Long-term Creamguide subscribers may recall that a few years back, the week between Christmas and New Year would be accompanied by the Creamguide Review of the Year, an extra mail-out with various lists that were just an excuse to slag off everyone we hadn’t liked in the previous twelve months, and some jokes that we couldn’t fit in the normal weekly Creamguide. These days, though, we never have any jokes left over so the Review stopped happening. However we thought we’d take this opportunity to take a look back at some of the highs and lows of the Creamguide year, or at least recycle bits that amused us, if nobody else.
2010 began very much how the year ended, with comical weather conditions, although of course it only became top story on the news when it reached London. Creamguide was ten years old in January, having begun on the old TV Cream mailing list in January 2000, and to mark it we did exactly what we did in the first one and bill a Newsnight anniversary show. This month we were a bit concerned that Harry Hill was going to go to Sky, which he didn’t, although in retrospect we sometimes wish he had as we wouldn’t have had the awful disappointment of his most recent series, while Media Guardian hilariously linked him with BBC1’s Friday night chat show now Jonathan Ross was leaving, even though he’d clearly rather speak to Wendy Craig than Sarah Jessica Parker. The Guardian this month also made the stupidest mistake in the history of newspapers when they called Coronation Street “the Yorkshire soap”. The Manchester Guardian, there. We watched So You Think You Can Dance and quite liked it, partly as David and Carrie Grant weren’t on it, before it featured a dance “representing cancer” which was horrible self-important emotional grandstanding so it could piss off. We also started Saturday Seen, our feature reviewing every Saturday morning show ever, but couldn’t decide whether Swap Shop was better than Tiswas. Neither was as good as Dick and Dom anyway.
The big news in February as far as we were concerned was the new look Creamguide, with colour and graphics and everything, and now sent out via the site rather than Yahoo Groups. The first new look issues appeared this month and for the next few months we published Creamguide in both formats until everyone moved over to the new one. We don’t know if Marsha Wallace moved over, given we received an out-of-office from her every week for about three years. On the telly, the best thing this month was Helen off Blue Peter embarking on her Atlantic challenge, which was one of the best things this show has ever done and puts Helen up there with the greats. In America, NBC were cocking it up massively by dumping Conan O’Brien from The Tonight Show six months after he started, and six years after they announced it, which makes us wonder why American telly makes such long term commitments and then axes stuff after one episode. BBC2 sitcom The Persuasionists was flop of the month, being rescheduled to midnight after stinking ratings, and not even Andrew Collins’ script doctoring could help this one out, as the characters were just so bloody unlikeable. This month we also billed a Ray Gosling documentary for BBC East Midlands in a rather off-hand fashion, only for the man himself to get arrested after transmission, while we also saw the launch of our favourite ever media enterprise, The London Weekly, a “newspaper” entirely made up of cut-and-paste bits from the web, written by illiterates, distributed to nobody (despite boasts in their press pack which they’d just copied off the Metro) and the worst publication in publishing history. Three issues, was it?
This month we learnt that the most famous and popular Saturday morning show of all time was, er, TX, the 1985 ITV effort, if only because we got more e-mails about it than everything else we featured in Saturday Seen put together. Sue Robbie has one hell of a fanbase. We Are The Champions came back, and became the one programme that would have been improved by a bunch of screaming children as there was no audience and so had all the atmosphere of a morgue. On the other hand, Ant and Dec’s Push The Button may well have been filmed in a lunatic asylum, such was the audience baying like a pack of wolves and the general sense of overblown hysteria. It was quite a month for crap light entertainment with a hugely ropey Eurovision selection process, with a song at the end so unmemorable one of the contestants forgot it while they were singing it. March also saw the announcement that 6 Music was closing down, which led to a gratifying response from the public, as well as a load of boring idiots saying they should close down BBC3 because they show Snog Marry Avoid, which is like saying they should close down BBC1 because they show Total Wipeout.
The Easter weekend saw a brilliant BBC1 line-up of Ashes To Ashes, Doctor Who and Jonathan Creek, even if the latter was a bit shit, and we dunno why they didn’t do a big trailer promoting all three together. What is for certain is that Matt Smith is the best Doctor for ages and this was the best series for ages, although we’re not sure about the next series having “more events” as we like Who best when it’s low-key and whimsical. We had to abandon the Matrix Databank, though, as it was becoming too famous in Who circles and we couldn’t hack the pressure of becoming a proper news source. The big news was the Election Debates which we thought nobody would watch but the first is still in the chart of the twenty most watched shows of the year, and got lots of shots of Granada Studios on the telly which is always good (before they took the letters off the side a bit later, the bastards). Villain of the Year was the absolute idiot who decided no Doctor Who fan would mind a massive garish animated banner appearing on screen during the show, and it wasn’t just the timing of the thing, but the fact it was virtually unreadable and if you’d done that as a mock on YouTube, even cwilliams1976 would laugh at you. Which was a shame as that whole package of idents based around TV Centre were really nice. In other news, Charlie Brooker got a really odd haircut.
The big story this month was of course the Election, which if it wasn’t a vintage Election night (no Tony King didn’t help) did come up with some memorable moments including Dave Dimbleby delightfully allowing an Electoral Commission bod to dig their own grave when they tried to talk tough but failed to disguise the fact they couldn’t actually do anything, Dave carrying on after 6am because it was so important, Kate Silverton doing nothing but run after a fleeing Jacqui Smith, an interview with Brucie and the triumphant return of David Butler. In other news, Chris Moyles did a boring documentary about the Radio 1 Breakfast Show but it was OK because alongside BBC2 repeated the brilliant Smashie and Nicey special and a demented episode of Wogan from 1987 which mostly involved Stewpot and Pete Murray libelling former colleagues and promoting their current ILR stations. Ashes to Ashes finished but we couldn’t say much about how it ended as US-based Creamguide subscriber Tony Hughes was getting it a few weeks later, while Who got its lowest audience ever on the hottest day of the year and Whovians assumed it would be instantly axed.
This month saw the end of an era as the dual-standard Creamguide finally ended and it only available in this format rather than Yahoo Groups, after nearly ten years, and we said goodbye to all our friends at the Do More For Cats Group and, er, the Do More For Dogs Group. It was also the World Cup, natch, with Adrian Chiles poached by ITV at huge expense only to die on his arse doing his MOTD2-esque shtick in front of a bemused Patrick Vieira and Edgar Davids. We liked the Beeb’s coverage for its extended post-match odds’n’sods sequences, one night including a review of the 1990 World Cup for no real reason, with Gary Lineker captioned “GARY LINEKER” and an extended chat with Gazza which must have ensured some people tuning in late must have thought he’d died. Remarkably Charlie Brooker, the paedophile walrus himself, ended up on the cover of the Radio Times this month, although the last You Have Been Watching was cancelled and ended up at midnight on E4 two months later. We finally completed our quest to review every Saturday morning show ever, much to the relief of Tim Bowling who complained we spent too long on hopeless mid-nineties ITV chancers, but when we put our mind to something, we see it out.
This month we resurrected the old Creamup feature Why Don’t YouTube where we just, well, linked to some YouTube clips, which was by far the most popular middle bit we’ve run but which didn’t last long as there wasn’t enough of us banging on for our liking. Jonathan Ross left the Beeb to much rejoicing because the simple fact is he is a crap interviewer, and not in a Parky sense but because he simply asks his guests questions they can’t answer and makes them look stupid, and Friday Night had always been a bloody boring show. Sherlock, one of the best telly shows of the year, began in July, while we said goodbye to Working Lunch, thanks to a hopeless revamp, and TV Quick, though we very much enjoyed the last issue as dashing editor and Friend of Creamguide Jon Peake requested its readers put TV Choice on their shopping list instead, and not enough magazines refer to shopping lists these days. And they put “Special Issue” rather than “Last Issue” on the front, like comics announcing Exciting News For All Readers Inside.
In August we were thrilled to see the great Ian Kirkby get a role in a primetime sitcom, although sadly Pete vs Life turned out ot be pretty rank, not least because it was the same as every other Channel Four sitcom these days and revolved around a hapless unlikeable bloke being mistaken for a paedophile every five minutes. Also, the female lead had really distracting teeth. At least Ian has the new Dick and Dom series to give him funnier dialogue. Way funnier was this remarkable sequence from the excellent Would I Lie To You. Ending this month were Last of the Summer Wine and The Bill, but we’re not that bothered about the latter going as it lasted way longer than Z Cars and Nock Green Dick and they were complete anachronisms when they finished. Heartbeat finished the following month but we, er, forgot to bill that. Also this month we confirmed that Starland Vocal Band do indeed suck.
Why oh why oh why did they decide to call it bloody Daybreak? Who calls it daybreak, let alone the fact it was also the name of TV-am’s ill-fated “serious” bit and the unsuccessful bidder for GMTV’s franchise. The name is plagued, and unsurprisingly it flopped big time, because who wants to watch Howard Marks at breakfast time? The big problem, though, is that no GMTV viewer knew watching it was a bad thing so didn’t want a revamp, although we’re thrilled Breakfast is thrashing them because Bill and Sian are both utterly unstarry, having worked their way up the ranks, and they’re an ace team. The Pope came to Britain so we got a couple of marathon live broadcasts, which are always fascinating, while CBBC was 25 and actually did commemorate it with various montages and Toby Anstis turning up in the son-of-Broom-Cupboard, which amazed us as surely no child gives a toss.
October saw TV Cream enjoy a new look, and with it a new look for Creamguide, although our first attempt went a bit wrong and ended up being aligned a bit too far right. Never mind, at least it’s on the site as well now. We also launched The Time Tunnel, marking the official launch of the new Cream era (1967-97), even though our random draw seemed to strand us in the early seventies. With the Spending Review we had three Budgets in a year, although none of them were at teatime so we weren’t that bothered, while TV Burp returned and featured a rather depressing amount of smut, while Harry’s awful album lost him a lot of goodwill. Sort it out, Haz! Throughout the year Scottish Television confirmed themselves as the world’s most useless organisation, dropping all ITV’s drama and pretending it wasn’t anything to do with them being cheapskates (including the hilarious Q and A in the Radio Times where the answer to every question was “We show Taggart”) but they did at least put every episode of Win Lose or Draw on YouTube. The fact they’re trading off a fifteen year old daytime quiz, mind, is less impressive.
At the beginning of the month the Beeb went on strike and we were horrified with the comments on Media Guardian, of all places (presumably the moderators on Have Your Say were on strike and the nutters had to go elsewhere) which were mostly of the Sack Em All/Close It Down variety. The BBC going on strike is heartbreaking and it’s a tragedy when it has to happen! We were shocked this month too that Joel announced his departure from Blue Peter, not least as we’d heard it a few days before and dismissed it as the ramblings of an overexcited child, more fool us. We particularly enjoyed watching The Trip, a brilliant show, particularly because for all its cinematic approach, it was just Coogan and Brydon doing impressions and riffing hilariously. “For we rise at 8.30… for nine!”
December started, for Creamguide, with the most remarkable amount of snow they’d ever seen in their lifetime, although unsurprisingly it didn’t become top story on the news until it reached London two weeks later. While we were snowed in we watched the result of the World Cup bid and rejoiced at the fact we didn’t have to schmutter up to Sepp Blatter and Jack Warner, two of the most unpleasant and corrupt individuals on the planet, for eight years. Most of the telly before Christmas was about Corrie and Lennon, before Christmas arrived and you won’t need to be reminded about what happened then. Convenient, as we’re writing this before Christmas. But that was 2010, and we’re sure you’re looking forward to more of this in 2011. Yes, the unsubscription details are at the bottom of the e-mail.