, 8th October 1986


Dennis Waterman trades the leather blouson and grey Lonsdale sweatshirt for a suit and the most ill-advised TV moustache since Richard Whitmore mislaid his Gillette GII to star as – yes – “Bobbo”, dumping wife Julie T Wallace to shack up on a cliff with the fragrant Patricia Hodge in this four-part adaptation of Fay Weldon’s majestically bonkers tale of revenge. If nothing else, She-Devil gave us what we’re pretty sure is the only glimpse of the Fourth Doctor’s arse on television. Not to mention a cameo appearance from Sue Cook in tonight’s instalment.


8.00pm DALLAS, BBC1
Episode 222 of Dallas or, to put it another way, the one where Pam wakes from a dream and opens the shower to find a reborn Man From Atlantis hogging the Badedas, laying waste to precious Knots Landing continuity with every scrub. Perhaps in mourning for the credibility of his beloved Southfork saga, Terry Wogan wasn’t on hand to cue in the season finale direct from his Shepherds Bush salon, leaving his thrice-weekly rendezvous in the hands of supply host David Frost, clinging for dear life to both his clipboard and some topical Neil Shand quips (“The Today newspaper is now sponsoring the Football League… in future, all teams will play in blurred colours!”).

Of all the many Brucies we have known and loved – Fondue Set Brucie, Croupier Brucie, Rapping Brucie, You’re My Favourites Brucie, even Disco Brucie – it’s a shame that Sitcom Brucie never really worked out. This was actually the last episode of his first run of the lame supermarket comedy after replacing the late Leonard Rossiter as the manager of, erm, Supafare, but despite a distinct lack of laughs, it inexplicably got another series 12 months later. Perhaps someone was just a really big fan of Vicky Licorish.



  1. richardpd

    October 10, 2018 at 1:43 pm

    A real mixed bunch – Bobby’s resurrection was my Mum’s cue to give up on Dallas.

  2. THX 1139

    October 10, 2018 at 6:31 pm

    Did She-Devil really go out at about half seven? Sounds really early – I remember it being a late evening, post-watershed thing.

  3. richardpd

    October 11, 2018 at 10:52 pm

    The title sequence of THE LIVES AND LOVES OF A SHE-DEVIL was featured in a book of TV Graphics, with Dennis Waterman pulling a face even more gormless then the one above.

    IIRC it was repeated sometime in the early 1990s, I can’t remember watching it but remember seeing a trailer or 2.

  4. Glenn Aylett

    October 13, 2018 at 10:51 am

    Dallas and Dynasty jumping the shark in 1986 and the weird Dynasty spin off, The Colbys, saw the appetite for peak time American soaps on both sides of the Atlantic shrink. At one time in America, their night time soaps were so popular they even had news programmes devoted to them, but by the end of the eighties, they’d either been cancelled or pushed into daytime slots, where ever since most soaps have been confined to.
    Auntie might have been concerned in 1986 that her American imports were going down the drain, but a cheap daytime import from Australia that crept on to the screens with little promotion was to soon become bigger than Eastenders.

  5. richardpd

    October 13, 2018 at 6:22 pm

    My Mum also liked Falcon Crest & The Thornbirds, the Australian attempt at a “super soap”.

    At least the BBC was getting it’s groove back by 1985 & launched Howard’s Way, which was another must watch of my Mum’s.

    • George White

      October 14, 2018 at 3:37 pm

      Thorn Birds not actually Australian.

      It was set in Australia,and had one Australian actor in Bryan Brown, plus Welsh-born Aussie soap stud Chard Hayward and Rachel Ward, though English later moved to Australia after marrying Brown and is now a naturalised citizen (they are the king and queen of Aussie thesps, now – even cameoing together in the Peter Rabbit film as Mr. and Mrs. Rabbit!), but it was all shot in California and Hawaii. No Australian accents apart from Brown, weird AmericanMid-Atlantic/British accents. Even Richard Chamberlain playing an Irish priest keeps his accent. Because the US networks wanted the actors to be themselves. Only Richard Kiley does Oirish. A few years later, Chamberlain was cast as the Donegal-born Bernard Lafferty, butler to the tobacco heiress Doris Duke, played by Lauren Bacall, and he apparently tried very hard to get the Northwestern border accent, but CBS told him not to, because if they wanted an Irish accent, they would have gotten an Irish actor. They wanted Chamberlain, and they got him. Eventually, he won out, and did a mild Norn Iron twang, which worked better, as Lafferty moved to the US quite young.

  6. Glenn Aylett

    October 14, 2018 at 12:55 pm

    @ richardpd, you could add Knots Landing and Hotel to the list of glossy American soaps in this era. Aussie soaps were still seen as cheap pensioner fodder for regional ITV stations in the afternoons, while American shows due to the glamour and big budgets were must have shows for peak time in the early and mid eighties. Yet alien abductions, people surviving a mass shooting and people coming back from the dead turned people against these shows on both sides of the Atlantic, and also gritty British soaps like Brookside and Eastenders were winning over millions of younger viewers. Then, of course, Neighbours, which the BBC considered to be on a par with the cheapo Aussie efforts on ITV, became an unexpected hit.

  7. richardpd

    October 14, 2018 at 5:29 pm

    Knots Landing seemed to do better when it was moved to an afternoon slot, though Points Of View had a lot of letters any time it was moved for something else.

    The Dallas and Dynasty storylines seeded to get crazier over the years, I guess they were trying to outdo each other to keep the ratings up, but this backfired.

  8. Glenn Aylett

    October 14, 2018 at 5:39 pm

    @richardpd, Knots Landing used to do OK in the 9.25 Friday night slot on BBC 1( a traditional slot for imports), but was then scheduled against Auf Wiedersehen Pet and as Pet soared in the ratings, Knots Landing slumped and was then shunted around the schedules. I’d imagine, rather like some of the Aussie daytime soaps, it would have developed a small but loyal following in the afternoons. ( Believe it or not, I still know a woman who wishes A Country Practice was never cancelled as it was the highlight of her day and she probably won’t be the only one).

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