TV Cream

CREAMGUIDE: 20th-26th November 2010

The TV guide that’s just spoken to Sarah Beeny

Yes, it’s another edition of Creamguide, which has nothing to do with Christmas, because it isn’t Christmas despite the fact everyone we seem to talk to going nuts about it. We don’t want to sound like we’re writing a letter to a local paper, but is the day after Bonfire Night the first day of Christmas now? That said, after this week there are only three normal weekly Creamguides to go before the Christmas one, although that in itself is not Christmas as it starts on December 18th. Anyway, this is just a bog standard week in the autumn, and we hope you enjoy it.

SATURDAY 20th NOVEMBER

BBC2

19.50 Dad’s Army
So we start in the postbag, as usual, and Brian Sutherland, who says, “Do us a favour – please explain why you hate Parky so much. Did he do something specific to you? Or did he NOT do something specific to you? Have you felt this way for a long time? I know it’s been a long time in CG years, but does this go back further? Do we need to talk? Tell me about your childhood etc.” Well, we would refer you to our old We Hate Parky page on TV Cream, but that was on the old site. But generally it’s the fact he’s basically a curmudgeon who appears every five minutes to slag things off, bang on about being a journalist and pretend he didn’t leave the BBC for the money, which he did, and that he’s ridiculously overpraised for happening to sit in the same room as some big stars. Also, he used to be really shoddy at pinging the bell on Give Us A Clue.

20.20 The American Dream
If Broadcast magazine run one more article uncritically swallowing PR rubbish from Sky about how they’re “innovating” and “investing” in programming, we’re going to cancel our subscription, because making a rip-off of So You Think You Can Dance and a rip-off of They Think It’s All Over is not our idea of “innovating”, while “investing” seems to be a euphemism for “stealing hit shows off other channels by offering twice as much money”. So with only two episodes of Mad Men left to see for free (and Sky can shut up about it being the Beeb “burying” it, as if 10pm on a channel available to 95% of the population with a Radio Times cover is less accessible than being on a pay channel), the Beeb instead present this documentary about how the real life Mad Men gave over the impression that everything was swell, and how that compared with John Q Average’s life.

ITV

19.30 Harry Hill’s TV Burp
“Smiling fruitbowl on Emmerdale!” And if there was more stuff like that, and less Wagbo, we might not be going off this show so much.

BBC Radio 2

13.00 Pick of the Pops
John Hill says, “A quick one for you – I was listening to Pick of the Pops and Tony Blackburn got it a bit wrong. It was Shakin’ Stevens who sang It’s Raining, not Darts! Simple mistake to make I’m sure, but Tony!!!” Indeed, although at least he’s trying with the facts and not just expressing his surprise at a certain record’s chart position. Rotten old 1975 (apart from Sky High by Jigsaw) first this week, then 1988, and who wouldn’t want to hear Tone introducing Iron Maiden.

BBC Radio 4

20.00 Sport in Film
“After a victory over Yugoslavia in the semis by four hundred wickets to seven runs, all of it for eight!” Famously sport never works in films, mostly because metaphor or no, people who don’t like sport just don’t see why anyone would be that bothered, and those who do would rather just watch the sport. Even the successful ones like The Damned United aren’t really sports films and could probably just as well if Cloughie was the new manager of a plastics factory or something. But here’s Colin Shindler having a look at how it could work, or at least he hopes as he’s just about to make one about cricket, so basically this is his SWOT analysis dressed up as a radio show.

SUNDAY 21stNOVEMBER

BBC1

16.45 Points of View
We’re loathe to agree with anyone on this show, especially as the point they made was also made by internet “personality” Dom Robinson elsewhere this week, but we also didn’t think that shoving Armstrong and Miller against the HIGNFY repeat was very sympathetic scheduling, and indeed we’re amazed just how frequently BBC1 and BBC2 are putting comedy up against comedy these days. It’s the first rule of scheduling, surely? On a scheduling tip, this programme is preceded this week by Drop Zone, a new game show with Steve Jones, which has been on the shelf for ages and, we would suspect, was not intended for half past three on a Sunday afternoon. Given 101 Ways To Leave A Gameshow got a primetime slot, can you imagine how bad this must be?

BBC4

21.00 Mark Lawson Talks To Jimmy McGovern
Sadly, we didn’t get If I Only Knew on Tom Jones At The BBC last week, which is a real shame as it is a killer of a track, but we did get some other intriguing clippage, including the start of Tom Jones On Happiness Island from 1974, Simon Bates introducing the Top 40 Breakers on the Pops and a hilarious sequence from Jimmy Will Fix It where Tom surprised a fan and joined them for a song in their local pub, where the rest of the customers were clearly told to act as if it wasn’t happening, meaning the entire performance was upstaged by a bloke on a fruit machine. We won’t get anything quite as funny from Jimmy, no doubt, but he’ll have very interesting things to say we’re sure.

MONDAY  22ndNOVEMBER

BBC1

16.30 Blue Peter
When we left Joel he was circumnavigating the A-roads of Peterborough, a cliffhanger if ever we saw one, but we’re thrilled to report that he did manage to make it to Tesco in Hull in time. In fact the number of times they mentioned Tesco probably adds up to the same total of brand names mentioned in the entire Biddy era, but that’s where you have to buy them, and that’s today’s identikit High Streets for you. Not even Crazy Prices in Northern Ireland.

REGIONALIA!
19.30 Inside Out (North West)

Last week, the West Midlands flavour of this show ran a tribute to Delia Derbyshire, what with her coming from Coventry, and now apparently it’s on this edition this week, the local connection here seemingly being that Stuart Maconie, the regular presenter of this version of the series, did it and he’s from Wigan.

CHANNEL 4

16.10 Deal or No Deal
Is that still going? Indeed it is, though sadly we can’t remember the last time we watched it, a far cry from the golden age when the entire nation was going mad over it. Like Millionaire and The Weakest Link before it, it’s now at the stage where the people who watch it have always watched it out of habit, but we might have a look in this week as the fifth anniversary is being celebrated with the return of contestants that even we remember, like Nick of the 1p Club. The more astute of you will notice that is isn’t actually five years since it started, that was last month, but it was Halloween and the chance to dress up for that took priority.

BBC4

20.30 Only Connect
Nice to see Miranda back on the telly, with her own brand of uncomplicated and good-natured laughs, although it does make us ponder why Sally Phillips isn’t on telly much these days, because she’s a brilliant comedy performer and is ace in this series. But, er, record it and watch this at half eight instead.

BBC Radio 2

22.00 How Roald Dahl Shaped British Pop
There’s a lot of Dahl about at the moment because he died twenty years ago, although this would seem to be the most desperate attempt to find a new angle on his work. Though apparently there’s plenty to go at, because despite the fact Dahl hated pop music, lots of pop stars liked him and claim his books as an inspiration, including Kate Nash and the Stereophonics, who we’ll hear from here, and Sammy Davis Jr of course. And David Tennant’s presenting, but that’s not important.

The Time Tunnel?

See, we can go past the middle of a decade if we try very hard. Funny how, with the Royal Wedding just being announced, we’ve already included all three Royal Wedding years. Fancy that! But there was other, more interesting stuff going on in 1986, as we’ll see…

  • FA CUP WINNERS: Liverpool
  • CHRISTMAS NUMBER ONE: Jackie Wilson – Reet Petite
  • UK EUROVISION ENTRY: Ryder- Runner In The Night
  • BLUE PETER TEAM: Si, Pete and Janet, then Pete, Janet and Mark, then Janet, Mark and Caron
  • DOCTOR WHO: Dr Who Colin Baker
  • RADIO 1 BREAKFAST SHOW JOCK: Mike Read, then Mike Smith
  • BIG CHRISTMAS DAY FILM ON BBC1: Anie

    New thrill!

    THE CHART SHOW (1986-98)
    Whenever everyone asks why we can’t have Top of the Pops back, some bellend will always say “it’s because pop music is crap”, as if 1975 never happened, and someone will also say there’s no point now we have YouTube and that. But this isn’t a new argument as in the eighties, everyone assumed the rise of video would see the end of live music, and the single as well. It didn’t, of course, but it did make for highly cost-effective music programming, and Channel Four stumbled on a winning format when it launched The Chart Show in April 1986. Simply 45 minutes (initially) of pop videos, the show was an immediate hit, although its initial run was extremely short as it was yanked off the air as part of a dispute about the use of pop videos on the commercial channels, which lead to a hastily-conceived replacement called Rewind made up of archive clips and Mike Smith boasting on Top of the Pops that the Beeb was the only place you could see videos. After the dispute was settled the show returned and, if it never quite became the mythical Friday night institution like The Tube or TFI, it certainly became required viewing for a generation of teenagers, normally getting the first showing of the latest video – although while they continually hyped up the hits they played first, it was also home to all manner of obscurities that you’d never hear again. For a while it also ran in two parts around Revid and Neat And Tidy. At the end of 1988, it rather oddly got poached by ITV, who moved it to the Saturday morning slot it would fill for nearly a decade, with the likes of the Hot Shot, Vintage Video and Rough Cut all present and correct, although from 1996 it all went a bit wrong when they started including interviews and features, which seemed to negate the point of the no-chat ethos. It was dropped in 1998 to make way for CDUK, but was revived a couple of times on Channel Four – though with a presenter, which was all wrong – and it now has its own channels, on which they occasionally launch a repeat run which is invariably abandoned after two shows. For a while, though, The Chart Show, along with the Pops, was a vital part of any pop fans’ week. A Video Visuals Production. STOP. EJECT.

    Old thrill!

    PEBBLE MILL AT ONE (1972-86)
    When the Beeb’s Birmingham outpost first welcomed the cameras into its foyer at lunchtime in 1972, it did so as part of a whole phalanx of daytime programmes launched to take advantage of the new regulations allowing broadcasters to broadcast for however long they liked. However its stablemates were all axed in 1974 as part of a cost-cutting drive, so for over a decade, the ‘Mill, along with the news and pre-school programme, was the only thing outside of schools programmes and the test card broadcast on BBC1 during daylight hours. Fortunately the ‘Mill was such a flexible format, it could do more or less everything, with interviews with big name stars like Morecambe and Wise alongside cookery from endless celebrity chefs like The Cooking Canon, gardening from Peter Seabrook and film reports like Bob Langley reporting from the Falklands and leaving approximately five seconds before the invasion started. Bob and Donny MacLeod were the main hosts, although Donny died before the end, accompanied by the likes of Marian Foster, Jan Leeming, Marjorie Lofthouse, David Seymour (“who now speaks on Radio Oxford”) and, towards the end, boring old Magnus Magnusson. The setting was a masterstroke, too, with a different outlook to the usual London-centric views, as well as all the pedestrians and buses going past, and a loyal and regular audience would tune in day in day out. yet although the Beeb’s annual report in 1986 announced it was getting its highest audiences, the arrival of full-time daytime telly in the autumn of that year – and definitely this time – meant that there was no longer a need for one show to do everything, so the curtains were finally drawn on the foyer that May. Bob Langley was quick to point out during the last show that “There will still be programmes from Pebble Mill, I really must emphasise that”, and indeed there were, as the Pebble Mill production team went on to produce Pamela Armstrong’s eponymous show at teatime on BBC2, which inherited many of the ‘Mill’s staples, like the Broadcasting Press Guild awards. Then after a year of daytime, it was decided that they did need one catch-all magazine show to do everything, so Pebble Mill was back! OK, it was called Daytime Live, and went out at twelve rather than one, but everyone knew it was Pebble Mill, and after a few more revamps they finally admitted it and renamed it Pebble Mill in 1991, albeit now just as a bland chat show, until it finally came to an end in 1996. However since then, Pebble Mill At One set the template for almost every daytime magazine show to this day, and without it we certainly wouldn’t have had Richard and Judy. Imagine that.

    Everyone’s talking about…

  • THE ROYAL WEDDING! Andy married Fergie, with the usual huge coverage wheeled out, although it was all a bit of a rerun of five years before, so nobody really seemed that bothered, especially as we were all a bit Royalled out from the Queen’s sixtieth birthday celebrations two months earlier.
  • DAYTIME TV! As we mentioned up there, for the first time BBC1 broadcast non-stop from morning to midnight, with the likes of Open Air and Day To Day, ie Kilroy, making their debuts and Martyn Lewis poached from News at Ten as research revealed he was the housewives’ favourite, while ITV were still stuck with schools programmes, although the biggest hit turned out to an unassuming Australian drama bought as a filler.
  • THE LATE LATE BREAKFAST SHOW! Noel’s first Saturday night series was abruptly axed after Michael Lush plunged to his death while researching a bungee jumping stunt, although bizarrely it was suggested around TV Centre shortly after that they might be able to bring it back. Though good taste prevailed.
  • FIFTY YEARS OF BBC TELEVISION! Which was celebrated by a week of nothing but archive repeats on BBC2 and That’s Television Entertainment, a three hour clipfest on Saturday night BBC1, which ended with Eric and Ern doing Singin’ In The Rain as officially the best thing ever broadcast on television, which is fair enough, we reckon.
  • THE RED TRIANGLE! It officially stood for Special Discretion Required, of course, but for most people the appearance of this logo in the Channel Four listings in the TV Times was your one-stop shop for mucky films, although we’re not sure how many people turned to the first film, Themroc, for some one-fisted fun as it turned out to be a completely unintelligible piece of arthouse.

    RIP

    Three big names at the Beeb died in 1986, Grace Wyndham Goldie who more or less invented election coverage, her protegy the harpsichord-smashing Huw Wheldon and current BBC chairman Stuart Young. Some great screen matriachs also died, Pat Phoenix, Dandy Nichols and Hylda Baker, and sticking with comedy, perennial middle-front-on-Blankety-Blank Billy Dainty died, as did, famously, Dustin Gee, just a few days after his final series with Les Dennis had begun. Also passing away this year were footballing bigwig Stanley “Rous Cup” Rous, movie icons Cary Grant and James Cagney, charismatic MP David Penhaligon and Phil “Thank you, Mr Thin Lizzy!” Lynott.

    Show of the year

    DUTY FREE
    It’s amazing to think now that an ITV sitcom would be the biggest show on TV, but Duty Free was an absolute triumph in its day. Written by Yorkshire TV’s one man sitcom factory in Eric Chappell, the show itself seems a very slight affair, with the farce-based exploits of two holidaying couples, as well as featuring Gwen Taylor who’s always been awful, but somehow the series became a national institution – topping the ratings, the cover of the TV Times, all that. Christmas 1986 saw the show’s last ever episode where, for the first time, the cast left the Leeds studios to actually travel to Spain, much to the bemusement of some of the show’s less observant viewers who asked for details of the hotel they were staying in, despite it being a patently obvious studio set. That’s except for Gwen Taylor who couldn’t go due to a theatrical engagement and did her bits in the UK, although quite why you’d turn down the chance to go abroad for a smash hit TV show in favour of schlepping around on stage night after night, we don’t know. Despite its success, though, repeats runs in recent years have been extremely rare and it’s been completely forgotten about, other than to make comparisons with ITV’s current sitcom hit Benidorm. Duty Free, however, harks back to the time when the light channel had more than one sitcom a year.

    Let’s go there now!

    You know how this works now – a bit of continuity, the news and Top of the Pops. Here’s 1986 summed up, the end of Wogan, Cuddly Ken and the start of the Muppets, a dreadful Easter Sunday and bits and bobs from Boxing Day. We’ve also got some flying fish finger news, but if this is all a bit too Beeb for you, here’s the end of the 5.45 and The Six O’Clock Show. The Christmas Pops from 1986 is on YouTube, but the first part’s been muted, but never mind, at least we get the visual delights of Peter Powell’s tracksuit, and the sound comes on here, although it’s not a very good Christmas show anyway, because there’s too many ballads.

  • TUESDAY  23rd NOVEMBER

    BBC1

    16.30 Blue Peter
    A rather more obvious place for the Dahl tributes, as last week Joel visited his house, although that seems to happen every few months on this show anyway. Sadly last week we got the unwelcome return of Basil Brush, who you may recall was the only blot on the otherwise spotless reign of Richard Marson when he was a regular guest and just got in the way, especially as his current incarnation is rotten. Rather more fun was Helen and Joel learning how to scat, although Andy couldn’t take part as he’s in Argentina, competing in Total Wipeout! That’s the highlight of Christmas telly, right there.

    BBC Radio 4

    09.30 I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Into Here
    Dreadful name, as we’re sure Radio 4 listeners will appreciate the reference, but an intriguing programme in which Roger Law, formerly one of the Spitting Image overlords of course, meets other people who, like him, have left the UK to live in Australia where they’ve enjoyed great success, among them Warren Mitchell and Leo Sayer.

    WEDNESDAY  24th NOVEMBER

    Gold

    21.00 Fry and Laurie Reunited
    This is going to be great! It’s perhaps strange how Stephen and Hugh never seem to be mentioned in lists of the great double acts, probably because they were so jolly famous for their solo stuff, but they made three fantastic series (and one not quite so good series) that were absolutely the talk of the common room the next day, and probably helped to convince a generation that posh comedy could be fun. The script books are brilliant too. It’s always been a big favourite in TVC Towers, too, so we’ll be glued to this special show in which the pair will be discussing their work together and there’ll be umpteen examples of that. Give us at least five!

    THURSDAY  25th NOVEMBER

    BBC4

    22.00 The Princess and Panorama
    23.00 Panorama

    So the nation will be distracted with a bit of pageantry next year, although the important bit – whether we’ll get the day off work or not – has yet to be decided. In other royal news, it’s also fifteen years to the week that Wills’ mum made one of her most famous telly appearances, so here’s a repeat of it, and before that the documentary that explained how it all happened. What it doesn’t say is that Newsnight that evening had the interview as its main story but it hadn’t finished when the programme started, so the first ten minutes featured a discussion between people who knew less about it than the average viewer.

    FRIDAY  26thNOVEMBER

    BBC1

    20.30 QI
    There hasn’t been enough Mitchell and/or Webb on telly in recent weeks, we don’t think, and even though this week’s Fry and Laurie special may suggest they’re not ploughing a particularly original furrow, they do it very well and they’re a cut above most of their peers. Anyway, the good news is they’re back with a bang tonight, because as well as the new series of Peep Show, Dave’s on this, and Rob’s doing his new topical comedy show looking at how the big stories are being covered online, the fiendishly-titled Robert’s Web, which may sound a bit contrived but apparently the pilot was very funny. And Rob says the only reason he got the job is because Dave Internet was busy.

    BBC2

    20.00 Mastermind
    We still don’t know who’s on the Children in Need special, although we have found out the line-up for the Christmas Strictly, which apparently featured celebs “too busy” to do the full series, though what John Barrowman’s got on that’s so pressing, we don’t know. The punters are back here tonight, answering questions on Chaplin and boring old Formula One.

    That’s it for this week, join us next week when we’ll be listening programmes that are in December, but crucially are not at Christmas. You’ll only be disappointed when it does finally arrive. We think the big film’s going to be Cars, by the way. To subscribe, click here

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