TV Cream

Your Wednesday Night In...

Your Wednesday Night In… September 1991

Wednesday, 18th September 1991


Still yet to feature on any significant archive telly show that’s looking to lampoon yesteryear (unless you know better), the body of television work featuring the Cumbrian based cook is truly monumental and culturally significant.  Sure, he wasn’t as outrageous as Fanny Craddock, but a stint as Harty’s cook de jour followed by this horrendous afternoon series, sets Tovey apart from the Delias and Floyds of this world.  If for nothing else than the grottiness of his cooking processes and his consistent inability to use the phrase “pièce da résistance” without inserting an extraneous “de la” into the middle of it. Roll away… roll away…


Admittedly we might have just been a bit too old by the time this Tyne-based drama surfaced on Children’s BBC, but we always felt that Byker Grove represented the moment when “ishoos” and being a little bit fashionable counted for more than a cracking good story, well told.  In this episode all eyes were on whether Charley’s record would get released.

Coming from the worst series of ST:NG and featuring a Klingon-based storyline, there is comparatively little to commend ‘The Emissary’. That said, there was always enough about the regular furniture of the show, specifically Patrick Stewart’s unerringly excellent performance as Picard and Riker’s unfailing ability to find something to lift one leg up onto, to make the episode worth a look in.




  1. Arthur Nibble

    September 19, 2018 at 10:25 am

  2. Applemask

    September 19, 2018 at 1:24 pm

    By the time we reach The Emissary we’ve already suffered the space Irish, the OUTRAGEOUS Tosser and Data cosplaying as Sherlock Holmes again, so a bit of Klingon ponciness is almost refreshing. We do still have the fucking clip show to look forward to, though.

  3. richardpd

    September 19, 2018 at 1:49 pm

    I was only really aware of John Tovey through the 20th anniversary podcasts at TVC.

    His cooking show looked more like something made in 1984 than 1991.

    By then most of the celebrity chefs had upped their game & Delia Smith’s Collection books were filling up suburban bookshelves.

    I was into Byker Grove quite a bit at this stage, as it had quite a good mix of storylines & Grange Hill seemed to be waning in style.

    The 2nd series of Star Trek TNG suffered from the American Writers Strike that affected a lot of things in 1988-9. Many of the scenese in Batman at the top of the tower had to be improvised as their wasn’t a finished script.

  4. Glenn Aylett

    September 22, 2018 at 3:18 pm

    Byker Grove had some hard hitting storylines about joyriding, a green activist who came across as a nice guy but in reality was a control freak and an arsonist, and a gay storyline that was controversial for the time. Grange Hill was never quite the same after Mr Bronson and Mrs Mc Cluskey left and the stories weren’t as good.
    Interesting fact about Byker Grove, very little of it was filmed in Byker. Most of the location shots were done at a school in the west end and in Benwell.

  5. richardpd

    September 22, 2018 at 7:44 pm

    I never realised Byker was an actual part of Newcastle at first, I just assumed it was a “cool” very 1980s name for the youth club, reinforced by an early storyline having someone trying to pass their motorbike licence test.

    Denton Burn was often featured as a rival club, being another area of Newcastle.

  6. Glenn Aylett

    September 23, 2018 at 10:51 am

    @ricahrdpd, Byker is in the east end of Newcastle and is famous for its Byker Wall council estate from the seventies. Most of Byker Grove was filmed around the West Rd and the west end, with only a handful of scenes done in Byker. Denton Burn is in the west end oF Newcastle and would have been closer to where Byker Grove was filmed than Byker.

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