TV Cream

Cream over Britain

Advent Calendar: December 7th

1984: “Lumberjack? Steeplejack? Oh, Uncle Jack?” The Chas & Dave theme and presence of Stu Francis can only mean Crackerjack was on its last legs, and indeed it had only two shows to go after this. Musical guests the Kane Gang and the Adventures age it practically to the week, with special guest sportspeople of the week – though why they need to be sportspeople is never made clear – being waterskiier Liz Hobbs and famous diabetic Gary Mabbutt.

1985: The Broom Cupboard had been in operation for three months by now so kids were becoming aware of the branding, which meant it was time for Saturday Superstore to commission Schofe to show us round his domain and then out into the gallery and the world beyond. Working his way round the continuity desk he seems a lot more in command of faders and slide mixing then he once was. “There are so many things that can go wrong”, you say, Pip? Because he was in the building on a Saturday for another reason…

1985: The Late Late Breakfast Show’s Golden Egg Awards, apparently the idea of then-researcher Helen Fielding, were the first method by which the Beeb could empty out the palatable bits of their Christmas tapes for mass consumption, or as in this case get something onto screen just after it had happened. This then would have been the first time most will have seen Pip’s early, failed excursion round the edges of the desk, and maybe even his first ever appearance on prime-time television. We wish we could find a broadcast date for the original, but here he is much later explaining what exactly happened

1987: Thames News reporting TV-am news, as it were. The famous strike and resultant technician lockout was ongoing so after two weeks of having whoever was to hand-load tapes – the possibly apochryphal but we hope not ‘Flipper playing backwards’ story is from this time – Bruce Gyngell and management smuggled Anne Diamond into the building to point at newspapers for half an hour.

1992: Hey, it’s coming towards Christmas! It’s also a time when shops increasingly filled with film tie-in toys and general marketing aimed at the festive market, as Film ’92 investigated. Barry, as ever, tells it as he sees it at the end.



  1. Arthur Nibble

    December 7, 2018 at 1:08 pm

    The Adventures on “Crackerjack”? Blimey, quite a serious political band for such a show. Next up, The Redskins on the National Lottery show!

  2. richardpd

    December 8, 2018 at 2:35 pm

    I remember Geoff Capes & Bryan Robson appearing on Crackerjack around this time, & both getting stroppy with Stu over being gunged in Take A Chance.

    There wern’t that many ways to see BBC out-takes in the mid 1980s, so we have to thank Helen Fielding for more than just creating Bridget Jones then.

  3. Glenn Aylett

    December 8, 2018 at 2:59 pm

    @ richardpd, Geoff Capes turned up at a local sports event and was a complete misery. He threw a hammer twice, then turned his back on the crowd and vanished into an office to discuss his fee. Also he looked overweight and past his best( this was 1993). It’s not the first time he’s been accused of being miserable, awkward and only interested in his fee.

    • THX 1139

      December 9, 2018 at 12:32 am

      But his budgies speak very highly of him.

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