TV Cream

CREAMGUIDE: 21st-27th August 2010

Creamguide

Everybody’s Doing The Crab

Hullo and welcome to another Creamguide. We’ll warn you now there’s absolutely nothing on this week, so we apologise if you’ve printed this out to pass the time during a toilet break on Friday morning, as you might have to go back to work quicker than you’d hoped.

We sincerely hope, by the way, that recent issues of Creamguide will have reached you as we think there was some sort of fault which meant anyone joining in recent weeks may not have been receiving e-mails. We think we’ve sorted it now but if you’re reading this on the site because you didn’t get it via e-mail as you’d hoped, do let us know at creamguide@tvcreamtest.co.uk and similarly if you end up not getting it in any future weeks. If it doesn’t arrive on Thursday evening, though, give it time, we might just have gone out to dinner or something.

But not this week as we once more sit alone in the Creamguide Office churning this stuff out for your edification. To wit…

SATURDAY 21st AUGUST

BBC2

20.30 Dad’s Army
So the Why Don’t You discussion thunders on, this week with a contribution from Jonathan Haw, who says, “Further to your discussions on the unpopularity of Why Don’t You, I also hated the show as a child, but my hatred was largely born out of jealousy as I somehow got it into my head that not only the presenters, but the whole production crew, were kids. I desperately wanted to be a cameraman, so was irked by the fact that they totally ignored the East of England, where I lived – there was never a Nottingham gang or Norwich gang, was there? Of course, what I didn’t realise was that, not only were the production team all adults, but the ‘gang’ were not actually ‘real’ kids, but precocious little Stage School tossers.” Well, Ant McPartlin was a bit of rough, wasn’t he, and to be honest we think we went off the Newcastle gang in particular because they seemed a bit common, certainly compared to the incredibly well-spoken Kate from the Cardiff gang. We often wonder what happened to her.

BBC Radio 2

00.00 Bob Harris
Pick of the Pops is wasting its time on a pre-Beatles year today so let’s instead pay tribute to Whispering Bob who this is week is celebrating four decades since he started on the Beeb. Of course, it’s not all been plain sailing, there’s been the odd interlude when he went off to Radio 210 in Reading, and of course when he was dropped from Radio 1 under Matthew Bannister, although apparently Bannister massively regretted the decision and personally got him a job on GLR to make up for it. For the last decade or so he’s been here on Radio 2 doing this show, albeit later and later in the evening, as well as his country show and standing in on every single programme over Christmas. Despite us finding most of the music he plays utterly tedious, Bob certainly seems to be one of the nicest men in radio, so we don’t begrudge him this tribute where he’ll speak to some of his mates and play his favourite records, and it all looks set to be, yes, really great.

SUNDAY 22nd AUGUST

ITV

22.15 Drama Trails
23.15 Comedy Classics

Brass is the latter, probably the only show in the series too obscure for Comedy Connections, which probably makes it the most interesting. There won’t be any adverts in either of these shows, of course, as ITV is skint, and there usually weren’t any on holiday mornings, hence our recent digression into the world of PIFs. Adrian Fry says, “John Phillips has a point about the scariness of the AIDS films, but surely the scariest of them all was the series of Protect & Survive animations. The sight of 1970s telly facing up to the nuclear holocaust in these civil defence films has scarred me so deeply that I try and fast forward over the scene in Threads in which they can be seen. Just the little electronic arpegio which introduces them makes my blood run cold, never mind all that stuff about address labels on body bags. As is often the way, it’s the bathetic details which stick in the mind – the tin of ox tongue visible among the provisions we’re supposed to get in for the duration, the futile advice to ‘lie down’ if caught out in the open when the bomb drops. And the half assed nature of the animation – not that anything more sophisticated would have softened the blow of human extinction – that white silhouette family forbiddingly suggestive as a neglected child’s illustration in fuzzy felt. God, I wish I hadn’t brought it up now. I’d better try remembering those ads for the Acorn Way and take a valium.”Never mind, Adrian, at least you’ve got past one horror, as we’ve said before at least two inmates of TVC Towers have had copies of Threads in their possession and been too terrified ever to watch it.

MONDAY   23rd AUGUST

BBC Radio 2

22.00 Blonde on Blonde
To be honest, even Remain Indoors on Mitchell and Webb still gives us the willies a bit, and if we were any younger we might have had to go out the room when those sketches were on, like we did with Reg Prescott on Kenny Everett. But let’s not worry about impending armageddon too much, as here’s Mariella Frostrup with three programmes this week about blondes, respectively Lana Turner, Jayne Mansfield and Peggy Lee on successive nights. We’re not sure if other blondes will be mentioned, and to be honest for at least the latter we’re sure the blondeness was rather peripheral to her success, but at least it gives three otherwise completely unrelated documentaries a bit of a leg-up, we suppose.

Why Don't YouTube?

Interesting to hear Richard Desmond recently talking about his grand ideas for Channel Five, one of which is the return of Top of the Pops. Seemingly Dirty Des failed to realise that Channel Five did have their own version of Top of the Pops, it was called The Pepsi Chart and ran for five years, even at 7pm on Thursdays for a while, and it was rubbish.

Anyway, what this sadly meant is that various internet fora all talked about it and invariably someone would say “They can’t do Top of the Pops anymore because pop music is crap nowadays”. Sigh. If only there was some sort of chart which could identify what people were buying and would like to hear.

The fact is, though, that Pops was a brilliant concept and should still be on today, and to that end this week’s Why Don’t YouTube looks back at some of Pops’ greatest hits, and one or two other music shows as well. Unfortunately it’s one of the most frustrating things to look at on YouTube as many clips are either removed or have the audio blanked out within minutes of appearing for copyright reasons, but all these should be intact for at least the next week. Note there’s only eight because the other two are exclusive to subscribers of the Creamguide e-mail… because to be honest we’re a bit paranoid of them getting taken down if too many people notice them.

1

“FULL OF PLUM PUDDING, I EXPECT!”
There’s some sixties Pops stuff on YouTube but more or less all of it has either been on TOTP2 a million times or is just bizarre, put on YouTube by thieves who anonymously stick on stuff from wiped episodes covered in DOGs rather than giving them to the BBC, so we’ll start our jaunt through the archives with the second half of Christmas 1971. To be honest, you’ll probably have seen most of this episode before too, but maybe not in its entirety with Tony’s rather boring banter. And of course the high point is the disappearing Tam who you’ll notice is never referred to, and this show wasn’t even live!

 

2

“247 MUSICMAKERS IN THE FINEST TRADITION!”
Quite a lot of Pops on YouTube comes courtesy of the German channel einsFestival, who showed a load of seventies episodes last year, and it’s a shame no British channel has had the wit to do the same since UK Gold did it in the mid-nineties, when hardly anyone had it. Still, various people dutifully recorded them and whacked them online, so that’s good. One added bonus this time was that episodes were screened starring Noel Edmonds, as Noel refused UK Gold permission to screen them, so we get shows like this from April 1974. The chart rundown and Noel’s intro is there, and we always think they go into the 30-1 sequence in the titles too late, they’re already on the fade by the time they get to number fifteen and then fly through the last few numbers. Anywhere, among the highlights of the episode are our favourite Mud song and Mungo Jerry with the agreeably frantic Long Legged Woman Dressed In Black, which as Carmo perceptively notes in the comments, didn’t get in the top ten but is more famous than Baby Jump, which got to number one but we have never ever heard. Worth it for the pianist’s brilliant “ooh, I’m on the telly!” moment at 1:30.

 

3

“I WONDER IF CAN WILL GET IN THE TOP TIN!”
Christ, no wonder Noel didn’t want anyone to see these shows, his puns are appalling. Nevertheless this is a great when-worlds-collide moment as Noel introduces the majestic I Want More by Can. What’s important to remember about Pops in those days is that bands could appear on the show while they were about number fifty and, as it was more or less the only pop show on telly, you’d hear stuff for the first time ever, like Can here. Here’s the performance again, this time opening the show a few weeks later after the charts (“Starland Vocal Band?! They suck!”) but surely the best opener of any show ever is this one from 7/7/77 where surely ten million people would simultaneously have gone “What the hell is this?”. Actually this isn’t a particularly good version of The Crunch by The Rah Band, for it is that, here’s the brilliant studio version, but you don’t get the guitarist’s lovely smile, so swings and roundabouts.

 

4

“IT’S TIME TO LOOK AND LISTEN TO THE MUSIC!”
Bar the odd skill track like those, the mid-seventies were a bit grim musically, though it got loads better at the end of the decade. Sadly Pops failed to really catch up and some of the shows around 1979 have some ace tunes but are presented with absolutely no enthusiasm whatsoever, Kid Jensen tried his best but the audience looked bored witless. The music’s often fantastic, though, and here’s an episode from October 1979, during the ITV strike, and the idea that twenty million people would hear XTC is a remarkable one. There’s some other good stuff elsewhere in that episode too, shame it’s so boringly presented, but the highlight is surely nine and a half minutes into this when Kid introduces Pops’ newest recruit, and what a dynamic entrance he makes. He didn’t appear again for another two and a half years, unsurprisingly.

 

5

“THE MERRIEST OF ALL, YEAH!”
Anyway, in the summer of 1980, the Pops went on strike for three months, and when it came back, Michael Hurll was calling the shots, and from here we entered the neon’n’streamers golden age. By the time we got to Christmas 1981, the show was in its pomp and this remarkable sequence of all the DJs singing along to All You Need Is Love is jaw-dropping for all sorts of reasons. But you know, rather that than the audience just staring. In fact the whole of this rather curious but highly entertaining episode – featuring Kirsty MacColl and Colin Blunstone even though they never got into the top ten – is online, though sadly the first part has been muted, so you’ll have to start with part two. Worse still, the mass DJ dance to Friend Or Foe by Adam Ant, from the Radio 1 fifteenth anniversary show in 1982, has been taken off YouTube, though fortunately it’s been burnt into our brain.

 

6

“A LITTLE CLOSER TO HOME, FROM NORTH WALES!”
It surely can’t be argued that early eighties Top of the Pops was anything other than the acme of the show’s brilliance, and it was certainly required viewing on Thursday nights at the time. Here’s your opportunity to relive those days, right back to sitting through Tomorrow’s World, with the above junction from June 1982, then this even more textbook example from January 1984, with Smith and Skinner joined by a pre-fame Gaz Top and failing to point out that among the delights to come, the number one single would not be one of them. By this point we’d gone to double headed presentation, with some very odd pairings, like this and surely the best ever combination of hosts and band, as DLT and Tony Blackburn introduce King Kurt. The best Pops hosts were, of course, the Rhythm Pals themselves, Kid Jensen and John Peel, and we’re not going to say anything about this clip, just watch how it starts.

 

7

“THE STUDIO-BASED BAND OF HIT MUSIC LOVERS, MIRAGE!”
Well, there’s plenty more Pops on YouTube, but we thought we’d end this feature with a look at some other music TV, most obviously the short-lived “rival” to the Pops, The Roxy. The above link is the charts from the first ever episode from June 1987, which can be seen in full on MySpace, including an exciting guest appearance from Elkie Brooks. Sadly a strike more or less did for the show and here’s a full episode from December 1987, when they could only show videos and old clips, and who’d have thought Kid Jensen in a cricket jumper interviewing The Hooters would fail to get the primetime ITV audience excited? Note they’d already had a revamp, and there was another one to come, although by March 1988, from which we have the last eight minutes of an episode, it was probably no worse than Pops at the time. Sadly the final moments, with the giant ROXY sign collapsing, have fallen off YouTube, but we’re just thrilled to see anything at all from this elusive show. And don’t forget, if you want to know more about The Roxy, The Roxy Book is available in every single charity shop in Britain.

 

8

“WIND AWAY!”
And finally, the greatest piece of music television ever – The Brits 1989. All of it. We need say nothing else.

TUESDAY   24th AUGUST

BBC2

12.25 Father Dear Father
Since the Creamguide Fireplace was dismantled we’ve not really billed many films, but we’ll always make a point of billing this because it’s nice to see William G Stewart credited as a proper film director and also because they never show the series it’s based on these days. The screening of this is usually the cue for a season of this kind of thing, whether it’s Steptoe and Son Ride Again or Percy’s Progress (well, not normally at this time of day, but you know what we mean), and also it usually means it’s Christmas, but this time it’s just screened in splendid isolation as it was any old film. Which of course it isn’t. It’s directed by William G Stewart for a start.

BBC Radio 4

13.30 Star Spangled Hendrix
An intriguing documentary here, which concentrates not on Hendrix The Musician, but Hendrix The Role Model, and how black America constantly asked him to do benefits and make political statements, especially as Black Power was raging during his halcyon days, which seemingly he was as reluctant to do as he was to play Hey Joe on Happening For Lulu.

WEDNESDAY 25th AUGUST

BBC1

22.45 Reggie Perrin
There is going to be a second series of this, despite fairly iffy reviews, Mitchell and Webb taking the piss out of it the other night and Adrian Fry, making his second appearance in this week’s Creamguide, e-mailing us when it was last on to say “The makers have re-imagined Reggie Perrin in much the way the Luftwaffe ‘re-imagined’ Coventry city centre during World War II”. That’s a great line, Adrian. Anyway, it sorts of works better if you forget there was a series before it and just treat it as a welcome opportunity to see Martin Clunes stop messing around in dull dramas and programmes about how great horses are and instead brilliantly deliver some ace Simon Nye-penned lines. Although the last episode is a bit weak because Clunes just doesn’t seem pissed off enough. Still, here’s a repeat run to give us another chance to work out whether it’s actually any good.

BBC4

20.00 Sings The Beatles
21.00 Arena – The Brian Epstein Story
22.30 Lennon Naked
23.55 TOTP2

Apropos of nothing, it appears, a Beatles night, but there’s nothing you won’t have seen before if you’re a big fan of the shaggy one, the bonny one, the lovable one and the aggressive lovable one, as the Sunday Mirror so memorably described them when they got the MBE. The first show’s an interesting compilation, although tread carefully as it features Su Pollard singing Back In The USSR on The Laughter Show, while the latter is the Lennon special, which they only repeated the other week, and you’d have thought they might show the Macca special as well, which Mr McArtery was actually interviewed in. We think he was the bonny one, by the way.

THURSDAY 26th AUGUST

BBC Radio 2

20.00 Bee Gees – A Record Producers Special
21.00 Bee Gees In Concert

And if you can never tell these apart, Robin was the one who never had a beard, Maurice was the one who didn’t flounce off Clive Anderson and Barry was the lion. It’s a Bee Gee Bank Holiday on Radio 2, starting off with this. The first is a two parter, of which this first episode looks at the Gibbs’ stuff for their own records, including New York Mining Disaster 1941, surely the worst name for any song ever.

FRIDAY 27th AUGUST

BBC2

20.00 Mastermind
Hooray, it’s a Bank Holiday weekend and here’s John to get us in the mood. Among the subjects this week is To The Manor Born, which most people have probably forgotten was the Beeb’s big Christmas Day comedy in 2007. In fact that new episode meant it was no longer the only Beeb comedy show to be screened on Christmas Day just once, in 1979, with every other show getting that primest of prime slot appearing there at least twice. Now Gavin and Stacey holds that record, fact fans. Go on, John, ask them about that.

BBC4

21.00 The Swing Thing
22.30 I’m In A Rock’n’Roll Band
23.30 Fleetwood Mac – Don’t Stop

There must be some ace music programming coming up in the autumn given they seem to be clearing the decks somewhat and flinging out everything they can think of at the moment. So from the top is Brucie’s kind of music, the story of the mum guitar and Jeremy Spencer popping out for a cup of tea and never coming back. And on Yesterday at ten, Pop Goes The Sixties again! For heaven’s sake! There are loads of episodes in the Pops archive, why are you always showing the one that’s half in German.

That’s it for this week, but join us next week for some Bank Holiday fun – or at least our annual billing for the Edinburgh Military Tattoo – and the end of two massive long-running series. Why not find out if we have any stories about one of them other than the one we always do about Brian Wilde being a miserable bastard? If you want to see the results first, subscribe

That's about all from CREAMGUIDE. See you next week!
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