TV Cream

Your Wednesday Night In...

Your Wednesday Night In… January 1991

Wednesday, 16th January 1991


Third episode in the second (and final) series of Phil Redmond’s answer to the cultural elites of Sun Hill nick. Failing to deliver on promises of more action this time around – in part thanks to an involved storyline about who’s sitting where in the new office set-up – tonight’s instalment, titled ‘Repossession’, features 1991’s most-1991-ever visualisation of computer hacking, as the ‘West Lancs Bank’ suffers a serious cyber-breach.

Writing duties for this run were shared between Redmond (who’d handled the entirety of the previous year) and regular Brookside scripter Andy Lynch. Omnipresent synth mire soundtrack courtesy, of course, of Steve Wright. Alas, the show would subsequently only be remembered for Brian McCardie playing a character called ‘Ronnie Barker’, because in real life, someone might be called Ronnie Barker. “A New Media Age Production for BBCtv.”


Back, back, back! Fourteen years after wrapping, Barry Foster returns as the Dutch detective for a short-lived series of Morse-alike two-hour episodes. Now a little older and wiser, the character is head of Amsterdam’s CID, and leading an investigation into the murders of three people who were at school together. With Tom Bell, Judy Cornwell and ‘Eye Level’.

Stardate 41365.9. The continuing voyages of the beige-interior Enterprise on its debut screening in the UK, taken from an unbelievably soft US print. This episode – 11001001 – comes from the first series, and thus finds the crew in  wrong uniforms, and Riker beardless and yet to fully develop his penchant for popping one foot up onto a thing, or addressing himself to a chair as if about to straddle an untamed horse. Anyway, this is the story where ‘Number One’ gets off with a computer woman, Minuet, in the holodeck. Coo, Black Mirror, right pals?

Retreating from the relative late-night failure of One Hour With Jonathan Ross, the demands of thrice-weekly chat bite hard, as Jonathan breaks bread with Danny Sugerman, the post-Morrison manager of The Doors, and Susie Carter, editor of a lonely hearts magazine for men trying to attract wives. In Alaska.



  1. THX 1139

    January 17, 2018 at 12:14 pm

    Barry Morse was Professor Victor Bergman on Space: 1999. Barry Foster was Van Der Valk. Or Van Der Valk’s gran, according to that photo above.

    • TV Cream

      January 17, 2018 at 12:23 pm

      Oh, yes. Silly mistake. Now fixed. Thanks!

  2. Richard16378

    January 17, 2018 at 1:52 pm

    I remember Waterfront Beat tried a bit too hard to be The Bill, but was enjoyable.

    The long running hunt for the “corpse chopper” lasted almost all the time it was on air.

  3. Glenn A

    January 20, 2018 at 1:39 pm

    Laugh now at the primitive computer graphics in Waterfront Beat, but quite effective for 1991 when green screen PCs predominated and Windows and the internet were a few years away.
    Also using a synth theme by Steve Brookside Not Radio 1 Wright was very contemporary as computers thanks to the rave music of the time were taking over the charts and making guitars redundant.

  4. Applemask

    January 20, 2018 at 11:16 pm

    Waterfront Beat. Right on the list with South of the Border, Rockliffe’s Babies and The Paradise Club as a Checkland-era drama that’s now an almost complete blank for anyone who doesn’t work at Network DVD. It even used the same split-screen titles gimmick as Brookside, only worse (with the title displayed throughout in an uninspiring font on a blurry, poorly resized, black and white photo of the Mersey in which almost anything could have been happening).

    • Glenn A

      January 28, 2018 at 11:03 am

      There seemed to be a trend for BBC dramas in the early and mid nineties to come and go with little comment. I do remember a particularly violent drama called Civvies about former Paras adjusting to civilian life, which was quite good( one involved an ex sergeant srabbing a noisy neighbour to death), but which hardly anyone remembers now. Applemask is right, most of the Checkland era dramas, which were OK at the time but were soon forgotten, now can probably be found in discount DVD racks as few people care.
      OTOH ITV drama was going through an imperial phase and shows like Taggart and Prime Suspect are fondly remembered now and crop up regularly on Gold channels.

      • Richard16378

        January 29, 2018 at 2:52 pm

        I remember the Civvies trailer being played a lot “we were the roughest & the toughest”, ending with 2 of thme jumping off some scaffolding.

        • Glenn Aylett

          January 29, 2018 at 8:44 pm

          There was an extremely brutal near fight to the death between two ex Paras in one episode over an incident in Northern Ireland. Yet in the main, BBC drama of this era, often shown on Wednesday nights, was meh and barely remembered now( Specials, Rides, anyone?).

          • George White

            January 30, 2018 at 10:04 am

            It was a post-Prime Suspect Lynda laPlante thingy with Jason Isaacs, and astonishingly Peter O’Toole as an East End gangster.
            No wonder Segal and co could get him for the aborted early plan for the McGann Doctor.

  5. Richard16378

    January 30, 2018 at 1:46 pm

    Between The Lines generated a lot of Headlines (mostly about how it should be called Between The Sheets or Between The Loins!) but was more or less forgotten by the end of the decade.

    Jimmy Nail had a double of short lived hits with Spender & Crocodile Shoes.

  6. Gavin Culloty

    January 16, 2019 at 10:31 pm

    This is the same night that the TV schedules were interrupted to announce the start of Operation Desert Storm.

    • Adrian

      February 5, 2024 at 1:21 pm

      Yes, and the pop group Massive Attack had to change their name to ‘Massive’ for the duration of the conflict. Also the BBC had a scary giant picture of Saddam Hussein on the wall in one of their studios during the war.

  7. Richardpd

    February 3, 2024 at 10:56 pm

    Harry was another easy come easy go drama from the early 1990s, with Michael Elphick as titular dodgy journalist Harry Salter, exiled from Fleet Street to Darlington, which was a hotbed of breaking news stories. Unsurprisingly Harry was surly like many Elphick characters, not helped by being over fond of Jim Beam & other American Whiskeys.

    Trainer was a replacement for Howards’ Way, set in the world of horse racing. Some carryover of staff so the theme was written by Simon Way, & sung by Cliff Richard. In spite of a few big names it underperformed, I remember my Dad being surprised it got a second series, but shunted from Sundays to the Wednesday 8pm drama slot. Even a cliffhanger end didn’t get it recommissioned for a 3rd series.

  8. Glenn Aylett

    February 4, 2024 at 11:00 am

    I can remember Harry, it wasn’t bad, but nothing memorable, like most BBC dramas of this era. Trainer was another: it was like The Racing Game 12 years earlier, unless you were into horse racing, it wasn’t very good. I do remember BBC Scotland having a crack at a period drama called Strathblair, set in a 1950s Scottish village, that could have worked if it wasn’t so slow.
    I think in this era, ITV really shone with their non soap dramas. You had The Bill twice a week with some topical storylines like an escaped pit bull on the loose, London’s Burning and its stunt episodes( the one with the joyriders crashing into a petrol pump is still great to watch now), and a fine roster of crime dramas like Taggart and Prime Suspect. Then if you wanted a light drama, The Darling Buds Of May waa pulling in 18 million viewers every week.

  9. Richardpd

    February 4, 2024 at 12:43 pm

    ITV seemed to get a good portfolio of dramas in the early 1990s.

    While The Darling Buds Of May ended without overstaying it’s welcome, Heartbeat ended up being recommissioned long after it’s sell by date.

  10. Glenn Aylett

    February 4, 2024 at 4:38 pm

    Another decent ITV drama, and the one that made Robson Green into a big star, Soldier, Soldier, about life in a fictional infantry regiment that ran for seven series and ended before it became boring. It did seem ITV had a huge range of quality dramas at the time that rated well, while the BBC had middling stuff like Harry that were soon forgotten and a few big flops like A Year In Provence. I suppose Eastenders, Casualty and the period dramas kept the BBC in the frame, but certainly for most of the nineties, ITV had most of the best drama.

  11. Richardpd

    February 4, 2024 at 10:24 pm

    The BBC commissioned a few easier going dramas in the 1990s like All Quiet on the Preston Front, Common As Muck & Parry Handy.

    ITV didn’t always have the golden touch, as Thief Takers, supposedly a Sweeney for the 1990s but didn’t last too long.

    Silent Witness eventually managed to break the BBC’s contemporary drama jinx.

  12. Glenn Aylett

    February 5, 2024 at 3:28 pm

    Common As Muck must be one of the few non military, non security services British roles for Edward Woodward and he actually played a Nottingham binman quite well. Para Handy featured Gregor Fisher, riding high from his Rab C Nesbitt era, as the captain of a tugboat in the Clyde that while OK, was nothing great. I think the BBC did better with another Scottish comedy drama, Hamish Macbeth, that seemed to well in its three series run in the nineties.

  13. Richardpd

    February 5, 2024 at 10:25 pm

    Hamish Macbeth was helped by starring then rising talent Robert Carlisle, soon to appear in Trainspotting & The Full Monty.

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