What we were watching this week 20 years ago, as recorded in the back-issues of TV Cream’s weekly ‘e-mag’, Creamguide…
(We still send out Creamguides every week via email. If you’d like to receive it – it’s free, there are no ads, we don’t sell on your address, you can unsubscribe whenever; we’re basically soppy like that – then fill in your details below.)
TV CREAM TIMES
27th April – 3rd May 2002
He’s in – Phil Norman
He’s out – Graham Kibble-White
Saturday 27th April
10.00 Saturday Kitchen
Well, looking at the Radio Times it appears that they’ve stopped showing The Galloping Gourmet, worse luck, and they’re still showing The Naked Chef. But maybe worth turning on at the start just in case Graham’s still about, because the episodes they’ve been showing were truly brilliant.
13.00 Thoroughly Modern Millie
Julie Andrews plays the titular 1920s would-be it-girl, falling for James Fox’s paper clip seller and clodhopping with Mary Tyler Moore in a lift. If you can get through the opening credits without thinking of Bird’s Eye cod wedges in oven crispy batter, you’re doing better than us. “Goodbye, old frying pan…”
The Gregson-Sheridan v. Moore-Kendall death race ’53, and possibly the nearest we’ve got to an It’s A Wondeful Life of our own, in a timeless feelgood dollop of warmth sort of way. Larry Adler and Kenny Baker provide the soundtrack.
19.10 Reading The Decades
To be honest we haven’t seen any of this series, but we might make the exception tonight as it’s the only decade of the 20th Century that was any good and that is true, the 1980s (that’s 1980 to 1989, fact fans). However, Adrian Mole is one of the featured books, which might mean we get clips from last year’s dreadful TV adaptation which was the worst thing we’d ever seen. We’ve got a piece about the F-Plan diet, though, which should be good.
23.00 French Connection II
Gene Hackman gets to do his actor’s actor thing in the celebrated cold turkey scene, which is lucky as there’s not that much else to celebrate in this slight return. Still, you do get the great Spanish James Robertson Justice-alike Fernando Rey as a drugs baron, which can’t be bad.
Polanski’s bizarre comic psychodrama, with a cross-dressing Donald ‘perfectly’ Pleasence and Catherine Deneuve’s big sister as the original odd couple whose remote Northumberland home is crashed by a pair of second division crims. Imagine a new wave version of that Sykes episode with Peter Sellers and you’re not even halfway there. Adding to the oddness – Renee ‘Cabby’ Houston, Robert ‘Q’ Dorning, William ‘Schhh’ Franklyn and Jacqueline ‘The Deep’ Bisset.
20.45 TV’s Talent Show Stars
This could be fun, albeit predictable, viewing. It’s going to look back at talent shows of the past and find out what happened to the winners, which has been done many times before, but we’re hoping for something along the lines of the Duggie Small sequence on It Shouldn’t Happen To A TV Performer the other month, where they showed him both winning New Faces Of 86 – and yes, they showed Spaghetti Junction – and then him later dying on his arse on Wogan and his career ending there and then. More of that sort of thing, please. And we sort of want to know what Rosser And Davies are doing now, besides waiting for Wish I Could Play Like That to be recommissioned.
06.00 The Clangers
Expect to see more of this when RI:SE dies on it’s arse; of which, more later.
20.00 Battle of Britain
Late ’60s war pic with a cast we’d best just plough right through if we’re going to be finished by midnight – Michael Caine, Ian McShane, Kenneth More, Robert Shaw, Sir Rich Ralphardson, Sir Livy Olarrier, Christopher ‘David the Gnome’ Plummer, Michael ‘Heidi’ Redgrave, Trevor ‘Rawlinson End’ Howard, Patrick ‘Planemakers’ Wymark, Susannah ‘Trainer’ York, Michael ‘Hot Mum’ Bates, Isla ‘History Man’ Blair, Tom ‘Rod Hull and Emu Sing a Christmas Song’ Chatto, Barry ‘Van Der Valk’ Foster, Edward ‘And Mrs Simpson’ Fox and John ‘I say’ Savident.
22.30 Top Ten TV Rebels
Last week’s episode of this was the worst one yet, because all the characters were less than five years old, we hated virtually all the programmes they were covering and the pundits were a bunch of wankers. However, this looks to be substantially better, as for a start we’ve got a list made up entirely of real people, and interesting ones at that. Freddie Starr’s included (Variety Madhouse clips?), as is Janet Street-Porter (Six O’Clock Show clips?) and Michael Barrymore (Sebastian The Incredible Drawing Dog clips? Get Set Go clips?). There’s also stuff on Spitting Image, Spike Milligan, Peter Cook and, excitingly, Chris Morris, so it all sounds smashing. We were pissed off last week because we know this series can be so much better, and hopefully it’ll demonstrate that tonight. That theme tune’s still awful though, isn’t it?
01.10 The Boys From Brazil
“More plausible now than it was in the late seventies,” reckons the Radio Times, forgetting to add that it’s still less plausible than Weekend at Bernie’s II, which starts on ITV in a few minutes. Gregory Peck, Sir Larry, James Mason, Denholm Elliott, Prunella Scales, Michael ‘Brideshead’ Gough, Linda ‘Shillingbury Tales’ Hayden and, yes, Steve Guttenberg feature.
01.15 The Shuttered Room
Hmm. Five at least seem to have looked at the films they’re showing this week, as here we get a double-header of horror tales with decidedly similar twist-in-tale endings. This is the one to watch, though, with Carol ‘Poseidon’ Lynley going back to her roots in a scary old millhouse surrounded by gawping hicks, including Oliver Reed.
Hammer remake of Psycho with Stefanie Powers in hot water in the South of France, up against an unidentified murderer and a cop-out ending that you’ll have guessed anyway if you’ve sat through the previous film. Also starring Joss Ackland.
05.10 Sons and Daughters
So you’ve got the scheduling at 5am sorted out then, Five. Now how about sorting the rest of it out, eh?
Sunday 28th April
13.30 The Parent Trap
Dang! We had this Hayley Mills split-screen twin original at about this time last year. Still, those queasy animated titles are always worth three minutes of your afternoon.
17.30 Points Of View
A viewer complains that the programme’s now made by BBC Birmingham, but the ‘house’ is still the same and the address to send your letters to is still in London, so isn’t this just a cheap way of reaching regional quotas? And as predicted last week, Tel isn’t bloody on it, although it is Michael Aspel, who we like a lot.
21.00 Auf Wiedershen Pet
No real need to talk about this, because you’ve surely seen the million trailers that have been on this week. All we’re saying is that Clement and La Frenais are better at sequels than most people, and if this is anywhere near Whatever Happened To… territory, it should be ace.
22.15 When Snooker Ruled The World
At last! We’ve been looking forward to this for ages, because this is bound to be uber-Creamy viewing, as long as they hire David Vine as a pundit. And since they’ve changed the theme tune of the snooker coverage now (sacrilege!) then we have to take every opportunity we have to hear the original and best version of Drag Racer.
23.15 The Taking of Pelham One Two Three
Walter Matthau contends with colour-coded subway train hijackers in this fair adaptation of John Godey’s multiple first person narrative Book Club/school library favourite.
00.55 The Sky At Night
It’s the 45th anniversary of this show, which we’d have happily celebrated until miserable old Patrick Moore whinged that the Beeb weren’t giving them any money to go off somewhere and film a special show because they’d spent it all on ‘ethnic minorities’, which is a horrible thing to say. In any case, the show will be looking back at previous episodes but you may not be able to tell the difference, to be honest.
11.20/12.10 Star Trek
A double bill, unless you’re in the north where you just get the second half. Incidentally, as BBC2 is practically wall-to-wall snooker this week, here seems like the best place to mention that we finally saw the start of Friday Cbeebies, and we can inform you that the rhyme is ‘It’s Friday, it’s Friday/A give it a try day!’ Do you ever get the feeling you shouldn’t have bothered?
06.10 The Clangers
22.00 The Hitcher
Feeble ‘cult’ ’80s psychothriller with Rutger Hauer going through the motions in order to fund his more serious projects – those Guinness adverts.
17.25 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Yep, we think this now qualifies as nostalgia. Hey, remember when the BBFC cut out all the nunchucka bits? Or when Pip Schofield thought the theme to the cartoon series went “Heroes in a half-shell, brussel sprouts”? Amazing times. Here’s the first film, which of course boasts a fantastic soundtrack – Spin That Wheel (Turtles Get Real) by Hi Tek 3 feat. Ya Kid K, TURTLE Power by Partners in Kryme, Turtle Rhapsody by The Orchestra On The Half Shell, This Is What We Do by MC Hammer, 9.95 by Dan Hartman and, er, Spunkadelic – what’s not to like?
Monday 29th April
17.00 Blue Peter
We noticed someone on Ask The Family the other day in the delightful ‘People In Kids TV Who Should Be Shot’ thread suggesting ‘All Blue Peter presenters from 1990 onwards’, which is the sort of thing that’ll make us close down that forum. Oh, and we caught a bit of S Club Juniors last week, which was following the band onto BP, which included both Matt trying their dance routine off camera, and one of them calling it “the biggest show in England”. Damn right!
23.05 Rocky IV
The really dumb USA v. USSR instalment of the never-that-bright series, with Dolph Lundgren and, incongruously, James Brown as himself. If the BBC really are showing them all, we can only hope that their film buyer is inattentive enough to mistakenly schedule Rocky VI, mordant Finnish satirist Aki ‘Hamlet Goes Business’ Kaurismaki’s mordant Finnish pisstake of this very film, in two weeks’ time.
18.20 Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons
As that isn’t on and this is, we can conclude this is officially better than Buffy.
22.20 When TV Gets Tough
We know very little about this documentary other than it features people discussing their roles in “some of the most explosive moments of confrontation in TV history”, and that Dermot Murnaghan’s in it. This could mean we’ll simply see loads of Cook Report clips, though we’ll hope for the Danny Baker “How *dare* you talk to me like that?” moment, and indeed, clips from On Site. “Gosling, you have the most devious group of people with you there!”
Or, as we’ll call it from here on in, Rise. This much we know – it’s based around ‘news, entertainment and sport’, and that seems to be all the production team knows too. There are grabs of the pilot in Heat (look, it was good when it started), which show that a) the clock is quite nice, b) the set isn’t, and c) they have a ‘six pack’ of the day’s top stories, of which number one in the pilot was, of course, ‘Becks’. We’ve also noticed that http://www.channel4.com/rise is up already, though not linked from anywhere else on the site, and that the only presenter pictured is Edith Bowman. So can we presume that in the pilots, Son Of Chalmers hasn’t been very good and so she’s been promoted to the big gig? Or not? We also hope it does well because otherwise Planet 24 will be insufferably smug about them axing The Big Breakfast. Which was truly awful at the end, and we must never forget that even if this show has severe ‘teething troubles’.
Knew this’d still be here.
13.25 Little House On The Prairie
Ditto this continually odd scheduling.
It took four top comedy writers – to wit, John Cleese, Graham Chapman, John Wells and John Fortune – several years to make a Britcom as flimsy and offensive as this private detective/spy spoof. Early scenes with young ‘tec Richard Beckinsale (wasted) spying on an adulterous Richard Briers (ditto) soon give way, somehow, to a daft international Chinese communist conspiracy caper. Yep, “contains racial material” is the sticker on this box, not least a rather off-putting scene in which Ronald Fraser tries to drown Derek Griffiths in a van full of petrol. But even if you’re a fan of the “delightfully non-PC”, it’s a rotten old film anyway, worth watching solely for the best Cream cast we’ve had on these pages in ages – as well as the abovementioned, there’s Julie ‘Voluptua’ Ege, Kenneth ‘Marty’ Cope, Donald ‘Peel’ Sinden (and his brother, Leon, of Take the High Road fame), John ‘Denis’ Wells, Spike Milligan, Michael Bentine, Robert ‘You’re supposed to overtake her and wave’ Gillespie and Penelope Keith as a news reporter. The opening credit sequence, a montage of penny dreadful murder illustrations played out to a bawdy rewrite of A Policeman’s Lot sung by Dave Dee and the King’s Singers (which tries to scan the phrase “conjugergal rights” and rhymes “houses” with “shed their trousis”) is probably the best bit, to be honest. A David Paradine Production, you may be unsurprised to learn.
11.00 TJ Hooker
This week Creamguide received a complaint about our billings for this programme, from one Peter Laws who wrote “hey hey hey! Whats your big problem with TJ Hooker? It rocks! And Wiliam Shatner would easily have Brian Cant in a fight.” Er, thanks for that, “Poot”. We’d have to disagree with you there, on both counts – because Brian’s a big guy, y’know.
TV CREAM HEROES WEEKLY IS UNWELL
Our apologies but due to ill-health TVCHW cannot be with you this week. We would, however, like to urge you to continue sending your pictures of Fern Britton to us at icandrawfern@…. Can you do better than this: http://www.ianardo.com/hall3/britton.html? Next week, alongside the return of this feature (and the Ed has threatened to draft in some woman we’ve never heard of to take its place if we’re still “away” by then) we hope to bring you full details of the next phase of our “I Can Draw Fern” challenge – “The Battle of Britton”, an online gallery of Fern portraits and your chance to vote from home for your favourite.
Tuesday 30th April
Last week’s show made up for every rubbish joke and annoying comment they’ve ever done by including You Gotta Be A Hustler If You Wanna Get On by Sue Wilkinson, which was truly brilliant. And you’d never get a record like that in the charts these days, nor a pop star called Sue Wilkinson, either. And tonight it could be even better – with The Rezillos! Edelweiss! And Del Amitri! Oh, come on, they do nice records.
Which Rise presenter has been sacked by now?
11.00 TJ Hooker
We reckon Matt Baker could knack Shatner in a scrap too.
Wednesday 1st May
17.00 Blue Peter
The gang celebrate May Day throughout the ages by spending the whole day sending e-mails about The Adventure Game from their work address and leaving huge corporate sigs at the bottom, and then complaining that they’re getting too much mail when they idly stick their address anywhere that asks for it. Er, hang on…
22.35 There’s Only One FA Cup
aka, of course, I Love The FA Cup, which should be a lot of fun, we think, as long as we get to see all the old Cup Final Grandstand detrius that we’ll moan about if we don’t get to see this year – Cup Final Mastermind, Question of Sport Series Decider, On The Coach, and so on. And Alex Higgins standing at a snooker table doing trick shots as viewers request them, which is what he did in 1982, but we’re not actually sure how that would have worked, because how can you ask for a specific trick shots? Did you have to supply co-ordinates of where you wanted the balls to go? Maybe this’ll explain, though probably not.
The second interesting-sounding line-up of the week, with Aztec Camera, Hazel O’Connor and the KLF promised, as well as – at last! – Louchie Lou and Michie One.
03.00 ITV Sport Classics
We’ll be more interested in the green screen ITV Sport’ll no doubt be transmitting at this moment. Incidentally, putting ‘ITV Sport’ through Google Groups reveals literally thousands of Man U, Arsenal, Leeds, Liverpool and Chelsea fans constantly asking ‘What channel is the Champions League match on? Is it Sky?’ almost every single week for the last three years. Perhaps this explains why it never really caught on.
13.40 Twice Round the Daffodils
An odd entry in the ‘Carry-Ons in all but name’ pantheon, this sanitorium-based whimsy started life as a (fairly) serious Patrick ‘Wives’ Cargill play, before being Carried-up by Gerald Thomas as the daffodil-up-Hyde-White romp Carry On Nurse. Then, a few years later, came this second, slightly more subdued, reworking of the same material. ‘Onsters Kenneth Williams and Joan Sims meet Doctor stars Donalds Sinden and Houston, and Juliet Mills, Lance Percival, Jill Ireland, Sheila Hancock, Nanette Newman and Renee Houston make up the ward numbers.
05.55 The Clangers
We thought this sort of scheduling would be over by now.
11.00 TJ Hooker
14.20 Open House With Gloria Hunniford
Yes! Five Star are back and they’re going to tell Glo all about what they’ve been doing over the last few years, so it’ll be like having Sunday Sunday back on, only this time networked. And after it they’ll sing a song in the production office, while staff sit around as if this sort of thing happened every day. Maybe.
Thursday 2nd May
20.30 This Is Your Life
Over a year ago now Lorraine Heggessey said that no longer would programmes merrily shuttle around the BBC1 schedule, as they had been doing. Meanwhile the last three episodes of this have been in three different timeslots.
01.20 What Have The Sixties Ever Done For Us?
We read somewhere this week that there’ll be less OU programmes on BBC2 in the future because they’re moving towards online more, but let’s hope there’s still room in the schedules for stuff like this. Or that geometry course we watched the whole of on Saturday mornings at 7am during the Gulf War, which had a whole episode based around the dynamics of the COW globe. We set our alarm for it and everything.
22.30 Baddiel and Skinner Unplanned
This week voted ‘Worst Comedy Programme’ by the listeners to Daryl Denham’s programme on Virgin Radio, but then they think that Daryl Denham is funny.
11.00 TJ Hooker
When BBC2 drop all their ancient repeats this starts looking a bit thin, doesn’t it?
Friday 3rd May
21.30 Blackadder II
We’re not sure we want to see this again, in case it’s as bad as Blackadder Back And Forth was. How could such a shit programme come out of the same people as this series? At least this doesn’t have any Tesco adverts in it.
01.50 Prodigal Son
According to the connoisseurs, this historical kung-fu action slapstick film is up there with vintage Jackie Chan. Of course, this being BBC1, all their favourite bits will have been cut out.
00.40 Zabriskie Point
Another once-a-year scheduling cliche, Antonioni’s anti-American countercultural plodder had strong psychological effects on those involved – apparently every time you hum Careful With That Axe, Eugene at him, Rod Taylor starts manically constructing a shelter out of the interior doors of his house.
06.00 The Magic Roundabout
Any chance of Rise starting five minutes earlier to get rid of this sort of thing?
Note also that the Radio Times billing for today’s Countdown says that the Dictionary Corner Dweller is “Fifteen to One’s Alistair Stewart”. If we’d printed something like that, we’d resign too.
03.10 Pump Up The Volume
They’ve been repeating episodes of Movers And Shakers at about 5am recently, but they’ve still not got to the one on Monopoly, which is the only one we want to see. In the meantime, the final part – we think – of this.
11.00 TJ Hooker
02.30 Die Laughing
We’ve never even heard of this comedy about a taxi driver’s monkey which holds secret plans for nuclear terrorist bombmaking equipment, but we can tell you that it features Apollo’s Astro Disco on the soundtrack (good) and was produced by, stars and has its theme tune written and performed by Robby Benson, aka Sabrina the Teenage Witch’s dad (possibly not so good).
05.10 Sons and Daughters
Something which can also be said about this.
Expect at some point this week to see the tribute to Christopher Price, whose death we were extremely sad to hear about. It’s also on BBC1 today (Thursday 25th) at 23.35, and possibly also on Monday instead of Liquid News. RIP Christopher.
Charlotte Coleman – Another welcome tribute this week. This programme is just five minutes long, but then goes straight into a three-hour, we presume abridged, version of Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit.
Friday, 22.00, 01.35
Top Ten Holiday Hits – In The Summertime is *not* a holiday hit! It’s a record about summer, that’s all. Apart from that, and the tiresome Eurotrash-style ‘comedy’ dubbing and the wanker off Black Lace being a wanker, this is a passable enough edition of the series. Sorry to be so miserable, y’know, but it used to be excellent.
The Kenny Everett Video Show – Yes! Looks like the episode we got last month was just a taster, and the series officially starts here. Ken was great on both the Beeb and ITV, of course, though if pressed we’d go for this repeat run because a) we haven’t really seen very much of it, and b) it does of course have no audience but instead the crew *really* laughing and, yes, joining in, which is truly brilliant. And the theme tune’s by Quantum Jump. “Dirty tea towels! Hollywoodsville!”
Saturday, Sunday, 23.30
Bullseye – G+ are back at their best!
Sunday, 23.55, Friday, 23.40
A Bit Of Fry And Laurie – And before it on Sunday is The Rutles, which’ll please *some* people. “I think they should call it industrial *in*action if you ask me, hahaha”.
Wednesday, Thursday, 23.30
The Kenny Everett Television Show – Blimey! And to think if ITV Digital had carried on for another week or so it could have been saved. This looks like the start of a repeat run of the BBC stuff, which is great timing because from next week we’ll have Ken on five nights a week, and that’s all to the good. As we said above, we’d prefer the Thames ones, but these have got Cupid in, and in those sketches you can still hear the crew *really* laughing, so that’s OK.
All times correct at time of writing, but that doesn’t mean much, and refer to England except where stated. As you well know.
AS LONG AS THEY KEEP THEMSELVES TO THEMSELVES
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All PC and sensitive (like that’s a bad thing) – Chris Hughes, Ian Jones, Simon Tyers