TV Cream

CREAMGUIDE: 6th-12th November 2010

Please Read The Large Type At Once

Hullo and welcome to another Creamguide, whether you’re receiving this via e-mail or via the website. If you are reading it on the website we do apologise for the extremely long time it’s currently taking the site to load. We’re not quite sure why it’s happening but hopefully it’ll sort itself out soon enough. And if you think it’s a pain to load, imagine trying to put stuff on it.

Anyway, don’t forget you can still email us at creamguide@tvcreamtest.co.uk and that’ll arrive quick smart, no doubt.

SATURDAY 6th NOVEMBER

BBC2

20.00 Dad’s Army
Into the postbag first, and Brian Sutherland who makes reference to our mention last week of Elton John swearing on Live and Kicking and Southern TV closing down in rancorous fashion, and says “THESE are the YouTube clips we want! Stop teasing!” Well, you can see bits of Southern’s last night here and here, while Friend of TV Cream Applemask has also saved Stilgoe’s song for the nation. Sadly we can’t find Elton on Live and Kicking, though it was fairly mild obscenity, we just remember him referring to all the videos on the Video Garden/Goldmine/Whatever It Was as “absolute crap”, which was quite exciting at the time, although not quite Russell Brand, we admit.

22.15 Robert Plant – By Myself
23.15 Robert Plant – Electric Prom

Speaking of Reg, apparently the highlight of the evening of programmes last week was a brief clip of Elt performing Rocket Man on Christmas Day Pops in 1972, an episode that has long been wiped, although we understand only that brief fragment remains. Good to see, anyway, and we’re sure the member of the audience behind him is thrilled it’s back in circulation. We’re also promised rare archive footage here, some of it from Bob’s own private collection, and then his concert from last week.

ITV

19.15 Harry Hill’s TV Burp
“Where’s the anchovy priser, mum?”

BBC Radio 2

13.00 Pick of the Pops
The same old records, of course, but a new voice this week as Tony Blackburn takes over, and you’d have to think that he might make a bit of an effort than Dale used to do. We’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for Tone, especially as he seems to be content to take the piss out of himself at the drop of a hat, and we’ll be pleased to hear him link the platters that matter in his own agreeable style, starting with 1966 and 1979, the latter not an entirely happy year for Tone as he got flung off daytime Radio 1 and dumped on Junior Choice, but we think he’s over that now.

BBC Radio 3

21.15 The Free Thinking Debate
Gasp! We’re billing a Radio 3 programme, though it’s a somewhat odd one as it’s also being simulcast on Five Live – not two stations you’d think would have the kind of audience crossover and presentational style that would help facilitate a crossover, but it’s happening. And that’s because it’s a discussion of what’s best, the arts or sport, which seems a rather vague and pointless discussion, but it’s on Radio 3 so it must be important.

BBC Radio 4

10.30 Anything Anytime Anywhere
The Goodies are doing the promotional rounds again, and even if they don’t get repeats anymore – although in recent years we’ve had The Goodies And The Beanstalk on Channel Five, that mediocre episode on BBC2 and the LWT shows on Paramount – they’re certainly getting plenty of documentary airtime. The reason we’re getting it now is because it’s their fortieth anniversary, and there’s another DVD out. Of course The Goodies were rather poorly treated even when they were in their prime, with series shuffling from 6pm to 10pm, endless interfering from them upstairs and them basically getting the sack from the Beeb as they had no money left after doing Hitchhikers, so we’re not sure why they should expect anything better now.

20.00 Our Obsession With Weather
More or less the only thing on telly Creamguide makes a point of watching these days is the weather forecast after the Ten O’Clock News, and we’ll still do it, under duress, when Messers McElwee and Avery are unceremoniously shoved into a back room. Let’s hope Rob really goes mad on his final forecast. Well, more mad than usual, anyway. There have been backstage ructions before, mind, most memorable under Bill Giles’ reign of terror, and he’s on this documentary – not talking about that, though – along with Michael Fish, who we noted last week has been filling in on BBC London News, introduced as if he were just any old forecaster they’d got sent by the Met Office. We’ve said this before but Michael Fish’s finest moment during the hurricane wasn’t not saying it was going to happen, but specifically going out of his way to say it wasn’t.

SUNDAY 7thNOVEMBER

BBC2

16.55 Points of View
Rather unnecessarily shunted to BBC2 for the Grand Prix, which was mentioned here last week as a massive delay in the Korean Grand Prix caused it to overrun by over an hour and get moved to BBC2, and we’re staggered at the amount of complaints from people whose recordings failed, because we can’t believe so many people are prepared to record a live sporting event and watch it back later, presumably having spent the whole day with their eyes closed and their fingers in their ears. We simply couldn’t do it. But the moral is, get up earlier. Call yourself a fan!

BBC4

21.00 Adrian Mole – The Cappuccino Years
21.30 Mark Lawson Talks To Alison Steadman
22.30 Abigail’s Party
You know what the last thing is, and you can guess what the middle thing is, but the first part of this Steadman-themed evening is intriguing as we don’t think it’s ever been repeated. This is, natch, the BBC adaptation from a decade ago with a tyro Stephen Mangan in the lead role (and Steadman as his mum, hence its appearance here), which wasn’t very successful and, alas, wasn’t much good either, with Adrian coming across as simply an idiot, everyone else being irritating, Keith Allen playing the worst character in the world, ie himself, and the fact it all seemed a bit redundant doing jokes about the 1997 Election when the next one was weeks away. Still, might be worth another look for novelty’s sakes.

MONDAY  8th NOVEMBER

BBC1

16.30 Blue Peter
You can tell it’s big news when the team don suits and frocks, as was the case last week when they visited Buckingham Palace to launch their new competition, where kids are being challenged to create the logo for the Diamond Jubilee in 2012, which will be judged by among other Martin Lambie-Nairn, who turned up to referee as Andy and Joel had a go at drawing. It’s a great competition, though it was a bit depressing for us to hear Andy have to explain what a Jubilee was, as the last one seems about five minutes ago.

ITV

22.35 Eric Cantona – Looking For Manchester
We’re not sure why ITV have decided to do a documentary on the history of the Manchester derby to mark the latest instalment, as ITV will not be covering it in any shape or form whatsoever. Nevertheless, they do have Eric himself to introduce it, and the likes of Mike Summerbee, Bobby Charlton and Peter Hook appearing, so it should be intriguing enough – and a rare chance to see Denis Law’s backheel in full, as ITV filmed it, rather than the scratchy newsreel footage we normally get.

BBC4

20.30 Only Connect
We almost forgot, by the way, to mention the other interesting clippage Adam pointed us in the direction of last week, to wit, “From David Frost’s End of the Year Show 1983, Diana Dors, Brian Walden and Denis Norden all discuss their high- & lowlights of the year, with Denis the outright winner of course, if only for his observation that he thought he’d personally injured Barry Took by banging his television when he appeared on screen.”

CBBC

17.15 The Sarah Jane Adventures
Sadly we keep on forgetting to bill this, while still faithfully noting both episodes of Blue Peter a week. Brian Sutherland also wrote in this week to ask “Who’s Peter Davidson?”, which is obvious, he was one of the Doctor Whos alongside Jon P’twee and Christopher Ecclestone. And that is how they should be addressed.

The Time Tunnel

Adrian Fry’s written in this week, to say, “Though I’m very much enjoying the new Time Tunnel middle bit, what I enjoyed most of all was the preamble to its first instalment in which you tried to define what precisely constitutes the Cream era. I’m a sucker for such self indulgence – the Today programme discussion on when the ‘fag end’ of the programme started, the bit in Stephen Fry’s The Fry Chronicles where he just lists bygone radio shows and their presenters, the episode of Robert Robinson’s Stop the Week where they discussed whether faked radio outside broadcasts would be in any distinguishable from the real thing – and was geekily fascinated by your decision.

“1967 is rather an early start for my money – colour telly hadn’t even taken off by then – but at least the opening of Radio One lets the Cream era commence with a fantastic George Martin theme tune. For me, the Cream era begins with Monty Python because they clearly loved playing with the grammar of television. Sure, Milligan did too, but you always felt his sensibility was from a pre television age. Everything about 1970s telly (even the TUC conference coverage) is Creamy and this continues into the 1980s where I would nominate The Singing Detective as the high watermark of the whole era. But my own definition would have the era stop in the ealy 1990s when Channel Four first betrayed its remit. Actually, the Cream era should have officially ended on whichever Bank Holiday terrestrial television (probably BBC2) last used the test card in the early hours.

“Now all you have to do is decide which football team the composite character that is Creamguide supports.” Indeed, but then we’d have to include the inmates of TV Cream who don’t like football. So Bolton it is, then. Ho ho.

Anyway, many thanks to Adrian for writing in, and we really are wishing we swizzled around those bits of paper in the hat as for the third time out of four we’ve alighted on the early seventies. Still, at least we’re proving it’s all random.

  • FA CUP WINNERS: Leeds
  • CHRISTMAS NUMBER ONE: Little Jimy Osmond – Long Haired Lover From Liverpool
  • UK EUROVISION ENTRY: The New Seekers – Beg Steal or Borrow
  • BLUE PETER TEAM: Val, John and Pete, then Val, John, Pete and Lesley
  • DOCTOR WHO: Dr Who Jon P’twee
  • RADIO 1 BREAKFAST SHOW JOCK: Tony Blackburn
  • BIG CHRISTMAS DAY FILM ON BBC1: Barefoot In The Park

    New thrill!

    NEWSROUND (1972-)
    Hello again. What’s always amusing when seeing long-running programmes launch is their humble and rather confused beginnings. Hence on Tuesday 5th April 1972, Radio Times initally billed News Round, then a week later Craven’s News Round, and then a week later still John Craven’s News Round, as if they were still working it out. Lest we forget that John was actually second choice, after Jonathan Dimbleby turned it down, and we think they were specifically after a John as the theme tune was called Johnny One Note, even though, natch, it doesn’t have any lyrics. The Newsround concept was invented by Edward “Cravat” Barnes, partly as some research revealed no kid watched the news, but also for the more prosaic reason that they needed a live show so they could fill gaps if another show ran long or short. Initially it was a very short experiment, running only twice a week, and indeed for several years running in series and going off for months, before it slowly but surely colonised the week. Only two editions from the show’s first year exist, one featuring Richard Whitmore famously filling in as John’s wife had popped a sprog (although the opening titles, with a still of John, made it look like he’d died), but in later years more episodes were kept as Edward “Cravat” Barnes got them to leave the tape running after Blue Peter. John’s now actually been doing Countryfile for longer than Newsround, but it’s for this show he’ll always be remembered, and it’s great to know it’s still going strong today (although since it became a double header a few months back, we reckon it’s completely dumbed down). Until the same time tomorrow, though, bu-bye. Diddle-diddle-dee-dee CHKKA-CHKKA-CHH-CHHK.

    Old thrill!

    CHRISTMAS NIGHT WITH THE STARS (1958-72)
    Given how famous it was, and remains, it’s perhaps surprising how early in the Cream era Christmas Night ended, although it had certainly had a good run. The festive institution owed a little to a previous series, Television’s Christmas Party, a similarly star-encrusted effort in the early fifties, although the limitations of the time meant the stars had to go to work on Christmas Day to broadcast live. The arrival of videotape made Christmas Night With The Stars a more managable affair, with the various Beeb comedy shows knocking off a ten minute scene after recording an episode, and it all being linked together by a star host and some special guests. Running for anything up for two hours, it was perfect post-turkey viewing, although it took until 1969 for ITV to rip it off with All Star Comedy Carnival – the same year that, for some reason, Christmas Night featured clips rather than new material, albeit meaning Dick Emery was alongside Python. Quite why it ended when it did, we’re not sure, maybe the comedy shows of the day had greater ambitions and wanted to do a full half hour or longer, but the 1972 episode was just as good as those that had been before, with the Two Ronnies hosting, and contributions including the fantastic Dad’s Army radio broadcast sketch. From the following year, the Beeb’s other shows were able to fill the gap, but Christmas Night With The Stars harks back to the time when Television Centre seemed like the happiest place on earth.

    Everyone’s talking about…

  • DAYTIME TV! With former ITV newsreader Christopher Chataway, now Minister for Posts, lifting the draconian regulations of how long channels could broadcast for, housewives and shiftworkers had something other than the test card, with the likes of Pebble Mill on BBC1, and Emmerdale Farm, Crown Court and Smokers Wild on the light channel.
  • NATIONWIDE! Which went five nights a week from September, with Frank Bough joining Michael Barratt in the anchor’s chair, and going mad on the first night when he did an elaborate introduction to an interview with some pensioners down the line, only to turn to the screen and be told “Sorry Frank, they’re not there yet”. However 24 Hours, the late night talking shop that rose from the ashes of the ‘wide’s predecessor Tonight, was axed.
  • THE OLYMPICS! On the Beeb with that man Bough again and David Coleman, while on ITV Fred Dinenage and Brian Moore hosted hour-long wrap-ups at teatime and bedtime, with the TV Times boasting “You don’t need to choose between Val Doonican or the Olympics, on ITV you can watch both!”. Lord alone knows how they dealy with the tragedy at the Games, which saw them suspended for 24 hours, and the pilot of Are You Being Served parachuted in to fill a gap.
  • THE MINERS’ STRIKE! Ted Heath called yet another state of emergency after the coalminers downed tools for weeks on end, while the nation trooped down to the electricity showroom to see what day they’d have their power switched off for up to nine tedious hours.
  • LARRY GRAYSON! The artist formerly known as Billy Breen had been treading the boards for decades before being invited to appear on ATV’s imaginatively-titled Saturday variety show, Saturday Variety, in January, and was a massive hit, instantly becoming the most famous person on television, with his own show by July. After rising without trace, he was a hige star for a decade, before fading into obscurity almost as quickly.

    RIP

    Bong! J Arthur Rank died in 1972, and in a sad year for pointless and mysterious initials, so did J Edgar Hoover. Margaret Rutherford passed away in her eightieth year, while you too could have had a body like Charles Atlas, but you probably wouldn’t want one after he died this year too.

    Show of the year

    LOOK – MIKE YARWOOD!
    Impressionism was a fairly straightforward affair in the early seventies – you did James Cagney and Jimmy Durante and that would be it. Yet Mike Yarwood had a completely new take, with the politicians, presenters and public figures you’d see every day on the news being considered completely fair gane, and this approach being highly successful. Mike had actually started on ITV and even there had toned down the impressionism in his later shows in favour of illustrating his all-round entertainment, but when he defected to the Beeb in 1971, the voices were definitely the star, apart from the And This Is Me song at the end. 1972 saw Mike get his second BBC series and start to enjoy phenomenal success which was to last to the end of the decade, both under its original name and as Mike Yarwood In Persons (plus his radio show, inevitably called Listen – Mike Yarwood!), and while Morecambe and Wise’s 1977 show is always considered the ultimate in light entertainment, Mike’s show earlier that night actually got a hundred thousand more viewers. Sadly Mike wasn’t fast enough to move with the times, and his ridiculously ill-advised move to ITV in the eighties hastened his decline, while the topical nature of his act means much of it is now unrepeatable. A shame, as Mike’s show was just as polished and as amusing as his other stablemates in the Beeb’s light entertainment department, during a golden age of television.

    Let’s go there now!

    When this feature eventually moves out of the early seventies, this bit might get a bit more interesting, and not just be a few hopeles Top of the Pops clips. We’ve barely got that this time given most of that year’s programmes were wiped, but here’s the first of eleven clips from the second half of that year’s Christmas show (although you’ll note the first track has been edited out for, cough, obvious reasons) and here’s some general rug cutting.

  • TUESDAY  9th NOVEMBER

    BBC1

    16.30 Blue Peter
    Last week we pondered whether any Creamguide readers actually watch this programme anymore, and we were pleased to hear from Ian Rhodes, who says, “Rest assured, some of us do watch Blue Peter. And you are entirely to blame. During a long period of illness years ago, I discovered your mailout, and your enthusiasm for the Konnie/Matt/Liz/Simon era tempted me to tune in. I’ve been a regular ever since. Even during the reign of the beautiful (but evil) Zoe. I also owe you my thanks for first pointing me in the direction of Da Bungalow.” Thanks Ian, and if you’d like to see Zoe in action, she’s currently presenting The Love Bus, heralded this week as the worst programme currently on television, on Monday nights of Fiver. That’s right, not even Channel Five.

    BBC3

    20.00 Children in Need – 50 Greatest Moments
    This is a rather unusual programme, as while Red Nose Day has certainly leant itself to many clip show-friendly moments, we don’t think CiN has ever really come up with any must-see TV, apart from Peter Powell falling arse over tit on the stairs of course. Still, they’ve found fifty to feature in this two-part clip show, and we hope most of them feature Tel floating away on flights of whimsy.

    BBC4

    21.00 The Secret Life of the National Grid
    Last one of these, which probably hasn’t had the obvious pull of the series on motorways and airports but has been quietly interesting in its own way. Now, how about the Secret Life of the London Underground, BBC4? That’d be ace.

    More4

    22.00 Joan Rivers – A Piece of Work
    23.55 Joan Rivers Comedy Roast

    “Can we talk about Chief Wiggum? Aag aag aag!” We’ve never been crazy about Joan Rivers, we’re afraid, certainly not in recent years when she’s turned up on the likes of Live From The Apollo and just done a load of shouting, but she certainly made a huge impact early in her career when nobody else was doing this kind of thing, and we’re promised archive footage in this rather lengthy documentary of her appearances with the great Johnny Carson. Then there’s a roast but fortunately it’s an American one so Patrick Kielty doesn’t show up.

    BBC Radio 4

    11.30 Good Grief – The Story of Peanuts
    “Peanuts!” Not that one. It’s sixty years since Charlie Brown first appeared, and ten years since Charles M Schultz died, so this is a worthwhile tribute. The strips are the best, of course, but the animated adaptations have become memorable in their own right, they were still showing The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show on CBBC not too long ago (although never in that version where the theme tune had lyrics) and we had It’s Flashbeagle Charlie Brown on VHS for years and years and years, although we’re not sure that particular programme will be featured too heavily here.

    WEDNESDAY  10th NOVEMBER

    ITV

    19.30 Farewell Jack
    We’re not sure why Bill Tarmey didn’t hang on for another month for all the fiftieth anniversary hoopla, but sadly yet another link to Corrie’s distinguished past has been broken as health problems means Jack Duckworth has had to be written out, although we hear he’s leaving on Monday in a suitably warm-hearted and dignified fashion, with a special surprise guest. Well, not much of a surprise, to be honest, but it’s the right way to go. And now Steve McDonald’s officially the best character.

    THURSDAY  11th NOVEMBER

    BBC1

    21.30 Reggie Perrin
    These billings have sadly been more pointless than usual in recent weeks as we’re ages behind on this series, and there’s only two left anyway. We can at least alight in the next in the series of Female Performers Getting Nothing To Do as Sally Lindsay appears as “tea lady”.

    FRIDAY  12th NOVEMBER

    BBC1

    20.30 QI
    The saddest news this week was hearing that Danny Baker’s in poor health, and we’d like to join the general clamour to offer get well wishes to the great man, who you may note we’re currently paying tribute to on the front page of TV Cream. And here’s some new stuff from the Bake to jeep us going in his absence, as he’s here alongside Eddie Izzard, who was in the pilot but has never appeared on the series proper.

    BBC2

    20.00 Mastermind
    The other week we mentioned that Geezer Butler must be the most rock name on the planet, and Joe McNally wrote to say, “The matter of metal names was much discussed when I was at school, and while Geezer Butler was obviously a strong contender, a consensus rapidly emerged that the most metal name in the universe was Yngwie Malmsteem, especially in the context of his band, Yngwie J Malmsteen’s Rising Force. The worst metal name was generally held to be Celtic Frost’s Thomas G Warrior. The fact that both best and worst names feature a middle initial may be worthy of further study.” Indeed, though we’ve always had a soft spot for Ariel Bender from Mott The Hoople, especially as his real name was the equally ace Luther Grosvenor anyway. Someone’s answering questions about Mott tonight.

    BBC4

    21.00 Roll Over Beethoven – The Chess Records Saga
    22.00 Chuck Berry In Concert

    If we keep on going with these record label programmes we must surely get to the RAK story soon enough. In the meantime it’s the legendary blues label under the spotlight, followed by the live show at the BBC TV Theatre, although regular TOTP2 viewers may be disappointed by the non-appearance of Rolf during one of the most famous bits.

    That’s it for this week, we’ll be back in seven days, and in the meantime, if you want to subscribe, click here

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