Wednesday, 22nd March 1985
PICK OF THE DAY
7pm THIS IS YOUR LIFE, BBC1
We’d love to see a breakdown of the viewing figures for an episode of This Is Your Life, to see the huge audience for the first two minutes while you found out who it was, followed by a mass switch-off if they turned out to be boring, especially if it was, zzz, a member of the public. No chance of that this week, though, as the fantastic www.bigredbook.info reveals that, with the codeword “thread”, it was Bill Cotton in the spotlight. Among those turning up were many of his Cotton Crew including Ernie Wise, Mike Yarwood and Lord Terence, though Brucie was only on tape, alas, as well as the likes of Paul Fox and Michael Grade, while it also featured the last ever telly appearance of the legendary showbiz agent Billy Marsh. This was the first series of the ‘Life back on the Beeb, and it was on a decent run of form, also including one of our favourite episodes with Danny Baker, who later reflected it was a wonderful experience if only because it was one of the only occasions where all your friends and relatives were obliged to applaud when you entered the room.
7pm WISH YOU WERE HERE…?, ITV
And it’s a Thames simulcast at seven o’clock with two of their old warhorses going into battle. In fact a few weeks earlier it had been a Thames triplecast with The World At War being repeated on BBC2 at the same time, the company enjoying almost complete domination of the airwaves, not bad given they’d stopped broadcasting themselves two years ago. This show lasted almost as long as This Is Your Life, and it’s still in pretty much its familiar form here with Judith Chalmers hosting from New Zealand. She was joined by her regular sidekick John Carter, reporting from Jersey, although his rather formal style was going out of fashion a bit and he’d soon be off (Victor Lewis-Smith: “The pupils all enjoyed Mr Carter’s lecture on his holidays and only wish he would go away for a bit longer next time”).
8.30pm THE REAL HOLIDAY SHOW, CHANNEL 4
More holidays here, but in a rather different style, and it’s easy to forget what a big show this was in its day, pulling in enormous audiences. The concept involved holidaymakers being given camcorders to record their trips away, with that nice Gaby Roslin introducing the highlights back in the studio. Intended as the most democratic holiday show on TV, giving you a warts-and-all guide to various resorts, most viewers didn’t really give a toss about the places they visited and instead just tuned in to have a nose at the families involved and their often rather cliched Brit abroad antics, at least one report in each show involving copious drunkenness. Still, it was engaging enough for a while – and was later joined by companion series Moving People in which John Peel linked films of MOTPs, er, moving house – before Channel 4 commissioned 10 million episodes and a dozen spin-offs and ran it into the ground, like every other successful show on the channel.