TV Cream

CREAMGUIDE: 29th January-4th February 2011

In which much banter will be passed between us

Hullo, it’s Creamguide time again, and first of all we’d like to make an apology, because there are no dark forces preventing us from doing so. So, as Tony Hughes and David Smith rightly pointed out, Eric Morecambe chops up grapefruit in the Morecambe and Wise stripper sketch, and not lemons as we inexplicably suggested last week, because you have grapefruit for breakfast, not lemons. David does say, though, “From what I do remember, you’re right – he chops one of them to a ratio of something like one-fifth to four-fifths, doesn’t he? Then again, they were probably on to about the 57th take by then, so I guess he could have been forgiven for flagging somewhat.” Tony also complains about us not mentioning Kathy Pitkin in our Eldorado coverage, as “Sandra Sandri aside, ‘twas the main reason I watched that wretched show.”

If there’s a cock-up in this week’s Creamguide, do let us know at we’ll apologise forthwith rather than blame everyone else in the world. And now the billings.



18.00 Are You Being Served?
18.30 The Story of Are You Being Served?

A repeat from 1977, then one from 2010. Last week we asked for your reminisces of Creamy cinema experiences of your childhood, and Christopher Waugh says, “I grew up in the seaside part of Edinburgh, Portobello. Our cinema was the called The George, named I think in a fit of patriotism when it was built in the thirties. When the curtains closed they had tropical fish on them so it looked like a fish tank. We went to the Saturday kids’ matinee which cost 5p to get in and showed James Bond, Matt Helm or John Wayne films but showed previews for films coming to the regular cinema which were not totally suitable for the audience watching at the time such as Dracula AD72. And if there were any love scenes everyone booed and if there were fight scenes – on the screen but occasionally in the aisles – everyone cheered and stamped their feet. And then it was a mad dash to get home in time for tea and Doctor Who!”

19.30 Dad’s Army
Meanwhile, Tim Bowling writes, “My memories of childhood cinemas revolved round several splendid establishments. The first was the Majestic in Reigate. I have fond memories of queuing up to see Empire Strikes Back with my dad, purchasing tickets for the Circle (always preferred those seats to the Stalls), managing to persuade my dad to also buy some sweets and one of those still drinks that came in a plastic see-through container that you burst the straw with and some Butterkist. There was no lift upstairs but instead some imperial stairs covered in a very aristocratic carpet which swept up to the Circle seats. It was a lovely old cinema, always with the Pearl and Dean adverts and ice creams after the adverts and before the main show. When it closed down I was gutted and even more so when the whole building was pulled down for redevelopment. I was forced to move my cinematic allegiances to the ABC in Crawley, also known as the Embassy. By today’s standards this was a very quaint cinema and rather charming – however in those days the lack of choice between stalls and circle was not to my liking. There were rumours throughout the eighties that a “video cinema”, whatever that was, would reopen on the site of the old Majestic in Reigate. Eventually a cinema did reopen on the site – the Screen – in 1988. It was a scaled down version of the Majestic and has two small screens – however even now they offer ice creams at half time, the manager often comes in to talk about the film before the performance starts and there is an upstairs bar – a great antidote to the huge multi-screens we have now. I well remember bunking off school sixth form games in 1988 and watching Who Framed Roger Rabbit, only to fall asleep halfway through and have to bunk off again the next week to see the end.” Do keep these coming.

BBC Radio 2

13.00 Pick of the Pops
1966 and 1977 here, but that pales into insignificance beside the facts that a) it’s Tone’s birthday, which has been mentioned in the press release so we thought we’d mention it here, and b) the programme will now be broadcast live. To be honest we’re not sure what difference that’ll make to a series based entirely around old records with a fixed format, but it might add a bit of life to it. Our present for Tone on his birthday is, in the spirit of the week, an apology. Chris Hughes says, “I fear I may have inadvertently contributed an error to Creamguide, namely an anecdote I once peddled on TV Cream regarding Tony Blackburn sounding surprised on the Radio 1 Top 40 show when The Model by Kraftwerk got to number one in 1982. While I do vividly remember listening to that particular edition (on an ace little Philips radio I’d got for Christmas), it couldn’t have been Tone, as he’d left the show at the end of 1981. So it must have been Tommy Vance sounding surprised, and to be honest, now I’m frankly doubting whether he even did that.” So, sorry, Tone. We would have apologised last week but those pesky dark forces got in the way.



21.00 Terry Wogan’s Ireland
And just time for another apology (that ought to hold those SOBs!) as last week we said this show wasn’t going to featured Northern Ireland, and in fact it is. So the title is technically inaccurate, but we’re pleased to see Tel bringing his unique brand of wit and whimsy to both sides of the border.


19.00 The Funny Side of TV Talent
Looks like we’re getting a complete repeat run of this series, which is all to the good, though to keep us on our toes it’s not in the same order as the original run. Plenty of Op Knocks and New Faces here, anyway, and never mind Tony Hatch and Arthur Askey, what was Shaw Taylor’s qualification for appearing on the New Faces panel? Did he do the criminal records check?



16.30 Blue Peter
Barney’s certainly settled in well, although we wonder if he might be a bit too good, with his film on street luge – as seen on Famous and Fearless the other week, or rather not seen as nobody watched it – featuring him picking it up immediately, taking part in a race without falling off or anything and then saying how much he enjoyed it. Still we suppose, compared to Joel’s wimpishness, it’s nice to add something different to mix, and we did like his aside that he knew the envelope containing his next challenge – the old favourite army assault course we’ll see this week – was going to have something horrible in it as it had its own camera shot.

BBC Radio 4

15.45 The Five Ages of Brandreth
Ooh, there’s a title that stops you in your tracks. We’ve pondered before when it was that Gyles went from being barely tolerated to almost being loved, but certainly these days he’s become a much more welcome presence thanks to his enthusiasm for his passions and willingness to send himself up. He’s also kept a diary for half a century and every day this week we’ll hear bits from it, a decade at a time. We’ll come back to this.

The Time Tunnel

It’s the oldest year we’ve picked – at random, natch – for The Time Tunnel so far, although we’ve yet to venture into the sixties just yet. We’re already getting a bit nervous about tackling a year where they still use imperial currency, to be honest.

  • FA CUP WINNERS: Chelsea
  • CHRISTMAS NUMBER ONE: Dave Edmunds – I Hear You Knocking
  • UK EUROVISION ENTRY: Mary Hopkin – Knock Knock Who’s There
  • BLUE PETER TEAM: Val, John and Pete
  • DOCTOR WHO: Dr Who Jon P’twee

    New thrill!

    THE GOODIES (1970-80)
    Bill Oddie, Tim Brooke Taylor and Graeme Garden had been knocking around the fringe comedy scene throughout the late sixties, with their biggest exposure being the spoof educational show Broaden Your Mind. This featured a lot of visual effects and slapstick, a genre they were particularly interested in, and so they pitched a new show to the Beeb originally known as Narrow Your Mind. In the end it became The Goodies with a simple format which allowed the trandem-riding trip to spin off in all kinds of interesting directions. We all know about the “kid’s programme” jibes, but it’s true to say that in the first few years the Beeb simply didn’t know what to do with it, with the show flitting around from teatime to late nights – with The Goodies And The Beanstalk going out in that prime slot of 5.15, and innocuous episodes like Superstar being considered unsuitable and shoved out after ten o’clock. By the end of the decade they were at last established at nine o’clock and hugely popular both on TV and on record, but by 1980 they were showing their age a little, although it was still a shock when they left the Beeb that year, after they told them they’d spent all their comedy budget for the year on Hitch-Hiker’s, and went off to ITV for a series that had some good moments – subverting some of the conventions of the Beeb shows – but nobody’s heart seemed in it, let alone ITV’s. Since then, of course, there have been virtually no repeats or video releases (though there has been The Complete Goodies by Robert Ross, the most irritatingly written book of all time, with the writer seemingly keener to impress on the reader his friendship with Tim Brooke-Taylor then tell them anything about the bloody programme), but we did get those showings at midnight on BBC2 over Christmas. And of course, Bill was your favourite when you were young, Graeme’s your favourite now.

    Old thrill!

    NOT ONLY BUT ALSO (1965-70)
    Originally intended just as a vehicle for Dudley Moore, Dud got his mate Pete in to help him and quickly became one of the most famous comedy double acts ever. Pythonesque before Python was invented, Not Only But Also was, basically, a relentlessly silly programme, with the opening titles seeing the show’s name placed in a series of ludicrous locations (like on the Ark Royal), as well as sketches that went on for ages and didn’t have a punchline. Everyone knows “the trouble is, neither have you” and “you enjoying those sandwiches”, but there was loads of other great stuff, including Pete explaining to his son Dud how he came to be born after he sat on a chair recently vacated by his mother, though he was keen to point out it wouldn’t happen when the cat sat on the chair (“you’re not married – not to the cat, in any case”). After two series it seemed to have come to an end and Pete and Dud did other stuff, including some not very good shows for ATV that Lew Grade tried to flog abroad, but they were back at the Beeb in 1970 for one more run, this time in colour. Here, they managed to invent both Whose Line Is Anyway and Tiswas with a slot called Poets Cornered, where their comedy mates were challenged to ad-lib on the spot or get gunged if they weren’t funny enough. The Beeb famously wiped them the instant they were broadcast and wouldn’t even run off a copy for Pete’s mum, even when he volunteered to buy them a new tape to replace it, and in recent years all the repeats seems to have dropped at last minute for boring contractual reasons. But it was a seminal series, despite the fact we only ever see the same two sketches.

    Everyone’s talking about…

  • COLOUR! The move over from monochrome continued apace during the year, with the lower priority series making the switch. Blue Peter hung on for a while as Biddy thought it was a waste of money, but finally did so in September when the Beeb upped her budget. However…
  • THE COLOUR STRIKE! Some time-honoured wrangling with technicians over dealing with the new equipment led to all ITV programmes reverting back to boring black and white for four months starting in November, with such iconic moments as Val Barlow’s electrocution taking place during the dispute.
  • THE POWER WORKERS’ STRIKE! Another strike earlier in the year is only memorable because Lord Bob announced the end of it on The Golden Shot, after walking onto a pitch black set with a candle.
  • THE NINE O’CLOCK NEWS! After seeing the success of News at Ten, the Beeb decided to shift their main bulletin from 8.50 to the top of the hour, and rebrand it with permanent presenters – Baker, Kendall and Dougall – and a horrible set which the newsreaders hated as they were surrounded by “lavatorial looking carpet tiles” and had a desk that was too small to put anything on, let alone the fact they were almost forced to wear a badge with the logo on it.
  • THE ELECTION! Repeated umpteen times on BBC Parliament, this election was ace fun, with Bob McKenzie’s swingometer being extended live on air, Cliff Michelmore keeping us up to date with the price of strawberries and Alan Watson telling us about the tallest man in the Commons. “Just a moment, the phone’s ringing!”
  • THE WORLD CUP! ITV’s finest hour, although for all the talk about “inventing” the panel, there was one on the Beeb too, and a massive one with a dozen pundits all sat in two rows of swivel chairs. But ITV’s small team of regulars captured the nation’s imagination, being mobbed by randy old ladies when they went shopping. “Because we play against peasants, people who play football in primitive ways!”


    There aren’t many Cream-related deaths to report in these early years as all the people were famous way before the Cream era. Nevertheless, we can report the deaths of Sonny Liston, Gypsy Rose Lee, Charles de Gaulle and John Paddy Carstairs, as well as Cuddly Ken’s inspiration Edward Everett Horton and Iain Macleod, who was Chancellor for a month before dying in office.

    Show of the year

    “This is a good conditioning course for Vietnam!” In the seventies, Miss World was always the biggest show on telly, not just in Britain, but also around the world, although given Paul Burnett presented it one year, we’re not quite sure how important it really was. In any case, the most memorable show of all – apart from 1979 when it was interrupted by a strike – is most probably 1970, when it was held at the Royal Albert Hall, although quite why they did it there, or indeed any TV show, we don’t know as it always comes across on the screen as a terribly echoey and impractical venue. Bob Hope was the special guest but, judging by the clips, appeared to be dying on his arse a bit before his act was interrupted by flour bombs and a general racket from protestors, who weren’t just complaining about the obvious problems but also the appearance of both “South Africa” and “Africa South” competitors, one black, one white. As one of the most watched shows of the year, the protest was big news, although it seemingly failed to change many minds as it was a telly fixture for another two decades. But remember, as Brucie says, it’s not sexist because they do Mister World as well. Even though nobody’s ever seen that.

    Let’s go there now!

    Not much continuity or news still exists from 1970, but there is some Pops. This episode is here in black and white, although they have colourised it recently and this sequence was online in colour for a bit, but it’s gone now. In any case, original colour footage already existed of some of the performances from this episode, including this ace Jethro Tull performance, which really amused us when we first saw it on Sounds of the Seventies. Whenever it’s on TOTP2, they always show the tatty black and white copy, which is apparently as the colour version exists at the BFI, but why they don’t just take it off Sounds of the Seventies, we don’t know. Anyway, the following week also exists, again in monochrome. We do have some colour footage, like this, but we don’t approve as they should be giving these things to the Beeb, not sticking DOGs all over them and anonymously posting them on YouTube, the bastards.



    16.30 Blue Peter
    So basically, to avoid the confusion, Barney the dog is now always referred to as, well, Barney The Dog, but happily he’s not quietly being phased out as they’re celebrating his birthday today. And to be honest, it’s quite refreshing to have a series where two participants have the same name because you don’t get that often enough on telly – someone said the other week that The Archers is completely unrealistic because no real village has no two people with the same first name.


    22.00 How TV Ruined Your Life
    “Thanks Steve! Don’t make any more films!” So basically this is Screenwipe But With Old Clips, but that’s not a problem at all, especially when you get parodies of Ludwig, which all of a dozen people would have got, and with Jon Glover doing the voice to boot, and then Kevin Eldon turning up who is never less than brilliant. This one’s about relationships, it says here.


    20.00 The Betty Driver Story
    Betty Driver’s career has been so long she actually came out of retirement to join Coronation Street, and that was forty years ago. Before that she’d worked the music halls and variety theatres, and now she’s ninety so it’s the ideal opportunity to celebrate her life and career.



    19.30 The Unforgettable Les Dawson
    “Last Christmas I bought the wife’s mother a very expensive chair. That’s why I was annoyed it fused when I plugged it in.” This is from the original run of this series, which was repeated over and over again for the last decade, but that’s no problem when it’s someone like Les, forever brilliant while giving away the Blankety Blaaaank… (claps hands, stamps foot) chequebookandpen! He must put a roof on that lavatory.


    BBC Radio 4

    15.45 The Five Ages of Brandreth
    There’s nothing else on today, so we could have billed Ten O’Clock Live again, because we found the first episode promising and we’re certain it’s going to get loads better when they find their feet and Lauren gets something to other than that shitty sketch. Instead, though, we’re going to rejoin Gyles as he’s now reached the eighties and that means endless spells on the TV-am sofa, which we always enjoy hearing about, especially so now given he spent a lot of time with face of the week, Richard Keys. We don’t suppose Gyles smashed it.



    20.00 Mastermind
    Actually as far as we’re concerned the worst bit about the departure of Keys and Gray from Sky Sports is not the disappearance of two rather unpleasant individuals, but the fact we’ve now got to watch that bloody channel for the next few weeks while everyone smiles bravely and acts completely as normal, while ignoring the elephant in the room, and it’s going to be buttock-clenchingly embarrassing, like whenever the latest Big Breakfast presenter had been kicked off. And it’s probably spelt the end for The Sky Sports Years, a series we’ve been enjoying, as those two bellends are all over it. Anyway, over here there’s questions on The Avengers and the London Underground, about which you can find everything you need to know here.


    21.00 Peter Green – Man of The World
    22.30 Fleetwood Mac – Don’t Stop

    Almost went a week without billing anything on BBC4, which can’t happen, but happily it’s sneaked in right at the end, albeit with two rather dull repeats. We’ve said before how fascinating we find the early days of the ‘Mac – Jeremy Spencer pops out for a cup of tea and is never seen again, all that – and we’ve always had a soft spot for the titular song mentioned above, but despite all the marriage break-ups and drink and drugs they do seem to appear a spectacularly boring band. Even the famous one from the Formula One goes on forever before it gets to the good bit, let alone the fact it’s then followed by boring Formula One, and we’ve always preferred the cover of Oh Well by, well, Oh Well.

    That’s it for this week and, unless we get caught out on YouTube in the next seven days, we should be back here next week. If you want to be a part of that when it’s published, subscribe here

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