TV Cream

CREAMGUIDE: 28th August-3rd September 2010

Creamguide

Starland Vocal Band still suck

Hullo, and welcome to Creamguide for a Bank Holiday weekend, unless you’re in Scotland of course where it’s just a bog standard normal weekend. You’ll get everything we’re billing anyway, and there’s nothing work watching on Monday afternoon.

In fact, we have good news for Tim Lawton, who says, “I remember moaning about Creamguide becoming shorter and shorter once, and I think you said once that – shock – it would disappear altogether one day because there just wasn’t enough Creamy television on … err… television. I think with this episode of Creamguide we have reached a tipping point, one where we wish we could see Super Channel, with some housewife from London requesting Duran Duran’s Ordinary World every afternoon. Fifteen odd years later on we know. 200 channels and nothing on any of them.” Don’t worry, Tim, there’s loads on this week! Er, except two shows are last ever episodes, so we won’t be billing those again.

If you don’t like anything that’s on this week, though, why not head to www.tvcreamtest.co.uk where we’re delighted to announce the forum is back, so why not head there and vent your spleen. Or if it’s not suitable for mass consumption, email us at creamguide@tvcreamtest.co.uk. We also welcome out-of-office emails, where last week we broke a record for the most ever, a whopping nine. No wonder the country’s going to the dogs! Only joking.

SATURDAY 28th AUGUST

BBC2

20.30 Dad’s Army
There’s not much on Saturday, though, we admit. So instead here’s David Bridgman. “Thanks ever so much for mentioning the Protect & Survive films. I’ve now got that electronic jingle stuck in my head and I’ve suddenly been catapulted back to 1979. Any vivid mushroom-shaped nightmares and I’ll know who to blame. Anyway, one of the scariest PIFs I remember from childhood was a God-awful scary film about Fountains Abbey. Why the makers thought that overlaying a film of ruins and shadows with a soundtrack of monks chanting would endear th’Abbey to kids is anyone’s guess.”

BBC Radio 2

13.00 Pick of the Pops
1974 and 1987. Tim Worthington writes, “On the subject of Public Information Films, it has to be said that the ‘big hitters’ were always but naught in the scariness stakes compared to those abstract, not-all-that-clear-what-they-were-warning-about efforts that you only ever saw once or twice, usually when holidaying in another ITV region. For example, that one that related how ‘there were three of them, in a boat – Mac, his son ???, and ???’s friend Duncan’, but featured none of the named characters in shot throughout, concentrating instead on wobbly shots of storms, rocking boats and underwater bubbling, chillingly finishing on a shot of a calm sea and the news that Mac and ??? were both strong swimmers, but they never made it to shore. Except nobody else in the world appears ever to have seen this. And while we’re on the subject, did anyone ever figure out what was going on in that one with the boy apparently tightrope-walking over a train, to the consternation of a group of youngsters dramatically clasping their hands to their mouths?”

BBC Radio 4

20.00 Meeting Myself Coming Back
This is the latest in the series where famous people talk about old clippage of themselves, with Janet Street-Porter the subject. Apparently it was thanks to Pamela Stephenson taking the piss out of her that she decided to give up presenting and move behind the camera, although when Pam was doing her we’re not sure many people knew who she was because she was only on telly in London. Anyway, maybe there’ll be clips from Saturday Night People with Russell Harty and Clive James, which was a very fraught production because Russ hated Janet because he didn’t want a co-presenter, Russ hated Clive because he never learnt his lines and Janet hated Russ because he kept interrupting her, and all three of them had such big egos they demanded the camera was in different positions to get their best sides.

SUNDAY  29th AUGUST

BBC1

20.00 Last of the Summer Wine
And so here it is, the last episode ever, and although it wasn’t officially written as such, it is a bit special because Roy Clarke suspected they wouldn’t be coming back so pushed the boat out a bit, to the extent that Clegg even goes outside in it. Although it’s something of a shame to see it go, we assumed it was on its way out in the early nineties when it was moved to Fridays, which is all wrong, so we’re quite surprised it’s lasted as long as it did. Still, here’s your chance to say “Ooh, how long have they been in it?” as the likes of Kwouk, Abbot, Murphy, Hilda Ogden and Mick Off Brookie say their goodbyes.

ITV

22.15 Drama Trails
23.15 Comedy Classics

Duty Free for the latter. Speaking of which, Keith Miller writes in to say, “I’m taking a break from writing my memoirs of the birth of Doctor Who fandom (seriously!) as you seem to be William G Stewart fans. I thought you may like to know he gave my mate Cindy away at her wedding. In the absence of her dad, Cindy asked her old boss (she was a “hostess” on The Price is Right) if he would take her up the aisle and make wildly inappropriate jokes (just like that one) at the reception, which he duly did. It would be like having God at the top table. Speaking of which, as I was watching the news last night, I thought God, as depicted in the paintings and muriels of the Italian Renaissance, had attended the funeral of Jimmy Reid, but it turned out to be Billy Connolly. So I was right then.” Well, we used to be William G fans, Keith, but we saw him at the Bob Monkhouse thing at BAFTA last year and he split the audience with his stories about the darker side of Bob, which we didn’t really want to hear, at least not at a tribute where his daughter was in the audience. Also, he was talking at length to Liz Barker, which wasn’t fair as we wanted to strike up conversation with her.

BBC4

19.00 Arena – Blackpool
20.00 Fred Dibnah – Uncalled For Distractions
20.30 Blackpool on Film
22.30 Dream Town – A Brief Anatomy of Blackpool

The Tangerines’ arrival in the Premier League has provided hours and hours of entertainment for unimaginative sports journalists looking for colour pieces, but tonight BBC4 are celebrating what goes on away from Bloomfield Road. Three of these are repeats, the first from 1989, the second from 1994, and the Dibnah programme involves him going on holiday there in 1982. The new show is at half eight – it’s only half an hour long, the rest of the time is filled with the feature-length sequel to the series Blackpool, which you note is the one that doesn’t feature David Tennant – and is an intriguing complication of clippage, including Les Dawson on Comic Roots and, most excitingly for us, Stuart Hall on imperial phase Look North.

BBC Radio 4

13.30 Last of the Last of the Summer Wine
No tribute on the telly, apart from Songs of Praise in Holmfirth, but there is one of the radio. Of course in later years it became something of a running joke that every episode was the same, which is not entirely fair, although the ballooning cast didn’t help. It’s important to remember, though, that when it began it was a most unusual series, way more cerebral and thoughtful than its peers and originally post-watershed, and with its concentration on whimsical dialogue and extended scenes of not much happening, it perhaps has more in common with The Royle Family than Terry and June. And we got through all this without slagging off Brian Wilde.

MONDAY  30th AUGUST

BBC1

19.00 Edinburgh Military Tattoo
Unless you’re in Scotland where as we say it’s a normal working day so Reporting Scotland is full length and The One Show, which everyone else gets at half six, is delayed. Do you reckon that STV, the channel that’s committed to Scotland and is not showing all the big ITV dramas “to better serve the Scottish audience” is doing that, or just doing ten minutes of news and then flinging on You’ve Been Framed like everyone else? What do you think? Anyway, viewers in Scotland get this on Sunday teatime, and although we never watch it, it’s nice to see it’s still here, even if sadly Tom Fleming won’t be involved as he died recently.

BBC3

20.30 Great TV Mistakes
Well done to the Radio Times for choosing the worst picture of Robert Webb imaginable to illustrate this, and cropping it so ham-fistedly. This is the follow-up to the show on movies recently which turned out to be BBC3’s highest rated show for ages, even though it was two hours long, like this is. It’s not the Outtake TV-type of mistake but rather the continuity error we’re concentrating on, and it’s likely to be diverting enough if you’re desperately trying to avoid thinking about going back to work.

BBC4

21.00 In Their Own Words – British Novelists
This series has been running for a few weeks but it’s only now we’ve got into the Cream era, with clips of writers of the seventies and eighties talking about their work, and we include it as it features Selina Scott presenting the Booker Prize 1983, as seen on TV Hell of course. “Some wally” always brought that up, she used to moan, but rightly so. “I’m sorry, what’s your name?”

BBC Radio 2

10.00 UK’s Million Sellers
We’ve said it before but we always used to like the big Radio 1 chart of a Bank Holiday, with Kevin Greening counting down some marathon chart. It’s good to see Radio 2 have taken it up, although it’s not very inspired, as Ken Bruce and Tony Blackburn count down some rather over-familiar fare for seven hours. It’s like Simon Bates Solid Gold all over again.

17.00 Bee Gees
22.00 Bee Gees – A Record Producers Special

Some imaginative names for this Gibb-centric programming, especially the former, which tells us so much about what it entails. It’s actually Johnnie Walker interviewing Barry and Robin, then later it’s the second part of the programme which, if you’re reading this the minute it comes out, is starting now, this one concentrating on the Gibbs, producers for hire.

BBC Radio 4

12.02 Humph Celebration Concert
Actually, bad luck, Scotland, this is the most exciting Bank Holiday for ages. Don’t turn on at 12.03, you’ll be late, but this looks to be a suitably raucous and anarchic hour, with his son Stephen nominally “in charge”.

Why Don't YouTube?

A couple of letters to kick us off this week, firstly from Simon Tyers, who draws our attention to “the seeming appearance in the Can TOTP clip of Richard Beckinsale looking pensive at 3:08, far right of screen. Also in minutiae from last week, Tony Blackburn introducing ‘King Curtis’.” There’ll be more from Simon later.

Meanwhile, Vince Tennant-Tavares says, “Just finished reading your July edition (look, I’ve been busy, OK?) where Why Don’t YouTube bangs on about great TV news/political themes. I know you’re not based in the South East so you’ve probably never heard this, but it was Trevor Phillips’ (yes that one) finest hour.” That is great. Why can’t current affairs be that exciting these days? It’s only the Question Time music that’s any good, and that’s been chopped to about five seconds.

Onto this week’s clips, and it’s a slightly momentous occasion on September 9th, not that it’ll be mentioned on screen, as it’ll be 25 years since the arrival of Children’s BBC. As far as we’re concerned, that day in 1985 was a defining moment as Phil was so ace, and the whole concept – devised by the great Pat Hubbard and Bernard Newnham – was so ramshackle and appealing, that we were obsessed with it for ages.

Of course, ITV had branded all their kids output before that, but with its boring professionalism, pre-recorded links and constantly rotating presenters, we never much cared for it, and it wasn’t long before they were aping the CBBC formula, but with substantially less charm.

Still, it’s all intriguing enough and, while CBBC at the moment has a fairly faithful facsimile of the Broom Cupboard, it’s certainly not the low-tech spontaneous affair we grew to know and love. Hence this week we’re looking at some amusing bits of kids continuity, and don’t worry, Northern Irish subscribers, you’ll stay right until the end as well.

1

“THERE DOESN’T APPEAR TO BE MANY PROGRAMMES FOR CHILDREN!”
…but before all of that, we’ve been monitoring this for the last few weeks, and we’re pleased to report that the complete episode of John Craven’s Newsround from 1982 we were banging on about the other week is now working again. Or at least, it was last time we looked, and it’s sort of relevant so we’ll mention it here. It’s actually Tuesday 2nd November, around the time most kids would probably have got bored with Countdown and flipped back over.

 

2

“CAN CELT BE SPELT WITH A K?”
Anyway, onto the point, and invariably we have to start with Phil, and his various bits of business. We start here with Phil at ease, browsing through the Radio Times to announce a hideous line-up of You Should Be So Lucky and Treasure Houses, followed by a thrilling trailer for First Class, and then Fax were clearly attempts at a Game For A Laugh-style running down the stairs intro have been stymied by the fact there’s only two sets of stairs so Billy Butler has to hang on a bit. Then we move to 1st April 1987, where you’ll notice a slightly confusing reference to the Broom Cupboard, because initially it was only used to refer to this temporary tiny booth they sometimes had to decamp to, but was later retrospectively applied to the original room. Anyway, you will never get a TV presenter spending three minutes talking about his birthday presents today, and that’s a real shame.

 

3

“THE SCHOFIELD AND GOPHER SINGING PARTY!”
Well, you knew this one was coming, and look at all the views! Because it’s been on This Morning and everything, and rightly so as it’s the bit everyone remembers, and entirely down to Phil’s ingenuity, especially as he had to transcribe and photocopy it all himself. We know it all looks dead primitive now, with the mixing desk, but that was all part of the charm. Of course when Andy Crane took over, there was the inevitable follow-up, and here he is bellowing along to Willy Fogg. Sadly we don’t appear to have the day he was CSOd over the opening titles and acted them out, but we can live without that. Here’s another of Phil’s magical musical moments, when he was a trmoboner and there’s nothing funny about that, over Jonny Briggs.

 

4

“IF YOU’D LIKE TO SEE IT, IT’S IN THE RADIO TIMES!”
The first CBBC stand-in, of course, was the rather irritating Debbie Flint, who presented it for six weeks in the spring of 1986 while Phil did Take Two, though quite why a studio-based 25 minute show made up largely of clips took a whole week to film, we don’t know. Anyway, she was also in charge for some of the summer of 1986 when CBBC curiously relocated to the mornings and they bunged Heidi and Fame on in the afternoon, and here she is in a Proustian clip featuring two of the ultimate never ending CBBC series. Also filling in that summer, was this marvellous mullet. Er, and the man it was attached to.

 

5

“I THINK IT’LL GROW ON YOU!”
As Crane says himself, when Phil left in the summer of 1987, the nation’s kids were devastated, but despite seeming a bit of a comedown at the time, Crane did a decent enough job, certainly compared to his replacement. Here he is towards the end of his stint, trying to talk up the new Grange Hill theme tune (it won’t, Andy) and being generally likeable and amusing, but here’s the bit everyone remembers, Andy requesting, and receiving, carrot cake from the Blue Peter studio. Of course, if you lived in Northern Ireland at the time, this is the first chance you’ve got to find out if they did it or not. A great spontaneous telly moment, that. At that point Crane had cut down his appearances to three times a week, and soon after he legged it completely.

 

6

“WE’RE MARILLION, AND WE’RE GOING TO BE ON THE O ZONE TODAY!”
Now we know this looks like the shoddiest line-up ever, but we must point out that we were slap bang in the middle of the target audience at the time and But First This was terrifically exciting, especially because it went on until twelve o’clock. Back in 1988 we also thought this set, in which Andy and “Colin” “Heywood” are sat, was quite impressive, we really thought it was a proper garage with a real backdrop, despite the fact that even in YouTube’s poor resolution it’s blatantly obvious it’s just Pres A with a backdrop. We’d completely forgotten about Clive Griffin. Anyway, wake up, the internet, as here’s the first appearance of Flipper Forrester launching the summer holiday shows in 1990, when they started early for Scottish and Northern Irish kids. And eight weeks later here’s the last morning with various dull outtakes, the end of entirely inappropriate family drama Our House and The O Zone which had a copyright date even though it’s clearly just some videos whacked together for five minutes. And we used to find this whole thing thrilling because, as you can see, But First This had end credits like a proper programme. Oh, and here’s 1991, with Esther McVey MP, although we’d gone off it by then because it finished at eleven and not twelve. We know the last hour was rubbish, but still.

 

7

“SAUSAGES, BURGERS, WASPS”
Andi Peters did his best to turn us off CBBC though an era ended in 1994 when they moved out of the Broom Cupboard and into a proper studio, and even though that was the titchy Pres A it wasn’t the same, especially as Toby Anstis turned out to be even worse – less your big brother, more your little sister. Still, he had a good sendoff as he coincided his last day in 1995 with CBBC’s tenth anniversary, and they had a decent turnout in the links including Schofield and Crane, along with the great Chris Jarvis and Simeon Courtie who we used to like, and Dave Chapman on puppeteering duty of course. If you’d like to know more about this, visit the website. Don’t forget the two strokes!

 

8

“RALPH MCTELL, BUSTER BLOODVESSEL AND ROMAN HOLLIDAY!”
Although we found it confusing at the time, there is some intriguing Children’s ITV stuff on YouTube. It all started as Watch It! of course, but sadly a load of clips from the pre-recorded era have been made private, oddly. Still, here’s David Rappaport in 1983 with one of those weird links that didn’t have an ending so they could hold it for ages in case the next programme didn’t turn up. Plenty of other people took a turn, including boring old James Baker, Kevin The Gerbil and Gaz Top, in a clip we feature mainly because of How Dare You and its memorable theme tune. We remember even more the closing credits, with that VT clock for some reason. And yes, it’s Carrie Grant.

 

9

“IT’S MENTIONED IN THE TV TIMES!”
In 1987, ITV followed the Beeb and went live, although the studio was far too big for our liking. Gary Terzza and Debbie Shore were likeable enough, though, and here’s a rather nice ten minute excursion where they talk through every single programme of interest for children on ITV over Christmas 1987. And who would be a more appropriate guest for Children’s ITV than, of course, Hue and Cry, although they were appearing on Granada sketch show Stop That Laughing At The Back at the time, so they have some kids experience. After a year or so, though, Terzza and Shore were replaced by Mark Granger, and here he is being a bit of a berk in a Broom Cupboard-esque set, followed by Simon May’s theme heralding ITV’s Olympics coverage.

 

10

“I’M THE ONLY PUPIL AT PALACE HILL WHO STILL GETS 1940S PUNISHMENTS!”
In fact Andy Crane went up against four different Children’s ITV presenters, which emphasises how frantic the turnover was, especially when they contracted it out to independent production in 1989. Here’s the fourth, Jeanne Downs, introducing some skill shows in Round The Bend, basically Oink comic on the telly, and Palace Hill, featuring half the cast and crew of Dick and Dom (and Ian Kirkby with hair!). We’ve also got the end of that episode with a very faithful parody of the Grange Hill credits, possibly why they changed them. After that was Tommy Boyd, something of an acquired taste, we feel. Then, Steve Ryde’s vocal talents aside, it was all a bit barren, but we thank Simon Tyers for spotting this from 2000. Yes, it is Rory. A sneak preview of the next series of Doctor Who, perhaps?

TUESDAY  31st AUGUST

BBC1

16.35 Blue Peter
Well, they said they’d be back in August, and they weren’t lying, as the early finish for the last series is made up for with an early start to this one. You may recall that in the final show we weren’t told if there was going to be an expedition, but don’t worry, there was one, and it was to Italy, the first fruits of which we’ll see today. But we don’t think Helen’s going to be in the studio as she’s been covering the Youth Olympics in Singapore. We like how Blue Peter seems to be providing more or less all the sports presenters on TV these days. Either way she’ll be contributing, don’t worry.

ITV

21.00 The Bill
22.35 Farewell The Bill

The William (oh, we’ll miss that gag) has lasted longer than both Nock Green Dick and Z Cars, both of which were considered absolute anachronisms when they ended, so you can’t argue it’s not been a good run. Indeed, it’s perhaps intriguing to think how old some of the dramas on TV are these days, the likes of Heartbeat (we know that’s going too), Taggart, Casualty and even Silent Witness have been running for ages, we can’t think of a time where TV drama was made up of so many elderly brands. One less now, natch, and sadly it’s a long time since this could guarantee ITV huge audiences three times a week with its slick and well-crafted half hours of real life drama, with its soapified form in recent years alienating much of its fanbase, to the extent that we haven’t got a clue who’s in it at the moment. Where are Sylvia Young graduates going to go now?

BBC Radio 2

22.00 Happy Campers – The Story of Britain’s Holiday Camps
Creamguide never had the full-on holiday camp experience, the closest being a series of self-catering holidays in caravan parks where evening entertainment tended to consist of the occasional disco or singer, rather than the full-on Redcoat experience, while one of Creamguide’s grimmest childhood experiences was the several hours they spent in the waiting room at the doctors surgery at Haven in Exmouth when we got chicken pox (though we still carried on going on the water slides and everything, presumably passing it on to every other child at the park). Here’s Liza Tarbuck looking at the classic full board experience, speaking to the likes of Johnny Ball. Anyone here from Kent?

WEDNESDAY  1st SEPTEMBER

BBC1

16.35 Blue Peter
This is the last time we’ll see this show on Wednesdays, as from next week it shifts to Monday and Tuesday, and though we find the constant shuffling around of this series annoying – they should be a rock in our lives! – we’re happy with this because Blue Peter was on a Monday for over forty years and it does feel like its spiritual home. We’d ask for the second episode to move to Thursdays, but that’d mean these billings would be a week late and so even more useless.

BBC2

21.00 Alex Higgins – The People’s Champion
Perhaps the biggest surprise about the death of Hurricane Higgins was that he’d even managed to last that long, as he was in a terrible state for the last few years of his life. In fact his whole life is a rather tragic story, as we’ll learn in this tribute, though presumably there’ll also be time spent on his fabulous talents too.

00.20 Home Movie Roadshow Uncut
We stopped billing the Friday night edition of this in recent weeks as everyone seems to be annoyed by the fact they show as little of the films as possible to make way for endless jabbering about what we could be seeing if they shut up. But this late night version dispenses of the irrelevant Kirsty Wark, and Gareth Randall says, “Look past Jon P’twee signing autographs during a promotional appearance at a car dealership on the North Circular in 1975 and you’ll see signs for Green Shield stamps and a none-more-seventies Reliance Garage shopfront, and some cine footage from some seaside High Street in the early 80s has yet more period retail and a socking great closeup of someone wearing a McDonalds Happy Hat.” Why isn’t this the primetime show?

BBC Radio 2

22.00 Remembering Elvis with Priscilla Presley
There’s been so much stuff on this week we haven’t had time to go through more letters, so let’s take the opportunity to do so under the guise of billing this show which sounds exactly the programme that was on two weeks ago. So, Steve Yately? “I have no strong feelings about Why Don’t You, principally because I always took them pretty literally and Turned Off My Television Set And Went And Did Something Less Boring Instead. Never saw an episode all the way through. Fondest memories of holiday telly was the daily morning dose of thirties cliffhanger, Flash Gordon or Buck Rogers (Buster Crabbe whichever way you looked at it). Didn’t matter that the spaceships dangled on wires (with their rocket exhausts put-putting vertically upwards) or the monsters were bored iguanas with extra bits sellotaped on, cos you could run outside straight after and re-enact it almost perfectly – (particularly compliant pet cat sitting in for iguanas notwithstanding. The Mud-Men of Mongo really did give me the willies. Followed quite often by an old black and white Tarzan film – Buster Crabbe again, although more often than not the top man Johnny Weismuller.”

THURSDAY  2nd SEPTEMBER

BBC Radio 4

11.30 Penguin, Puffin and The Paperback Revolution
The telly’s gone a bit rubbish again now, so we’ll alight on this documentary celebrating 75 years of Penguin Books. We forget who it was who slagged off the cover design of airport novels, saying they all tried so hard with bold text and dramatic illustrations that the only book that would actually stand out was an old orange Penguin, but great though that was, we’re especially interested in this as it appears we’re getting mention of Puffin Books, of which Creamguide used to read about three a week.

FRIDAY  3rd SEPTEMBER

BBC2

20.00 Mastermind
Big changes on the ‘mind this series as the general knowledge round has now been extended to two and a half minutes, which we suppose we can’t argue with as it makes for an extra two minutes’ quizzing, and more questions we might be able to answer. However it does mean that we now have no chat about the subjects whatsoever – apart from when John announced Yes Minister, one of the subjects last week, was “a very funny series indeed” – and that’s a real shame as who wouldn’t want to hear John talking about Belle and Sebastian, the band not the series, who are under the spotlight tonight, as are Michael Palin’s travelogues.

BBC4

21.40 I’m In A Rock’n’Roll Band
22.40 Blondie – One Way Or Another
23.50 Pet Shop Boys at Glastonbury

This week TV Cream got its highest number of hits since we moved, thanks mostly to our Pet Shop Boys feature being tweeted by Neil and Chris themselves, so we highly recommend watching this performance again, even though it was only on the other week. As were the other two shows, the former about drummers.

Told you it was a big week. And next week it’s the new season, although that’s not quite as exciting as it used to be with a million new series starting at once. But if you want to know what is on – including a certain BBC4 quiz show – do join us, by subscribing via this page

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