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Tube summer replacements, The

A DIZZYING ASSORTMENT of yoof-orientated crazed oddities from the nascent Soho “medialand” later to spawn Julia Bradbury, reserved for when Jools and Paula needed a summer break. First up was SWITCH, an early Glasgow-located vehicle for the desperately irritating MURIEL GRAY and her stupid girly hairbow, featuring acts of the ilk of Jo Boxers, King Kurt and Paul Weller’s “protege” Tracie. Plus a skip-load of body-popping. Later came SWANK and follow-up SCOFF, both fronted by DAWN FRENCH on the respective subjects of fashion “you know, fat women are sexy as well” and food. Then there was the unforgettable triple-bill of heavy metal strand ECT, SOUL TRAIN (Lovebug Starski!) and VIDEO VIEW, presented by GARY CROWLEY (bet you wondered how long it would be before turned up). Reruns of READY STEADY GO, now owned by Dave Clark, produced by Dave Clark and generally featuring more Dave Clark Five than was thought healthy (and representative) also showed up round about then. THE CHART SHOW had its initial headphone-shaped showing, with the embryonic version of that ubiquitous “Banal facts about the acts plastered all over the screen in pretend computer display” gimmick, namely “HUD”, a sort of fighter pilot cockpit display which was utterly illegible. Hallmarks of the C4 incarnation: Indie Chart, Reggae Chart etc as the likes of The Smiths, The Housemartins and The Durutti Column rubbed shoulders with Living In A Box and Sinitta in the meaninglessly-titled “Video Reveal”. However, The Chart Show was halted mid-run due to C4’s row with the Musicians Union and subsequent video ban, and replaced with pointless REWIND from same production company, but utilising clips from previously mentioned shows and The Tube. The icons were back soon enough, though, in bizarre two-part format, sandwiched around reruns of DICK SPANNER (see NETWORK 7), crap new bands slot FAMOUS FOR 15 MINUTES and bizarre musical 50s throwback Elvis-centric drama NEAT AND TIDY, starring two long-forgotten halfwits as Nick Neat and Tina Tidy, generally driving around America in a Chevy convertible (in that highly 1987/jeans commercial manner) to the strains of Guitar Man for absolutely no reason at all.

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Glenn Aylett

    January 30, 2022 at 2:10 pm

    Muriel Gray seemed to be everywhere in the mid eighties. I can remember her presenting the shortlived Border pop show Buzz, which had its own purpose built studio in the Border car park, and tended to feature not very successful acts like Spear Of Destiny( maybe due to Border’s low budget). Then when not doing The Tube or Buzz, it was up to Glasgow for her own STV/ Channel 4 show which again featured the second division pop acts for budget reasons.

  2. THX 1139

    January 30, 2022 at 3:54 pm

    You missed out Revid, a VHS release review show with Gary Crowley and Jon Stephen Fink (where is he now?). They once reviewed LifeForce at about six on a Friday evening, complete with violent clip (not one of the nude ones, though). They loved it.

    They appeared on television screens, nine of them, in a square, though we only saw their heads – until the final episode, where we saw their bodies, and that they were wearing stockings and suspenders (!).

  3. George White

    February 3, 2022 at 8:45 pm

    Neat and Tidy was odd. Though British, and I believe shot in Spain, had a mainly US cast full of nostalgic 50s/60s faces like Stella Stevens, Elke Sommer, Larry Storch, Edie Adams, John Astin.
    Again, like Max Headroom, it was one of those C4 shows that you couldn’t be sure if it was an import or not.
    See also Gophers, Tales from the Hollywood Hills, Dunera Boys and the bizarre Robert Altman/Pinter/Henry Woolf anthology Basements featuring Brummie Travolta.

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