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Your Wednesday Night In...

Your Wednesday Night In… October 1988

Wednesday, 5th October 1988


Sorry, Mum, you’re just going to have to miss the saga of Alec Gilroy’s missing briefcase on Coronation Street, for Doctor Who has just “materialised on Wednesday nights” (as they’d have said on Open Air) in time for its silver jubilee season. It’s back to Coal Hill School in 1963 for episode one of Remembrance of the Daleks and a face-off with George “Home James!” Sewell and the cantankerous cruet set, backed by an epic soundtrack of dramatic keyboard stabs. And let’s not forget Ben Aaronovitch’s masterful cliffhanger, which put an end to the hilarity of Daleks-can’t-climb-stairs gags once and for all.


Back in 1988, all-night telly was still an exciting new thing — indeed HTV’s own Night Club service had opened its doors just a few weeks before, offering a high-octane mix of Donahue, America’s Top Ten and The Intrepid Mr Twigg starring Roy Castle. No such thrills here, although this remains the only vice-presidential talk-in anyone ever remembers, as it was the one when Lloyd Bentsen shut down Dan Quayle with the “senator, you’re no Jack Kennedy” line.

One of that breed of “fresh-faced entertainers” who emerged in the mid ‘80s bounding down a backlit staircase in a lightweight suit, Joe didn’t remain on our screens as long as some of his peers, which is a shame as he was a genuinely talented performer, although perhaps there’s only so many time you can “do” Shirley Bassey before the law of diminishing returns sets in. For this series, Joe’s resident special guest was magical funster Wayne Dobson, hopefully doing his “I like you!” routine.

4.30pm FIFTEEN-TO-ONE, Channel 4
Bring on the retired chartered accountants and local government officers, it’s time for 25 minutes of relentless interrogation under the command of an immaculately blazered William G Stewart. The finest teatime quiz of the decade, not least because, between the questions about British road signs and members of the Cabinet, there was usually a teaser about the ITV regions or the Radio 4 schedules.



  1. THX 1139

    October 3, 2018 at 4:23 pm

    Battle tank Dalek! Or whatever it was called!

    Poor old Joe and Wayne have major illnesses in common which put paid to flourishing careers. Nina Conti must have been inspired by the “I like you!” routine.

  2. richardpd

    October 3, 2018 at 6:07 pm

    It was the special Weapons Dalek that looked like a tank.

    Also featuring Michael Sheard as a Mr Bronsonisque headmaster turned brainwashed Dalek agent.

  3. Ian Brant

    October 3, 2018 at 8:04 pm

    I know someone who appeared on Fifteen to One and she was indeed a local government officer.

  4. Glenn Aylett

    October 6, 2018 at 11:55 am

    People might knock the Sylvester Mc Coy era and yes some of the stories weren’t very good, but Rememberance of the Daleks is right up there with other Dalek stories. What’s not to like, a 25th annniversary homage that features someone announcing the start of a new science fiction series, Michael Sheard playing a Bronson type headmaster who is controlled by the Daleks, a possessed child, a double crossing RAF sergeant, and Daleks that could climb stairs. Yes boring Coronation St would have had three times as many viewers, and was like a religion to many people back then, but those of us seeking some escapism and a decent DW adventure were highly entertained by Remembrance of the Daleks. Just a shame the show only had a year left.

    • richardpd

      October 6, 2018 at 1:32 pm

      Yes this is really where Sylvester McCoy really started to get to grips with the 7th doctor.

  5. Glenn Aylett

    October 6, 2018 at 4:19 pm

    @ richardpd, the standard of his second series was a lot higher and for all the BBC was determined to kill the show by scheduling it against Coronation St, 5 million people still wanted to watch Doctor Who. I reckon if the second Mc Coy series had been moved back to Saturdays, it could have gained a far higher audience and been kept going. However, the damage had been done with the awful Colin Baker series and the cheap looking first Sly Mc Coy series and many viewers had given up.

  6. fuz

    October 7, 2018 at 12:24 am

    Did anyone ever get to the bottom of the Fifteen To One contestent who couldn’t be shown for legal reasons?

  7. Glenn Aylett

    April 24, 2022 at 12:49 pm

    Ace is making a comeback for the final Jodie Whitaker story, but I doubt she will be wearing her bomber jacket and carrying a ghetto blaster. Actually, for all she did try a little hard to act ” teen”, the character was good and she played well opposite Sly Mc Coy. Didn’t realise Sophie Aldred is 59 now either.

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