Sunday, 31 January 2010

Good Drama from the 80's/90's - Beats Mills and Boon Anyday

Boon - Trouble in the Fields - Part 1

Picked from a selection of full episodes from the investigative drama, already on Youtube, here is the 1st episode from the 1990 5th series of the show in it's entirety. Michael Elphick plays Michael Boon, an ex-firemen who is forced to find employment elsewhere, after failing to perform duties after the year's of attending to fires, with his lungs now officially shot (exhausted, damaged), he is told to scram, and finds employment as a private investigator. By this point, Boon has sold his country club, Woodcote Park, in what was just a few of his other career ventures. In this episode, Boon is planning to start his own security company, CBS, and while on one of his horses, someone fire an air-pellet, sending him careering off the horse into the river, but is saved by a Polish woman, Irena Tadeusz. Boon becomes aware from the woman, of a spate of antique shop robberies. he discovers the Polish woman is in on the robberies too.

Also starring a young-ish Neil Morrisey as the character "Rocky". Also cameo's from "Only Fools and Horses" Denzil, actor Paul Barber, playing as Angus, and the youngish-oldish future "Vicar of Dibley" star Trevor Peacock.

"Boon", ran on ITV from 1986-1992. The theme song, as shown, is "Hi Ho Silver" composed by Jim Diamond. It became a single due to popular demand in it's first year of 1986, and reach No.5 in the UK charts.

2000's interpretation of 1988: Lots of Excited People Talking

I Love 1988 part 1 of 9

A recent upload, with a full episode taken from the early 2000's BBC nostalgia series I Love...whatever year from the 70's/80's/90's. This luckily is one of my favourite episodes from the series that profiled 3 decades. You know the format, main presenter introduces the segment, talks over the the clip, followed up with random talking heads, some we know, some from the far reaches of the magazine industry, but also some who were involved in that particular show, then follow some more clips, then some more blah blah blah, and so on...

This show is introduced and presented by a new 3-D animation re-enactment of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, voiced by 2 of the actual voice actors, from the cartoon that lauched in the UK in 1988, Cam Clarke (Leonardo -blue mask) and Rob Paulsen (Raphael- red mask). The show features, as described in the video blurb, pop twins Bros,
Brother Beyond, Harry Enfield's iconic 80's stand-up garb Loadsa Money, Richard and Judy, Pub Quiz, Acid House music, Prisoner Cell Block H, Inflatable Bananas at football grounds, The Viz comic, teen singing sensations Tiffany& Debbie Gibson, Sumo on Channel 4 night time, the film "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure" and the Hitman and Her!

I still really like these kind of shows, well, there are few questionable entries and some of the sections did drag on, however most of the show goes along speedily, maintaining you're interest. The same user also has full episodes of "I Love 1987" and "I Love 1989", and I'm guessing more?

Resign Now, Mr. Eden

UK Labour Party Political Broadcast - Nov 1956

The leader of the opposition, and known as one the greatest politicians to never become British Prime Minister, Hugh Gaitskell, speaks in 1956, arguing against the British intervention in Egypt, as a result of "The Suez Crisis". He demands that Conservative PM Anthony Eden, steps down from his role. He also mentions the Hungarian Uprising against Soviet Communist rule. Eden now, is one of our least celebrated Prime Ministers. He wanted to be a "Man of Peace" however the Suez Crisis almost contradicted his values. Eden never heeded Gaitskell's calls, but his term in office ran for only 2 years, retiring due to ill health and old age, replaced by fellow Conservative Harold MacMillan.

"The Suez Crisis" was a disaster for Britain, and was a symbolic gesture of the diminishing powers of the Great British Empire, especially in the Middle East. Britain, Israel and France invaded Egypt due to the actions of the country nationalising the Suez Canal, a very important region of trade and commerce which transferred Saudi Arabian oil to the Western World. After Egypt started to become more independent, taking itself out of the "Warsaw Pact", and the ability to arm themselves with the fear of an alliance with China, and trying to turn other Arabian countries like Jordan, Syria and Iraq against the western nations involved, and the tension between the Jews of Israel and the Arabs. This all came to a head. Egypt's leader Nasser was regarded as dictator by the British press.

Gaitskell was leader of the Labour party from 1955-1963. He unfortunately died in the latter year, which ended his leadership of the party instantly, dying of an condition known as Lupus erythematosus, a chronic inflammatory disease. One of the main reason he didn't become PM sooner, was because of the rise in prosperity in UK living standards after the dire state of the UK economy in the early 1950's, under a Conservative Government.

Saturday, 30 January 2010

Oh, It's Just a Bit of Fun, I'm Sure You Won't Mind a Big "W" Stuck to You're Forehead!


"Whittle" was a quirky gameshow from the very early days of Channel 5, appearing on the very first day of transmission for the channel on March 31st, 1997. This is the best, most extensive clip I can find for the show on Youtube, which is not a full episode, but bloopers/highlights from the show, or just funny remarks from the interactive audience of 100 people, participating in the quiz show, having to wear the dreaded "Whittle mask" if they were eliminated from the show by giving an incorrect answer, as in the early rounds, or answering question correctly the least. A tacky looking set and almost "Dunce" like cone hats worn by some of the participants. They would asked multiple-choice questions. The questions weren't you're usual routine, they were based on bad gags and punchlines. The one person left standing would win a startling £500! The presenter of the show was comedian Tim Vine, brother of "Panorama" presenter and political pundit Jeremy Vine. He was very much the face of the Channel 5 in it's first year, and was the first male face to be seen, when Channel 5 went on the air, introducing the channel along with Julia Bradbury, after the bed-wettingly days and days of previews and tasty teasers of the channel, with the likes of Nancy Lamb to look forward to. Great stuff!

Despite the fact Vine seems to be sporting a Jason Donovan-looking mop circa 1989, it was definitely one of the best early shows from the channel. A gameshow that didn't take itself too seriously. The show lasted for 2 series from 1997-1998. These clips are from the second series in 1998.

Britain's Rose Dies...

BBC breaking news of Lady Diana crash 1997

Another tragic event covered today, this time in the News genre. The whole nation was shocked to wake up to the news of the Princess of Wales, Diana Spencer, was tragically killed in a horrendous car accident under the Pont de l'Alma tunnel in Paris, France, on 31st August 1997, at the age of 36. This BBC news clip, presented by Martyn Lewis, Nik Gowing & Maxine Mawhinney, gives us the gruesome coverage of the obliterated car, on the very tragic morning of the accident.

BBC Normal Schedules are Awashed as Kennedy is Assassinated

BBC President Kennedy death continuity 1963

The assassination of US president John F. Kennedy is one those news events of "where were you when the news hit?". On the 22nd November 1963, the 35th president of the United States was shot in the back and then the head, while in a open-top car procession in Dallas, Texas. Not much to say about this clip, also profiling the UK weather, squashed in-between the replacement of normal scheduled programmes, for a Kennedy tribute and more changes over the course of the weekend as announced by the typically well-spoken announcer. The clip is of good ident and ends with a non-fancy schmancy graphical, real-as-real BBC clock ident.

Friday, 29 January 2010

VHS of Hamlet's Greatest Ads

Hamlet Cigar Compilation of Adverts 1992 Part One

A rather elaborate fluff-around-the-ears compilation of the best of the iconic Hamlet TV adverts to grace Britain's screens since the 1960's, which made light of historical and obscure/eccentric characters getting themselves into a sticky and embarrassing situation. This was a VHS release, hence alot of padding out from some comedy sketches, "funny moments" from the late Willie Rushden. Set in the "Hamlet Hall of Fame", Rushden presents in multiple guises as visitor and narrator, present this show showcasing a chronological history of Hamlet ads. The script is embarrassingly unfunny, Rushden, when appearing as the coated-up visitor to this Hamlet museum, we see him mixing with disappearing/imaginary character like a man in a fancy dress rooster costume and a young pretty woman. Don't ask me why!

Despite the fact, that smoking is now a much scorned leisurely luxury, people still look back at the Hamlet ads with much appreciation. The famous ad campaign would emphasise the man, down on his luck, having "just one of those days", but forget about all you're troubles, as you have a nice relaxing and calming cigar. The choice of using an modernised piece of Bach's "Air on a G String", composed by Frenchman Jacques Loussier, adds a powerful boost and changing factor tothe advert, for that feeling of relaxation and it's rather like taking a seat back for a moment in time from your everyday strife of life. There were some rather controversial versions of the ad on ground of touchy subjects for some, such as a British soldier armed with a rifle meeting a German soldier in the trenches, also armed. The 2 sit down together smoking Hamlet in the end. Ah, and also before the ads get under way, we see a spoof of what goes on behind the scenes at Hamlet in producing an advert, starring Adrian Edmondson, of "Bottom and "The Young Ones" fame.

Their were some great ads from the series, but one of the best regarded ones is the advert featuring Scottish actor Gregor Fisher, as one of his comedy sketch characters "The Baldy Man", who has a very iffy strand of hair, that he obsessively grooms, to somehow, someway, hide his awkwardness of being bald. In the famous ad, is a re-taken sketch from "Naked Video", a popular sketch show, where he just cannot get a good photo taken in a passport photo booth, thanks to bad timing and a dodgy stool. The expression on his face when he smokes the cigar is pretty funny too.

Willie Rushden came to fame as a co-founder of the political satire magazine "Private Eye", that is still running today. He appeared and hosted his own satire shows and an light entertainment show in the 1960's on radio and TV in the UK and Australia, but most notably appeared in political sketch show That was the Week That Was in 1962-1963, doing an impression of then-Prime Minister Harold MacMillan, which wasn't dared to be performed before. You may know Rushden for his voice, as he is the voice behind the whole cast of claymation children's series "The Trap Door" on CITV. Rushden died in December 1996 at the age of 59, from a heart attack.

Blackadder's Missing Episode- As Forgotten as a Goldfish with Alzheimer's

Blackadder - The Unaired Pilot Episode-Part 1 of 5

Gold is struck here, as we see the unaired pilot of historical comedy sitcom "Blackadder"(created by Richard Curtis and Rowan Atkinson), with the most glaring difference being, no Tony Robinson as Baldrick, who is so enamoured with that role, is being played by Phillip Fox. A more normal looking, cleaner looking and less dishellved younger man. It's funny, because you almost feel outraged it's not Tony Robinson, but back then it was only a fully formed idea, waiting for viewer judgement. Rowan Atkinson is still Edmund Blackadder, however it is very much different from the following first series, but a closer representation of the second series, as this pilot is set in Elizabethan times, wheras the first series is set in the dark/middle ages. Edmund's character here is a mixture of the weasly but arrogant first series Edmund Blackadder, but with some of the conviction and wittiness of the second series Blackadder, and you could say his recurring roles along the timeline in the third and fouth series. The pilot also features future Blackadder regular and seconadary joke-bait to Baldrick, Tim McInnerny playing as servant Percy. The other cast members to survive from the pilot were Scottish actress Elspet Gray, who retained her role as a Queen in the first "Blackadder"series, this time as Gertrude of Flanders, and gruff-voiced Alex Norton, future lead star of "Taggart", playing the role of Scots warrior McAngus.

Hosting one-off appearances, most notably, is John Savident who came to future prominence as Coronation Street's Fred "I say, I say" Elliott in the 90's. Prince Harry was played by Robert Bathurst, to be be replaced by Robert East in the actual series.

The first series of "Blackadder" or "Blackadder the First" wasn't a huge success, and was not hugely funny. The set and widely varied location settings rather than studio sets, for outdoor means, were hugley expensive. Baldrick , this time played by Tony Robinson, came across as the smart one while, Blackadder came across as more immature, stupid but with some degree of ruthlessness, that later ancestors would have. However, after having to take a large budget cut, the second series with some new blood like Stephen Fry. Miranda Richardson and a more sarcastic, and acid-tongued Edmund Blackadder returned, an immensely stupid Baldrick, in the settiing of the Elizabethan period, like the pilot, but better. Blackadder retained the perfect composition of Blackadder and Baldrick, through the other 2 series, with some changes and coming going from the surrounding main cast. The Third series set in the 18th Century, this time introducing new cast member Hugh Laurie, as the Prince Regent. Between the third and fourth series, there were 2 one-off specials of Blackadder, that although not chronologically, it filled out some of the gaps in time periods between the second and fourth. The fourth seres was set during the First World War, taking place in mostly Blackadder's trench, mirthing and satrising the issues of war. Of course we can talk about more in another post...


Mister Baaaarlow

Ken Balow's Coronation Crush 1960s

One of the longest-lasting actors on Coronation Street, William Roache as Ken Barlow, has appeared in the show from the very first episode in 1960, up to the present, as of 2010. Known as a ladies charmer and sometime philanderer, Barlow has had an amazing 27 girlfriends in the course of the show's run. This 10 minute clip from what I believe to be 1965, focuses on a schoolgirl's crush on a young and married Ken Barlow, asking for his photograph too. The sound quality isn't too great. Also, a young Emily Bishop or "Miss Nugent" features. Ken is married to Valerie Tatlock at this time. This episode also runs close to the Elsie Tanner gets evicted from her house storyline.

You may see "Dad's Army" star Arthur Lowe appearing as lay preacher Leonard Swindley, in the black suit and black bowler hat in the Gamma Garments store at 1 min 53secs in, speaking to Street legend Albert Tatlock (Jack Howarth). The character Swindley appeared in a couple of spin-offs in 1966 and 1967, after leaving the show in 1965 (storyline was he was promoted to higher management in the Gamma Garments company) "Pardon The Expression" comedy sitcom (1965-1966) and "Turn Out the Links" (1967), a comedy sitcom spin-off of a spin-off.

Thursday, 28 January 2010


Gophers - Episode 1. Moving day (part 1 of 3)

Very, very cult Children's show from 1990, shown and produced by Channel 4 on weekend Sunday mornings, created by Mark Mason. Think "Dinosaurs", people dressed in animatronic human/gopher cross-breeds, wearing sensible clothes. The first 3 episodes are on Youtube, but episodes 4 and 5 are in Dutch. There were 13 episodes altogether and only 1 series, sadly.

This focused on an American family of Gophers moving a new neck of the woods, Sycamore Heights, where funnily enough, they all speak in a British accent, apart from the Merv Wombat character. The gophers, comprising of father Chuck Gopher family(played by American Lou Marsh, who appeared as "Arnie" in the UK sitcom "My Hero), mother Lillian Gopher, son Junior Gopher and baby son Chiplet Gopher. They live next door to family of rabbits called the Burrows. The father, Arthur Burrows, is an obsessive compulsive when it comes to gardening. Wife Beatrix Burrows and daughter Flora Burrows complete the family. The villain of the set piece have their HQ somewhere underground, a fox by the name of Dr. Wince and his daft sidekick Sly, a tiny Crocodile/Alligator. Wince wants to build a road through the 2 families plot of land and home!

There's also some off-beat comedy from other characters including the 2 crows up by the nest, Frankie and Ollie, a pack of well-groomed talking vegetables from Arthur Burrows shed. They are Charlotte Cabbage, Percy Cabbage, Knowitall Carrot, Weepy Cauliflower and Barry Pumpkin. Then you have the Shakespearean Tree, and The Cockroaches, who appear in those bloody dutch-speaking episodes called Nacho, Mimi - A waitress and Lupe - The Bartender. They live in one of the Gophers walls in the Kitchen.

It was a great little obscure show, and hopefully somebody will upload the last episode, which I vaguely remember. Other noteworthy voice actors from the show was Arthur Burrows' Francis Wright, who voiced The Psammead in the CBBC series "Five Children and It".

Pretty Sophisticated for a Saturday Morning Show!

Parallel 9: end of series 1

The alien prisoner presenters of the show, say farewell to capsule computer Tope, as they attempt to escape the prison and go back to their alien planet. An unfunny Shakespeare gag later, Mercator commands time to reverse and viewers are on tenderhooks. Can they get back to their planet Zab, or whatever it's called, safely, or being blasted to atoms?

What am I on about?

Parallel 9 was an ever-changing not-so-missed BBC Saturday morning show that struggled to make an impression on kids back in 1992. Running for 3 series, firstly running alternatively to "Going Live" and "Live and Kicking" in the summer months. This was Sci-fi tinged shows where the presenters also evaded into a fictional storyline, with one female presenter playing it straight, while the other actors/presenters played it as aliens from another planet. This is in conjunction with the very last part of this season. The first season was something different alright, for Saturday mornings, but it's very warped nature made it feel distant to the viewer, when compared to the likes of "Going Live!" beforehand. Not only that, it was set in a largely dark and dreep, but impressively massive studio set, based on a prison theme, complete with a floating capsule. The show featured cartoons like "Toxic Crusaders" and had a computer gaming challenge as well as live (mime) acts. However it was disappointing, but memorable for Mercator, the main character, who always played in character, still learning the culture of Earth. This could be quite an annoying factor though, hence the more wised-up Calendular, the Earth girl. Mercator was a robed alien prince with the best set of eyebrows ever. To show appreciation, he wouldn't clap his hands together as Earthlings do, but slap his hand across his forehead continuously. Unfortunately, this doesn't appear in the clip above. 52 year old, Roddy Maude-Roxby played the role of Mercator, but was never asked to come back in the later series, opting for someone much younger. None of the original cast came back for a second series, as it was not well received.

The other alien prisoners exiled from their alien home, did seem to be more wised-up, but didn't really come across well as presenters. We'd never heard of them in the world of Children's TV, they didn't do anything in the CBBC Broom Cupboard. Their fictional names were Steyl, Skyn and Thynkso. The only one that was any good, was the sole female member, Steyl. The other 2 seemed to play it a little bit dim.

Looking back, the set does seem more impressive than you remember, as you get to see the full scale of it, at the end of this clip. The theme song's great too, "time for yooou to paaaaaaaaay!". That was the best of the show really, but there are a few more interesting clips from "Parallel 9" on Youtube. The show, with a new cast in the second series, was more appealing to children and colourful, but it was so dramatically changed. By the 3rd series, it was by then very linear, and the Sci-fi element, was no longer an interesting quirk, which felt wasted.

1970's Escalator Safety Public Information Film

1970's Escalator Safety Public Information Film

In this PIF, mostly aimed at children about the dangers of automated escalators, showing how dangerous it can be, to stand near the edge of a moving and functioning Escalator step at the side, warned by yellow lines, and the groove at the back. A very good slogan here, of "Stand Still, Stand Steady, Stand Clear". In a quite scary way, it shows how an escalator can chomp a kid's wellington boot, in bone-crunching fashion. These retro escalators now look pretty scary themselves, looking fairly jagged at the top, where your suppoesed to stand!

It's funny how back in 70's and 80's were so PIF-mad, nitpicking at the smallest of dangers, in which these days, the Government can't be bothered to educate, despite the fact it's an on-going process of new generation after new generation being born, now clueless how to act on the monstrous obstacle of escalators. I don't see the yellow lines at the sides much now either. Populism and sensationalism has reached PIF's now, where it's only the bigger issues that come screaming and kicking out of headline news. You don't hear of people getting killed on escalators on the news, so it don't matter.

Escalators have been in some form since the 19th century, firstly modelled by American Nathan Ames in 1859, however it didn't work. The first working escalator, developed by Jesse W. Reno, and it was first installed along the Old Iron Pier at Coney Island, New York in 1896. Since then, escalators, especially for elder people, have made life easier in airports, shopping centres and so on. Just make sure your laces are tied well. Accidents are rarer now, but people have died by exploding and collapsing escalators, strangled by their own clothes as loose thread gets stuck in the machinery, as well as a nice haircut right down to the scalp. Careful now, yeah?

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Light 'Em Up!

BBC Science in Primary Schools 1967

The beginning of a rare 60's BBC Schools Programme entitled "Science in the Primary School", with the subtitles of "A New Direction". The main interest this serves, although a short clip, but long enough to surmise the difference of schools today - becoming increasingly active with the internet and computers - to school back in the late-60's, no computers, only the tools in you're hand, whether that be chalk or pencil. The children are crowding round experiments, measuring temperature and the wind direction & speed and rainfall. Remember, schools were improving back, but still did not have the sort of luxuries, an average comprehensive would have, in more modern times. Taking a good guess this is an all boys' school, and not just natural selection at work here.

In the middle of the clip, what looks like a rocket or firework being lit. Let's hope those hands are the teacher's! Definitely not in practice now, due to safety concerns. I think the modern alternative to this, is firing a plastic bottle, where air is somehow launched into the bottle, and it goes as high as a kite. And oh, there are girls in this school class after all. However, they seemed to be off-camera or in the background, in this very short scene. Then we go to a four member panel of adults, overly-dressed (seems rather a sudden edit, perhaps highlights of the episode provided by the Youtube user), making way for a poem read by a female class member voiceover, and then we go to the rolling tranparent credits, on a drawing of kids in a playground getting high. Oh joy.

Dreamy, Early 90's House Music of Which Such Beauty Hoisted by Non-Conforming Female Head Gear

Opus III - Its A Fine Day [totp2]

This is one of the more memorable 90's acts on TOTP. The unique looking act was headed by vocalist Kirsty Hawkshaw, along with Kevin 'The Fly' Dodds, Ian Munro and Nigel 'Spider' Walton providing the tune. A highlight of the house/techno movement in the late-80's and early 90's, was their huge hit "It's A Fine Day", a No.1 in the U.S. Hot Dance Club Play chart (in other words, some secondary-tier US chart), and a peak of No.5 in the UK Singles Chart. The song has a liberal and loving feel to it. That's because the members of the group themselves felt strongly about the environment. This was a time when the environment, really did become a big issue. The song came from the debut album of "Mind Fruit". The song is a cover of the 1983 song of the same name, by Jane & Barton.

One complaint of the British music industry in the early 90's was, it was dominated by faceless dance/house acts, with only good/great music but no individual star potential. Oh, not Opus III. Here we see an almost naked Kirsty the top bearing a mohawk, with some truly weird beads/seashells/robot worms resting on her fringe and forehead respectively, and is squeezed into a tight black catsuit, with some jazzy hands.

This wasn't the only Opus III performance of the same song, but it's not on youtube. In this clip, there are a couple of spinning metallic balls in the group of small monitor screen at the the back of the set. Well, in the other performance, she is singing the song as well as spinning metallic balls (2 or 3) in her hand at the same time. Some talent that. Seriously, I thought it was one of the most weirdest but compelling music acts I have ever seen. The success of the Opus III was short-lived, and they broke up after their second album. Kirsty Hawkshaw, now has hair, looooong hair, plus she looks better like that anyway. Hawkshaw did a new remake of the song in 2002, and is still singing to this day.

Freeman Tries to Mind Melt Jung's Exterior

Face to face with Carl Jung - Part 1 of 4

From 1959, here is a full episode of in-depth interview show "Face to Face". Off-screen former Labour Party MP John Freeman, probes influential Swiss psychiatrist carl Gustav Jung. The interview unusually takes place out of studio, taking place in the frail 84-year old's Swiss home. The programme, beginning in 1959 held a different format to other similar interview-type documentaries, with a more intimate and tense setting, the camera focusing close-up, on the interviewee's face, in what seems in one long scene and take. On the odd time, Freemen will be shown from the back, focusing on his subject, as he rustles through another question, however we never see his face. The show ran from 1959 - 1962 with Alan Freeman, however there was a revival or second series 17 years later in 1989, this time running for longer, up to 1998. The revival was presented by Jeremy Isaacs.

In an intellectual episode, featuring Carl Jung, despite being 84, appears to be in good health and mind. The titles for the show feature no music, but nicely done, and there seems to be, just a tinge of colour, while the main programme is in black and white. The credits are simply drawn on pieces of paper floating in a lake(?), wonderfully presented. As we see the introduction to the show, there's the inaugural meeting between the 2, and the completely disconnected, whimsical orchestra music, you usually received to your ears, back in the TV of the 50's. Freeman asks Jung about his upbringing, the relationship between mother and father, religion and more. A good watch for intellectuals, and those interested in psychology. Jung died 2 years later, but is held in high regard, along with the arguably more well-known works of Sigmund Frued. Jung was a founder of a section of psychology named analytical or "Jungian psychology". He believe humans are inclined to be religious, and that it is important to feel both spiritual, but at the same time logical or scientific about life, to bring balance and harmony, as well as analysing dreams. There's that and alot more complicated stuff.

"Face to Face" was famous for some ground-breaking episodes in their first run. This includes the very private Tony Hancock, and Gilbert Harding. Harding, you may've seen in an earlier post here, appearing in the "What's My Line?" gameshow in 1955. Tried looking for the Harding episode on Youtube, but no joy. Harding came across as a very rude and stern, mature man on TV, but was a giving and gentle man off-screen. Blighted, really by the closed society at the cusp of the 1960's, when homosexuality could have you arrested and killed. Harding cries about seeing his dead mother, as Alan Freeman really does hit a vibe, which he later regrets, on the homosexual accusation part.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Bill "oh shit" Grundy Turns Chip-pan fire into House Fire. Infamous Interview with the Sex Pistols...

Full Bill Grundy with the Sex Pistols and Siouxsie Interview

This interview lives in infamy, as members of revolutionary Punk group "The Sex Pistols" swearing on live prime-time TV, using the f-word, s-word and a word that decribes an illegitimate son! There was no bleeping or anthing. This was featured on the "Today" show, presented by Bill Grundy. The F-word had been uttered on TV before, but this was still seen as very shocking, in 1976, as it has only been uttered 3 times before.

Much of the blame was put on poor Grundy. He seemed to take a very hands-on approach though jokingly, perhaps a clever way to get into the minds of these young rebels, claiming to be drunk, but of himself being of the older generation, alot older at 54 infact, he made himself look extremely foolish. He didn't seem to hear the first swear word by Sex Pistol's Steve Jones, answering where their £40,000 given to them by EMI record labels, which was "f***ing spent it", however as the chatter dragged on, Grundy must've had tunnel vision, thinking how ratings will shoot up. He asks both Johnny Rotten and Steve Jones to repeat what they had just said, in colourful fashion.

Also, Grundy, still in dumb/joking mode, has a little banter with another punk girl star of the time, at the back of the group, the white-haired Siouxsie. He jokingly prods her if they would like to meet up afterwards. That fell flat. The interview ended, Grundy himself going "oh shit", as the sound was beginning to fade to the ending credits, but that gets caught on camera. Grundy knowing this wasn't really his day, but still meeting it with a smile on his face. However, after this, it was all over the newspapers nationwide, despite not everyone had seen it. Grundy didn't disappear altogether, but whatever momentum he had on TV, came to a crashing end. He was slapped in the hand for 2 weeks, while his "Today" show finished 2 months later.

It was touch-n-go, as The Sex Pistols were breaking the manistream, and Punk music as a whole, with the hit "Anarchy in the UK" in 1976, a controversial single that was deemed anti-religious and promoted mob violence and disorder. It was a year later, they had their biggest and even more controversial hit "God Save the Queen", an almost anti-thesis to the British national anthem, regarded as insluting by the older generation.

Genteel Vicar Comedy from the early 1960's, featuring a smut-free Leslie Phillips

Our Man At St Mark's Pt1 Leslie Phillips - Rediffusion 1963

Been digging hard to find more British TV 1960's material for this blog, and we have found what I believe to be very rare, and our most extensive exerpt from the 60's UK TV, as this is a full episode.

A full episode from ITV's "Our Man At St Mark's", a comedy sitcom. Much of this series no longer exists in the archives apart from a few minutes worth, as claimed by this youtube uploader. Well, that's a sad state of affair's, but "wiping" was common place in the early days of television.

The sitcom stars Leslie "Ding Dong" Phillips, of the "Carry on..." movies fame, as. It is produced by Associated Rediffusion, which as a regional broadcaster for London and surrounding counties. What makes this a more rarer find, is the fact Phillips appeared in only the first series or 7 episodes of the show in 1963, replaced by Donald Sinden in 1964. The episode featured here, in 3 parts, is meant to be the very first episode "The Facts of Life", claimed in the youtube comments section. It is indeed.

Phillips, plays Rev. Andrew Parker in a very different role to his most famous role, he still comes across as charming and suave, making a good effort in the lead role. Still alive at the age of 85 today!

"Our Man At St Mark's" was followed up by another 3 series, not starring Leslie Phillips, with a meaningless change to "Our Man From St Mark's".

Thrashed, Mullered, Destroyed...

Leeds United 7 - 0 Southampton - 1971/72 - First Division

Leeds United thrash Southampton 7-0 at Elland Road in a chilly February Division One match. Featuring a feast of goals from the likes of Jack Charlton, a couple of goals from Scottish striker Peter Lorimer, English forward Mick Jones and features one of the club's most famous players, Billy Bremner, giving us a talking-head round-up of his view of the match. Commentary from Barry Davies. Clip seems to be taken from either "Match of the Day", but seems most likely a documentary.

1972 was part of great era of the early-60's to mid-70's, Leeds United enjoyed under the management of Don Revie, who turned the team around from a struggling relegation Division Two, to a team that never failed to finish below 4th place in the top division, the First Division. The enjoyed league wins in 1968–69 and 1973–74 seasons, as well as cup win under their belt, coming close to European success, falling to A.C MIlan in 1973 in the final of the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, and also to Bayern Munich in 1975. After Revie resigned as manager, the club's fortunes spiralled, despite having the like of Brian Clough in charge, with a disasterous start to the new season, both on and off the pitch, and Cloughie only lasted 44 days in 1974.

Southampton had been in the First Division since 1966, and had been moderately successful, finishing high enough to play in Europe. 1972 isn't a well-remembered year for the Saints, as it was the tipping point for their relegation from the First Division in 1974.

Monday, 25 January 2010

From "That's Life!" And Something About Carrots Mimicking Rude Objects!

Robotic Dancing Competition - UK TV, 1983 - RARE!

A very weird and rare segment from the Sunday magazine show "That's Life!", presented by our very toothy but lovely Esther Rantzen. Although sadly, We don't get to see some more creepiness from our zillions of winning Robotic dancers doing their solo's as the tape ends. Metal Mickey, a small-ish robot with a stolen R2D2's head, with a smiley face on it, had his own children's show at the time, (I'm sure I've seen him on Mike Reid's "Runaround" too)voiced and controlled by Johnny Edward. Here we see robotic dancers, young and old, some still affected by the New Romanticism bug, trying to win this bloody thing. End up, Metal Mickey pops up and cruelly zaps the losers, with hundreds still left, being proclaimed winners. A stupid-ending segment, but it's still interesting to see how different we were back then.

A modern day example of that today would be, an urban dance contest. Perhaps better than what could've been a 90's version of a fad dance, "The Macarena".

Robotic dancing was invented in the late-60's by Charles "Robot" Washington, at the time of the soul and funk movement in the US. It was popularised by the teenaged "Jackson Five" in the late-70's in the song "Dancing Machine". It tied in well, with the breakdancing explosion in the early 80's, and also, people in the 80's became obsessed with technology and the future of technology, as electronic gadgets started to be rolled out at breakneck speeds, compared to the more barren 1970's.

And let's not forget "That's Life!". Running from 1973 - 1994 - a nice long run - always presented by Esther Rantzen, frequenting at the weekends. I remember it being mostly on Sunday evenings, it was mostly on Saturday's. It was like a more entertaining, fluffy wuffy version of "Watchdog". The aim of the show was to protect consumer rights, as well as light-hearted elements, like talking dog, vegetables that seemed to make funny faces or looked like a "meat and two veg". It would sometimes try to charm our socks off with amusing anecdotes read from a person's letter, a bit like "Points of View" except less moaning. There was also some Arts thrown in, with poetry by Pam Ayres and comedy songs by Richard Stilgoe.

Esther would be be the main star, while the other 2 (3?) presenters would be behind desks reading the letters from sad and happy aspects of life. There were many that came and went. The ones I most remember are Adrian Mills and Gavin Campbell, In the older 70's version, you had comedian Cyril Fletcher with his gimmick of sitting in a comfy chair with a large book reading "odd odes" and amusing misprints.

Right I won't go on much longer about this, there will be other "That's Life!" here on this nostalgia blog. I liked the show enough, and it was never really replaced, but it was criticised for being dated and now too old fashioned. As cheesy as it was, strangely entertaining, profiling the absurdities of life. Can't see it being revived.

The Best Boat Porn I've Ever Seen!

Howards' Way - opening intro

Simply fantastic!

Look at those boats glittering in the sunlight!

Going "zoom" along the sea!

The titles of the short-lived BBC soap "Howards Way", running from 1985-1990. It's not hard to see why when you look at how times changed during those five years. It evolved around an upper-class leisure and business activity - Yachting. Back in the mid-80's and up to "Black Monday" in 1987, it was cool to be rich and upper-class, it envisaged greed and power, what was felt, and still is to a degree, to climb the career ladder. Britain had never had it so good, until oh, 9-10 years later, but that's another story. By 1990, recession was looming and soaps of the rich like the USA's "Dallas" and "Dynasty", were increasingly looking like pure fantasy.

The theme tune to "Howards' Way" does though feel rather soothing, with no vocals. You could hum to that tune easily. However, it also feels like there are vocals missing, which can easily be arranged with that fanfare-like horn/synth thingmygig.

The show is usually confused with an earlier 80's boats 'n champagne-calibre type serial, which was called "Triangle", which also starred Kate 'O Mara. The show was filmed and set in Southern England, filmed in various places along the southern coast, including Southampton. The most well-known actors to star in this, were again mentioned before, Kate 'O Mara as Laura Wilde, introduced into the show in 1989, increasing the link between Howards' Way and the high-class glamour of "Dynasty". Anthony Head (of the Maxwell "will they or won't they" 80's ads fame, and "Little Britain") starred only in the first series as Phil Norton.

The BBC Took Alot out of their Coffers to Produce this Classic!

BBC Chronicles of Narnia: LWW - Chapter 1/6 Part 1/3

On Youtube, this is the first of six episodes, split into 3 parts, for one of the BBC's most ambitious efforts of the late-80's, if not the whole decade. This was a TV adaption of what was to be 4 of the famous C.S. Lewis books based on the fantasy action/drama "The Chronicles of Narnia". Today we are looking at the first adventure in the series "The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe". It was a big event at the time, shown on Sunday evening near Christmas time. Great orchestral music features throughout. Basically it follow the story of 4 evacuated children from London during the Second World War in 1940. The children are Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy Pevensie. Lucy finds a wardrobe at their new home, and she goes through bundles of coats hanging inside the wardrobe, to a new dimension, a new world which is Narnia. A world where animals can talk, but not exactly wearing business suits yet. Here Lucy meets Mr. Tumnus. The other 3 children discover this new, mysterious land, where they are destined almost, to be Kings and Queens, along with the help of mystical guru Aslan the Lion and Mr. and Mrs Beaver, to defeat the evil ruler of Narina, the White Witch, and her dastardly servant Maugrim the Wolf. She has imprisoned the land and wildlife with a never-ending winter. Edmund is unimpressed with narnia, but falls too easily to the darker side.

So at the time, there were pretty nifty special effects, as well as introducing the viewers to Animatronics. This was to to mechanise the puppetry of Aslan the lion, to appear more realistic, it's not a man in a costume. However, the emotion displayed is although limited, and so are his mouth movements, as he speaks, but it just about works. Aslan comes across as a very chilled, controlled being, so little movement was needed. A real lion was used in some scenes, obviously, running scenes. It looks dated, but at least you could say, the other actors can see who they are talking to. The other animals, perhaps too complicated to use Animatronics, or not enough budget, but such as Maugrim the Wolf, it was a man in a wolf costume, his human face seeping through the costume, but "done up" as best as they can. Of course, you've maybe seen the 2005 movie now, and the animals are all CGI, with some use of real animals.

The special effects weren't exactly 3-D as of yet, but were good for it's time, however they did use the blue-green screen in the next series (Prince Caspian). I thought the acting was all-round good, and Barbara Kellerman as The White Witch, sometimes accused of "hamming it up" with over-the-top displays of anger and evil sustained into the mix, I thought she was alot more menacing and frightening than Hollywood's version (Tilda Swanton). Having seen all 4 series, it's very hard to name a best one, but this first adventure has the most iconic imagery, with the whole land encrusted in a blanket of snow and the White Witch's prestigious costume, especially her wildly high-looking tiara, or crown. A must-see, but some may prefer the Hollywood version.

Sunday, 24 January 2010

First Episode of a Children's Cult Classic

Rentaghost 1 of 3

One of the most fondly remembered Children's programming from the 1970's, was "Rentaghost". Here is the first ever episode of the shoow from 1976. Running from 1976 -1984, the show was about a recently deceased man by the name of Fred Mumford (Anthony Jackson) who runs a ghost agency and finds never-do-wells, like Timothy Claypole (Michael Staniforth), a medieval looking jester who claims he is a poltergeist (ghost that can move/throw objects), and fears modern technology. The only other ghost to appear in this episode is Victorian gentleman Hubert Davenport (Michael Darbyshire), who is outraged by modern society in general. Harold Meaker (Edward Brayshaw), is the living human renting them the office space to perform their ghostly deeds.

A comedy that was sometimes over-the-top in it's acting, it has a special place in people's hearts, for thise who grew up in the 70's. In this episode, there is much play on Mumford humourously trying to play it straight in a train carriage, being theonly one looking normally dressed, talking and telling off 2 invisible ghosts, in front of bewildered passengers. Living people though, can actually see the ghosts, whenever they are visible on-screen. In later series, the cast of ghost expands, however, only Claypole stars in ever series, as Mumford (Jackson) opts out after the third series, and actor Michael Darbyshire dies in 1979.

The series had a short revival, after it was repeated in the mid-90's at the weekends.

Virtual Reality? Sorry Mate, You're About 30 Years Too Early!

Cyber Zone Game Show

For our first videogames affiliated post, we are recalling back to an obscure 1 series gameshow on the BBC, BBC 2 I think. Remember all the virtual reality craze back in the 90's? This was when 3D graphics had just become mainstream in 1992, when you had a film like "The Lawnmower Man" coming out.

I remember seeing in shopping malls and libraries cordoning off sections, for people to experience this "VR" in huge chunky helmets You might've got this in fairgrounds too. As the show looks, way too excitable, about what seemed like very limited games with compared to now, really awful graphics! Presented by Red Dwarf's Craig Charles, bringing the crowd to fever pitch, like he would do in "Robot Wars". This was laughable though, but back then, OK it's no Sonic the Hedgehog, but it may be start of a new revolution. No it was not! We are 17 years later down the road, and yes, games have become more interactive such as the Nintendo Wii, but that's different. That was a success, and what's more, it doesn't immerse you into the screen like VR helmets too, it's just the biting arm movements that count, and that doesn't count as virtual reality for me. You're looking at a screen. That's why I'm saying 30 years, on a betting but safe side, as I'm sure games will become even more interactive, than what you get with the Wii, and alot can change in a decade.

So anyway, Craig Charles televisual side-kick is called "Thesp", looking like an American cowboy but with a British accent. The games were basic and more like, what some early 90's kids would reagard as boring, which was the reputation it used have, which is PC games. One game was like a flight simulator, and one was like simply to find you're opponent and shoot them with an arrow...that was it, not collecting over 100 rings or beating up tens of guy to get to a level boss. The concept was lost in many viewers, because the console games of even that age, could crap all over this.

Obviously, the show never came back after 1 series and 10 episodes. However, it's always stood out for me, as it was the only virtual reality show of it's kind. It was the world's first VR gameshow, so let's end on a positive note!

Why Waste That Perfectly Good Bloody Pearl Necklace, I Put My Savings Into That!

Alan Price - Changes - Volkswagen TV Commercial

Classed as one of the best and iconic UK adverts of the 1980's. Typically known as a Princess Diana look-a-like, sick and tired of her marriage, leaving for good, ditching everything money can buy, the yuppie clothes -the fur coat, the pearl necklace and the wedding ring - of the very rich and established 80's woman. However, not the Volkswagen car keys! Oh no! The advert ends as the woman smiles, non-verbally praising the automobile, presumably for it's reliance.

The adverts is directed by the famous British photographer David Bailey, and the song, a brilliant soundtrack and lyrics to the advert, is, as seen above, by Alan Price, entitled "Changes". The Princess Di look-a-like is former model Paula Hamilton.

David Bailey of course, helped capture the "Swinging Sixties" Britain with vivid imagery. Taking photos of such celebrities of the 1960's such as model Twiggy, Terence Stamp, The Beatles, and the Kray Twins. He took up directing adverts in the mid-60's.

Bailey discovered the woman of the ad, Paula Hamilton. She was still a model at the time, at the age of 27. She became the face of Queen's couturier Sir Hardy Amies, a fashion designer for some time. Paula came up against the demons in the industry, the plight of drink and drugs, look at Kate Moss. Hamilton is still in the modelling industry, hoping to take advantage of the ability of older models like Twiggy, coming back to the fore, in the mid-2000's. She's been a judge for 2 series for "Britain's Next Top Model" in 2006 and 2007, but the huge fanfare of THAT advert, has seen her discussing the ad in "Best Adverts Ever" compilations on TV.

This is a very important advert in British history. Before this, and throughout the 80's, car ads were geared towards men, there was none of the soppy, artsy-fancy tone you see in today's ads. Paula's ad (can I say that?) was the first time, a car advert had favoured women and that the car has given them the essence of power. We have this in oodles of advertising now, with he woman coming out top's, but not many can better this piece!

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Interesting Report on the Raw Version of the early BNP (British National Party). Skinheads at the Ready!

Old and Bad-style British National Party in 1991 on Panorama

Now, I was going to show some much-awaited old by-election coverage from a far flung corner of the UK, but I found this, and it's a great find, from the long-running investogative series Panorama. Thumbs down though, it is a thuggish party and still is. Nowadays you have Nick Griffin appearing on "Question Time" trying to modernise the party, in a suit, however it still the same type of party it was, just that there is more of this (above in video)under the radar. The BNP back in the early 90's did indeed take a more alienating and hardcore stance in the public sphere, under the leadership of John Tyndall, who appears in this clip, harvesting his hatred to a crowd.

The clip first ventures into a pub full of skinheads, wearing either black jackets or denim, but the first person they talk too, is a flouncy-haired farmer-looking guy. One guy is shown proudly showing badges conveying the Nazi flag and BNP logo. The haircut that female BNP supporter; I've tried searching to find the name for it, as I remember it being an early-80's style too. The best I can find is, it's called a buzz, but a buzz can mean short, shave hair only. Alright, that's enough of that.

The BNP were a far-right, fascist party formed in 1982 by John Tyndall. This was a section of members of "The National Front" who split from the party. Their were hopes of them merging together again, but it never happened. For much of the 80's, the National Front were the better performing party, however the BNP over-took the lead in this movement, in the 90's, and very increasingly, in the 2000's. The documentary here, probably ties in the the surge in popularity for the party in the early 90's, especially in London and the South East. The BNP did not allow homosexual, black, Asian or lesbian people to become members, while the National Front was more relaxed to homosexuals. This clip is quite an important piece of history, to remind us of the outright hatred that is portrayed openly, compared to recent times.

Late-50's Crooning from a Forgotten Star...

Six Five Special Michael Holliday

Now Stretching the music genre to the 1950's, with a short-lived BBC live music show called "Six-Five Special". Promising British crooner here, Michael Holliday, sings "Love You Darlin'" accompanied by Don Lang and his Frantic Five, the resident band of the show.

The "Six-Five Special", ran from 1957-1958, a good year and a half actually. The reason for the titles, is because the show ran at 5 past six in the evening, hence the snazzy "Six-Five". Presented by radio DJ Pete Murray. This was the first programme to feature between 6pm-7pm on a Saturday evening. You know why? Because in this hour the BBC would shut down, marking the "Toddler Truce", a designated time when the parents should be tucking their small children in bed. Changed times!

The show was only suppoesed to run for six weeks, but it became very popular. However it was short-lived, because of arguments between show producer Jack Good and the BBC over what the content of the show should be, whether it would be purely live music or a magazine-type format. The most known performers on this show, were Petula Clarks, Lonnie Donegan & Cleo Laine. Their was also comedy performers on the show including Spike Milligan and Bernie Winters.

Michael Holliday was a popular British singer in the late-50's and early-60's. He had 2 UK No.1 hits, which were "The Story of My Life" and "Starry Eyed". He arguably, commited suicide from a drugs overdose, in 1963. He was believed to have suffered stage fright, and had a mental breakdown in 1961. So really, he would've probably have been more well-known if not for his tragic circumstances.

Friday, 22 January 2010

Oh, How Depressing...


"Hard Times in the mill, my lord"

An depressing account of the poverty-striken from presenter Robin Ray, looking like a long-lost fifth Beatle, presents this show or discussion on the plight of children in late 18th century, and onward to the 19th century, of children from "the poorhouses" forced to work in the mill. He points out the Quarry Bank mill in Cheshire, in north west England, viewed behind him. The programme includes some reconstructions on what may've happenend at the mill, and agreements made in business. Ray, gives us a chronological history of children arduous work in the mills and the laws that were passed throughout the 19th century. We get to see inside the mill too. Back in them days, children could work over 12 hours in these mills in horrible conditions with little variety in food to nourish their bodies completely. The account isn't too depressing, as it's said as one of the better conditioned mills for the children, and the owner was quite a gentleman.

Can't find a year or date for this programme, but as claimed by the youtube user, it's 1970's. I seems it maybe from the early 70's, guessing from the fact it's in black and white, but I can't say for sure.

Robin Ray actor, musician and broadcaster, born in 1934, and died in 1998. he was a Classical music expert, who panelled shows like "Face The Music" and chaired "Call My Bluff", in 1965 and 1966 respectively. He was a prominent part in the begining of Classic FM in 1990's, as an executive.

I'm pleased to say the Quarry Bank mill still exists today, as a heritage site:

Buona Sera Keith Floyd...

Floyd on Italy 1-1

A full first episode of 1994's "Floyd On Italy" featuring the wine-lashing, late, great Keith Floyd. This was one of the many branches of Floyd's focus on various countries and continents food culture, that were a feature on the BBC since 1984 with "Floyd on fish". Many viewers liked Keith, as he tell you as it is, about the food, as the main focus, not trying to steal the show himself, or be flashy, but his enthusiasm came across the screen very well. He travels to find the best restaurants and the best vineyards in Italy, and in this episode, he discovers the culture and food of the Piedmont region Of course, there's the famed cookery-on-the-spot of Keith making traditional Italian dishes from scratch in amongst the hustle and bustle of a street in a small north west Italian fishing village, the beautiful scenery of the Turin vineyard and cooking up on a boat.

I Mutter to the 2 Ronnies: OUCH!

The Two Ninnies

A smartly engineered parody of the 70's and 80's powerhouse duo of "The Two Ronnies", here, by Mel Smith and Griff Rhys Jones. It's a bashing at the Two Ronnies joyful comedy songs laced to the brim with sexual innuendo. In this clip, it only seems to be the song, as there was a dialogue part beforehand. It was regarded as a rather cruel take on them. The song features rather over-the-top sexual inneundo nonsense, but not articulated with swearing. It works well though, and is a favourite but controversial sketch from the "Not The Nine O' Clock News".

The Two Ronnies themeselves, Ronnie Corbett ad Ronnie Barker, took much offence from this sketch, finding it insulting. It was more or less a misunderstanding between comedic generations, between, at the time, the new wave of "alternative comedy", which was more in-your-face, using swear words and was like a big "up yours" to the establishment before, and the older, more genteel, saucy "how's your father postcard", play-of-words type humour of the 1960's and 70's comedy entertainers.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Some More Changes to the Labels...

Firstly, I would like to say a welcome to this blog, and I hope you find some or all the content here, to be genuinely helpful and interesting. Expect videos and posts to come on a daily basis, right now, I'm usually doing 2 a day, but would like to increase that to 3 or more. It can be seen as an alternative service for nostalgia on Youtube, but you may also like the reading. I hope the genre colour-code works for you too.

I also hope to post more non-video posts, more like articles, just right now thinking of some good ideas for articles. I have one already based on what does actually annoy me about Youtube, nostalgia-related. I'll reveal all in a later post.

I was unable to post for a few days this month though, as I had some computer problems.

Now that the genres are bulked up a little, I've re-organised the list, to make it less hassle to scroll through, as it will be massive eventually, with all those TV programmes. The most important and posted sections are at the top.

Changes to the Labels yet again: I'll be going through the older posts, and you'll be able to search this blog's posts not only through the decades, years and genres, but through the TV channels, they were shown on, unless they're VHS releases. So we'll have BBC (BBC 1 & 2 merged), ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 (has no clips yet) and also Sky, not really important right now to have "Sky One, Sports" but for "Sky News", yes.

How an early 1960's BBC News Studio Ebbed and Flowed...

BBC Television News - circa 1962

Hello, and welcome to the first edition of the News genre. And this a good introduction to begin with. Here we look at how news (and weather) reports, have changed down the years, along with the occasional bloopers/controversies. A very young Michael Aspel (presenter of "Antiques Roadshow", "This Is Your Life" & "Aspel & Comapny", to name just a few) gives us a behind the scenes look at how the news is broadcasted. The long, difficult and mountainous terrain of miles and miles of film rolled up into those large rolling steel cans, looking like an Elephant's earring, are transported by plane designated to many international countries around the world, the BBC being a leading and global force in the early days of Television. Nowadays journalists/corresspondents and just simply send their film footage via the laptop. In-news graphics and diagrams are simply painted/illustrated on transparent materials. Self important, pompous music plays in this clip, as Aspel outlays the process, to what our many Second World War veterans and free-thinking hippies would see as the eventual outcome. Although with this now slow generating of news media, they do their best to keep up-to-date with the latest news.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Rare Kate Bush Interview on "Swap Shop"...

Multi Coloured Swap Shop Kate Bush interview Part 1

Curly-wurly haired Noel Edmonds interviews softly-spoken musician Kate Bush on the show that started and revolutionised Saturday morning's TV for kids and adults alike "Multi-Coloured Swap Shop".There is a second part to the interview. Taking a look at the comments and the quality of the video, it seems this is the only way now, we will ever view this clip, because it doesn't exist in the BBC archives anymore, which was a regualar occurence in the 70's and before. Only this video recording helps it to survive to this day. This is one of the great things about youtube and the internet today.

This was following 20-year old Kate Bush's climb to music fame in the previous year, 1978, led by her big No.1 hit song, "Wuthering Heights", which is talked about in the interview. Also, there is also that in-famed, unpredictable section where celebrities take part in the phone-in from children, a great TV innovation at the time. Arghh! Kate comes across very well here.

Before 1976 and the arrival of "Multi-Coloured Swap Shop", Saturday mornings were boring for children. Open University programming was not "spiffing good fun" on a Saturday! So, "Swap Shop" took much of it's inspiration from "Tiswas", which was a growing popular Sat. morning, wacky kids/family shows, currently being shown in the ATV Midlands region. Swap Shop became the first nationwide Saturday morning live show on British TV. Swap Shop, typical of the BBC, definitely didn't have the sort of mayhem and flinging flan-flingers, like "Tiswas", it was a more organised and sensible and well, trying to keep the balance appeal to adults and kids. They're were only 3 channels back then, there were no kids channel to dump it on, and be as childish as they want! So, Noel Edmonds, previously known as a Radio One DJ and "Top of the Pops" presenter, and future sidekick of the immortal "Mr Blobby", steered the show along with Maggie Philbin, John "Newsround" Craven, and Keith "Get up all you Beggars, it's Cheggars!" Chegwin, who did the swap element of the show. The show really tried to make kids feel inconclusive, and it was a great idea, where kids could either dial up the show, or attend Chegwin shrines around the country to swap their goods -no, not drugs or money- but innocent of the essence stuff like toys and stereos. The success of the show attracted people of high importance to the show, such as your celebrities and politicians. This all started with Swap Shop, as well as you're phone-in's. This continued into it's future evolutions like "Going Live!", however, today, the importance of Saturday mornings has fizzled out. You won't see Gordon Brown appearing anytime soon on "TMI", the scattered remains of a once unifying element of TV genre, now getting ready for the graveyard shift.

Aha, and just as I was saying about material being lost or missing from the archives, Wikipedia says, the BBC got rid of many of the episodes of the show back in the early 90's, as they felt they were of no use anymore. So that under-dealing trade did not stop in the 70's.

Basil Brush and Roy North Tell to be Wary of the Beach!

Basil Brush and the Airbed (1976) - Public Information Film

Cue some bad jokes and a "jolly joust with the waves" from Roy North and 1970's children's TV megastar puppet at the time, Basil Brush. Not a great PIF, but a great pull towards the kiddies at the time. This short PIF, tells us not to go out with our inflatables (hmmm) into the sea when the wind and tide is looking dreadfully at ill ease. Some inane musings here, Roys mutters "I'll have a nice peaceful flirt on my hair bed"? The PIF's all done in one shot/scene, nothing much else to say...

Basil was a witty but mischievious fox glove puppet voiced by Ivan Owen throughout the 60's, 70's and 80's from his first appearance back in 1963. Owen modelled the voice on Terry-Thomas, a posh, eccentric english film comic actor of the 1950's mould. The character's peak was throughout the 1970's, starring in "The Basil Brush Show" for 12 years. As Brush's career fizzled out, along came the new children's puppet star Roland "Yeaaaaah" Rat. A quite successful revival of "The Basil Brush Show" returned in 2002, however, Ivan Owen died in 2000. He was taken over by the more voicework of Christopher Pizzey. I prefer the original voice, because the new one seems more toned down.

Roy North was the adult presenter accompanee to Brush in the same show from 1973-1977. He has also starred in West End theatre plays and Pantomines.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010


paul shane pebble mill you've lost that loving feeling the whole song

Watch if you dare!

This is the whole act in all it's horrid entirety. The backing singers are terrible, the accompanying singer is terribly trying too hard amongst all this. Paul Shane gives us his version of the song, and you know what, he really looks like he's putting all his heart into it here. Nobody delivers BABEH-BABEH like he does, you can give him that.

I wonder how much you could pay him to sing Amy Grant's early 90's hit "Baby Baby"? I don't think there would be a single dry eye in the audience.

I always have a good laugh at this. So bad it's good! I was seriously compelled not to put this in my music genre, because I can imagine someone searching through the music section going "The Pogues..yep..Depeche Mode...yep...Jimmy Hendrix...yep...Paul, just NO. It would've been too cruel to put it in the Comedy section, so here it is, in Light Entertainment, and anyhow, Paul Shane is a very versatile performer, in acting, Pantomine, singing and dancing.

You may know Paul Shane mostly as Ted Bovis in the 80's comedy sitcom "Hi-De-Hi". Damn, he's a good singer.

Brass Eye's Chris Morris, Clearly Taking the P*ss on Early Morning ITV Topical Discussion Show

The Time The Place, Chris Morris

This is the first edition of the Chat Shows genre, showing you classic and obscure clips from classic and obscure UK Chat Shows from the past. And we begin with a gem. Chris Morris, quite known as the presenter of faux-news programme "The Day Today" at the time of 1996, jostles with "The Time, The Place" presenter John Stapleton, calling himself Thurston Lowe, a supposed academic. The discussion topic is about "Are British Men Lousy Lovers?".

Morris, who clearly loves to give the system a good jolt, and takes a satrical take, perhaps drubbing the of so-called experts who turn up, on these type of shows, but a wonderful break from the norm. He gained much of a reputation, of fooling people and celebrities into believing in his projects, as seen in the future "Brass Eye". In his inane banter, he tells of how the Saxons serviced Roman women from Italy, the absurd notion that the Greek mythical creature The Minotaur, was also regarded as a four-legged breast by Brits...oh, just watch the whole clip!

"The Time, The Place" was ITV's answer to the BBC's "Kilroy" located in an early morning loke post-9am, 9.25am, say. The show ran from 1987 to 1998, while "Kilroy" steamed on until 2004. These type of shows now feel rather stuffy compared to the likes of "Vanessa" and "The Jeremy Kyle Show", but they did so at the time compared to US chat shows, with obvious comparisons to "The Jerry Springer Show". The shows itself could be interesting, but it lacked bite, otherwise it would've been on late-night TV, probably Channel 4, and some of the subjects felt rather drawn out.

HAAAAAAROLD! Not Steptoe, the Other One!

harold bishop drowns (neighbours)

One of the genuine sore moments for the Neighbours viewers in it's early days, was the mysterious dissappearance of loveable Harold Bishop (Ian Smith), when himself and wife Madge (Anne Charleston), who go visit the coast or "surf". Once Madge's back is turned, she can't see him anymore and that is left is his glasses washing up on the rocky shore, leaving the impression that he had drowned. I'm afraid this clip is really short, and just really the aftermath. Wish I could see a more extensive clip but, anyway, it seemed Harold was gone for good, but his body was never found. End up, he returns to Ramsay Street 5 years later with amnesia, and Harold lives on impressively, becoming one of the longest-running characters, after leaving the soap in 2009.

Australian soap "Neighbours" began on 18th March 1985, and was very nearly a goner 4 months later, but was picked up by another Australian TV channel "Network Ten", and not only that, the BBC picked it up in 1986, and the soap became a great success, focusing on the happening and goings-on of Australian family life in an almost perfect surburbia with the sort of hot weather, many Brits fantasise about, called Ramsay Street, in Erinsborough. Neighbours actually became a bigger hit in the UK than it did in it's native Australia. What was unusal about the BBC scheduling was, it was shown twice every weekday, first in the early afternoon after 1pm I think maybe 1.35pm, and then showed immedietely after CBBC in the early evening, to suit those coming home from work about 5.35pm. So the show wasn't terribly slumbered as a show for "students, the unemployed and housewives" like "This Morning". When some of the show's younger actors moved into the world of Pop in the late-80's, you know, Kylie Minogue, Jason Donovan and erm..Craig McLachlan. Neighbours' influence was huge at that point, in 1989-1991.

Monday, 18 January 2010

Jim Fixes it for London School in 1983...

Culture Club Boy George on Jim'll Fix It

A very "enthusiastic" East Barnet School welcome the surprise offering of Boy "Is it a he? Is it a she?" George, lead singer of Culture Club thanks to Jimmy Saville of "Jim'll Fix It" Fame. The show that is always on the tongues of some retro-loving TV personalities of today, oh the joy. Not to mention the countless Jimmy Saville impressions throughout the 80's and 90's from the likes of Bobby Davro and others.

Anyway, back to the clip. The children are all looking rather despondent(maybe they were expecting "Cowboy George"? - A-Team in-joke there), but we can be assured for some it was shock, as highlighted in a comment below the video. Just double-click on the video to go to that particular youtube page. Meanwhile, the teachers are looking exhilarated as this was the year "Karma Chameleon" became one of the hottest hits of the 80's so far and became a Singles No.1 hit on both sides of the Atlantic for six weeks in UK, and three weeks in the US.

No Jimmy? Well, we'll be seeing more of "Jim'll Fix It" in our Light Entertainment genre, in the months to come.

Also, what I forgot to say was, back in the early 80's, it was a unique era where it was OK for men to wear make-up, and we're talking more than a little "manliner" like what you get today! The music culture of the early 80's, set Boy George as an icon for fad wave called "New Romanticism". A fashon sense that had an androgynous and creative - not clothing simply bought from big brand stores- and was laced with the new technology of synth/electro music that became mainstream. Boy George worked at "Blitz" nightclub that started it all off, along with boss Steve Strange. however, you say David Bowie's "Ashes to Ashes" music video started it all off.

Gibberish Talkers Over-taken by the Lord of Gibberish Oliver Reed

Oliver Reed - After Dark original TV clip. Part 1

Ah, a classic, classic moment and episode from the very acquired taste that was "After Dark" on Channel 4. The infamous, drunken Oliver Reed, confusing and bemusing a gang of well-seasoned intellectuals discussing on the subject of "Do Men Have To Be Violent?". Can't understand a thing, but still entertaining. From 1991, funnily enough, the same year the TV series finished, the main controversy of this episode was Reed fondling and rolling on top of feminist Kate Millett, as well as swearing at various moments. Transmission of the episode stopped, as it was live TV. This is the sort of edgy stuff, Channel 4 should be doing again, drunken Oli Reed or none. Arts and culture back on live TV!

"After Dark" ran from 1987-1991, but has been revived several times as one-off's and then another series on the BBC in 2003, still courting controversy. It's always shown late-night, and it's hard to believe this type of programming was allowed to run for 3-4 hours on a Saturday night.

For most of this first initial run on Channel 4, from one end of the spectrum you had highly intellectual banter on Four, and then you had almost the polar opposite of "Hitman and Her" on ITV. I like both shows, so maybe that just says I have intelligence to "switch on" to the discussions at "After Dark" in halves, quarters, or fifths, but be eased in by the non-thinking "Hitman and Her"!

Learn to Chuck an Arra' with Cheeky Chappie Eric Bristow

Darts - The Crafty Cockney Way Part 1

Another youtube video from the world of darts, but this time a more meaty offer. "Darts - The Crafty Cockney Way" is presented by blonde-dyed Darts legend Eric Bristow (nicknamed the Crafty Cockney, yes). This is the first part of 5, of a full VHS introduction into playing Darts efficiently. It outlines the whole basics of the sport, with a male/female couple of unknown Darters demonstrating how to throw and balance your body. If you're not interested in that, there are some archive footage near the start, of Bristow winning his 5 World Embassy Tournament wins in 1980, 1981, 1984, 1985 and 1986, as well as some 1988 and 1989 coverage later on. Some soundbites from other darters like Jocky Wilson, Cliff Lazarenko and Paul Lim.

The programme itself, seems to be quite Americanised, I can just tell from that typical 80's background music and the graphics. Not forgetting the American voiceover, and there is a section about American Cricket. What is that? A mixture of Touchdowns and wickets? No, it's a completely unrelated Darts game popular in the States where you only use about half the board numbers (15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20), and roughly it's about trying to eliminate your opponent, by closing/shutting out the numbers and their trebles and singles. OK, let's not bore you about that, but it's a bare-back introduction to Darts with a few titbits of talking heads, and it's still a gem of a find in youtube terms.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

ITV Broadcasts It's First Nationwide Corporate Branding in 1989

ITV 1989 Generic Idents

Before 1989 on ITV, the various TV regions around the UK, broadcasted their own ident, such as you're Central, Yorkshire, Thames, London Weekend Television, Scottish & Grampian, broadcasted under their own names and idents. This is probably my favourite ITV look because I find it more boombastic, than it's more subtle and blander re-tunes in the late-90's and 2000's. Either that or I'm just old. It's the music I like the best and the graphic morphing at the beginning works well too. Some regions refused the corporate image such as The Channels, Ulster, Anglia and TVS, however, other regions outwith "The South" which already had strong branding like Grampian and Yorkshire, opted out of this generic approach gradually.

This is a rather long clip, but you really have to watch only the first 30 seconds, because it's really the same one over and over again, but with the "V" in ITV, in different colours, representing the various regions colours.

Saturday, 16 January 2010

I Love the Way He Twists My Hand, as He Kisses it, it Reminds me of a Postman?

Whats my Line? BBC 1955

See the clip for further details, on that title. "What's My Line" was a simple but effective question-and-answer panel gameshow, where a line-up of various celebrities try to guess a member of the public's occupation. This format had sailed over the Atlantic from the USA, and appeared in the early TV days of the 1950's presented mainly by Eamonn Andrews from 1951-1963, and has spluttered back into life in every decade since then with re-visits, even in the 2000's. This clip is not a full episode but a pretty meaty section of the show. Enquiring the questions here, are, Isobel Barnett, Barbara Kelly, Gilbert Harding & David Nixon. Includes perfectly spoken english, it's a different age of course, such formal greetings are used such as "Good Evening" to the contestant, but that doesn't mean, all the proceedings are high brow!

Controversial Drama from the Seventies...

Bouquet Of Barbed Wire (1976)...short clip

Suggestive and disturbing 70's ITV drama here. There's a second short clip uploaded too. It's a family web of deceit, affair and possible incest. Father Peter Manson(Frank Finlay) is intensively jealous of his daughter Prue's boyfriend, whom he is obsessed by. Hence the steely stare of the father, to the boyfriend Gavin Sorenson(James Aubrey) at the window. Not an obvious saint himself, he perhaps has a right to be wary, as the boyfriend is bedding his disenchanted wife Cassie. So, all rather messy proceedings.

Based from the 1969 novel of the same name. A sequel was made a year later in 1977, entitled "Another Bouquet".

Friday, 15 January 2010

2 Goliaths of the Cartoon World Meet, the Very Thought of it Will Send Trembles Down Your Spine: Bananaman vs. Appleman

Banana Man

A full episode, and I can provide more information on this, by saying (in smug mode) it's from 1984's Season 2, episode 3, entitled "Trouble At the Mill".

There quite alot of Bananaman episodes on Youtube. The more I watch, the more I appreciate that instrumental theme song. As regards to the best British cartoon theme songs, this has got to be up there with "Dangermouse". The theme is composed by Dave Cooke.

Bananaman was originally a comic strip for one of the lesser-known British comics called "Nutty". Created in 1980 by John Geering, "Bananaman was an anti-thesis to the USA's Marvel's serious God-like superheros like Batman, Superman, Spiderman etc, this was a jovial poking at the fun, as although Bananaman was extremely strong, he was also extremely thick and awkward in British eccentric kind of way, but somehow saving the day, but almost always giving Chief 'O Reilly grief. Unlike other superhero's, Bananaman, is just really as kid called "Eric Twinge" and whenever he eats a banana, well, you know the rest...

In this episode, Bananaman meets his arch-nemesis and suppoesed weight-lifting buddy Appleman. He doesn't feature much in the cartoon, and his south-west country accent, does bring him down a few notches as a worthwhile opponent. The main villains that feature the most are Dr. Gloom and General Blight. Blight is supposed to be a parody of Hitler, but it's Dr. Gloom who looks more Nazi-ish in my view. Plus they always seem to look like midgets.

The cartoon ran from 1983-1986, in a 5 minute format. The voice work is done by the comedy trio "The Goodies", at probably the tail-end of their career as a comedic force. This included Bill Oddie voicing Eric's/Bananaman pet "Crow", Chief 'O Reilly and Dr. Gloom. Bill also voices the worm in this episode. Fellow Goonies Graeme Garden voiced Bananaman and General Blight and Tim Brooke-Taylor voices Appleman here, as well as Eric.

Although the cartoon ended in 1986, it was re-runned well into the 1990's on CBBC, and it has featured in the Dandy comic since 1985. It still runs today, with new material and a new illustrationist.