TV Cream

Pot pourri

A Sunday night-shaped hole

The weekend has only a few hours left to live. Monday is trying to make itself heard. You’re trying not to listen. It’s snowing outside. The choices: a pile of ironing, making tomorrow’s lunch, or giving up and buggering off bed.

It wasn’t always like this. Once there was a “smell” to a Sunday night, one that reached its zenith in the 80s when Michael Grade believed he’d bottled said essence and knew the precise ingredients to give it maximum potency.

Sunday night telly used to be…Sunday Night Telly. It used to feel like it could lift this most unlifted and listless of occasions into something that was actually worth looking forward to, something that had a bit of a character and its own personality.

It might be the night for costumed roustabouts. It might be the night for biblical bombast. It might be sweary puppets or chinking ice cubes or upper class twittery or working class shystering or whiskery Whickery or feature length Potter or pensionable heifers or Richard Briers organising a Neighbourhood Watch scheme…but it was always Something. Now it is Nothing. There is fuck all that makes Sunday night a Night Of Television.

And this is a crying shame. Because Sunday night is still Sunday night. It is still always the end of something (the weekend) or the prelude to something (the working week) but never anything in its own right. It still needs something that resonates in your nostrils. And yet Sunday Night Telly is no more. Nobody bothers to treat it like an occasion, even though it is the one occasion above all else in the week that needs just that: to be treated, to be garlanded, to be scrubbed and dressed and made to shine.

Sure, you can watch something on video or DVD to try and mollify proceedings, but you can do that any old night of the week. There needs to be something that is bolted to Sunday nights to give it back its whiff of the giant Grade cigar. To send you off to bed and into Monday with something other than a feeling of shuffling towards the gallows.

There’s a Sunday night-shaped hole in TV Cream’s heart that needs to be filled.



  1. Andy Elms

    February 2, 2009 at 2:12 pm

    The only thing that currently defines Sunday Nights for me is Top Gear. Stick it one while ironing your work shirts.

  2. Steve Williams

    February 2, 2009 at 6:57 pm

    And just to bugger it up even more, the theme tune to The South Bank Show has been cut to next to nothing! I don’t know how long it’s been like that, but I tuned it last night expecting to clap along to the best thing any Lloyd-Webber has ever done, only for it now to be reduced to just the “Dur-nur-dur-nur-DUM-DUM!” bit. Rubbish!

  3. Paul McQuillan

    February 2, 2009 at 10:21 pm

    Bullseye, Antiques Roadshow, Play Your Cards Right, Ever Decreasing Circles, Spitting Image, The South Bank Show. Bed. Great days.

  4. Nick H

    February 2, 2009 at 11:38 pm

    Wasn’t Carol Drinkwater just gorgeous in those days?

    My brother always used to say that he hated The South Bank Show, because it was the signal to go to bed and it’ll be school in the morning…

  5. Adrian

    February 3, 2009 at 4:00 pm

    Sunday evenings have never been the same since the holy trinity of That’s Life, All Creatures Great And Small and Spitting Image disappeared..

  6. David Pascoe

    February 3, 2009 at 9:41 pm

    I can remember getting quite addicted to the BBC’s post-“That’s Life” sitcom “Life without George”. Simon Cadell was heart-breakingly good in that and if I ever pick up a locket I have to let it fall between my fingers as it did at the end of the opening titles.

    My parents and I used to spend Sunday night visiting elderly relatives but when we got back we’d watch “Only Fools and Horses” and “Howard’s Way” on video. “Heart of the Matter” was always the signal for me to get to bed.

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