TV Cream

CREAMGUIDE: 25th September-1st October 2010

Creamguide

Labour Telecom reforms!

Hullo and welcome to another edition of Creamguide, the listings guide that puts you in the spotlight. That’s because, as you may have noticed, the discussion that’s been raging in recent weeks about It Couldn’t Happen Here has now turned into its very own TVC page, to which you can continue the debate.

Nigel Fishwick has had a go, but says, “The only thing I’ve got is that the bi-plane sequences always remind me of the 1986 Motion Picture Event of the Season – Biggles: Adventures in Time. Peter Cushion never turned up in a PSB film to the best of my knowledge, though, so this is just a piss-poor attempt on my part to board the 1988 PSB zeitgeist nostalgia train.”

Never mind, though, as Nigel also says, “I just thought I’d share with fellow readers the exciting prospect that the Radio Times may be issuing a series of Christmas cards adorned with classic Christmas RT covers. This is according to the survey they sent me asking what I thought of the idea. Let’s hope the other respondents shared my enthusiasm and they get made, eh? Then we can all store them away carefully in a cupboard in case they’re worth something on eBay in a few years time. I voted no to the suggestion of a series of cards with Alison Graham’s face on the front, though.”

If you have anything you’d like to share with Creamguide, do let us know at creamguide@tvcreamtest.co.uk. Sadly we can’t offer you any Christmas cards, but we do have an exciting billing about the Labour leadership announcement, which is…

SATURDAY 25th SEPTEMBER

BBC2

16.30 Labour Leadership Announcement
…now. So what of previous political esoterica on television? We remember Blair being announced as leader on a Thursday lunchtime on BBC1, and even further back Kinnock was unveiled on a Sunday teatime, like now the day before the Conference. As for the Tories, we recall that when Hague took over, the Radio Times billed a programme for the result of the second ballot before the first had even taken place, clearly correctly presuming it would be a drawn-out affair, while when Major did his put-up-or-shut-up business, we recall it broke during Newsround, which was promptly faded out, while ITV couldn’t do a thing as they were showing England in the Rugby World Cup, and commentator John Taylor had to announce it (“Jack Rowle certainly not aware of that and neither are the players”). We doubt this one will go down in the annals, but any excuse to get Laura Kuenssberg on the telly again, we reckon. According to her Wikipedia page, “her presence was so ubiquitous in the period between the general election and the formation of a coalition government under David Cameron that journalist David Aaronovitch coined the term Kuenssbergovision”. Hmm, you can keep that one, Dave.

18.30 Dad’s Army
Anyway, enough politics, and more Nigel Fishwick (he sent us all this in one e-mail, by the way, he’s not just been constantly e-mailing us), who also says, “Just to drag up the summer again as we drift into autumn, nobody seemed to mention Beachcombers? Surely I’m not the only reader to remember this? It was seemingly on the telly every single holiday morning throughout my entire childhood although, despite this, my only memories of the programme are of the hypnotic titles featuring a flyover of millions of logs floating in a lake. Oh, and that one of the characters was called Relic.”

22.45 TOTP2
A new episode, of which all we knew until the other day was that it was a Schooldays Special, which led us to assume that it was just another eighties compilation. But no, in fact it is actually about school, which means the likes of Baggy Trousers and Just Say No, which is hardly any less predictable, but maybe something interesting will show up over the course of the hour. Why not just do it every week so we don’t have to shoehorn everything into categories?

ITV

16.15 The Unforgettable Jeremy Beadle
No namedropping this time, honest, but just to say this is a highly entertaining and rather moving documentary that rightfully pays tribute to an endlessly fascinating and generous man. Not enough Born Lucky, though.

21.00 Simply Red For The Last Time
Mick Hucknall has always been a rather curious figure, churning out increasingly dull records and coming across in interviews as a bit of a dick (and that ruby in his teeth never helped), but then he appeared in both KMKYWAP and Tony Ferrino, so he’s clearly happy to send himself up, and he runs that record label specialising in obscure reggae tracks. In any case, he’s stopping Simply Red completely – which given it’s mostly just him anyway hardly seems that big a deal – and so here he, sorry, they are doing their last ever telly special. And their first, yes.

BBC Radio 4

20.00 Open That Door – Gay Comedy In The Last Thirty Years
There was a documentary about this on telly a few years back which talked about how the comedy stars of the seventies, a la Frankie Howerd and Larry Grayson, were camp but definitely not gay, with Larry simply talking about how much he liked sitting at home in Nuneaton with his sister Fan drinking tea and watching telly. All that’s changed now, of course, and here’s Simon Fanshawe to explain how the current crop of gay comedians not only make no secret of their sexuality, but also don’t even think about the need to discuss it.

SUNDAY  26th SEPTEMBER

BBC4

19.00 A Time To Remember
19.30 Morning In The Streets
20.05 All Our Working Lives

We should have mentioned the first show last week as it’s the start of a series that looks at the history of the early part of the twentieth century, but from the perspective of the fifties, which is when the original interviews were carried out. This one’s about aviation and then it continues on Tuesdays. The middle is another outing for the film about life in Liverpool in 1959, and then it’s a repeat run of the eighties series that, according to Will Wyatt, virtually invented the social history series, and now updated to bring it right up to the present day.

21.35 Boys From The Black Stuff
And if we’re talking about the world of work, it’s a good enough excuse to bring this out for another run, however many times we may have seen it.

MONDAY  27th SEPTEMBER

BBC1

16.30 Blue Peter
So to the appeal, then, which follows the lead of last year of inviting the audience to actually make something rather than just collect. The aim is to design your own Christmas cards, albeit using a template you have to send off for, which will then be sold in Tesco to raise money to help children who need wheelchairs. Of course, it means that adults can’t join in – apart from buying the cards, of course – but at least it’s not a bring and buy sale and it’s engaging the audience, which is all to the good, and as we’ve seen, Blue Peter seems to be the one programme where the viewers actually go and do stuff after they’ve seen it.

Why Don't YouTube?

The other week we featured Armando Iannucci’s Viewers In Scotland Have Their Own Heaven sketch, which these days has become even more relevant thanks to STV’s ludicrous policy of dropping every single ITV drama to show crap films and imports, and not once admitting that this has only been done because they’re a bunch of cheapskates.

STV are clearly a bunch of idiots – funny how the giant Scottish Media Group that bought Virgin Radio and Ginger TV and made umpteen shows in London is now a tiny wee Scottish company being dumped on by nasty English ITV – but what’s going on in Scotland is something that used to happen all over the UK, albeit not at the utterly ridiculous level STV are currently pursuing. Hence this week we traverse the highways and byways of the nation and take a look at the wonders of regional opt-outs.

1

“WE’LL BE TALKING TO KIDS AND LOOKING AT THEIR PAINTINGS!”
Try and make it past the first thirty seconds here, however awful it seems. For reasons we’ve never been able to work out, Scottish school holidays are different to those in the rest of the UK, so there was a requirement for additional kids shows to replace the Test Card while they were off. Hence The Untied Shoelaces Show, helmed by Glasgow jock “Tiger” Tim Stevens, and the beginning of this episode from 1984 is absolutely horrifying, the most clichéd noisy kids show imaginable, with way too much shouting and jumping around. There’s also a fragment of Telepaint, the low-tech phone-in quiz, and a Mystery Guest competition with a bunch of kids who wisely aim low in guessing the kind of guest they could entice up. From the same episode, a slightly better quality version of the intro and a band you’ve never heard of, plus the end credits.

 

2

“YOU CAN HANDLE A BALLOON WITH A GREAT DEAL OF CONFIDENCE!”
Over at Cowcaddens, the giant STV kids show was Glen Michael’s Cavalcade. The Sassenach Creamguide was always puzzled about what this show entailed every time it was billed in Look-In, so made sure they caught it while on holiday in Ayr, only to discover it was basically a slightly duller version of Rolf Harris Cartoon Time, with Glen introducing cheap cartoons and talking to children who could play the xylophone. In Scotland, though, it was a giant show, because it was proudly and obviously Scottish (apart from all the bits featuring American cartoons, of course, and the fact Glen himself was English). We believe this full episode comes from very near the end of its marathon run in 1993, and it all seems very odd to us, especially as part two features a long bit about England. Here’s something a bit more Scottish, Victor and Barry plugging their panto. Course, if STV were opting out for this now, that would be fine.

 

3

“WE’RE GOING TO BE MEETING TWO FIFTEEN YEAR OLD GIRLS WHO ARE MEMBERS OF AN EXCITING NEW POP GROUP!”
Of course, Scotland didn’t have a monopoly on shoddy local kids shows. Here’s Hey Look That’s Me, which started off as a local show and then became a very rare network production for BBC Southampton. We’re not entirely sure what kids from outside the South made of it, and it must have been a bit confusing that none of the kids seemed to come from anywhere further North than Chatham, but it’s nice to see the regions punching above their weight, even it involved the rather irritating Chris Harris. Oh, and this clip, and the end credits have been nicked off TV Ark, so do watch it on there as well or they’ll cry.

 

4

“IT’S A BIT SMALL TO SHOW ON THE TELEVISION!”
Was there ever a more famous regional kids personality than Gus Honeybun? He was even parodied on Victoria Wood, and was so important he was one of the few employees to transfer from Westward to TSW. Here he is giving out bunny hops and so forth in 1987 and yes, it all looks a bit primitive and rubbish, but they were simpler times. Gus was so famous in the South West he even had his own song, here accompanied by a promotional film that took up 90% of TSW’s programme budget for the year. Sadly, even this couldn’t retain their franchise, and after they knew they were on the way out, anything went, as this shambolic affair proves. Three announcers! Anglia had a birthday puppet too, but he was no Gus.

 

5

“TELEVISION SIMPLY WONDERFUL!”
We’re going to stick with TSW for a bit because it’s a fascinating station, with its weird scheduling – Home and Away at 3.27pm, the Children’s ITV opt-outs, not showing The Black Hole – and curious network productions like That’s My Dog, let alone its demented logo that nobody can understand. In fact there seems to be a surprisingly large percentage of people talking about old telly on the internet from the South West, we think probably thanks to TSW’s rather bizarre output. You’ll have seen bits of this opening night extravaganza on TV Hell, but this is a longer version including some hilariously urgent graphics and a tantalising cast list – Spike Milligan, Dickie Davies and Classix Nouveaux, together at last! Anyway, it got a bit better, and at least they signed off with a smile.

 

6

“TOMORROW NIGHT’S MOVE PRESENTATION HERE ON UTV!”
TSW were nuts on in-vision continuity, as indeed were many stations in the seventies and eighties, but one part of the UK still does it, presumably much to the surprise of any visitors to Northern Ireland. It’s UTV, where Julian Simmons is in charge, and here he is linking into a typically repetitive pre-watershed line-up in 2008. There’s even scope for whimsy like this.

 

7

“FIVE THOUSAND INDIV… INDIVIDUAL RATIONS!”
Not quite as whimsical, this, but intriguing enough, here’s Jenni Murray, of all people, introducing in total nine minutes of an episode of South Today from June 1982. As TVC’s Simon Tyers points out, listen for the stumble at 0:48 in part one. Was the edit suite booked?

 

8

“BBC NORTH EAST 10, STUDIO TECHNOLOGICAL GREMLINS 0!”
That’s all a bit posh and Southern for our liking, though, so let’s head up to the North East and the mighty Mike Neville, a giant of regional broadcasting thanks to the three decades he spent helming Look North. Mike had a formidable reputation for dealing with cock-ups, although that’s not surprising given that, until 1988, BBC Newcastle were based in surely the most primitive facilities the Beeb could offer, where the entire building was apparently smaller than Studio 1 at TV Centre. But that year they moved to the Pink Palace and here’s Mike and the gang’s house warming celebrations on the first Look North in their plush new surroundings. That’s a bloody awful logo, though.

 

9

“SHALL WE GO TO THE PARK, I FANCY A GO ON THE SWINGS!”
For Creamguide, though, home is Granadaland, and here’s a brilliant clip featuring two much-missed North West icons. The sound’s a bit crappy but stick with it and you’ll see Tony Wilson, the video news jockey himself with his mate Richard, introducing a report on the musical exploits of the great Frank Sidebottom.

 

10

“A MAN WHOSE BOTTOM HALF HAS NEVER BEEN SEEN ON YOUR SCREENS!”
Finally, quite the worst thing on the internet is the final broadcast from Southern Television, who gracelessly legged it on New Year’s Eve 1981 with an utterly unpleasant and bitter hour, hurling abuse at TVS for having the indecency to land their franchise, never mind the fact Southern originally sent in their application for renewal on the back of a fag packet. Not included is Richard Stilgoe’s Portakabin TV song, but you can hear it here, courtesy of Friend Of TV Cream Applemask, with a nice picture of Richard to go with it.

TUESDAY  28th SEPTEMBER

BBC1

16.30 Blue Peter
The good thing about the new scheduling here is that even if we end up billing both episodes next to each other due to a lack of any other programming, they now have the bit in the middle in between them, so it doesn’t look like we’re just talking about Blue Peter. Which we are. Actually the show that launched the appeal was a bit of a textbook edition, all told, because as well as a feature explaining how they’d filled the garden with fake snow – and they’ve still not presented a single episode of this series from the studio, no doubt because they have to pay to use the studio out of the budget while the garden is free so they may as well make the most of it – but also went behind the scenes of the photoshoot for the cover of the book, which is always worth doing. OK, so they incorrectly referred to it as an annual throughout, but it was still good fun.

BBC4

21.00 The Born Free Legacy
“As free as the wiiiiind blooows! As free as Gooood knoooows!” And, er, so forth, as Vic Reeves and The Roman Numerals put it. It’s fifty years since George and Joy Adamson’s book was first published, which in a way first invented the concept of celebrity natural history which we now see all over the telly, although it wasn’t without its controversy as the pair were accused of interfering with nature. The likes of David Attenborough and Desmond Morris will put the case for and against here.

BBC Radio 2

22.00 The John Bonham Story
Our favourite drummer is probably John Dummer from Darts, because a) his surname sounds almost exactly like his job, and b) he formed the band despite being the drummer. Drummers have never really got their due in rock, forever being the butt of jokes, but John Bonham certainly deserves the credit, not just for being bloody good at it but also being the epitome of the live-fast-die-young rock approach to life, as this documentary will explain.

WEDNESDAY  29th SEPTEMBER

Sky Arts 1

20.00 Best of The Tube
We billed this the other month but we don’t think it ever actually appeared, but whatever problem there was has seemingly been ironed out and it’s here now, stripped every day this week at eight – as of Monday, but billed today as there’s nothing else on. As we said last time, these are the compilations they made in 1995 with links from Jools and Paula which are amusing enough, especially the episode where Paula complains she’s not in it enough. We don’t suppose they show the one with Gary Glitter in anymore, but at least there isn’t, as Terry Christian once suggested was the show’s entire output, “hours and hours of fucking Phil Collins”.

THURSDAY  30th SEPTEMBER

BBC Radio 2

20.00 Mark Radcliffe and Stuart Maconie
This is also on all week, including here on Thursday, where they haven’t been for the last few months, so that’s big news in itself. It’s a follow-up to last year’s jaunt where they traversed Hadrian’s Wall during the day and did their show from a nearby venue at night, only this time they’re at the other end of the country and walking the Jurassic Coast, before the Radio 2 Roadshow belts out the hits in various venues in the South West.

FRIDAY  1st OCTOBER

BBC1

20.30 QI
We have very much enjoyed the most recent series of Would I Lie To You, which we reckon has been the funniest thing on telly for the last few months. Mitchell, Mack and Brydon make for a brilliant team and everyone seems to be having a wonderful time, so let’s hope it runs and runs. David Mitchell’s on here tonight, making up a brilliant panel with Danny Baker and Sean Lock. We have no idea why Sean Lock is still appearing on 8 Out Of 10 Cats, by the way, with its utterly contrived format and hopeless guest choices, but we’re so pleased he is as he’s the best thing on it by absolutely miles.

BBC2

20.00 Mastermind
Shaun The Brief won this series a few years back answering football questions all the way, so it’s no surprise that someone else has decided to follow his lead and take on the World Cup Final as their subject tonight, while there’s also U2 and Alan Bennett.

BBC4

21.00 Singer Songwriters at the BBC
We’ve had plenty of James Taylor on Friday night BBC4 recently, so there’s no harm in featuring him again in this compilation, the first of four. We think it’s going to run in chronological order, but invariably it starts with the golden age of laid-back adult contemporary music, the early seventies, with Harry Nilsson, Cat Stevens, Al Green sweating out all the water in his body and, perhaps a little out of place, Gilbert O’Sullivan.

We wonder what Radio Times covers they’d use for those Christmas cards. We’re guessing those mid-eighties shots of Only Fools and ‘stEnders probably won’t be included, but we wouldn’t mind seeing Mike Yarwood doing his And This Is Me face from behind a Santa beard from 1978 on our mantelpiece. We’re back next week, and if you want to subscribe, click here

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