TV Cream

CREAMGUIDE: 4th-10th September 2010

Creamguide

It’s the new season on TVC!

Hullo and welcome to Creamguide for the first week of September, which always used to be exciting for telly fans because it was indeed the start of the new season, and the three months of non-stop repeats would be superseded by hundreds of new series. Those were the days when you had no idea what would be in the Radio Times before you opened it, too, and we remember being amazed in 1991 when the new series of The Russ Abbott Show was flung out on Fridays, and we immediately decided Russ was down the dumper. Which he was.

We don’t get that excitement these days, alas, as this week is much like any other, but then we don’t get three months of non-stop repeats anymore either, so swings and roundabouts. However the New Season on TV Cream does include the return of the forum, so don’t forget to join the conversation at www.tvcreamtest.co.uk, or you can e-mail us at creamguide@tvcreamtest.co.uk. We’ll be waiting for your calls.

SATURDAY 4th SEPTEMBER

BBC1

17.50 Outtake TV
First in the postbag this week in Tim Worthington, who says, “Off on yet another even wilder William G. Stewart-related tangent, Keith Miller’s anecdote about his pal Cindy from The Price Is Right… presumably this is also the same Cindy from The Price Is Right who played Donna in what was actually shown of Hardwicke House?” We’re almost certain, and we’re also sure that it’s the Cindy whose house a chum of Creamguide visited a few years back to write a feature for one of those local magazines you find in dentists’ waiting rooms. What a small world this is. However our friend did not ask her if she had copies of those untransmitted episodes, and we no longer have her address. Keith?

BBC2

16.40 Dad’s Army
Now summer’s over we’ll probably stop the PIF discussion, unless you send us something amusing. Brian Sutherland has, and he says, “The only PIF that really sticks with me is the be-anoraked seventies tyke climbing into the electricity sub-station to get his frisbee back. Predictably disastrous results but a strangely satisfying electric *snap* noise. Perhaps there were flames at some point, as to prove the failure of the film my mates and I were inspired to throw things into our local sub-station to see if they caught fire. You should see me with a wet paint sign.”

CHANNEL 4

22.00 My Favourite Year
They’ll be doing I Love 2000 nex… oh. Clip shows are back on Saturday nights! And that’s not an altogether bad thing because, back in 2000, I Love and especially Top Ten really were excellent series, and it was only thanks to daft scheduling, when they showed them at the same time for a few weeks, which led people to accuse them of overexposure. This isn’t I Love or Top Ten, but rather a new format in which a particular twelve months are scrutinised with clips and anecdotes, but this time in front of an audience with a host and special guests. In fact it sounds a bit like those Trouble With The Fifties/Sixties/Seventies things Mike Aspel used to do on ITV. Rufus Hound’s in charge of the first one and 2000 is indeed the year in question, but though we like Hound this sounds a bit dull because the past just doesn’t seem as far away as it used to, and also depressing because we were writing about all the stuff they featured when it first went out.

ITV4

14.50 The Sweeney
Included here purely on the suggestion of Martin Reagan, who says, “Just wondered why you don’t bill The Sweeney in your excellent publication? This week’s episode was a particularly Creamy one, featuring Roy Kinnear as a baddie (but he did the right thing in the end), the little bloke from Rutland Weekend Television (and I think he played a gangster in an episode of Steptoe too) playing the mate of a grass, and the chief slaaaaag was played by a bloke whose name I don’t know but he was in the much underrated 1975 film Flame, which starred Slade alongside Tom Conti and Alan Lake. Also in this week’s episode were cracking mid-seventies shots of the inside of a London football ground (QPR I assume as the colours were primarily blue and white and the stands were almost on top of the pitch) in the days when grounds were all individual and had a bit of history and charm about them, unlike today’s sterile flat-pack jobs.”

BBC Radio 4

20.00 Barbara
When we first saw The Worm That Turned on The Two Ronnies we never really understood the joke about the HQ of the new female leaders being called Barbara Castle, we just thought it was a silly name. But she was, of course, according to Harold Wilson “the best cabinet minister I had bar none”, so well worth the biographical treatment.

SUNDAY  5thSEPTEMBER

ITV

23.15 Comedy Classics
The New Statesmen here, while in the postbag it’s Emma Williams, who says, “You mentioned that you had chicken pox while you were staying at Haven in Exmouth. You seem to have got off very lightly. In the late seventies, we were at Butlins at Minehead, and my little sister was diagnosed with measles halfway through the holiday. It was made clear to my parents that as an unclean family we were no longer welcome at the holiday park and we were sent packing immediately. However, my brother had got through to the final of the donkey derby, and was already threatening to murder my sister for ruining the holiday, so we lurked unnoticed until the donkey derby final (which he lost) and then beat a hasty retreat for the five hour journey home in the high heat of summer, with my sis lying on my mum’s lap in the front seat of the car, being dosed up with paracetamol and coke (it was the only way she would take it and she had a very high temperature). My brother – forty next year – has never forgiven my sister for our ruined holiday.”

BBC4

19.30 Life With Fred
20.00 Last of the Summer Wine
20.30 The Yorkshire Dales On Film

Another part of Britain gets the BBC4 treatment, although the schedule is very similar to last week, with Fred Dibnah and then, later, a compilation of clippage. The Blackpool programme was good fun, not least for the seventies clip of Colin Welland slagging off the new buildings on the pier – “These have just been flung up!” – to the Mayor, who said nobody wanted to see Victorian buildings anymore, and one of them had a tree in it, for some reason. In between, the repeats start here, and if this were Friends it’d be called The One With The Tin Bath. Yes, there was only one.

Gold

19.00 Victoria Wood As Seen On TV
20.20 Victoria Wood
21.00 Victoria Wood’s All Day Breakfast

It’s officially Gold again, now, by the way, not a stupid acronym. Whatever it’s called, it’s the start of a Wood season, which mostly means more Dinnerladies repeats but there’s other fun to be had. First it’s an always welcome repeat of one of the best sketch shows ever, and then after, yes, Dinnerladies, is one of the playlets she did in 1989, which Victoria herself has said weren’t her best work, but there are some nice bits in them, and the Beeb must have liked them as they repeated them to death at the time. Finally there’s perhaps the most interesting thing, her 1992 This Morning-parodying Christmas show, which apart from a swift repeat the following Easter we don’t think has ever been shown again.

Q Radio

18.00 Matthew Rudd’s Eighties Show
Well, we assume that’s what it’s called, he didn’t tell us that bit, but it is TV Cream Contributor Matthew Rudd’s new show and, as you can tell by the fact he used to write The Time Tunnel in Creamup, he knows his stuff when it comes to the eighties so we’re sure this is going to make for ace listening. You can hear it here or DAB in London or Freeview 716, and while you’re doing so, why not read this fascinating post on Matt’s excellent blog, about a particularly momentous moment in his career?

MONDAY  6thSEPTEMBER

BBC1

16.30 Blue Peter
So as mentioned last week, Blue Peter’s back on Mondays, very much its textbook slot, albeit half an hour too early, so we’re pleased to see it setting the agenda for the week. Both shows so far have come from the garden, which was rather convenient on Tuesday as there was a gas leak at TV Centre which meant Newsround couldn’t get on, and given the first show started with a prominent shot of TV Centre we wonder if they’re just making the most of it while they still can. Worrying rumours this week that apparently Helen and Andy don’t want to make the trip to Salford, which strikes us as odd, if only because Joel wasn’t mentioned, and he’s the only one from London.

ITV

06.00 Daybreak
We can’t believe they’ve gone for that name, because not only was it the name for the original mission-to-explain strand on TV-am that was axed after a month, but was also the name for the rival consortium who were outbid by GMTV in the last franchise round. And it’s a rubbish name anyway, who ever refers to something being at daybreak? Still, this probably isn’t going to be that radical a revamp, and it’s disappointing that there’s no happy medium between the sofa approach and relentless news, surely someone can come up with something new in the morning? At least Adrian might have the time to wax a little wry, we suppose. The thing that annoys us the most, though, is that it still finishes at 9.25, a stupid and unmemorable time that has always annoyed us, and whatever reason there was for TV-am finishing then (so the regions could start up before the schools programmes) it certainly doesn’t apply now. Sort this out!

BBC3

20.30 Doctor Who At The Proms
So the big Who news this week is the fact that next year’s series will be split into two, with “more event episodes”, which we’re slightly unsure about because we prefer Who when it’s low key and whimsical, rather than blowing up the universe, but we’re sure it’ll be fine. Here’s some quota-ticking BBC3 programming and no mistake, but pleasingly with all the boring proper classical music edited out.

BBC4

20.30 Only Connect
And now, a complaint. “Dear Ver Cream, While your coverage of The Quizzes is all-encompassing of the main targets, a small little show over on BBC4 has been struggling for your attention. For there have been forty mentions of John Barrowman on Creamguide to date, and none of the lateral thinking quiz show Only Connect. This email is a plea to change all that. All manner of devices were used to attract your attention during the previous series. Clues involving, for instance, the Blue Peter pets, Michael Sheen, the theme from Only Fools, Kraftwerk, Reg Cox from ‘stEnders and Su Pollard singing the theme from The Marriage. Not even incorrectly formatting Tardis in title case could pique your interest. Notwithstanding, this series we have redoubled our efforts. Clues for our fourth run-out include Jackie Lee, the Jeans On advert, The Goodies, Bananaman, Limahl, singing from Anita Dobson and Tommy Steele, and a picture of Brucie on Play Your Cards Right. We’ve even spelt TARDIS in capitals this time – and if that’s not enough to tickle the ROM chips of the TV Cream Dr Who Matrix Databank enough to send off its TV licence renewal form, I don’t know what is. So, please accept this plea to reach for the remote, flick over to The Four after Paxo has finished mangling the names of 17th Century French astronomers, and make the quietest corner of the BBC just that little bit more illuminated. Yours, David J Bodycombe, Question Editor, Only Connect”

BBC Radio 4

09.45 Storyteller – The Life of Roald Dahl
We thought we knew more or less all there was to know about Dahl from reading Boy, although the concept of prep school was a world away from our surroundings, and to be honest we got a bit bored with Going Solo when it started being about flying fighter planes rather than buying gobstoppers. Nevertheless, now we’re a little older we can probably appreciate more about his remarkable life, and here’s Julian Rhind Tutt to read from a new biography every day at this time. Let’s hope there’s something about gobstoppers in it, though, for old times’ sakes.

Why Don't YouTube?

These days we’re so used to Sky repeatedly bashing us over the head with the wonders of HD and 3D, and all the high quality programming they do on Sky Arts and that, we tend to forget that it wasn’t that long ago when bolting a dish to your wall was the ultimate anti-status symbol, and just a mention of the word Sky would be enough to generate a laugh on the likes of Hale and Pace.

Of course, Sky has been a part of our lives now for over two decades, more than enough, you’d think, to find more than one good show for Sky One, but never mind. That’s why this week we’re going to have a root around the archives at the early days of extra-terrestrial television. We’ve only got five clips, we’re afraid, because most of this really isn’t very good, but it’s intriguing, at least.

1

“IT’S QUALITY ALL THE WAY!”
It seems quite quaint to hear Sky boasting about four channels these days, given most stations now have at least four timeshifted, supplementary and HD options. But this is how it began officially in February 1989, with the likes of Frank Bough and Derek Jameson taking the Murdoch shilling, much to everyone’s amusement. The point of interest here, of course, is the announcement of the forthcoming Sky Arts and Disney Channel, neither of which actually appeared in those forms, due to lack of interest, in the first instance, and endless legal wrangling in the second. From the same day, the first transmissions from Sky News, with Alastair Yates, who’s too tall for the shot, and Penny Smith and, unfortunately for them, a really dull set of stories.

 

2

“MEDICINE, LEISURE PURSUITS AND FASHION!”
First thing to notice here – what a brilliant theme tune Did You See had. And why don’t we have a show like this these days, we know we’ve got Screenwipe but it’s not quite the same. Anyway, here’s Ludo kicking off a special programme about the launch of BSB, announcing how much he enjoyed Kids’ Court on Galaxy. The excitement of BSB, as far as Creamguide was concerned, was that the schedules resembled the made-up channels you’d invent in exercise books (which we all did, right?) with kids shows all the time, bizarre repeats and half-arsed concepts like The Mike Smith Show. This promo tries its best with some very rum programming indeed, though it’s good to see at ten o’clock that medicine programming that Ludo promised. Of course more or less all its viewers were massive Whovians lured across by the promise of Hartnell-era repeats, although perhaps surprisingly the Who-themed episodes of Broom Cupboard-esque entertainment mag 31 West don’t appear to be on YouTube. The last episode is, though, with Simon Potter and the rest of the gang (including current high flying TV executive Remy Blumenfield) presenting “highlights”, including Robin Day, presumably promoting the brilliantly titled Now Sir Robin. But of course, nobody ever bought a satellite dish to watch Robin Day, and nobody ever would. “Executive Producer – SUSAN GAU”?

 

3

“BRINGING YOU THE BEST FOOTBALL SERVICE IN THE WORLD!”
People did buy a satellite dish to watch football in the end, of course, although in the early days the terrestrial broadcasters had it all under lock and key. When Sky and BSB merged, about the only thing the latter had of any value was its football output, with England and FA Cup matches, although before the big teams entered, there were rather thin pickings about. Hence, a year before the Premier League arrived, here’s the winning team of Richard Keys, Martin Tyler and Andy Gray giving it plenty about Brentford vs Gillingham in the same tone of breathless excitement Keys now reserves for Manchester United vs Barcelona. When they do stop allowing presenters to read out the sponsor credits, then? Here’s an even earlier clip from when it still went under the BSB branding, in the world’s blandest set. Even when the Premier League arrived, there was still time to kill, so here’s a Monday Night Football Extra – so called because it was on a Wednesday – presented by someone you’d think would be least suited to the Sky Sports ethos. And the worst set ever.

 

4

“THEN I’LL TYPE IN ANS, THEN A SPACE!”
We’ll take a giant leap forward a decade now, because Sky became all boringly professional, and instead into the era when any old chancer could get on the EPG. For a few months in 2003, the most entertaining channel of them all was Friendly TV, an utterly bizarre operation where a handful of people just showed up and started broadcasting, regardless of whether they had anything to actually broadcast. Hence the airtime was filmed by as many hours as possible of presenters leafing through the papers, talking about what they did last night or flinging on automated web game Brain Box, as could be seen here. The most notorious moment of all came when a “break” saw the microphones left on while everyone promptly libelled various celebrities. Sadly, after a few months of this, it became a porn station, which is a shame as we like the idea of people just wanting to broadcast for the sake of broadcasting.

 

5

“I WILL DESTROY YOU! IS THIS THING ON?”
Well, it’s all been a bit depressing so far, but don’t worry, this is brilliant. BBC Choice never really worked out what it was supposed to be, but it did produce one of most incredible TV shows you’ll ever see. Except nobody did see it, because it was still in the days nobody was watching, and no ratings were compiled. It’s The RDA, the nightly comedy show which ended up being a TV show about a TV show, with affable host John Gordillo spending most of his time deconstructing every item with the crew. The results were always worth watching, especially when they came up with such delightful concepts as Cosmos Trasmutazoid, the earth-destroying-robot-cum-observational-stand-up. This however, is surely the ultimate RDA item, where John and the team go to Bridgend to find out just why so many sofas are made in South Wales, and eventually end up watching the Mayor of Bridgend do magic tricks. That’s what digital television should be about! Now go and watch every single other RDA clip online.

TUESDAY  7th SEPTEMBER

BBC1

16.30 Blue Peter
Not only is this series starting earlier than ever, but so is the appeal, which is scheduled to launch in two weeks, and no thanks to the BBC Press Office who have already what it’s for and what you have to do. We’re not going to spoil the surprise, though, other than to say it owes much to last year’s approach. The films from Italy have been entertaining so far, if a little predictable, so after a gondola race and a Vogue fashion shoot (albeit for the kids’ edition), it’s invariably a pizza making competition.

BBC4

21.00 Eddie Waring – Mr Rugby League
In the days when the BBC had virtually all sport worth talking about, their commentators could genuinely be considered the voices of their particular specialisations as whenever it was on the telly, so were they. Possibly only Murray Walker is an inexorably linked with their sport as Eddie Waring, who was there every Saturday afternoon in Widnes or Wigan watching some Slalom Lager Trophy match take place in a mudbath. However some have always argued that his whole-hearted approach, as well as his other telly appearances on the likes of Knockout, trivialised the sport, and certainly by the time he retired he’d gone off the boil a bit, with the rumour being that he had to be accompanied by a man who’d point at the players’ names on a big piece of cardboard when they were on the ball as Eddie couldn’t keep up. Still, this documentary will put the case for and against.

22.00 The Game That Got Away
22.30 Challenge Cup Classic

More rugby league here, a sport which has always seemed to have a bit of an image problem on telly. The crappy terrestrial coverage, confined only to Northern viewers as if this were the fifties and nobody ever leaves the North, doesn’t help, we suppose, although we’re always slightly unsure about the relentless positive spin some people involved with the game can come up with, like Harry Gration ending The Super League Show by almost pleading “Enjoy your rugby league!”. Alright, it’s just as good as rugby union, we get it. You don’t hear Gary Lineker telling us to enjoy football. Anyway, first we have a famous film from 1969 which ponders the state of the game and its relationship with the fifteen man code, and then, intriguingly, the whole of the 1978 Challenge Cup Final, Leeds vs St Helens, one of the greatest games ever played, and with Eddie on the mike.

WEDNESDAY  8th SEPTEMBER

BBC2

19.00 Queens of Heartache
Gosh, they made a lot of these, didn’t they? There’s already a Coast repeat scheduled tonight so sixty awkward minutes are filled by this repeated documentary trying to find links between Janis Joplin and Edith Piaf.

ITV

19.30 The Unforgettable Mollie Sugden
You’ll be relieved to know that Creamguide has no anecdotes about themselves and the subject of this documentary, not even about being their bridesmaid. It’s perhaps surprising to remember that although Mollie was massively famous for one particular character, she had a very long and successful career in numerous other series too – she was in The Liver Birds for ages, for a start. Then there was That’s My Boy which seemed to go on and on and several years in Corrie to boot. And six weeks of Come Back Mrs Noah, admittedly, but we can forget that.

THURSDAY  9th SEPTEMBER

CHANNEL 4

21.00 Alan Davies’ Teenage Revolution
Last year Alan wrote a book about his teenage years which was so well received it’s been turned into a telly series. It wasn’t all watching Peter Cushing buying vegetables, oh no, because Alan was a particularly rebellious teenager who among other things spent time at Greenham Common. We start off, though, in his home town of Loughton – where Creamguide spent ten minutes the other year, going into the Sainsburys there then getting back on the Tube – with Alan going back to school and talking about the casual racism that existed at the time.

CHANNEL 5

20.00 The Wright Stuff
Creamguide’s never seen a single episode of this programme but despite being seemingly little other than people you forgot existed (and Janet Ellis) jabbering about what’s in the papers, it’s popular enough to have lasted for ten years – although it almost didn’t make it, because it was axed after twelve months when original producers Anglia couldn’t afford to make it anymore on the budget, only for Princess to immediately buy the format and bring it straight back. Matthew Wright’s never seemed quite as objectionable as some other hacks-turned-broadcasters we could mention so we’ll let him have his moment in the bright lights of primetime for his birthday, although we doubt this show’s most famous moment will be featured.

FRIDAY  10th SEPTEMBER

BBC2

20.00 Mastermind
Margaret Brown writes about this series, “Why did they have to remove the contestants talking about their subject? I even miss the golden days where John gently asked them why they loved the history of some football team or the life and times of a bunch of historical people. The justification of knowing that amount of obscure knowledge is necessary. I was planning to go on there and explain why I think Clive Merrison is the best Sherlock Holmes ever. People will now just think I’m sad.” Vivienne Westwood’s among the subjects tonight, but we’ll never know why.

CHANNEL 4

22.30 Ultimate Big Brother – The Final Hour
Do they still do the discussion topics, then? For what it’s worth, we never liked the first series that much because the likes of Nichola and Caggy were appalling people, we enjoyed series two, we got a bit bored of series three with the gimmickry, we didn’t mind the one Cameron won because we liked them just getting on and being pleasant, and we stopped watching it in series five when there was that massive horrible fight that made for revolting viewing, and all Davina did was go “Ooh, that all kicked off, didn’t it?”. Then we were reminded why we stopped when the racism happened and Channel Four refused to do anything about it because it just happened and they had nothing to do with it, despite the fact it was a television programme, not a real bloody house. This is the end of it.

BBC4

21.25 The Fall – The Wonderful and Frightening World of Mark E Smith
22.25 I’m In A Rock’N’Roll Band
23.25 Oil City Confidential

More bits and bobs from the archives, and we’ll leave you this week with Iain Bell, regarding the occupants of this slot last week, who says, “I liked the Pet Shop Boys A – Z btw, as I’m a big PSB fan and wondering if It Couldn’t Happen Here has ever had a UK TV screening yet? I don’t ever remember it being on terrestrial TV but did it ever appear on any of the Sky channels? I hope it gets released on DVD soon, with a nice commentary by Neil, Chris and the director Jack Bond, who also makes a cameo appearance in the Heart video.” We don’t know, Iain, but as you can tell we do have some PSB masterminds at TVC, and some equally enthusiastic readers, so maybe one of them can tell us at creamguide@tvcreamtest.co.uk or indeed any other interesting PSB stories. Did you go and buy a washing machine on Neil’s advice? Do let us know.

Join us next week too for all the fun and excitement of the Strictly launch, which we’re very excited about and not just because we heard a rumour Matt Baker might be in it, honest. And if you want to subscribe, click here

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