By way of a belated tribute:
HALF A DOZEN VERITY VICTORIES…
1) DR WHO
She didn’t want any BEMs – Bug Eyed Monsters – and hence the Daleks were born. A hundred years later Jon P’twee shows up on Good Morning With Anne And Nick to ask viewers the competition question: who created “those pepperpots”? Correct answer: not Terry Nation. Not Davros. Not even Russell T Davies…
“I knew a missionary once. He said it was an interesting position.” The best drama Channel 4 has ever done, the best script Alan Bleasdale has ever written, the best thing Robert Lindsay has ever done. Plus the best Julie Walters-doing-an-old-woman Julie Walters has ever done. “Are you Dirty Den?”
3) DANGER UXB
Anthony Andrews does his best not to get blown up by unexploded bombs in south London during World War Two. Everybody else tries, and fails. Meanwhile Iain Cuthbertson boils up increasingly preposterous bomb disposal magic potions, Kenneth Cranham loses his marbles, and the band play on.
4) JONATHAN CREEK
It had an episode with a plot involving a copy of Radio Times and a cameo from Michael Grade. What more does anyone need?
5) REILLY – ACE OF SPIES
Sam Neill gets planted inside newly-Revolutionised Russia by Peter Egan to sabotage the best-laid plans of Bolshie bastards Kenneth Cranham – him again – and David Burke. David Suchet looks in as Inspector Tsientsin. Troy “Edge Of…” Kennedy Martin wrote it. The most expensive thing Thames TV/Euston Films/Verity ever did.
Worth saluting not least for perpetrating that rare art of jumping the shark (Minder On The Orient Express) then jumping back again (Gary Webster in for Dennis Waterman).
…AND A TRIO OF LAMBERT LUMMOXES
John Mills tries to evade the clutches of a cackling Ethel Skinner off EastEnders while a battery of long-haired crusties chant drivel about “huffety puffety ringstone round” and Wembley Stadium gets covered in a thousand tons of chalk dust. Thankfully everyone gets blown up at the end.
Not even repeated bursts of Trish Valentine karaoke on the beach could drown out the sound of a million television sets being switched off. Ditto the endless cries of “Marrrrrccccccuusssssssss!”
3) VAN DER VALK
Barry Humphries minces around Amsterdam in a seedy raincoat looking discombobulated while Simon Park and his orchestra parp in the background. Verity picked it up off the cutting room floor where Thames TV had dropped it. She should have left it there.